Re: Damned European Socialists ;-)

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 23:53:25 -0600

Bernard Hughes wrote:
> Steve Tucker wrote:
> > > If this research is accurate, a rational libertarian should voluntarily give
> > > away most of their wealth every so often to maximize happiness. The short term
> > > hit after giving it away is more than compensated for by the long term
> > > opportunity to rebuild from a low base. It is rather counter intuitive though.
> > > How convincing would the research need to be for people on this list to adopt
> > > such a strategy? What would be the economic effects (Robin?)?
> >
> > Did I miss something? It sounds as though the able-bodied should choose to become
> > quadreplegics for the sake of their happiness, if one accepts this sort of nonsense.
> I figured the "we should all become quadriplegics" deduction was so obviously flawed
> that it didn't need comment. The quadriplegic example was just to illustrate that common
> assumptions about happiness may be flawed. People with so little of what we consider
> valuable should be miserable, right? Not necessarily so. People with lots of "valuables"
> should be happy, right? Not necessarily so.

Screw the wacky human goal system. Trying to be "happy" with the default diencephalon is chasing wind. The system isn't optimized so you'll wind up happy and stay that way, it's optimized so that you have more and more children. Unhappy with what you have? Want more? What a #@$!ing surprise. Face it, there ain't no way to stay happy, the goals you chase to "be happy" at any given time are arbitrary and probably self-destructive, and the whole game is rigged to begin with. You can act rationally or spend your life trying to tickle a few serotonergic receptors, but you can't do both.

--         Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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