What big goals do we have?

Some­time ago Jonii wrote:

I mean, pa­per­clip max­i­mizer is se­ri­ously ready to do any­thing to max­i­mize pa­per­clips. It re­ally takes the pa­per­clips se­ri­ously.

When I’m hun­gry I eat, but then I don’t go on eat­ing some more just to max­i­mize a func­tion. Eat­ing isn’t some­thing I want a lot of. Like­wise I don’t want a ton of sur­vival, just a bounded amount ev­ery day. Let’s define a goal as big if you don’t get full: ev­ery in­cre­ment of effort/​achieve­ment is valuable, like pa­per­clips to Clippy. Now do we have any big goals? Which ones?

Save the world. A great goal if you see a pos­si­ble an­gle of at­tack, which I don’t. The SIAI folks are more op­ti­mistic, but if they see a chink in the wall, they’re yet to re­veal it.

Help those who suffer. Mo­rally up­right but tricky to ex­e­cute: James Shik­wati, Dam­bisa Moyo and Kevin My­ers show that even some­thing as clear-cut as aid to Africa can be viewed as im­moral. Still a good goal for any­one, though.

Pro­cre­ate. This sounds fun! For­tu­nately, the same source that gave us this goal also gave us the means to achieve it, and in­tel­li­gence is not among them. :-) And hon­estly, what sense in mak­ing 20 kids just to play the good-sol­dier rou­tine for your genes? There’s no unique “you gene” any­way, in sev­eral gen­er­a­tions your de­scen­dants will be like ev­ery­one else’s. Yeah, kids are fun, I’d like two or three.

Fol­low your muse. Mu­sic, com­edy, videogame de­sign, what­ever. No limit to achieve­ment! A lot of this is about sig­nal­ing: would you still bother if all your suc­cesses were at­tributed to some­one else’s ge­netic tal­ent? But even apart from the sig­nal­ing an­gle, there’s still the wor­ry­ing feel­ing that en­ter­tain­ment is ul­ti­mately use­less, like hu­man­ity-scale wire­head­ing, not an ac­tual goal for us to reach.

Ac­cu­mu­late power, money or ex­pe­riences. What for? I never un­der­stood that.

Ad­vance sci­ence. As Erik Nag­gum put it:

The pur­pose of hu­man ex­is­tence is to learn and to un­der­stand as much as we can of what came be­fore us, so we can fur­ther the sum to­tal of hu­man knowl­edge in our life.

Don’t know, but I’m pretty con­tent with my life lately. Should I have a big goal at all? How about you?