[SEQ RERUN] Tsuyoku vs. the Egalitarian Instinct

by badger1 min read19th May 20113 comments


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Today's post, Tsuyoku vs. the Egalitarian Instinct was originally published on March 28, 2007. A summary (from the LW wiki):

There may be evolutionary psychological factors that encourage modesty and mediocrity, at least in appearance; while some of that may still apply today, you should mentally plan and strive to pull ahead, if you are doing things right.

This post is part of a series rerunning Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts so those interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Tsuyoku Naritai! (I Want To Become Stronger), and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to discuss the Rerunning the Sequences series.

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Another side is feeling entitled to small errors, because others err as well, humans err. And thus, you lose one strategy for long-term gradual improvement, achieved one small corrected error at a time, adding up.

What is it about the physical structure of the Universe that makes 560,000,000 years of suffering followed by no more suffering a win and 560,001,000 years of suffering followed by no more suffering a loss? (I believe that all intrinsic goods flow from the physical structure of the Universe.)

This sounds very much like status quo bias. There is no compelling reason why the universe is optimizing for goodness, so whether something is good or bad (as a terminal value) is independent of how much of it exists or has existed.

If you assume no time discounting, the difference between 560,001,000 years of suffering and 560,000,000 years of suffering + 1,000 years of no suffering is 1,000 years of suffering, which is definitely not zero.

[-][anonymous]10y 0

"But that was this year, and next year I will do better."

Finally, a New Year's Resolution that I can take seriously!