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Comment author: Ritalin 07 November 2015 01:15:35AM 0 points [-]

This is the most terrifying comic SMBC has made yet How much of a point does Zach have, here? Can this be the shape of the future?

Comment author: Ritalin 30 January 2015 04:18:12PM 2 points [-]

A self-improvement inquiry. I've got an irrational tendency to be too relaxed around other people; too sincere, transparent, and trusting. In general I'm very uninhibited and uncontrolled, and this goes to spectacular levels when I'm the slightest bit intoxicated. This has come back to bite me in more than one occasion.

I've had trouble finding documentation on how to improve on this. "Being too honest/sincere/open" doesn't seem like a common problem for people to have.

Comment author: Salemicus 23 January 2015 10:22:58AM *  4 points [-]

I read this from the comfort of my couch, and I blink. Isn't that the right way to live, the model of polite society? Is it wrong to want to live that way?

Nietzsche's point is not so much that it's wrong to want to live that way, as small and pathetic. If their supreme values are comfort and health, are these people any better than domesticated pets? Where is the drive to excel? Where is the drive to exceed yourself? They have reduced their desires to match their limited capacities, rather than striven to increase their capacities to meet their boundless desires. Are these people actually happy, or are they merely content?

To quote Nietzche elsewhere:

For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! At long last the search for knowledge will reach out for its due: — it will want to rule and possess, and you with it!

Comment author: Ritalin 25 January 2015 07:09:07PM 1 point [-]

"Beyond good and evil, there is awesome and lame. Don't be lame."?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 17 January 2015 02:13:39PM 5 points [-]

In the terrorism case, the relevant biases are well-known and well-studied. The primary two biases in question are that humans take threats from intent or agencies much more seriously than threats from random chance. The second bias is that people pay more attention to threats which get a lot of coverage or which involve a large number of deaths at the same time. Tversky and Kahneman did studies on this (back when Tversky was still alive), and there's been followup by others since then.

Comment author: Ritalin 17 January 2015 04:07:47PM 2 points [-]

The primary two biases in question are that humans take threats from intent or agencies much more seriously than threats from random chance.

Could you refer me to the relevant bibliography?

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 17 January 2015 09:07:34AM *  1 point [-]

the expenses incurred in counter-terrorism and the number of lives said expenses save, compared with the number of lives that could be saved by spending that same amount into improving road safety, increasing public helathcare expense

I'm fully with you but it also implies that we adjust our reaction to the losses due to terrorism or in general to losses due to not selected interventions.

One example from parenting is choosing between

  • giving children a chance to experience life and to become autonomous

  • protecting children from all possible emotional and physical harm

I judge the first to have higher utility (and hedons) to the child and future adult even despite the risks implied. But I can already hear the accusations should anything happen during the time the child is not fully protected.

Should anything happen - say a serious accident - how do I deal emotionally with that? Do I accept it as a sad but acceptable consequence of my decision or do I resort to guilt and change my future decision on this issue?

We should make clear that the positive effects of experience and autonomy actually derive from the decision for them. Otherwise the much stronger corrective guilt - or even the fear of guilt alone - will out-compete such approaches.

Your proposal or this approach in general implies that we develop a capability to suffer in certain cases - and sometimes I think that our society is headed more toward a minimization of suffering than toward a maximization of happiness.

Comment author: Ritalin 17 January 2015 10:14:19AM *  0 points [-]

It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the seed of his highest hope.

His soil is still rich enough for it. But that soil will one day be poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be able to grow there.

Alas! there comes the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man -- and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whiz!

I tell you: one must still have chaos in oneself, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: you have still chaos in yourselves.

Alas! There comes the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There comes the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.

Lo! I show you the Last Man.

"What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?" -- so asks the Last Man, and blinks.

The earth has become small, and on it hops the Last Man, who makes everything small. His species is ineradicable as the flea; the Last Man lives longest.

"We have discovered happiness" -- say the Last Men, and they blink.

They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth. One still loves one's neighbor and rubs against him; for one needs warmth.

Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily. He is a fool who still stumbles over stones or men!

A little poison now and then: that makes for pleasant dreams. And much poison at the end for a pleasant death.

One still works, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the pastime should hurt one.

One no longer becomes poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still wants to rule? Who still wants to obey? Both are too burdensome.

No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wants the same; everyone is the same: he who feels differently goes voluntarily into the madhouse.

"Formerly all the world was insane," -- say the subtlest of them, and they blink.

They are clever and know all that has happened: so there is no end to their derision. People still quarrel, but are soon reconciled -- otherwise it upsets their stomachs.

They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health.

"We have discovered happiness," -- say the Last Men, and they blink.

Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spoke Zarathustra,

I read this from the comfort of my couch, and I blink. Isn't that the right way to live, the model of polite society? Is it wrong to want to live that way?

