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I agree that productive tasks tend to be less enjoyable, but (at least for me) I still experience SOME positive emotions when I'm being productive, though (and when I'm reflecting on being productive). I just meant that it's possible to be productive and not feel miserable. I started getting more productive when I was able to use mindfulness to detach myself from an impulsive desire to experience happiness. I don't think that's a particularly harmful idea to suggest. I just think it's bad to discourage people from trying to find happiness and contentment in contributing to society (being productive) by implying that it's simply not possible. Also, from a utilitarian standpoint, spending time being productive (making a positive impact on the world) seems better than spending time pursuing individual happiness (to an extent, since you obviously are going to have a hard time being productive if you are miserable). If you value your personal happiness above others (like blacktrance), though, it totally makes sense that you would spend less time trying to make a positive impact on the world. I didn't realize people thought that way when I responded.

I felt sad when you called what I wrote "bullshit", though. I'm new to posting on LW and it makes me feel really depressed and rejected to have one of my first few discussions result in me being insulted like that.

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but it is actually morally optimal, for a broad enough sense of "having fun". But I say this as an ethical egoist.

Just because you are an ethical egoist does not mean that ethical egoism is the system by which all moral claims ought to be judged. Have you read the metaethics sequence?

I find that doing fun things like web surfing makes unenjoyable work more bearable

If you learn mindfulness, you can learn to detach yourself from an impulsive desire to be entertained constantly, and find flow (and happiness, or at least contentment) in tasks you previously thought were unenjoyable.

Thanks very much for this. My primary motivation to be productive seems to come from seeing the stories of inspirational, productive people, so this is a big motivator to continue to work hard.

Downvoted for proposing a poisonous idea. You're implying a dichotomy between being productive and experiencing positive emotions. You can find productive tasks enjoyable. Hanging out with people is an important part of staying healthy, for example, and is generally enjoyable.

there's more to life than work - there's actually enjoying life, having fun, etc.

Having fun is certainly something that you can do, but that doesn't mean that it is obviously morally optimal.

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You should be cautious of that sort of self-evaluation. There's a sleep study that showed that people are very bad at evaluating how they are affected by not getting enough sleep.:

after just a few days, the four- and six-hour group reported that, yes, they were slightly sleepy. But they insisted they had adjusted to their new state. Even 14 days into the study, they said sleepiness was not affecting them. In fact, their performance had tanked. In other words, the sleep-deprived among us are lousy judges of our own sleep needs. We are not nearly as sharp as we think we are.

But, in that same study, the group that showed little or no cognitive decline slept for 8 hours, and I'm finding recommendations that say 7.5 hours is enough elsewhere, so I'm updating towards 7.5 hours of sleep and naps being all that's needed (as long as you have good sleep hygeine).

Thanks for indirectly prompting me to re-evaluate my sleep habits. I'm doing the same thing as you, basically (learning on my own), so it makes me very happy to discover that I could get more done each day!

I think you may have misread what I wrote. I pointed out in my original comment that, from what I've read, 7.5 hours seems to be not enough sleep. So it would follow that getting more sleep would increase performance. I know that excessive sleep also causes problems, but that's clearly not relevant here.

Everything I've read suggests that that is not a sufficient amount of sleep to achieve peak performance. I would think that, if you're interested in learning as effectively as possible (especially such difficult material), it would be more effective to get more sleep. Is there some reason you decided that this was enough sleep?

EDIT: Looks like I may be wrong about this not being enough sleep, after doing some more searching.

and imaginary friends can be useful for e.g. people who are lonely.

The instrumentally rational thing to do, when faced with loneliness, is to figure out how to be with real people. No evidence was presented in the original post that suggests that tulpas mitigate the very real risk factors associated with social isolation. Loneliness is actually a very serious problem, considering most of the research seems to indicate that the best way to be happy is to have meaningful social interactions. Proposing this as a viable alternative would require a very high amount of evidence. A post presenting that evidence would be something that belongs here.

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