Wiki Contributions


"How important is it for singalongs to sound polished, vs for them to feel like an organic part of the community? Is it appropriate to pay professional musicians?"

> Organic part of the community: incredibly important. Polished: of negative value. Paying professionals: I would prefer not.


This is the part I care the most about. If I wanted to hear professional musicians I would go to a concert. At this community holiday, I want to hear, and participate in, communal singing. I don't want to feel self conscious about not being a very good singer. I want me and everyone else to get swept up in the moment and the song. I can recall two different Solstices I went to, one in NYC had some technical issues and wasn't super duper polished and which everyone sang together in, and one in the Bay was much more polished and fancy and professional and had well trained musicians singing while mic'd up. I left the former with a powerful sense of community and a sense of having undergone an important emotional journey. I left the latter with a sense of embarrassment at myself for having attempted to participate in the music, like if I had caught myself singing along at the opera, and frustration at not having gotten the emotional catharsis I wanted. I found myself thinking "maybe Solstice isn't for me anymore". 

I genuinely can't remember if I've been to a Secular Solstice since then, but I have sung Brighter Than Today to myself and been overcome with emotion and cried.

Here are my thoughts on your opening questions:

* "Is Solstice primarily a rationality holiday? An EA holiday? The broader secular community?"

Empirically and normatively, rationalist.

  • "How essential is the journey from light, into darkness, into light?"

    Pretty darn important. As you ask at the end, I could see an occasional or one time "journey from light, into darkness, and that's it" story. It would make for a good "final episode" before the world ends. I'm reminded of the final episode of the sitcom Dinosaurs, where due to out of control technological change, an ice age ensues, and the main characters huddle together for warmth as they slowly freeze to death.
  • "Is it okay to have a Solstice where we don't sing Brighter Than Today?"

    No. Except maybe in the "from light to darkness" one, where we could sing a version with altered lyrics.
  • "How important are singalongs vs speeches?"

    Singalongs are incredibly important. Speeches I could do without.
  • "How important is it for singalongs to sound polished, vs for them to feel like an organic part of the community? Is it appropriate to pay professional musicians?"

    Organic part of the community: incredibly important. Polished: of negative value. Paying professionals: I would prefer not.
  • "How important is transhumanism or x-risk?"

    X-risk: pretty important. Transhumanism: I think the importance of this varies with how much people think it's a genuine light of a new day that could save us from x-risk.
  • "Is it good or bad to change lyrics over time?"

    Gut instinct says bad but I could see arguments for it being good in certain instances. But I'm the kind of guy who still gets annoyed at Church Latin's pronunciation of "v" and "c" etc in Adeste Fideles.
  • "How important is it to celebrate Solstice on literal astronomical Solstice? If you don't, why are we calling it Solstice? Is it important for the name to be clear?"

    Ideally it would always be on the literal Solstice but scheduling is important too. People ought to be able to actually attend.
  • "Is it okay to have one solstice someday with a 'bad ending', where instead of climbing back out of the darkness hopefully, we just... sit with it, and accept that maybe it might be what the future holds?"

    Yes. See above

As someone who has very meager singing ability, I stumble over the transition from "today" to "although"

real life, I'd say: "Ok guys, let's sit in this room, everyone turn off their recording devices, and let's talk, with the agreement that what happens in this room stays in this room."

The one time I did this with rationalists, the person (Adam Widmer) who organized the event and explicitly set forth the rule you just described, then went on to remember what people had said and bring it up publicly later in order to shake them into changing their behavior to fit his (if you'll excuse me speaking ill of the dead) spoiled little rich boy desires.

So my advice, based on my experience, and which my life would have been noticably better had someone told me before, is: DON'T do this, and if anyone suggests doing this, stop trusting them and run away

Which is not to say that you are untrustworthy and trying to manipulate people into revealing sensitive information so you can use it to manipulate them; in order for me to confidently reach that conclusion, you'd have to actually attempt to organize such an event, not just casually suggest one on the internet

The in-person community seems much less skeptical of these things than the online community. Which isn't to say there are no skeptics, but (especially among the higher status members) it's kind of distressing to see how little skepticism there is about outright silly claims and models. At last year's CFAR reunion, for instance, there was a talk uncritically presenting chakras as a real thing, and when someone in the audience proposed doing an experiment to verify if they are real or it's a placebo effect, the presenter said (paraphrasing) "Hmm, no, let's not do that. It makes me uncomfortable. I can't tell why, but I don't want to do it, so let's not" and then they didn't.

This is extremely concerning to me, and I think it should be to everyone else who cares about the epistemological standards of this community

So, shouldn't all the rats who've been so into meditation etc for the past decade or so be kinda panicking at the apparent fact that enlightenment is just dunning-krugering yourself into not being able to notice your own incompetence?

My position is "chickens have non-zero moral value, and moral value is not linearly additive." That is, any additional chicken suffering is bad, any additional chicken having a pleasant life is good, and the total moral value of all chickens as the number of chickens approaches infinity is something like 1/3rd of a human

For anyone who does think that both 1) chickens have non-zero moral value, and 2) moral value is linearly additive, are you willing to bite the bullet that there exist a number of chickens such that it would be better to cause that many chickens to continue to exist at the expense of wiping out all other sentient life forever? This seems so obviously false and also so obviously the first thing to think of when considering 1 and 2 that I am confused there exist folks who accept 1 and 2

Replace "you" with "the hypothetical you who is attempting to convince hypothetical me they exist", then

>What is the mugging here?

I'm not sure what the other-galaxy-elephants mugging is, but my anti-Pascal's-mugging defenses are set to defend me against muggings I do not entirely understand. In real life, I think that the mugging is "and therefore it is immoral of you to eat chickens."

>Why are they "my elephants"?

You're the one who made them up and/or is claiming they exist.

Load More