Hmmm... most social rules generally want people to behave in a predictable ways, for various reasons, so they avoid surprises. It seems almost like surprises are only allowed in special cases...

I almost accept your point now, but one objection. A good and a weak soccer teams play a match. Surprisingly, the weaker one wins. It was fair play. Nobody violated a rule. Still the fans of the losing one are angry - at their own team, because how could they let a much weaker team win. Is that a social rule violation that if you are generally better you are never allowed to lose? Or just an expectation violation? Is it more of a bias on the side of fans: their team must have violated to rule to try hard and not be lazy, because they cannot imagine any other explanation?

If you generally agree, I accept your point with a modification: anger is about perceived social rule violation: but people are not perfect judges of social rule violations, there are mistakes made both ways, and tententious, bias-driven mistakes.

Thus, as in my soccer example, sometimes all you see at first is a violated expectation. You see no rule violation. Then you need to figure out why exactly may other people think it is a rule violation. This is not always easy and we don't do it that often, and thus often we just see a violated expectation, and not see how others perceive it as a rule-violation.


I just want to say I am glad to have lost this debate, because it is working. For me. I mean, yesterday I was able to manage my anger better by asking myself questions like "what social rule I think is broken here? Is that a real one or just my wish? If real, a reasonable one?" even when the answer was yes/yes just being conscious of it worked.

I think I will shamelessly steal and apply this idea in discussions where it can be useful. Thanks a lot.

Rationality Quotes Thread March 2015

by Vaniver 1 min read2nd Mar 2015235 comments


Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • 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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.
  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.