"You pride yourself on freedom of choice. Let me tell you that this very freedom is one of the factors that most confuse and undermine you. It gives you full play for your neuroses, your surface reactions and your aberrations. What you should aim for is freedom from choice! Faced with two possibilities, you spend time and effort to decide which to accept. You review the whole spectrum of political, emotional, social, physical, psychological and physiological conditioning before coming up with the answer which, more often than not, does not even satis

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Reminds me of something Jesus said: "The truth will set you free." By which I think he actually meant something very Buddhist, and sinister: Stop being attached to people and things.

11[anonymous]10y This reminds me of something I read in C.S. Lewis which is quite rational: the purpose of curiosity is finding answers. It's not dithering for the sake of dithering, or debate for the sake of debate. The goal is to find out what the right answer is, as accurately as possible, not to eternally keep all the options open. That's how I understand the quote. Of course, real curiosity can look like dithering and endless debate because people are being very careful not to get things wrong.
0Daniel_Burfoot10y This is a deep idea and should get more air time on LW. The crux of the issue is: if you have 4 bits of information, you can only choose between 16 alternatives. The problem is to quantify how much information you really have (it may seem like you have a lot of info, but most of it is probably noisy, so shouldn't be weighted at full value) and the size of the set of choices from which you need to select a single element. If the choice class is too big, you should randomly shrink it - bite the bullet, tie yourself to the mast and throw away choices for no reason other than that you have too many.

Rationality quotes: May 2010

by ata 10y1st May 20101 min read301 comments


This is our monthly thread for collecting these little gems and pearls of wisdom, rationality-related quotes you've seen recently, or had stored in your quotesfile for ages, and which might be handy to link to in one of our discussions.

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be voted up/down 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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote comments/posts on LW/OB.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.