Open thread, June. 19 - June. 25, 2017

Piano and ballet seem like upper-class costly signalling. "I am so rich I can spend tons of time doing unproductive activities."

Well, no need to speculate about a future Malthusian dystopia, since it appears to be already here, psychologically!

Allow me to refer you to this comment of mine, and the ensuing discussion, on Sarah Constantin's blog. Artistic pursuits may be "upper-class", but they are not unproductive. They serve to keep the upper classes practiced in physical cognition, counteracting a tendency to shift entirely into soc... (read more)

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They serve to keep the upper classes practiced in physical cognition, counteracting a tendency to shift entirely into social modes of cognition (gossip and status-signaling games) as one ascends the social ladder.

I would describe this more generally as real-world achievement, which is a lot clearer than a label like "physical cognition". Eric S. Raymond has a nice post which details how the beneficial effects of having a shared standard of achievement can play out socially, at least in the strictly technical realm.

Oh, and by the way, good scho... (read more)

1ChristianKl3yThere are ballet competitions and I think parents do care about how their children's perform in them. The kind of parent that forces their child to play piano every day also cares about performance. The kind of hacking that Wei Dai did that lead him to write the b-money paper also isn't about winning. It's exploring ideas and having fun with them. Having a kid spent time with computer programming means that he's much more likely to engage in innovation than having the kid spent time with piano or ballet. Both piano and ballet are heavily codified and don't encourage innovation. Most discussions on LessWrong are also not about direct winning but about free exploration. The fact that people spend their free time chatting on LessWrong instead of working for the Man, suggests they already understand that working for the Man isn't everything.
0[anonymous]3yUpper class folks don't spend all their time in consumption and gossip, with art as their only lifeline to the real world. They do business and politics as well.

Open thread, June. 19 - June. 25, 2017

by Elo 1 min read18th Jun 2017200 comments


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