"One of the reasons we are attracted to the Colosseum is because of the incredible violence that went on here. The question it poses is, how could such an advanced culture have staged such bloody spectacles? The Colosseum is a snapshot in stone, a physical embodiment of the culture of Rome."

-- Gary Glassman (quoted in Colosseum killing machine reconstructed after more than 1,500 years

Emphasis mine: I'm not surprised. Culture is relative and I see lots of reasons this could have been beneficial to the society at that time.

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Their culture may have been "advanced" but it was based on Violence as a primary ideal. Rome conquered its foreign enemies, assassinated its unpopular politicians and slaughtered for mass entertainment. This may be a simplification of an entire culture but the fact is the Roman Empire considered death and murder to be integral to their society.

2Epictetus5yI think there's an underlying assumption here that an advanced culture should be similar to our own. Let's reverse the question: "How did a culture that stages such bloody spectacles manage to achieve so much?". Rome didn't become advanced and then start with gladiator games; those were around in some form for a long time. Is it that big a shock that Rome managed to get far without abandoning those games?
0Lumifer5ySo, is this a rationality quote or a fail-at-rationality quote?

Rationality Quotes Thread June 2015

by Gondolinian 1 min read31st May 2015134 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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson.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 Do not quote with only a name.