I 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?


Yes, they stem from the human sacrifice of captives at the funerals of big guys, really old. Downright sacred, originally, not just a spectacle.

Your proposal sounds good. If I interpret it properly: cultures have old traditions that live on despite maybe even contradicting their own values. I.e. if they had to invent it at that, they would not, because it contradicts the values, but being a tradition, it carries on.

For example today we would not invent cars or at least would not allow civilian car ownership. We have a safety oriented culture and proposing... (read more)

4DanielLC5yIt was similar to ours. They just didn't have CGI, so they had to do bloody spectacles the hard way.
2Lumifer5yI think the underlying assumption is much worse: that any advanced culture must be squeamish about things which the author finds squeamish, barbaric, and uncouth.

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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson.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 Do not quote with only a name.