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Comment author: byrneseyeview 16 August 2009 11:15:20PM 0 points [-]

"Malthusian" is not the simplest explanation. What about Marshallian? It looks like most of these behaviors involve doing something until marginal costs reach marginal benefits. His model involves doing things because they can't be as good as possible without having negative side effects. While this gets you the right result in some cases, it means he needs a separate model for explaining positive externalities ("Why do my neighbors clean their lawns, even though they get a fraction of the total benefit of living in a neighborhood with clean lawns?")

In response to Experiential Pica
Comment author: byrneseyeview 16 August 2009 11:09:33PM 3 points [-]

This is certainly an interesting idea, but I'm skeptical. I've noticed that a few practices have that effect (exercise, for example), but it seems to me that it's more a matter of habitually exercising willpower than getting the right mix of experiences. Lots of extremely successful people just spend all their time doing whatever it is that they do well.

For example, when I read this pleasant profile of Richard Posner, I don't imagine that he's a great jurist because he goes to the zoo or plays with his cat; I imagine that he's a great jurist because, aside from playing with his cat, eating, sleeping, and commuting, he spends all his time obsessing over the law.

In response to Closet survey #1
Comment author: johnkclark 15 March 2009 06:41:36AM 7 points [-]

When I really get depressed I speculate that drug abuse could be the explanation of the Fermi Paradox, the reason we can't find any ET's. If it were possible to change your emotions to anything you wanted, alter modes of thought, radically change your personality, swap your goals as well as your philosophy of life at the drop of a hat it would be very dangerous.

Ever want to accomplish something but been unable to because it's difficult, well just change your goal in life to something simple and do that; better yet, flood your mind with a feeling of pride for a job well done and don't bother accomplishing anything at all. Think all this is a terrible idea and stupid as well, no problem, just change your mind (and I do mean CHANGE YOUR MIND) now you think it's a wonderful idea.

Complex mechanisms just don't do well in positive feedback loops, not electronics, not animals, not people, not ET's and not even Jupiter brains. I mean who wouldn't want to be a little bit happier than they are; if all you had to do is move a knob a little what could it hurt, oh that's much better maybe a little bit more, just a bit more, a little more.

The world could end not in a bang or a whimper but in an eternal mindless orgasm. I'm not saying this is definitely going to happen but I do think about it a little when I get down in the dumps.

Comment author: byrneseyeview 08 May 2009 03:07:24PM 10 points [-]

When I really get depressed I speculate that drug abuse could be the explanation of the Fermi Paradox, the reason we can't find any ET's. If it were possible to change your emotions to anything you wanted, alter modes of thought, radically change your personality, swap your goals as well as your philosophy of life at the drop of a hat it would be very dangerous.

Doubtful. The first person to invent an 'expansionist' drug, that turned users into hyper-competitive, rapidly-reproducing, high-achieving types -- basically, a pill for being a Mormon -- would have lots of offspring, lots of success, etc. Many people choose to abuse heroin, but many people also choose to abuse Adderall, or to use Piracetam or other similar substances. The success-druggies will outbreed and outcompete the orgasm-druggies, leading to more intense success-drugs and perpetuating the cycle.