This year I was robbed at gunpoint for the first time. Most importantly, I wasn't shot. I don't think my assailants ran a careful calculation about whether it was in their interest to shoot me or know. I think they just preferred not to execute me unless they had to. True psychopaths are rare. I am grateful for the compassion those two desperate young men extended to me.

A reader of this blog sent me a lovely email complimenting me for being "adversarial". It made my day. When people write me nice comments and send me nice emails it's rare for me to read them fewer than three times.

There's a YouTube channel called Binkov's Battlegrounds which I sometimes watch when I'm doing research for this blog. The creator ends every video the same way.

[R]emember, Binkov may talk about hypothetical wars, but only real peace can bring us all together.

The same goes for this blog. I may talk about hypothetical wars…and real wars…and war crimes…and so on. But only real compassion can bring us all together.

This Christmas, I'd like to express love and gratitude.

  • For the readers who write nice comments and send me nice emails. I love you all.
  • For the readers who write mean comments and send me mean emails. I love you too.
  • For the readers who upvote and downvote my posts.
  • For the readers who have better things to do than create a Less Wrong user account.
  • For Daniel Kokotajlo and Steven Byrnes with whom I have had illuminative conversations.
  • For the Lightcone team.
  • For the authors who write books and articles I enjoy. There are too many of you to name.
  • For every person motivated to do good, regardless of its utility.
  • For the mad scientists doing gain-of-function research.
  • For my friends.
  • For my enemies.
  • For the factory workers and salespeople of Shenzhen who make the stuff I use and whose existence reminds me how cushy my life is.
  • For the proletariats of Vietnam who remind me how cushy life in China is.
  • For peasants of history who remind me how cushy life in modern Vietnam is.
  • For billions of strangers I will never meet.
  • For whatever comes after humanity, if it be sentient.
  • For incomprehensible horrors of incredible power.
  • For kittens.
  • For everyone who has ever harmed me. I forgive you.
  • For everyone who ever will harm me. I forgive you too.
  • For the two desperate young men who took my wallet. I hope you bought something nice with the $35 cash in it. I'm glad we could coordinate a mutually beneficial outcome.

I love each and every one of you. Merry Christmas to all. To all, a good night. ❤

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16 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

Merry Christmas, and thank you for all the posts you write!

Likewise. Your posts were among those that originally impressed me enough go begin writing on this site.

That's a high compliment! If I had a role in bringing you here, then that makes me happy. :)

Thanks, you too!!!

Thanks lsusr, merry christmas to you! :)

Thanks to you too, lsusr! I'm regularly in awe at your prolific, consistent output. You have a great hits-based approach (if that's the right term for it)! Some of your essays I only skim over, but occasionally I'm really impressed, most recently by this one and the Perishable Knowledge essay.

Thank you for the kind words. I'm always happy to see your name in the comments because when you have things to say, they are nice.

Merry Christmas. Every time I come here or to your own blog and read you, I regret one thing: Why I don't do it more. I am reading you from thousands of miles away. To be accurate, somewhere in the Middle East (TBH Christmas means nothing to me but I just wanted to be polite and blend in a bit). It's nice to get to know people from the other side of the planet (perhaps the happier side) who aren't famous but are doing great work and have great minds. I am thankful to have the opportunity to read your writings, Paul Graham's and Mark Manson's through the web. Wish you happiness & health in the new year. (Sorry for the delay. I have exams and a lot of work to do. Recently I just keep bookmarking pages to read later.)

Your posts mean a lot to me, thank you for continuing to look at hard questions with ideas that haven't been tried on them. Merry christmas to you too!

Thank you. I hope your projects are going well. You have always written kind comments. I like how you're expanding from questions and comments to top-level articles too.

Merry Christmas lsusr. Thank you for everything.

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all

--"In My Life", The Beatles

(Also, congrats on being linked by ACX!)

Thanks! You are very welcome. I look forward to finding out what you'l be doing in five to ten years.

I don't think I've ever commented on one of your posts, but I've probably read about fifty of them! Seeing your name listed as the author of a post is a good guarantee that I'll find it interesting and thought-provoking.


Kindness and empathy on a local scale seems much more effective to me than Effective-Altruism-style 'purchasing endless mosquito nets'. Good post and thank you. I hope your Christmas is awesome, and I wish you an amazing 2022!

"Desperate"?  Seems unlikely.