Re: Learn to shoot

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Oct 28 2000 - 08:10:21 MDT

I William Wiser wrote:
> I'm going to recommend that everyone on this list who is in
> decent health go and get some serious firearms training.
> Self-defense is one of about fifteen things that I think are
> key to staying alive and doing well in the world.

Well, you made a good case for self-defense. What are the other fourteen?
(I'm not requesting a series of fourteen posts, I just want the list off the
top of your head.)

> No, I don't think submachine gun is the first and best weapon
> for you to learn but this course is free and other courses are
> $500 and up.

Rumor has it that some modern video games with simulated recoil on the guns
are actually quite effective training simulations, though you do have to
actually shoot a real gun at some point to finalize the training. Can anyone
personally attest to this?

> I am willing
> to hear arguments on either side but for now I will go with
> the idea that the second amendment is a good idea and was put
> there for a reason.

The US population exists at the sufferance of the US military until such time
as the average Joe owns a tank and a fighter jet.

> Another consideration is that nanotech and AI may eliminate
> the relevance of firearms. That may be true one of these days
> but we are not there now. We may someday live in utopia but
> I think there is a good chance that even after nanotech and
> AI we will still have a need for self-defense (perhaps even
> more so). Firearms may someday cease to be relevant but the
> combat mentality and concepts that you learn will still
> apply.

No, actually the whole idea is that nanotech/AI/superintelligence scenario is
hopefully alien enough to eliminate even the need for self-defensive
thinking. My own philosophy is that the future is so distant - not just in
terms of the environment, but in terms of who we will be - that the best
course is to try and be the most intense human you can be, here and now,
without moping too much over how much better you would be if you didn't have
to be human. Arguably, firearms - and to an even greater extent, martial arts
- are a part of that. The question, as always, is time.

> Finally, I have a hunch. It's just an idea and it may not
> apply to everyone. It's only something I feel and I'm not
> even sure it applies to me yet. I think really knowing that
> you can defend yourself is good for your energy level and
> peace of mind. It may be a biological effect of vigorous
> and complex physical training. [...] It may also be
> that our brains also still respond to a pecking order system
> which recognizes self-defense ability as a key dominance
> trait.

Yep, that's the one.

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

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