The Nihilist's New Year

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Dec 31 2000 - 22:29:13 MST

As the counter changes digits, let us rejoice that humanity has gone
another entire year without blowing itself up. As we celebrate the random
division of an arbitrary time period, let us look away from the true
twenty-billion-year chronology of the Universe; let us forget the
unthinkable vastness of the space between stars, and rejoice in whatever
microscopic significance our infinitesimal selves might have.

This festival of passing time reminds us of our ephemeral lives, like
candles flaring up whitely for an instant and then diminishing to a red
glow, sinking until even the embers fade. As the Earth completes
another cycle around the Sun, we rejoice in the repetition of the
ancient, futile pattern of birth and reproduction and death. Let us
celebrate the irrevocable passing of another year of wasted time,
another year of missed opportunities, another year of broken dreams.

It's a time when we accumulate years of debt on our credit cards to mask
our true selfishness. It's a time to brighten our meaningless existences
with mercantile frenzies of acquisition. It's a time when carols of love
and hope deny our true loneliness and despair. It's a time when false
smiles and ostentatious declarations of friendship hide the dark pits of
fear and hatred that lurk in our souls. It's a time to recite insincere
prayers to a bleak and uncaring Universe.

It's a time when our nervous laughter tries to drown out the sound of
hydrogen freezing in the interstellar void. It's a time when the radiant
warmth of a fire or a loved one lets us forget, for a brief moment, the
bitter three-degree-Kelvin cold of the endless night.


Only 1,547 shopping days left till the Singularity!

Happy New Year!

... tick ... tick ... tick ...

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

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