Re: Selfishness vs Altruism; an outdated dicotomy?

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Wed, 17 Nov 1999 01:12:52 -0600

Frankly, I'm leaning towards the idea that even human minds will still function better without a self-image. I mean, I have one or two ASIMs (ASIM: Alternate Self-Image) that I can use if I need a personality or something, but on the whole, the Universe is a cleaner, simpler place if you don't try to distinguish between the several modules composing your
"self" and the rest of the Universe. So, yes, both selfishness and
altruism are kind of missing the point - but the better way isn't a compromise between them; the better way is the truth - modelling the Universe without artificial distinctions between the quarks composing
"Eliezer" and all the other quarks.

It's just easier to think without all the artificial asymmetries. It's just easier to think when you're not trying to warp reality because of your emotional attachment to some particular outcome. Maybe that's what they call Zen - I wouldn't know, I don't have any formal training in Zen. It just sounds Zenny: Enlightenment is like sneezing, and the self is the snot.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way