Is being anti-lottery some kind of badge of honor amongst intelligent people? It is entertainment, not investment. It is spending money to buy a feeling excited expectance. It is like buying a movie ticket. Does anyone consider buying a ticket to scary horror movie irrational? Some people just like that kind of excitement. People who buy lottery tickets just like different kinds of excitement, dream, fantasy.

As for the argument that it is a mis-investment of emotions that is also false, people can decide to work forward the goal then what happens is a lot of grinding, they can still dream about something else, it is not like you cannot dream while you grind. Realistic goals do not need a lot of dream investment but rather time and effort and it is safe to invest dreams in unrealistic ones.

When I have read Eliezer's mis-investment of emotions argument it came accross to me an elitistic Bay Area upper middle class thing. People in slums usually need to grind until they get a better schooling and job experience to escape it, this takes time investment not dream investment, and this leaves them free to dream about one day being a prince.

It is entertainment, not investment.

Why do you need to pay money to someone in order to daydream?

people can decide to work forward the goal then what happens is a lot of grinding, they can still dream about something else

The problem is that "dreaming" often replaces grinding.

7Vaniver5yI think this is factually untrue. It seems to me that time and effort investment follows dream investment, for basic psychological reasons. I think that's because you misread it [http://lesswrong.com/lw/hl/lotteries_a_waste_of_hope/], or you're identifying correct financial attitudes with being upper middle class and throwing in the rest of the descriptions for free. Here's the part where he talks about mechanisms: Going to technical school is not an "elitistic Bay Area upper middle class thing." Yes, later he talks about dot-com startups doing IPOs, but the vast majority of new businesses started are things like barbershops and restaurants, and people go to technical school to learn how to repair air conditioning systems, not to learn how to make Yelp. A person who dreams about owning their own barbershop or being an AC repairperson or demonstrating enough responsibility at work to earn a promotion is likely to do better than someone who dreams about being a lottery prince. That is, I think a key component of grinding successfully is dreaming about grinding.
5gjm5yI was careful to specify that your hypothetical friend enjoins you to buy lottery tickets on the grounds that it is good for you financially. I agree that if you get great enjoyment from the thought that you might win the lottery, buying lottery tickets may be worth it for you. (But two caveats on that last point. Firstly, if you enjoy daydreaming about getting rich then you can equally daydream about unexpected legacies, spectacular success of companies in your pension/investment portfolio if you have one, eccentric billionaire arbitrarily giving you a pile of money, etc. Of course these are improbable, but so is winning much in the lottery. Secondly, "dream investment" may lead you astray by, e.g., making all the most mentally salient paths to success the terribly improbable ones involving lotteries rather than the more-probable ones involving lots of hard work, and demotivating the hard work. Whether it actually has that effect is a question for the psychologists; I don't know whether it's one that's been answered.)

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.