One thing that I typically get out of holidays is having experiences associated with my interests that I would otherwise not be able to have. For example: musicals on Broadway typically have more talented casts than musicals elsewhere in the United States; looking at artwork in person is generally more emotionally moving for me than looking at it online; I met some famous people, watched interesting panels, and went shopping at WorldCon; and Disneyland has rides and the opportunity to interact with costumed characters.
I assume if you had interests such that going on vacation would benefit you in this way it would have made your list of benefits of vacations. But that is definitely one thing some people get out of vacations that might not generalize to you.
Another advantage of vacations for me is that many of my closest friends live very far away, and if I’d like to see them in person either they have to visit me or I have to visit them.
You can do an encouragement design similar to what was done in Belarus by randomizing some hospitals to adopt breastfeeding-friendly policies and some to not adopt them. Unfortunately, since not all parents in a breastfeeding-friendly hospital will breastfeed and not all parents in a control hospital will use formula, and since you’re randomizing at the hospital level, your sample size has to be huge to detect any effect. And because many of the outcome variables you’re interested in are long-term (IQ age seven, for example), you have to follow people for a long time. It’s very very expensive and it takes forever.
The Belarus results are IMO the strongest results we have about the benefits of breastfeeding, and show a huge rise in IQ from three months of breastfeeding. Of course, as this post points out, the top formula brands have improved their product in the past decade, and modern babies may receive better milk than the babies of the Belarus study. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I really really enjoyed reading this blog post. Your thoughts about privileging the future were new to me, and I think that’s a really insightful way of looking at it.
In my experience, quarantine channels are a good choice if some participants want a particular kind of content, and it’s agreed to be appropriate for the community, but not everyone wants to view it. For example, a writing discord I participate in has several NSFW channels. It’s agreed upon that some people might want to write and talk about writing NSFW things, and that other people don’t want to view NSFW content (because of age, religion, personal preference, etc.). I think it’s a bad idea to create a quarantine channel for content that is actually inappropriate for the community: for example, I banned religion as a topic in my parenting discord, instead of creating a religion channel.
“I normally have little regard for trigger warnings, but on this occasion, imagine that my words are prefaced with every trigger warning ever” is a very unhelpful warning. Taken literally, it implies you are warning for diet talk, pictures of spiders, sudden loud noises, people’s faces, flashing gifs, sex, curse words, and a detailed description of how to commit suicide; zero of these things are in your piece. In general, I think trigger warnings should have a brief and non-vivid description of the potentially triggering content, in order to allow readers to make an informed decision. For example, you might say “trigger warning: vivid description of death and the suffering and thoughts associated with chronic illness.”
That’s not a proxy for suffering; it is caring about more than just suffering. You might oppose making animals’ brains smaller because it also reduces their ability to feel pleasure, and you value pleasure in addition to pain. You might oppose amputating non-essential body parts because that reduces the animal’s capacity for pleasurable experiences of the sort the species tends to experience. You might oppose breeding animals that enjoy pain because of the predictable injuries and shorter lifespan that would result: physical health and fitness is conventionally included in many definitions of animal welfare. You might also be a deontologist who is opposed to certain interventions as a violation of the animal’s rights or dignity.
Not being a negative utilitarian is not a bias.
I think you have failed to address the issue of why these solutions are acceptable for chickens and not for humans. The obvious explanation for why people disagree with you on this point is not that they don’t care about animal suffering, any more than people who don’t want to amputate the non-essential body parts that might give humans discomfort later in life don’t care about human suffering. It is that they think those actions are unethical for animals, just like they are for humans.
Excellent post! Your explanations were interesting and intuitive for me, even though I don’t know much of anything about computer science.
I’m not sure that it makes sense, at our current level of knowledge of scrupulosity, to declare that anything is “the” cause of scrupulosity. I have no doubt that what you say is *a* cause of scrupulosity, but the term is deliberately quite broad. For example, clinical OCD can cause scrupulosity, but that’s not related to internalized “shoulds”, it’s related to the mind’s tendency to obsessively think about things it’s trying not to think about.
I realize there are constraints because of when the summer solstice actually is, but this overlaps with Pride, which lots of rationalists (including me) probably want to go to. SF Pride is consistently the last weekend in June, and I am going to be pretty annoyed if I have to choose between Pride and Summer Solstice every year.
Dropping the metaphor because it’s tedious to write around--
It is difficult to square men being harmed by seeing scantily clad women with the popularity of strip clubs, softcore porn, cheerleaders, Game of Thrones, etc. It’s one thing to argue that men aren’t aware that they’re being harmed, and quite another to argue that they are deliberately seeking out something that harms them.
I think a useful point of comparison is evangelical modesty culture, which does have a real “there is no way to win” problem.
I do think it’s pretty easy for people to distinguish feeding a baby from deliberately flashing people; for one thing, in only one version is a baby present.
The CDC collects sexual violence information. Women raping men is classified as “forced to penetrate,” not “rape”; if you combine the statistics, you get ~25% of lifetime rape survivors being male and ~50% of past-year rape survivors being male. (No idea why the discrepancy.)
Some apple eaters enjoy apple brandishing and, in fact, some are willing to pay money and commit crimes for the privilege of viewing it.
