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"It takes visceral panic, channeled through cold calculation, to cut away all the distractions." - this just made it to my quotes file.

If i understand Eliezer's point correctly in terms of the map/territory analogy, what he says is that having somewhere to go and actually needing to put your map to use will motivate you to make that map as accurate as possible, if you care about your destination more than you 'believe in' the current iteration of your map and/or the techniques used to derrive it.