Anger is an evolutionary strategy that helps us deal with threats. It focuses our mind on the target, suppresses our fear and drives us to attack.

Anger is not evolution's answer to generic "threats." You don't get angry at the saber-toothed tiger charging you. Rather, it is a response to threats to social cohesion. People who break the rules make us angry even when they don't directly harm us. It's why people find themselves yelling at pedestrians who cross against the light even when the delay to the driver is a matter of seconds.

That's why politicians are angry: because they are trying to artificially create a sense of social cohesion in their coalition of voters.

Rob Lyman, in a discussion of why so many politicians have an angry persona.


You don't get angry at the saber-toothed tiger charging you.

The what? Rob never stubbed a toe in the dark and then launched an angry tirade on the offending piece of furniture?

The number of times I told my first, very bad car to eat a bag o' penises is, well, high.

And there is the saying that programmers know the language of swearing best - many bugs make one angry, not angry at something clear, just angry. Angry at the situation in general. Like why the eff had this had to happen to me when I need to run this script before I can go home? Aaargh. That kind of thing.

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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson.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 Do not quote with only a name.