"Alas", said the mouse, "the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into."

"You only need to change your direction," said the cat, and ate it up.

-Kafka, A Little Fable

I briefly read the moral as something like this; something along the lines of "being exposed in the open was the worst thing the mouse could imagine, so it ran blindly away from it without asking what the alternatives were". I'm still not sure I actually get it.

Tangentially, keeping mouse traps in a house with a cat seems hazardous (though I could be underestimating cats). And I assume "day" and "chamber" are used abstractly.

26wedrifid7yMoral: Just because the superior agent knows what is best for you and could give you flawless advice, doesn't mean it will not prefer to consume you for your component atoms!
3xv157yI will run the risk of overanalyzing: Faced with a big wide world and no initial idea of what is true or false, people naturally gravitate toward artificial constraints on what they should be allowed to believe. This reduces the feeling of crippling uncertainty and makes the task of reasoning much simpler, and since an artificial constraint can be anything, they can even paint themselves a nice rosy picture in which to live. But ultimately it restricts their ability to align their beliefs with the truth. However comforting their illusions may be at first, there comes a day of reckoning. When the false model finally collides with reality, reality wins. The truth is that reality contains many horrors. And they are much harder to escape from a narrow corridor that cuts off most possible avenues for retreat.

Rationality Quotes April 2013

by Vaniver 1 min read8th Apr 2013285 comments

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Another monthly installment of the rationality quotes thread. The usual rules apply:

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, Overcoming Bias, or HPMoR.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.