Re: Maximizing results of efforts Re: Mainstreaming

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 06:16:29 MDT

A great parable. I hope many of us takes it to heart, I have noticed a
disquieting number of transhumanists believing in the lone crusader

On Sun, Apr 29, 2001 at 12:59:29AM -0400, Ben Goertzel wrote:
> Here's the parable. Suppose you're stuck on a boat in the middle of the
> ocean with a bunch of people, and they're really hungry, and the boat is
> drifting away from the island that you know is to the east. Suppose you're
> the **only** person on the boat who can fish well, and also the only person
> who can paddle well. You may be helping the others most by ignoring their
> short-term needs (fish) in favor of their longer-term needs (getting to the
> island). If you get them to the island, then eventually they'll get to an
> island with lots of food on it, a much better situation than being on a
> sinking boat with a slightly full stomach.
> If the other people don't **realize** the boat is drifting in the wrong
> direction, though, because, they don't realize the island is there, then
> what? Then they'll just think you're a bit loopy for paddling so hard. And
> if they know you're a great fisherman, they'll be annoyed at you for not
> helping them get food....
> What is this little parable missing? Sociality. If you feed the other
> people, they'll be stronger, and maybe they'll be more help in paddling the
> boat. Furthermore, if you maintain a friendly relationship with them by
> helping them out in ways that they perceive as well as ways that they do
> not, then they're more likely to collaborate creatively with you in figuring
> out ways to save the situation. Maybe because of their friendship with you,
> they'll take your notion that there's an island to the east more seriously,
> and they'll think about ways to get there faster, and they'll notice a
> current that you didn't notice, floating on which will allow you to get
> there faster with less paddling.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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