Re: Having a life
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (email@example.com)
Sun, 27 Jun 1999 02:24:37 -0500
"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> I don't demand that others live as I do. The wise choice for a
> Specialist isn't necessarily the wise choice for anyone else, even a
> different kind of Specialist. But if people start going all
> "oh-I'm-wiser" on me and spouting back the wisdom of the sages as seen
> on TV, then yes, I'm going to be annoyed. I am tired of a society that
> teaches us to believe that we'll fail at changing the world, that we'll
> fail at self-sacrifice, and that we'll shatter ourselves if we try to do
> our best.
And as long as I'm dispelling cultural myths masquerading as sage wisdom:
- Saying to yourself: "I'm just having fun as part of a greater goal,
not because of any intrinsic significance" does NOT diminish the amount
of fun. Thought is NOT the enemy of pleasure.
- You can consider the possibility that life is meaningless, or that the
Earth is going to be dissolved into a puddle of goo, or that everything
you try is just going to make things worse, or your own nonexistence,
and it will NOT fuse your brain into a lump.
- It's possible to believe that the world has only a 30% chance of
surviving to Singularity, and STILL have a sense of humor. In fact, I
believe I've posted more original humor to this list than any three
- Devoting your life to a Cause is NOT the exclusive province of the
young, except maybe in the second half of the twentieth century. (Sigh.
What happened to the 1850s?)
- It is possible to keep everything in perspective, thinking of six
billion people or a hundred billion galaxies or entire Alpha Lines,
WITHOUT either overloading your brain or being crushed by your own
insignificance. It's just numbers.
- You don't have to set aside even an infinitesimal fraction of your
life for yourself. Any fun required to keep heart and soul together can
be performed out a sense of duty and it will STILL WORK.
- If you don't expect loneliness, you won't be lonely. If you don't
conceive of altruism as a huge self-sacrifice, it doesn't require
willpower. If you don't focus on the television-potential drama of your
choices, there's nothing agonizing about them. If you don't believe
you're a martyr, YOU AREN'T A MARTYR.
If I choose to live my life for the Singularity, nobody has any right to
demand that I live it for myself.
firstname.lastname@example.org Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS Typing in Dvorak Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians Heading for Singularity There Is A Better Way