Wiki Contributions


I agree with those who are surprised that you are offended by this relatively innocuous part of the social script. However, it is also a useful lesson for me personally: my social skills aren’t great, so, even more than others, I usually drift along social situations by saying, more or less "ow, I’d hate that if I were you", "whoa, I find that thing you just said really interesting!", and then the conversation stalls because I don’t say anything else, or I add in my own anecdote and then it stalls, or the other person acknowledges that I said I was here for them and then the conversation stalls awkwardly, as in the specific case you described. And so, once more, I see someone (you, in this case), telling me that the way to make interesting conversations is to ask the other person to speak, in some form or another ("and how does that feel?", "tell me more", "nice, and you?", etc.). It should be obvious advice, but — as you show — I’m not the only one for whom it doesn’t always seem obvious or easy. Anyway, my point is, I should do that more often, thanks for the reminder!

Yeah, I know that, that it’s just that you decided to approach the problem from that angle. And, on the one hand, it was more interesting that way, but on the other hand I was a bit surprised, basically, by what that framing ended up bringing forward vs leaving in the background — re-reading my comment, I still agree with the facts of what I said, but my tone was a bit harsher than I’d wanted.

In fact it’s very interesting: I’m still not surprised that governments don’t do it the way you suggest they should, because people in the bottom 99% want to be treated as well as people in the 1%, or because they prefer to be helped rather than left behind and then given money, etc., but I agree that it would in principle work better the way you describe, and that we often neglect that!

In many ways, that’s an odd framing of the question(s) at hand: governments don’t just blindly try to maximise their tax revenue/the state’s productive capacity (although maybe they should do more of that?), and to some extent there are good reasons why they don’t (the very many citizens who are never going to make it into the top 1% — because that’s what one percent means — certainly prefer it if the tradeoff is a little more in their favour, and for mostly good reasons), etc. 
Yours is a political opinion I agree with — it means that governments should help people I like, and fund stuff I find cool and important to have! — but if someone comes up and say to you that they care much more about other things than being maximally productive as a country, I don’t see arguments to reply to that in your post.
In that respect, the way you framed that as "productive people give the government more revenue" rather than something like "productive people build cool stuff everyone gets to enjoy" is interesting, but also makes it easier for someone to say that they just care about other things. All that means that, to me, this post sounds a lot more like a political opinion than the average LW post.

I wholeheartedly agree with the general idea, though: especially in my corner of Europe, people don’t seem to be very encouraged to try things and maximise the amount of interesting/important things they do, at least not as much as in the Bay Area, and I’d love to live in a world where people improve themselves more and do cool stuff more.

"As there were no showers, on the last day of the project you could literally smell all the hard work I had put in.": that’s the point where I’d consider dragging out the history nerds. This, for instance, could have been useful :-)

I’m probably typical-minding a bit here, but: you say you have had mental health issues in the past (which, based on how you describe them, sound at least superficially similar to my own), and that you feel like you’ve outlived yourself. Which, although it is a feeling I recognise, is still a surprising thing to say: even a high P(doom) only tells you that your life might soon have to stop, not that it already has! My wild-ass guess would be that, in addition to maybe having something to prove intellectually and psychologically, you feel lost, with the ability to do things (btw, I didn’t know your blog and it’s pretty neat) but nothing in particular to do. Maybe you’re considering finishing your degree because it gives you a medium-term goal with some structure in the tasks associated with it?

"They obviously wouldn’t do what I’m about to say, but this system is equivalent to one where they set a very affordable base tuition, and then add a “wealth-based surcharge” to charge their rich students extra money. And if you don’t fill out the form and tell them how much your parents make, you get the maximum possible surcharge.": uh, my uni does just that, actually? They’re government-funded, so tuition used to be a few hundreds of euros per year, but a decade or so ago they decided that now it’s going to be tiered by income, with tuition ranging from €0 to €15k.

I mean, that’s just copying the usual model you described after having previously done something different, but the equivalence between the two is a bit more blatant in that context, right?

Fellow not-at-all-a-data-scientist-but-wait-actually-that-sounds-fun here! I don’t know more about it than you do, but I’m glad you asked, since I hope to also benefit from the answers you’ll get :-)

Really interesting! I particularly liked the part on reading out loud: even though I’d heard it used to be more common (and that there’s even a French 19th c. novelist who had set up a specific ‘shouting room’ in his garden for shouting his texts out loud and see if they sounded good), but I’d never actually noticed it had so many advantages. Maybe I should do it more. Heck, it might even help me stay focused more easily on what I read?

Hmm. No, but only because what you describe’s a massive oversimplification of what was actually going on? (Not a historian, though). In the 1400’s in W Europe, there was: kings gaining power over their feudal lords, hence less infighting between local lords. That does give more time for pleasure, or at least more opportunities to have fancy houses instead of fortresses. There also had been the crusades a couple of centuries before, allowing to bring knowledge from eg. Ancient Greece that had only been preserved in the middle East: that brings new forms of art, new knowledge, etc. An actual historian might even want to say something about more centralised governments, needing more bureaucrats, hence more people who can write and think about politics and philosophy? And of course, merchants were on the rise compared to kings and lords. But I’m not sure why they specifically as a class would have focused more on pleasure than on status?

I can’t say I’m surprised you’d see things that way, certainly (though I am mildly surprised how much I see them similarly: I’m still too young for kids!). But that must feel… not great.

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