Re: E X P O N E N T --December 2001 Members Newsletter

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Dec 11 2001 - 19:49:51 MST

"" wrote:
> Eliezer said:
> > I reaffirm my own declaration that (a) I cannot be harmed by words, *any*
> > words, no matter how constituted and (b) if I can be harmed by words, it's
> > my own problem. But that's a declaration that I have to make for myself,
> > not a default state of affairs.
> Certainly this sentiment is not novel, or even unique.
> It is my responsibility to exclude people from my life who intentionally or subconsciously say things to me or about me that are rude. It is also my responsibility to do something about it. How one takes actions speak a hell of a lot louder than the feebleminded words of someone whose intention is to attempt to lash out and defame. “Turn the other cheek” is another phrase told to me as a child. I’d rather not have two bruised cheeks -

The above philosophy I cite above does not logically exclude reacting to
deliberate personal attacks. It just means that the reason for which you
are reacting is not that you were personally hurt, but rather that you are
trying to defend a reputation you have previously decided is valuable,
that you are trying to maintain list quality on a list you care about, or
even that you are simply trying to win an argument you think is important.

I usually try to distinguish between things-that-would-have-been-hurtful
which were sincerely meant and those which were simply attempted personal
attacks. For example, it's pretty easy to distinguish between sincerely
meant condescending advice and condescending advice which is intended as a
personal attack - the former is sent in a private email.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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