EDIT: I have no idea how this weird formatting thing happened or how to undo it.

Comment author: Gram_Stone 17 January 2015 03:44:03AM *  0 points [-]

I just don't see how this post is saying anything but: "Irrationality is bad. We should do something about that. Ideas?"

This post summarizes the entire enterprise in which we're engaged, and offers a few examples of manifestations of the problem, and some pop culture references. The answers to your questions are: people have their priorities jumbled for lots of reasons that have been discussed; they jumble their priorities in systematic ways but it's not always obvious which way they'll pull out of the hat, so it's only semi-predictable, and; people have tried to work around them by writing things like the Sequences and the academic material that covers the same ground, but it's hit or miss like most things because we don't always know Exactly What To Say and because knowing about jumbled priorities doesn't unjumble them. This problem has been around long enough to have been sort of broken up into subproblems, so if you want to help, you should probably offer new insight on an existing subproblem or come up with a whole new subproblem. I don't see how fallaciously generalizing from the Joker's half-baked commentary on society's tendency to insulate people from anxiety-provoking uncertainty is tangibly helpful in that regard. I don't see what this post contributes.

Comment author: Ritalin 17 January 2015 10:07:53AM 4 points [-]

Indeed, I have very little to contribute on my own. I'm mostly here to learn.

I'm not generalizing from the Joker's reflection. Rather, I'm using it as a springboard to talk about an issue that concerns me; namely, what triggers fear and warth and outrage in people and what doesn't. I think this is a different kind of bias from just scope insensitivity or fundamental attribution error or overconfidence bias or anything like that. Those can be overcome by just explaining the facts. This one, however, can't; explaining stuff and putting numbers forth will only get you accused of sophistry. I find that very frustrating.

Comment author: adamzerner 17 January 2015 06:32:54AM 1 point [-]

One of his most interesting scenes in the film has him point out how people estimate horrible things differently depending on whether they're part of what's "normal", what's "expected", rather than on how inherently horrifying they are, or how many people are involved.

Agreed. I love that scene!

Soon people extrapolated this observation to other such apparent inconsistencies in human judgment, where a behaviour that once was acceptable, with a simple tweak or change in context, becomes the subject of a much more serious reaction.

Indeed. The social psychology experiment about people asking to cut in line with/without a reason is a good example.

I intuit that there's some sort of underlying pattern to them

Check out Thinking Fast and Slow. If I understand you correctly, you're referring to heuristics and biases, which have been studied pretty extensively. I apologize if you're already aware of this and I'm missing your point.

Comment author: Ritalin 17 January 2015 10:00:09AM 2 points [-]

I think most LWers can be expected to know about those. I'm just curious as to which biases are involved specifically.

... And Everyone Loses Their Minds

10 Ritalin 16 January 2015 11:38PM

Chris Nolan's Joker is a very clever guy, almost Monroesque in his ability to identify hypocrisy and inconsistency. One of his most interesting scenes in the film has him point out how people estimate horrible things differently depending on whether they're part of what's "normal", what's "expected", rather than on how inherently horrifying they are, or how many people are involved.

Soon people extrapolated this observation to other such apparent inconsistencies in human judgment, where a behaviour that once was acceptable, with a simple tweak or change in context, becomes the subject of a much more serious reaction.

I think there's rationalist merit in giving these inconsistencies a serious look. I intuit that there's some sort of underlying pattern to them, something that makes psychological sense, in the roundabout way that most irrational things do. I think that much good could come out of figuring out what that root cause is, and how to predict this effect and manage it.

Phenomena that come to mind, are, for instance, from an Effective Altruism point of view, the expenses incurred in counter-terrorism (including some wars that were very expensive in treasure and lives), and the number of lives said expenses save, compared with the number of lives that could be saved by spending that same amount into improving road safety, increasing public helathcare expense where it would do the most good, building better lightning rods (in the USA you're four times more likely to be struck by thunder than by terrorists), or legalizing drugs.

What do y'all think? Why do people have their priorities all jumbled-up? How can we predict these effects? How can we work around them?

Comment author: 4hodmt 20 December 2014 06:27:07PM 0 points [-]

In my experience Salvia divinorum works very much like this.

Comment author: Ritalin 20 December 2014 08:53:30PM *  0 points [-]

Could you elaborate on any specifics? Apparently the plant is legal in most of the world and only prohibited in very few countries.

Comment author: Metus 18 December 2014 11:38:20PM 3 points [-]

Exercise.

But more seriously, try asking this again in the next open thread, this one seems flooded.

Comment author: Ritalin 19 December 2014 11:59:34AM 1 point [-]

Actually exercise has been suggested to me as the alternative to drugs. "Spinning", specifically. Addictive, very pleasurable, and makes you healthier (unless you overdo it, but sports are much more difficult to overdo than drugs, for some reason).

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