Based on evidence from other societies and subcultures, it is very likely that if apple holders stopped the behavior currently considered to be apple brandishing, apple eaters would merely feel taunted by something else. In some cultures, in fact, even the shadow of a leaf is considered to be taunting, while in others green apples are carried openly and only red apples are concealed, and apple eaters consider it laughable that they might be tempted by green apples. For this reason, many apple holders’ rights activists are suspicious that this would never end and wind up a serious imposition on the freedom of apple holders.
Apple eaters need to take out their green apples in order to feed their infants. If you don’t allow public display of green apples to feed infants, you are sentencing many apple eaters to seclusion while their children are young, or to the use of artificial green apples, which are generally less healthy for children and may cause an IQ drop of as many as seven and a half points.
While apple holders are less interested in oranges in general, some are as interested in oranges as any apple-eater is in apples. Indeed, some research suggests that, over the course of a year, orange-holders are exactly as likely to be victims of orange theft as apple-holders are to be victims of apple theft. Despite both the risk of crimes and (by stipulation) the suffering it causes to particularly hungry orange-eaters, few efforts have ever been made to limit the freedom of orange holders, and many walk around with their mandarins out for no reason other than it being a hot day.
FWIW, as a suicidal person, I found an emphasis on personal growth to be tremendously important in my recovery from suicidality. It was important to have the idea that my suicidality *could* change, and that it wasn’t going to change if I sat on my butt and waited for someone else to magically fix it for me. I have no doubt that there is variation in how useful memes around personal growth are for different people, but I really don’t think status and amount of suffering are the axes on which it differs.
Politeness is often useful instrumentally in order to communicate efficiently.
I attempted to describe the central examples of a similarity cluster; not everything in a similarity cluster will have all the traits associated with that cluster. (“Ten fingers” is part of the human similarity cluster, but some humans have nine fingers.)
It might be silly to have a “I don’t eat yellow food” diet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the concept of yellow. Indeed, I would argue that there are far more concepts that do not provide good diet advice than concepts which do.
One polite way to respond to people using words you prefer they not use is “[Word] upsets me for [Reason], can you use [Replacement Word] instead?” If they can’t (because they’re not a native English speaker, or they have a linguistic disability, or they are chronically sleep deprived, to name just three of the reasons that word replacement can be impossible), then you have to judge how important not being around people who use Word is for you.
You could also consider asking what they mean if you don’t know what they mean. My rough sense is something like “a cluster of chemicals the central examples of which require industrial manufacturing processes to create, did not exist before the 20th century, are not part of any culture’s traditional way of doing things, could not be manufactured in a home kitchen, and bear little resemblance to petroleum, corn, or soybeans in spite of being derived from them.”
I feel like the example for “loading definitions” does, in fact, strike a word from my vocabulary without suitable replacement. I would like a word for “the aspects of masculinity that are bad”; in order to prevent the conversation turning into a bunch of complaints about my use of a particular term, I instead have to just say “masculinity.” I do not want to use “masculinity” to mean “the aspects of masculinity that are bad.” I would like to distinguish between those two things.
(While I have no moderation power, I would personally really prefer that this conversation not turn into a conversation about the merits of that particular term.)
A piece of writing advice: even if Too Like The Lightning gave you the idea, The questions the readers have are “what does this idea mean?”, “what are some examples?”, and “how can I use it?”, not “where did the author come up with this idea?” Too Like the Lightning is not illuminating about any of the former questions (i.e. you don’t use it as a source of vivid examples), but it takes up nearly half your post.
I would point to (the ethical parts of) the BDSM community as an example of useful norms about this.
1) You do not hit people who do not want you to hit them.
1a) Outside of the context of a relationship in which it can be assumed your partner generally wants you to hit them, you ask someone before hitting them.
2) You do not engage in consensual violence around nonconsenting individuals. (A light tap is not violence; punching someone is.)
2a) Bystander consent may be assumed if the bystanders are at a party or social event arranged for the specific purpose of facilitating people consensually hitting each other.
3) If you are going to be playing games where “no” doesn’t mean “no” (for example, “you’re not hitting me back so I guess you are playing punch bug!”), you establish a safeword ahead of time which means “no”.
I am not permitted to engage in morality for exactly the same reason an alcoholic is not permitted to have a drink—I can never stop at just one.
By coincidence, when I try as solemnly as possible to figure out what I genuinely want to do, one of the things I want to do is to be St. Basil the Great. Of course, I want to do very many unrealistic and mutually contradictory things: in addition to being St. Basil the Great, I also want to go to Disneyland about once a month, cook three delicious meals for myself every day from scratch, read my son every board book in existence, and date every pretty person I come across. But for me my desire to go to Disneyland interfering with my desire to be St. Basil the Great is not actually any different from my desire to go to Disneyland interfering with my desire to cook all my meals from scratch. So I try to fulfill as many of my desires as best I can.
Also, I keep doing things I don’t want to do instead of things I want to do.
When I adopted this policy I was concerned that not wanting to be good would mean I would end up doing some things I would feel upset about doing, but it turns out that the whole reason I feel upset about those things is that I don’t upon reflection want to do them (although I might have impulses to do them at the time). Otherwise, it would be like “if you stop caring about being good then you might have gay sex!” Yes, and in fact that is a selling point of not caring about being good.