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So this may be other-optimizing if you heed my anecdote, but contemplating my own swiftly approaching death (an idea I take from Stoicism) helps my procrastination. In the context of this article, I think it works because it decreases my impulsiveness by forcing me to view my time as a finite resource, thus reducing some (not all) hyperbolic discounting of rewards. When I get up in the morning, if I say to myself something like "I probably have less than 20,000 days left to live, and this is one of those days," I find it easier to do tasks that my rational brain knows are more valuable to me, versus tasks that generate immediate reward chemicals in my animal brain. This visualization idea drives the point home even harder. When I am dying, I don't want to look back on my life and see that I wasted days binge watching House of Cards or reading interesting articles instead of doing something worth writing an interesting article about. I think this technique gives an immediate reward through my recognition that I spent an extremely scarce resource efficiently, thus giving some immediacy to long-term goals.

To get a meaningful answer I think you also have to look at all of the high-IQ people that don't generate a lot of wealth. What you really should look at is the correlation between IQ and wealth generation on average. My intuition says that there is a correlation but not a super duper strong one. (For instance I doubt having a 180 IQ results in more wealth generation than a 150 IQ.) I think cognitive empathy, or the ability to understand others' feelings and how they would react in a given circumstance, is just as important for wealth generation, if not more so. There are and have been functional autistic savants with very high IQ but low cognitive empathy that have not generated a lot of wealth.

I believe the ability to delay gratification, or think long-term, or whatever you want to call it, is more important than IQ for self-actualization. If you can't override your impulses and force yourself to follow your rational conclusions, what good is your reasoning faculty? To put it in Daniel Kahneman's terms, if you have difficulty getting your System 1 to use or go along with your System 2, it doesn't matter how powerful your System 2 is. The Marshmellow Test experiment is a good indicator of this. The children that had inherent abilities to delay gratification did better later in life by many different measures, including wealth generation.

I agree with you (maybe not 99% certainty though), and I'm surprised more people do not.That is, assuming the original stipulation of the dust specks causing only a "mild inconvenience" for everyone, and not some sort of bell curve of inconvenience with a mean of "mild". People around here seem to grok the idea of the hedonic treadmill, so why don't they apply that idea to this situation? Assuming all of those 3^^^3 people all truly only have a "mild inconvenience", I would argue that from a subjective point of view from each individual, the utility of their day as a whole has not been diminished at all.

Actually, the more I think about it, the idea itself is poorly formed. It depends a lot on what sort of inconvenience the dust causes. If it causes 0.00000001% of the people to decide to shoot up a store or something, then I guess the one person being tortured would be better. But if the dust does not cause any sort of cascading effect, if it's truly isolated to the lost utility of the dust itself, then I'd say the dust is better.

I do disagree. Did you read the rest of my comment? I originally downvoted because the rules also say to downvote if someone expresses a preference disguised as a belief.

What degree of certainty do you place on that belief?

That clears things up a lot, and I changed my downvote to an upvote. EDIT: To be clear, I disagree with you.

My thoughts on your disadvantages list:

  • Flush toilets do create additional dependency on water, however if one already has running water and depends on it for drinking and washing, how significant is the additional water dependency for flush toilets?
  • The reason flush toilets use potable water is an economic one. It is simply cheaper to use one unified water system instead of two, when someplace already has running water. The cost of the wasted drinking water is negligible compared to the cost of building a second plumbing system.
  • This point is the most interesting to me. I have no information on the usefulness of human manure, and would be interested to know if human manure would have a comparable market value to cattle manure or synthetic fertilizer. I am skeptical because of the tendency for human waste to carry human diseases.
  • I have no disagreements with this disadvantage, but simply feel that the vast, vast majority of people would be willing to pay for the extra cost in housing if they already had indoor plumbing.

If we could choose to buy a 1960-era consumer good (telephone, radio, house, car) that was manufactured using modern manufacturing techniques and modern technology, many of these goods would be significantly cheaper to produce than anything available on the current market, and buying these goods instead of modern goods would result in zero net loss of happiness for the consumer.

A radio, for instance, would look and act exactly like a 1960-era radio, but it could use digital technology, integrated circuits, etc. to make it work. The functionality and appearance of the goods are what remains the same as 1960.

How is this not just a preference?

In my quite limited experience, the form for high bar squatting is easy to figure out, but people often fail to maintain proper form when lifting heavy weight, and they often don't realize it. I personally have done this several times, where I thought I had good form and then my workout partner would point out that I rounded my lower back at the bottom, or my knees buckled inward, or I used my lower back to lift the weight part of the way up. Unless you are exceptionally mindful of your own body, I think there's a lot of value in lifting weights with a partner who can critique your form.

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