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Rationality Quotes 27

5 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 February 2009 01:55AM

"Believing this statement will make you happier."
        -- Ryan Lortie

"Make changes based on your strongest opportunities, not your most convenient ones."
        -- MegaTokyo

"The mind is a cruel, lying, unreliable bastard that can't be trusted with even an ounce of responsibility.  If you were dating the mind, all your friends would take you aside, and tell you that you can really do better, and being alone isn't all that bad, anyway.  If you hired the mind as a babysitter, you would come home to find all but one of your children in critical condition, and the remaining one crowned 'King of the Pit'."
        -- Lore Sjoberg

"Getting bored is a non-trivial cerebral transformation that doubtlessly took many millions of years for nature to perfect."
        -- Lee Corbin

"The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the unanimous view of all parts of my mind."
        -- Malcolm McMahon

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Rationality Quotes 26

3 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 14 February 2009 04:14PM

"Poets, philosophers, acidheads, salesmen: everybody wants to know, 'What is Reality?'  Some say it's a vast Unknowable so astounding and raw and naked that it grips the human mind and shakes it like a puppy shakes a rag doll.  A lot of good that does us."
        -- The Book of the SubGenius

"When they discovered that reality was more complicated than they thought, they just swept the complexity under a carpet of epicycles.  That is, they created unnecessary complexity.  This is an important point.  The universe is complex, but it's usefully complex."
        -- Larry Wall

"I can't imagine a more complete and precise answer to the question 'for what reason...?' than 'none'.  The fact that you don't like the answer is your problem, not the universe's."
        -- Lee Daniel Crocker

"In the end they all moved in fantasies and not in the daily tide of their seemingly useless lives.  Souls forever lost in the terrifying freedom of their existence."
        -- Shinji and Warhammer40k

"Thus the freer the judgement of a man is in regard to a definite issue, with so much greater necessity will the substance of this judgement be determined."
        -- Friedrich Engels, Anti-Dühring

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Rationality Quotes 25

8 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 January 2009 08:39AM

"People want to think there is some huge conspiracy run by evil geniuses.  The reality is actually much more horrifying.  The people running the show aren't evil geniuses.  They are just as stupid as the rest of us."
        -- Vaksel

"Rule of thumb:  Be skeptical of things you learned before you could read.  E.g., religion."
        -- Ben Casnocha

"Truth is not always popular, but it is always right."
        -- Anon

"Computer programming is omnipotence without omniscience."
        -- Prospero

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good, and the very gentle, and the very brave, impartially."
        -- Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

"Those who take delight in their own might are merely pretenders to power.  The true warrior of fate needs no adoration or fear, no tricks or overwhelming effort; he need not be stronger or smarter or innately more capable than everyone else; he need not even admit it to himself.  All he needs to do is to stand there, at that moment when all hope is dead, and look upon the abyss without flinching."
        -- Shinji and Warhammer40k

"Though here at journey's end I lie
 in darkness buried deep,
 beyond all towers strong and high,
 beyond all mountains steep,
 above all shadows rides the Sun
 and Stars forever dwell:
 I will not say the Day is done,
 nor bid the Stars farewell."
        -- Banazîr Galbasi (Samwise Gamgee), The Return of the King

Rationality Quotes 24

8 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 January 2009 04:59AM

"A wizard may have subtle ways of telling the truth, and may keep the truth to himself, but if he says a thing the thing is as he says.  For that is his mastery."
        -- Ursula K. Leguin, A Wizard of Earthsea

"Neurons firing is something even a slug can do, and has as much to do with thinking as walls and doors have to do with a research institute."
        -- Albert Cardona

"Mental toughness and willpower are to living in harmony with the Tao, as the ability to make clever arguments is to rationality."
        -- Marcello Herreshoff

"Destiny always has been something that you tear open with your own hands."
        -- T-Moon Complex X 02

"When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant and which know me not, I am frightened and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then...  The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me."
        -- Pascal, Pensees

