Wiki Contributions


Thanks! No pressure to respond

I don't understand why you think suffering is primary outside of particular brain/mind wiring. I hope I'm misunderstanding you. That seems wildly unlikely to me, and like a very negative view of the world.

Basically I think within the space of all possible varieties and extents of conscious experience, suffering starts to become less and less Commensurable with positive experience the further you go towards the extremes.

If option (A) is to experience the worst possible suffering for 100 years, prior to experiencing the greatest possible pleasure for N number of years, and option (B) is non existence, I would choose option (B), regardless of the value of N.

It appears to be held by people who have suffered much more than they've enjoyed life.

Should this count as evidence against their views? It seems clear to me that if you're trying to understand the nature of qualitative states, first hand experience with extreme states is an asset.

I have personally experienced prolonged states of consciousness which were far worse than non-existence. Should that not play a part in informing my views? Currently I'm very happy, I fear death, I've experienced extraordinary prolonged pleasure states. Would you suggest I'm just not acquainted with levels of wellbeing which would cause me to meaningfully revaluate my view?

I think there's also a sort of meta issue where people with influence are systematically less acquainted with direct experience of the extremes of suffering. Meaning that discourse and decision making will tend to systematically underweight experiences of suffering as a direct data source.

I agree with your last paragraph.

I appreciate the thoughtful response and that you seem to take the ideas seriously.

That is a fundamental aspect of how experience works now. That's also a result of evolution wiring us to pay more attention to bad things than good things.

I do think it's a fundamental aspect of how experience works, independently of how our brains are disposed to thinking about it, however I definitely think it's possible to prophylactically shield or consciousness against the depths of suffering by modifying the substrate. I can't tell whether we're disagreeing or not.

I don't know exactly how to phrase It, but I think a fundamental aspect of the universe is that as suffering increases in magnitude, it becomes less and less clear that there is (or can be) a commensurate value on the positive side which can negate it(trade off against it, even things out). I don't think it's true of the reverse.

Are you making the claim that this view is a faulty conclusion owing to the contingent disposition of my human brain?

Or are you making the claim that the disposition of my human brain can be modified so as to prevent exposure to the depths of suffering?

Answer by Slapstick10

We're in a Pascal’s mugging situation, but from a negative point of view, where the trade-off is between potential infinite years of suffering and suicide in order to avoid them for sure.

In the past I've struggled deeply with this thought process and I have reasoned my way out of that conclusion. It's not necessarily a more hopeful conclusion but it takes away the idea that I need to make a decision, which I find very comforting.

Ultimately it comes down to the illusory nature of identity.

A super powerful entity would have the power to create bespoke conscious entities for the purpose of inducing suffering.

The suffering of "Future you" is no more or less real than the suffering of future entities in general. The only difference is that your present mind projects a sense of identity and continuity which causes you to believe there's a difference.

The illusory sense that there is continuity of consciousness and identity is evolutionarily advantageous but it fully loses coherence and relevance in the domain you're talking about.

I'm happy to go into more detail if that isn't convincing.

You could think of identity in this case as a special type of sympathetic empathy for a version of yourself in the future which you wouldn't grant to future entities which aren't "yourself". This is just a feeling that present you is feeling, and has no actual meaningful connection to the entity you'd classify as your future self.

Does this assume there is some symmetry between the unimaginably bad outcomes and the unimaginably good outcomes?

It seems very clear to me that the worst outcomes are just so much more negative than the best outcomes are positive. I think that is just a fundamental aspect of how experience works.

Would you be able to specify a scenario in which the general term for love would lead to dysfunction?

I think generally if people want to signal how they feel about someone they're typically able to do so.

A lot of dysfunction is caused by people being intentionally ambiguous about the extent and quality and conditions of their feelings. In that way people may hide behind the ambiguity of the word love. Communication helps but I'm not sure if the imprecise nature of the word love is a significant barrier to communication.

Have you ever used Obsidian? Sounds similar to the method you're describing. If so, what do you think of it? Especially with respect to your preferred workflow?


On the lab grown meat section

For those who are instead principled libertarians who genuinely wouldn’t turn this around on a moment’s notice, well, I am sorry that others have ruined this and so many other principled stands.

I am not sure if I understand what is meant by this, but I'm interpreting it to imply that principled libertarians should be against a ban on meat derived from animals.

I think anyone claiming that ought to also provide a justification as to why non-human animals shouldn't be afforded some basic negative rights within libertarian principles?

To argue that one conscious being should be granted full license to do whatever they want with another conscious being doesn't really strike me a pro freedom stance.

Unless you have a reason why it's okay to have an out-group for whom you deny freedoms in order to maximize the freedoms of the in-group? Are libertarian principles just "might makes right" privileging the smallest number of individuals you can get away with?

It's my understanding that the controversy is mostly manufactured by industries with large financial interests in selling foods with added sodium. They pay for misleading/inaccurate studies to be done in order to introduce uncertainty and doubt. Whereas it's my understanding there is a near consensus towards low sodium amongst scientists without direct/indirect industry ties.

I do think there are probably some cases where increasing salt beyond natural levels can be the healthier thing to do given specific health concerns.

That one sounds good!

It wouldn't work for me personally because I have a pathological relationship with refined sugar so the only equilibrium which works for me is cutting it out entirely (which has been successful and rewarding though initially very difficult).


Oh that's a good one! I mostly follow that one already although I do find value in some unsweetened teas and smoothies. I find personally that the immediate trade-offs to consuming alcohol are enough to ensure I only really drink when it's actually aligned with my interests.

Although I do have a rule for alcohol which is "don't consume any alcohol unless people who you're currently being social with are already drinking," I'm not sure exactly how much that rule has helped me because I've followed it all my life and I don't really like alcohol that much, but maybe that's partially because of the rule.

But yes I think the rule you gave is a really good one, especially when it comes to things like refined sugar. A sugar craving could be satisfied in other ways, so there's relatively small trade-offs in that sense, whereas it's very beneficial not to drink refined calories because it's so easy to consume so much that way while not bringing in any significant nutrition alongside it.


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