Re: Ethical basics

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 23:28:36 MST

On Wednesday, January 23, 2002, at 10:45 PM, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> genome. You should try it sometime. It's fun.

Yes, it is. :-)

Since I was very young, I haven't liked my emotions. They always made
me do something that didn't make sense (the rational part of my brain
has worked for a long time). Thus, I concluded, since I don't like
acting irrational and emotions seem to cause this, I'll get ride of
emotions. Well, I didn't think this explicitly until some time after I
realized what I was doing.

The process was slow. Before about the age of 13 I got close to
nowhere. I didn't like my emotional responses and got upset with myself
but couldn't get ride of them very well. Then, well, minor emotions
started to trickle away. By the time I was 16 I had gotten rid of minor
emotions. Alas, the big ones remained. And, to be honest, it is
dangerous to have only big emotions and no little ones. If my ego got
inflated, I was at its mercy. If I fell in love, I had it bad. Really
bad. Life sucked more. :-/

Well, I finally managed to get a hold of myself by 17. I suppressed my
ego into submission. To this day it still gets excited when I do
something that causes ego inflation, but I douse the excitement quickly
and make sure I don't act on it. If someone tells me I did a good job,
my opinion of my ability to do skill x is only raised by assessing their
credibility to make such claims and the likelyhood that they are being
honest along with my own self assessment. It happens sometimes that my
ego gets going, but generally not. It is on its death bed. As you
might imagine, I'm proud of this. (just kidding, just kidding, I'm not
proud of it, it just is)

Love, well, I'll admit, my genes made me fall in love. And, yes, for
quite a while, I believed that I really was in LOVE. Luckily, due to a
number of circumstances in my life, I fell out of LOVE and ended up
being rationally in love. Rational love is a great thing, let me tell
you. It makes you feel good but at the same time your aren't blind.
Plus, it caries no need to reproduce. And, rational love has had
positive effects on the relationship. Of course, I'm still only a few
months into this, so I'll have to save more detail for later since I
don't have everything figured out. Maybe I just managed to tap into a
different love emotion than the one used to reproduce. At any rate it
lets me keep thinking rationally.

Note that killing an emotion usually involved getting at its source.
Viz., you can't kill the weed with a lawnmower, you have to pull it out,
roots and all. I only realized this later, which made my job a lot

Unlike Eliezer, my goal is only to be rational, not rationally
altruistic necessarily. If that's what being rational requires, then so
be it. From what Eliezer writes, I'm not nearly as far along as he is,
but at least the rational module of my brain doesn't get upset very much
any more (i.e. I'm not acting irrationally). Of course, my mind could
be in possession of an emotion I don't even know is there and it is
fooling me, but from what I can tell of my own mind there is no such

Oh, a final word of warning. Before you engage in some kind of crusade
to become rational (and being a rational person is a lot better than
being irrational), be sure you have some wisdom. You'll need heuristics
that you never knew you didn't have when you become apathetic. I found
this out the hard way. Very hard!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled SL4 content.

PS: Eliezer, a list for discussion of these issues sounds interesting
and a good learning experience for all (I know I'd like to learn more).
Since it isn't super Singularity related I'll look into setting one up,
knowing that that's a requirement for you to do something.

One really final note. I know that my time line of events may be off.
Things may have happened sooner or later than listed above. This is
simply due to the fact that I have a hard time with time. I remember
events, but I have to estimate when they happened relative to the few
events that I'm sure of the time on. Sorry if there's any
inconvenience. Now, if only I could remember when I first realized that
I had this problem ... :-)

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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