Re: [Fwd: QOTD: Moderately Gifted.]

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Apr 11 2001 - 08:24:11 MDT

tisdagen den 10 april 2001 23:01 Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Yes, I'm sure. But nonetheless, the modern cultural era is almost as
> skewed towards approving of the mediocre as earlier eras were skewed
> towards the hero theory of history.

Is it? I think we can both find plenty of examples of celebrations of
mediocrity and genius, but which view is dominant? While there are strong
ideological currents ignoring individuals in history, our culture still
retains its obsession with the genius. I would say that public disapproval of
the genius mostly comes from dissaproval of the imagined instability and
amorality of the genius, but there is no public support for the mediocre just
because they are mediocre, only in conjunction with other "good" traits like
being an underdog or having a firm ethical foundation.

> Einstein may not have made as large a
> contribution to physics as all the unsung Salieris who followed afterward
> and filled in the blanks, but he sure made a larger contribution than any
> individual Salieri.

Well, Einstein was certainly productive, but I wonder if he is really typical
of the Mozarts. If we start looking at published papers, then the difference
is usually smaller and partially caused by the Mozarts co-authoring with the
Salieris a lot.

> In earlier eras it may have made emotional sense for people to try and be
> happy with their native ability levels, but not this close to a
> Singularity. Time to de-repress.

I agree. But as you know, my view is that we will not likely reach the
Singularity through a lone genius working in a cellar - rather through the
interwoven processes of a whole society moving for a variety of reasons
Singularity-ward: led by the Mozarts, but powered by the uncountable

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