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Comment author: giambolvoe 14 January 2011 05:38:38AM 0 points [-]

What about teaching other people these skills/helping other people become aware of their own incorrect beliefs? Is that completely separate?

Comment author: CronoDAS 03 January 2011 06:39:58AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: giambolvoe 03 January 2011 09:47:23PM 0 points [-]

That was a cool discussion, thanks for the link.

Comment author: endoself 03 January 2011 06:16:57AM 1 point [-]

Good point. In retrospect there was nothing exceptional about their misunderstanding of their own minds. I do, however, disagree with an unconditional condemnation of suicide due to the possibility of of a positive singularity. Just because we can't see the future doesn't mean we can't make a judgment under uncertainty. Some probability of a fate worse than death must cancel a sufficiently low probability of whatever good experiences are possible. Also, if a sufficiently large amount of money is necessary to prolong someone's life, perhaps that money could be better spent on improving the chance of a positive singularity for everyone, depending on the exact results of the expected utility calculation.

Comment author: giambolvoe 03 January 2011 10:53:36AM 1 point [-]

I agree with everything you say here. If anything I said disagrees with it, I take it back.

Comment author: CronoDAS 31 December 2010 11:54:26PM 3 points [-]

Orson Scott Card once wrote a short story in which a "simple" (in concept) procedure ends up dramatically enhancing human intelligence, without violating the "why hasn't this happened naturally" rule. The procedure repurposes the parts of your brain responsible for processing visual input: you end up much smarter, but you also go blind.

Comment author: giambolvoe 03 January 2011 03:02:04AM 0 points [-]

I would undergo the procedure iff I knew I could maximize its effectiveness. I doubt I could maximize the effectiveness, though, so it would be a tough sell.
Good for a "would you rather" scenario, though.

Comment author: giambolvoe 03 January 2011 02:51:33AM *  0 points [-]

As to your goal to get more exercise:

I work at a computer for 9 hours a day, and spend about 3 hours commuting on a train

I wouldn't spend extra energy working out. When I commuted last summer 3 hours/day I found that working out wasn't worthwhile. I exercised like a maniac the first month and a half and then just lost all motivation. Maybe 30 minutes, 3 times per week, but in order to keep a healthy body, I would suggest improving your diet. This is just advice; take it or leave it, I'm not trying to tell you how to live your life.

  1. No bleached white flour, no hydrogenated oils. No amount of these is acceptable in a healthy diet. Sources: any fast food. Most breaded/fried food at restaurants. Margarine (I think). Check the ingredients of anything you eat. Anything that says partially hydrogenated, or most white doughs you should avoid.
  2. Minimize sugars and saturated fats. These aren't unacceptable in any amount, like bleached flour and hydrogenated oil. However, they should be kept to an absolute minimum (and you can actually really cut them out completely, it's not impossible). Sources: non-lean meats, desserts, candies, many many other things (check nutrition facts!). For every gram of saturated fat you consume, try to consume a few grams of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats. These are found in nuts and grains.
  3. Check where your calories are coming from. If you're trying to lose weight, get around 40-50% of your calories from protein, 40-50% from carbs, and <20% from fats. If you're happy with where you are, 30-40% protein, 50-60% carbs, 10-20% fats. This will change depending on whether you're male or female, and whether you are prone to being overweight, and many other factors, such as your activity level, any health problems you may or may not have, etc. FYI, 4 calories/gram each of protein, carbs, 9 calories/gram of fat. Minimize the amount of simple carbs you consume (e.g., sugars, I even try to stay away from potatoes, but they aren't terrible) and maximize the amount of complex carbs you consume (grains and rice are great, bread made from good flour is a good source of grains)
  4. Make sure any changes in your diet are sustainable. If you aren't able to make your diet completely healthy, only change it as much as you can stand to live with. Your diet should be a lifestyle, not a 3-6 month fad. If you change your diet for a year or more, you may find that being healthy is a motivating factor for you, and you may be encouraged to keep improving it.

Good luck, and if you can find it in you to work out as well, you're far more motivated than I am.

Edit: after reading the rest of your post, I see that you want to move closer to your job. I strongly suggest this, especially if you want to have a social life and work out. With 12 hours/day spent on your job, having both of those is going to be really tough. Also, I saw that improving your diet is important to you. I do suggest cutting down on cheese. When I did a calorie count for my diet I had to do this as well, and it really made me sad...but it's worth it, in the end. However, this depends on what else is in your diet. If you don't have many sources of fat in your diet other than cheese, you may be okay, but this is not likely, fat is everywhere.
remember, immediate gratification<good diet

Comment author: Dreaded_Anomaly 02 January 2011 07:07:05PM 4 points [-]

If I knew I would spend the next 50 years in Guantanamo Bay and then die, I would probably choose to die before that could happen.

If I knew that I would spend the next 50 years in Guantanamo Bay and then medical science would be able to extend my life by at least 50 years, the decision would not be as clear-cut. Even if my life would only be extended 10 years but I would [meet the love of my life/make the discovery of a lifetime/other high-happiness circumstance], there would be a very difficult calculation involved.

I think the idea you're describing relies on the assumption that death is not only inevitable, but that it's going to happen relatively soon. I do agree that there are motivations beyond simply living for its own sake. However, I think that the idea that death could be better than some awful form of living assumes that no future opportunity to fulfill one's motivations will occur. The chance of getting out of Guantanamo is worth a lot.

Comment author: giambolvoe 02 January 2011 10:15:31PM 1 point [-]

there would be a very difficult calculation involved

Absolutely, which is why I tried to give obvious cases (except for the blissful coma) which most people would agree is not worth it. I wasn't trying to say that the calculation is easy, only that when you say that life is the ultimate good, you ignore the calculation altogether, which I don't think is wise..

