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Aye, thank you.

It is a comfort to me to know I can have my misconceptions knocked out of me in a gentle and civil way here.

I think I'll enjoy learning from this community.


Yes! That's the concept! Thank you!

If possible, I would like to apologize for misusing the concept of "utilitarianism" for what should have been "reciprocal altruism".

For the sake of the discussion, please assume that my original comments have been amended to reflect this.


I did not mean to imply that people generally seek their own happiness over the greater good for all. Nor did I mean to imply that there was a dichotomy between the two at all.

I keep alluding to people pursuing what they "perceive" as "most likely" bringing happiness. I tend to see people's perceptions as to what can make them happy as being inspired by their social and cultural influences --- Family, friends, lovers, associates, religion, economic and political views, social upbringing, etc.

But I do see what you're saying --- and I apologize. I should have elaborated further that my personal views on the role of utilitarianism in society partially deviate from traditional views of the abstract definition of utilitarianism. My primary usage is derived from Nietzsche's criticisms of utilitarianism and championing of the concept of the "Will to Power" as well as my views on the individual being influenced by their participation in a socio-cultural system and the cycle of interaction therein.

I will just call my methods of interaction with others, "reciprocal mutualism" from now on.

EDIT: I was mistaken in my use of "utilitarianism". I really meant to convey the sociobological concept of "reciprocal altruism". I'd like to extend further apologies for this mistake.


As far as I know, the definition of utilitarianism that I typed is in wide acceptance by the philosophical and psychological community at large.


My personal view on utilitarianism is that most people in our culture view it as valid in their broader context of beliefs and pursue it accordingly. Unfortunately, what people often perceive as utilitarian may not actually lead to their satisfaction.

Hence my writing that through the act of assisting people in achieving what they perceive as most likely leading to their happiness, I can usually extract some level of reciprocity in the future for my good intentions and efforts.

I don't see any of this as being hedonistic and neither do I endorse hedonism. My personal suspicion is that the exercise and understanding of rationality in all personal undertakings can assist a person in obtaining sustained satisfaction; As well as the further understanding that sustained satisfaction as one desires it may never come, but one can maintain some level of contentment knowing that they have struggled towards some greater goal in the course of their life. Rationality, from what I have observed and experience, tends to foster a level of self-control in a person that runs counter to hedonism.

I suppose at this point, I should let it be known that my new interest in rationalism comes from my background in psychology and philosophy --- if it isn't already obvious from my writing.


Utilitarian theory is the sociological and philosophical theory that all people desire and strive for whatever they perceive to lead to their happiness.

Reciprocal utilitarianism is a theory of social interaction in which you assist others in achieving what they perceive to lead to happiness in the hopes that they may assist you in the same in the near future.

My main focus when interacting with anyone is to ascertain whether they are generally counter-reciprocal or preemptively-reciprocal, honest, trustworthy, reliable and congenial.

In most situations, if these people don't meet these qualities to my satisfaction, I still try to maintain a higher but minimum level in parallel to them to maintain good standing "just in case".

If a person does reciprocate and meet these desirable qualities to my satisfaction, I try to meet or exceed their level of positive return in praise, loyalty or material wealth.

So in answer to your question: Yes, I value how people respond to my actions. In fact, the continuous building of good relations and reciprocity [or the disassociation of myself with undesirable and unreliable people] is the cornerstone of my social life; Not because I believe it is unselfish, but because living in a selfish but 'ethical' manner has worked for me.

[Note: Again, I apologize for the ranting style of this post. I believe that we may have misinterpreted the contents of each other's original posts, but I am enjoying this tangent.]


  • "From what you said, I assume that you have personally decided to not be offended when the other person did not mean to offend."

  • Well, yes. My acting policy is that I should not react outwardly or overly emotionally to another person's statements if the consequences of these statements have no perceived negative effect on those things I value [my reputation in my community, my life, my property, my loved ones]. It is a policy that has served me well in recent years. I just wish I had adhered to it in earlier stages of my life.

  • "You say you are "large" by which I assume you are overweight(1), well, welcome to the club."

  • I am overweight, but what I meant to express in my original comments was the fact that my height [6'2''], body size and race tend to illicit a reaction in some people that are in my immediate vicinity that I jokingly call "negrophobia". My point was that regardless of these socially awkward situations that I experience in events, organizations and situations that traditionally have little sustained presence of black people in them, I have learned to put them in context; To realize that, again, as long as these situations don't lead to any 'rationally' perceived negative effect, I really should not take offense in them. They are a result of social and psychological phenomena beyond my absolute control, but in which I can influence by becoming a contributing asset in these organizations.

[Sorry for the ranting style of this last comment, but I really wanted to elaborate on my views here.]

  • "I used to believe that the golden rule gave me license to do anything to other people which I was willing to put up with, and to a certain degree, that still makes sense."

  • I don't express these views from the philosophical perspective of the "Golden Rule". As a lifelong Southern Gentleman, I tend to favor the sociobiological view of "reciprocal utilitarianism" as my personal guide to ethics... I.E. - "Do unto others as what you feel they may be able to do for you in the near future [or so that they may stop doing against you as soon as possible]."


Again, from a rationalist perspective, Alicorn's aversion to some oft-espoused views on this site about women and sex aren't rational and objective in themselves, but subjective views on the rational consequences of the commentary; I.E. - Possibly repelling a desired demographic's (rationalist women) inclusion and participation here.

So it seems that one of the most rational perspectives on the issue is the question of whether the membership of this site could come to a consensus as to whether they want to harbor some self-imposed restrictions and decidedly un-rational (but civil) biases in order to make that demographic feel more comfortable and welcome? [Also, whether doing so would be detrimental to the overall shared-mission of the site: To deconstruct and address irrationalities within our society and ourselves regardless of how much the process makes us uncomfortable?]

For the record, I am a large black American male, who as both a self-described rationalist and pragmatist fully realize that I have to disengage some aspects of my identity politics to participate more effectively in various groups. Be those politics gender, race, sexuality, political, economic, philosophical, etc. related; Or be those groups different varities of these same categories.

I suspect that one of the best ways we could settle this issue would be to pay equal attention to the irrationalities of the 'typical' American Male, American Female, Feminist and Pick-Up Artist communities and sub-cultures and to try to decide in some manner as to what degree the irrationalities in each can be tolerated here without being counter-productive to the mission at large.


My previous comment was moved to a more appropriate place in the thread.

[I am still trying to get used to this site's non-linear commenting system.]

Hello all,

New rationalist/reader/commenter here.

I originally wrote a rant against PUA culture and then a summation of that rant to post here, but I realized that most, if not all, of my objections to what I perceive to be negative in the PUA community and practice are derived from my biases [and insecurities] rather than a truly rational foundation.

I can object to the PUA sub-culture out of personal distaste, and maybe from a weak ethical point of view, but besides parts of the body of PUA doctrine and rhetoric, there is really nothing irrational about them that I can see.

These men have taken empirical observations and social engineering experiments and created a pragmatic system to utilize for their desired goal in a legal and relatively non-detrimental manner.

So the greater argument seems to be, at least insomuch that the PUA community and their practices are relevant to the original post in this thread, a question of which person-of-interest and group irrationalities/biases are to be sanctioned here for the sake of making certain posters more comfortable.