[SEQ RERUN] Whining-Based Communities

by MinibearRex1 min read14th Apr 20131 comment

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Today's post, Whining-Based Communities was originally published on 07 April 2009. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):

 

Many communities feed emotional needs by offering their members someone or something to blame for failure - say, those looters who don't approve of your excellence. You can easily imagine some group of "rationalists" congratulating themselves on how reasonable they were, while blaming the surrounding unreasonable society for keeping them down. But this is not how real rationality works - there's no assumption that other agents are rational. We all face unfair tests (and yes, they are unfair to different degrees for different people); and how well you do with your unfair tests, is the test of your existence. Rationality is there to help you win anyway, not to provide a self-handicapping excuse for losing. There are no first-person extenuating circumstances. There is absolutely no point in going down the road of mutual bitterness and consolation, about anything, ever.


Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).

This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Extenuating Circumstances, 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 here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.

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It strikes me that the main potential actual value of this kind of whining is a kind of in-group bias. As in the fact that having a common "enemy" can produce a strong bond.

But on the flipside, externalizing all blame makes it hard to solve any kind of problem.

I think the solution is to see the in-group as a team that is working to overcome the out-group. So the locus of control is internal, but there's still a common foe.