Comment author: icebrand 02 January 2011 05:26:42PM 2 points [-]

While I see your point for the most part, I wouldn't want to end my life rather than "suffer" 50 years of bliss prior to dying. The only horror there is the lack of economic productivity, human relationships, etc. in the meantime (which are also correlated with death) and the potentially high cost. I might prefer death over going deeply in debt or badly sapping social services (for reasons of pride), but if I was productive enough to save up all the necessary funding prior to the event I don't see why there is a problem with spending it on 50 final years of chemical bliss.

Now, if there was a chance of reviving when those 50 years are over, or benefiting from additional cryonics and anti-aging progress, I'd be much more willing to go into debt for it or sap social services. Because in that event the probability would be significant that I could pay it back. Heck I'd be willing to put up with quite a bit of torture for the chance to extend my life thousands of years.

Comment author: giambolvoe 02 January 2011 10:13:34PM 0 points [-]

While I see your point for the most part, I wouldn't want to end my life rather than "suffer" 50 years of bliss prior to dying.

I wasn't saying that everyone would agree with my analysis of every situation I gave, only that most people have a point at which they will decide life isn't worth [fill in the blank].

Comment author: [deleted] 02 January 2011 12:00:17PM *  4 points [-]

Within an emotionally challenging situation many people already make that calculation. The result of that one, however, would actually change depending on the probability of future improvement.

Suicides do not happen because life is just unbearable (for most victims of suicidal thoughts this state prolongs for several months up to several years), but because after some time they are sure life will stay this unbearable.

Another thing is, death often seems less bad than it actually is.

Ask yourself: 50 years at Guantanamo Bay -- given that you do not suffer severe depression -- would you prefer death, if you would know that you could life another 20 years in liberty afterwards?

Then: Remember that in real life you most certainly do not know that integrated over the next 20 years there is really no chance that you could go free. Today -- political prisoner in China -- in 20 years?

The question of "worse than death" is usually dissolved by asking in what mode of operation the answer is given -- the "unbearable, unsolvable" mode, or the "unbearable" mode. Given the human failures, "unsolvable" is usually a mistake, especially when you can expect more than two decades of lifetime. The idealized questions of "how many years torture vs. death" are meaningless for a personal decision if you cannot predict the future with sufficient accuracy.

Of course, human psyche is weak -- everybody breaks -- at some point. That does not mean that the actualized preference is the correct one given the situation.

“If he thought like me, he’d have known that living in misery sucks marginally less than dying in it.”

-- Dr. House (fictional)

In response to comment by [deleted] on A Fate Worse Than Death
Comment author: giambolvoe 02 January 2011 10:12:09PM 0 points [-]

I cannot even imagine suffering 50 years at Guantanamo Bay. Is 20 potential years of freedom after 50 years in Guantanamo Bay worth enduring? Probably not, at least to me. Is there a point at which 50 years in Guantanamo Bay becomes worthwhile? Probably. I don't know exactly where that point is, but I know that it exists (e.g., 1000 yrs of satisfying life is worth it, but is 100?).

Given the human failures, "unsolvable" is usually a mistake, especially when you can expect more than two decades of lifetime.

I agree completely. This is even more obvious when you postulate life-extending technology. However, this still does not change the fact that death is not the absolute worst thing, which was my point (however well I communicated that).

Comment author: endoself 02 January 2011 09:50:33AM *  4 points [-]

I agree, and I think many here will.

Interestingly, this is something people expect to agree on more than they actually do. Most people agree that there could be a fate worse than death, but some people would choose to endure anything to keep living, though I don't know how many of them would maintain this choice once they had to endure a fate worse than death and I don't see any ethical way of finding out. Both groups, at least from what I've seen, see their choice as obvious and are surprised at the existence of people who disagree.

Comment author: giambolvoe 02 January 2011 10:02:43PM *  3 points [-]

You are right. There are people who believe that nothing is worse than death. There are also people who believe that in the primordial past, thetans brought the material universe into being largely for their own pleasure. I believe that both are wrong. I am not surprised at the existence of people who disagree. I would be surprised by the existence of people who have critically considered their beliefs and decided that there is no fate worse than death, and I would be very interested to hear them explain why they believe this.
I don't, however, believe that just because there are fates worse than death, you should ever kill yourself, for the reason that we can't see the future, and it is a terrible thing for someone to die who could have possibly had positive life experiences in the future.

A Fate Worse Than Death

2 giambolvoe 02 January 2011 09:23AM

The claim has been made that, all things being equal, it is better to be alive than dead.  I dissent.  

It is much more complicated than this.  If I knew somehow that I would spend the next fifty years of my life in Guantanamo bay, I would rather kill myself than suffer that fate.  If a fortune teller showed me that I would be in a car crash and lose all sensory input, but would be kept blissfully comatose on cocaine and ecstasy, I would get my affairs in order and end my own life.  And yet, if I knew that every day for the next 50 years I would be horribly tortured, but my experience would eliminate suffering from everywhere else in the entire world, I would accept the fate and do my best to steel my mind for the horror that would be my life.

I want to feel like my existence has purpose.  I want to make the world a better place to live in for other people.  I want to be happy and experience pleasure.  These, not a primordial drive to keep myself alive, are my motivations.  Killing myself would be the only rational chice if I knew that my life would be worse than my death.  

I'm not trying to advocate suicide.  I'm simply saying that the will to live is not a basic motivating factor for most human beings.  So when the argument is made against life extending technology, rather than countering it with "all things being equal," try "existence being pleasurable..."  But don't claim that existence of sentient beings is inherently good.  



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