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I notice that you have a lot of specific examples of bad answers but no specific examples of good answers - are good answers just obviously good, or are ~all answers not specifically called out as bad answers generally good, or something else? Would be curious to see some examples of good answers.

Some lyric change ideas tossed around in a brainstorming session in the choir Discord:

  • fjords and empires and all
  • glaciers, sovereigns and all
  • states and seas and stones and all
  • seas and sovereigns and all
  • seas and pyramids and all

You don't necessarily have to have every individual person showing up every week, though, just often enough that the thing happens in aggregate. Choir manages weekly during concert season and biweekly the rest of the time! D&D groups often manage weekly. It's still hard but it's not, like, completely obviously impossible like "every person shows up every week".

I think in addition to the "specific individual people I've personally hurt" case, there's the case of people (or animals) who were probably hurt structurally downstream of choices I've made (e.g. animals hurt by my consuming animal products, or perhaps, like, people in coerced labor situations who made products I bought, or something), or possibly also people I chose not to help (e.g. homeless people who asked me for money I didn't give them)? I think in these cases (but also some ~interpersonal-conflict-type cases) I have a kind of conflicting mix of (a) an urge towards compassion (b) something like a block on compassion, a flinching away from letting myself feel it (c) sometimes something like anger for ~putting me in a situation where I feel this way?

I think in these situations one case for prioritizing & making space for compassion on purpose is that in fact it's often already there but I am fighting it and tying myself up in painful and useless internal conflict, whereas if I can find a stance where I am allowing myself to feel it and still make tradeoffs about it, I do not get stuck in this way. But it can be hard given the ~block on thinking about it.

Whereas I guess in the Hitler case (or, personally my default example of person-who-I-find-it-unusually-easy-to-hate is Stalin) my default stance doesn't have all that much compassion in it so rather than removing a block I have to cultivate the compassion in the first place? But if I'm going ahead and thinking about it there's not necessarily the same kind of mental block involved. So I guess it's harder in some ways, easier in others.

This was so adorable I showed it to all my housemates and we read the book aloud together.

(Note for any future Solstice historians that this is not the full program! Also any future Solstice historians should bug me to put the program up on if I have not yet done this by January or so.)

A cool thing about the amount of critical mass we have in Berkeley is that we can do things like have a rationalist choir! And more generally a rationalist culture, things like "songs everyone knows and will sing along with if I have a singing night", and a large set of people to find friendships and relationships in if one is picky, etc. It does have the drawback that it's easy to get stuck in a local optimum of only hanging out with rationalists, which is suboptimal in some ways. But the benefits are also pretty substantial imo.

What does "somatically aware" mean here?

I think there's also a constructive kind of "not feeling totally safe" where you know that the future is unknown and you could lose the things you have and it is worth both putting in some effort to make that less likely and to cherish and enjoy what you have now. But yeah, it shouldn't be a high-alert state, and I'm not really sure how to better describe the thing that it is instead.

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