Re: PSYCHOLOGY: Healing Pathological Belief System Addiction

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Sun, 19 Jan 1997 00:46:46 -0600

> To clarify what I mean by the "people can be hurt by words" meme, I
> mean to say that when a listener suffers emotional pain, anger, or
> other distress upon hearing certain ideas, this meme assigns "blame",
> or moral culpability, to the speaker, rather than investigating what
> mental process of the listener actually caused the reaction.

On occasion, I attack the foundations of others beliefs. This hurts
them. I am to blame. I accept the blame, because I think that the
truth takes precedence over anyone's feelings, including my own. If I
raise any feeling over the truth, why not just say: "My feeling is that
the truth is more important, and by attacking this belief, you are
implicitly placing the truth in this argument above my feelings?" Truth
is the foundation of everything and the resolution of any argument;
nothing can take precedence, because if it does take precedence, then
that's the truth.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.