"Goals of Man:  ☑ Don't get eaten by a lion ☑ Get out of Africa ☐ Get out of Earth ☐ Get out of Solar System ☐ Get out of Galaxy ☐ Get out of Local Group ☐ Get out of Earth-Visible Universe ☐ Get out of Universe"
        -- Knome

Rationality Quotes 23

5 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 10 January 2009 12:12AM

"This year I resolve to lose weight... to be nicer to dogs... and to sprout wings and fly."
         -- Garfield

"People understand instinctively that the best way for computer programs to communicate with each other is for each of them to be strict in what they emit, and liberal in what they accept. The odd thing is that people themselves are not willing to be strict in how they speak and liberal in how they listen. You'd think that would also be obvious."
        -- Larry Wall

"One never needs enemies, but they are so much fun to acquire."
        -- Eluki bes Shahar, Archangel Blues

"I'm accusing you of violating the laws of nature!"
"Nature's virtue is intact.  I just know some different laws."
        -- Orson Scott Card, A Planet Called Treason

"The goal of most religions is to preserve and elaborate on that concept of the stars as a big painted backdrop.  They make Infinity a 'prop' so you don't have to think about the scary part."
        -- The Book of the SubGenius

<silverpower> Is humanity even worth saving?
<starglider> As opposed to what?
<silverpower> ...hmm.
        -- #sl4

Rationality Quotes 22

5 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 January 2009 12:00PM

"Two roads diverged in the woods.  I took the one less traveled, and had to eat bugs until Park rangers rescued me."
        -- Jim Rosenberg

"Lying to yourself about specific actions is easier than re-defining the bounds of your imagined identity...  When I see once-ethical men devolve into moral grey, they still identify as upstanding."
       -- Ben Casnocha

"Every year buy a clean bed sheet, date it, and lay it over the previous layer of junk on your desk."
        -- Vernor Vinge, The Blabber

"Like first we tossed out the bath water, then the baby, and like finally the whole tub."
        -- John R. Andrews

"I have no wisdom.  Yet I heard a wise man - soon to be a relative of marriage - say not long ago that all is for the best.  We are but dreams, and dreams possess no life by their own right.  See, I am wounded.  (Holds out his hand.)  When my wound heals, it will be gone.  Should it with its bloody lips say it is sorry to heal?  I am only trying to explain what another said, but that is what I think he meant."
        -- Gene Wolfe, The Claw of the Conciliator

"On a grand scale we simply want to save the world, so obviously we're just letting ourselves in for a lot of disappointment and we're doomed to failure since we didn't pick some cheap-ass two-bit goal like collecting all the Garbage Pail Kids cards."
        -- Nenslo

"He promised them nothing but blood, iron, and fire, and offered them only the choice of going to find it or of waiting for it to find them at home."
        -- John Barnes, One For the Morning Glory

Rationality Quotes 21

5 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 06 January 2009 02:45AM

"The most dangerous thing in the world is finding someone you agree with.  If a TV station news is saying exactly what you think is right, BEWARE!  You are very likely only reinforcing your beliefs, and not being supplied with new information."
        -- SmallFurryCreature

"Companies deciding which kind of toothpaste to market have much more rigorous, established decision-making processes to refer to than the most senior officials of the U.S. government deciding whether or not to go to war."
        -- Michael Mazarr

"Everything I ever thought about myself - who I was, what I am - was a lie.  You have no idea how astonishingly liberating that feels."
        -- Neil Gaiman, Stardust

"Saul speaks of the 'intense desire for survival on the part of virtually everyone on earth,' and our 'failure' in spite of this.  I have often pointed out that the so-called 'survival instinct' is reliable only in clear and present danger - and even then only if the individual is still relatively healthy and vigorous.  If the danger is indirect, or remote in time, or if the person is weak or depressed - or even if required action would violate established habits - forget the 'survival instinct.' It isn't that simple."
        -- Robert Ettinger on cryonics

"We are running out of excuses.  We just have to admit that real AI is one of the lowest research priorities, ever.  Even space is considered more important.  Nevermind baseball, tribology, or TV evangelism."
        -- Eugen Leitl

"That's something that's always struck me as odd about humanity.  Our first response to someone's bad news is "I'm sorry", as though we feel that someone should take responsibility for all the $&#ed up randomness that goes on in this universe."
        -- Angels 2200

"We were supremely lucky to be born into this precise moment in history.  It is with an ever-cresting crescendo of wonder and enthusiasm that I commend you to the great adventure and the great adventure to you."
        -- Jeff Davis

Rationality Quotes 20

6 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 December 2008 10:05PM

"For every stock you buy, there is someone selling you that stock.  What is it that you know that they don't?  What is it that they know, that you don't?  Who has the edge?  If it's not you, chances are you are going to lose money on the deal."
        -- Mark Cuban

"If you have two choices, choose the harder.  If you're trying to decide whether to go out running or sit home and watch TV, go running.  Probably the reason this trick works so well is that when you have two choices and one is harder, the only reason you're even considering the other is laziness.  You know in the back of your mind what's the right thing to do, and this trick merely forces you to acknowledge it."
        -- Paul Graham

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."
        -- Hanlon's Razor

"I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid.  Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities.  Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments.  Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy.  The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations.  But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!"
        -- General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

"There's no such thing as a human who doesn't commit sin.  It's not like the world is divided into sinners and the innocent.  There are only people who can and who cannot atone for their sins."
        -- Ciel

"Simple stupidity is never enough.  People need to pile stupidity on stupidity on stupidity."
        -- Mark C. Chu-Carroll

Rationality Quotes 19

5 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 October 2008 08:10PM

"I don't know that I ever wanted greatness, on its own.  It seems rather like wanting to be an engineer, rather than wanting to design something - or wanting to be a writer, rather than wanting to write.  It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself.  Otherwise, it's just an ego trip."
        -- Roger Zelazny, Prince of Chaos

"Many assumptions that we have long been comfortable with are lined up like dominoes."
        -- Omega

"I know of no law of logic demanding that every event have a cause."
        -- John K. Clark

"It's perfectly accurate, the accuracy only possessable by subjunctive syllogisms."
        -- Damien R. Sullivan

"Money makes the world go round.  Love just barely keeps it from blowing up."
        -- Unknown

"Soon things got out of hand, where they have remained ever since."
        -- Larry Gonick, The Cartoon History of the Universe

"Finally, ask yourself this: Are you sure you've really been abducted by aliens? Do you really want to know? For peace of mind and serenity of spirit, you may only need to remember the following: Ignorance is bliss, Prozac is cheap."
        -- Pat Krass

"So it was that on the ninety-fifth day of false winter in the year 2929 since the founding of Neverness, we vowed above all else to seek wisdom and truth, even though our seeking should lead to our death and to the ruin of all that we loved and held dear."
        -- David Zindell, Neverness

Rationality Quotes 18

7 Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 October 2008 12:39PM

Q.  Why does "philosophy of consciousness/nature of reality" seem to interest you so much?
A.  Take away consciousness and reality and there's not much left.
        -- Greg Egan, interview in Eidolon 15

"But I am not an object. I am not a noun, I am an adjective.  I am the way matter behaves when it is organized in a John K Clark-ish way.  At the present time only one chunk of matter in the universe behaves that way; someday that could change."
        -- John K Clark

"Would it be good advice, once copying becomes practical, to make lots of copies when good things happen, and none (or perhaps even killing off your own personal instance) on bad things?  Will this change the subjective probability of good events?"
        -- Hal Finney

"Waiting for the bus is a bad idea if you turn out to be the bus driver."
        -- Michael M. Butler on the Singularity

"You are free.  Free of anything I do or say, and of any consequence. You may rest assured that all hurts are forgiven, all loveliness remembered, and treasured.  I am busy and content and loved.  I hope you are the same.  Bless you."
        -- Walter Jon Williams, "Knight Moves"

"A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure."
         -- Lee Segall

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