does imagining +singularity cause depression?

post by Jonathan_Graehl · 2013-05-30T16:51:10.177Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 21 comments

How many people feel despair in imagining a heaven (positive singularity) that they'll miss out on if they don't survive long enough? I don't think about it, but I already have plenty of reasons to like being alive.

21 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by shminux · 2013-05-30T17:22:32.494Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Jonatas had been fighting a losing battle against chronic pain and depression"

Your post title seems like a non sequitur.

Replies from: Jonathan_Graehl
comment by Jonathan_Graehl · 2013-05-30T21:11:24.841Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

He thought about +singularity. Perhaps I could have left out the link, since that was confusing.

Replies from: shminux
comment by shminux · 2013-05-30T21:32:46.459Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Any links to his relevant comments here or elsewhere?

Replies from: Jonathan_Graehl
comment by Jonathan_Graehl · 2013-05-30T21:38:07.585Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I suppose I was more inspired by this comment than by anything of his I read:

I can't say I blame him for opting out of life. There is no way I'm going to do all the things I'd have to do to get to my 70s or 80s. The only thing that could motivate me for that would be a strong expectation of a positive singularity that I can personally live through. A few thousand years in my own VR sex castle, without having to work, would be sufficient motivation. Normal retirement with declining health... not so much. I guess even when you're depressed, you could achieve enough positive externalities to make it worthwhile

Jonatas did, however, think about +singularity:

It should be incomparably better than the best of current human experiences, whatever this be in practice.

I've removed the link. It was a mistake.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-05-30T17:09:56.859Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Betteridge's law of headlines.

Replies from: wedrifid, Jonathan_Graehl
comment by wedrifid · 2013-05-31T09:51:50.180Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Betteridge's law of headlines.

While I answer this question with a 'No' I can certainly imagine someone asking it as a sincere question---I would even accept "yes" as an example if it was sufficiently qualified with disclaimers regarding frequency and degree of causal influence.

This question is also only a short step away from a question "Does being exposed to a basilisk cause anxiety disorders?" which is another question I would answer with no but which some may answer 'yes'. I would call them silly questions but perhaps for not quite the same problem as the typical Betteridgesque flaw. (I still upvoted your comment. It's applicable and damn good as a heuristic!)

comment by Jonathan_Graehl · 2013-05-30T21:11:49.407Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

but if i'd used 'can' the answer would be 'yes'.

Replies from: Mestroyer, Manfred
comment by Mestroyer · 2013-05-30T22:00:59.969Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But you didn't. Perhaps because that sounds less interesting. The law doesn't say that it is impossible to ask a question whose answer is yes in a headline, it says that people usually don't.

comment by Manfred · 2013-05-30T21:58:22.712Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Betteridge's law only works when you help it work.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-05-31T05:13:44.664Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There have been times when the thought of a pretty much inevitable negative singularity has made me feel quite depressed. (These days, I'm somewhat better at not thinking about it.)

Replies from: CarlShulman
comment by CarlShulman · 2013-05-31T05:16:38.206Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why believe in such though?

Replies from: Kaj_Sotala, wedrifid, Mestroyer
comment by wedrifid · 2013-05-31T09:40:14.913Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why believe in such though?

Presumably for similar reasons that others (like those with MIRI affiliations) think that a negative singularity is a sufficient risk to be worth fighting. Only more so (and without as much expectation of success.)

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-06-01T03:52:29.295Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree with him, because I think UFAI is probably much easier than either substantial IA or FAI, and there are plenty of very smart people with screwed up metaethics who want to build what (unknown to them) would turn out to be UFAI.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2013-05-30T19:24:40.715Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How many people feel despair in imagining a heaven (positive singularity) that they'll miss out on if they don't survive long enough?

The ultimate half empty glass.

Replies from: Eliezer_Yudkowsky
comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2013-05-30T21:06:51.935Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Buy life insurance, sign up for cryonics, done, now get on with it.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-05-31T09:37:46.760Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

does imagining +singularity cause depression?

No. Conceivably there are people disposed toward depression at a given time and happen to include thoughts (and bitterness about missing) about a positive singularity in their negative thought spiral at some point. But in those cases I'm unlikely to be impressed with an explanation "imagining +singularity caused their depression". Even then I rather suspect negative singularity thoughts to be a more common toxic thought loop than positive singularity thoughts.

comment by MarkL · 2013-05-30T20:02:37.814Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Try reading Hoffer's "The True Believer" to gain insight into how elements of singularity thinking can be really poisonous to your mental wellbeing. There's more and less healthy ways to think about and approach the future.

Replies from: Jonathan_Graehl
comment by Jonathan_Graehl · 2013-05-30T21:40:25.404Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was wondering if it's a problem for anyone. It's not for me.

Replies from: MarkL
comment by MarkL · 2013-05-31T03:08:44.564Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm sure some people find some of these ideas distressing or depressing, whether or not they actually accept them as true in whole or in part. I would say I do, in a qualified way. But I have decent perspective on the whole singularity/LessWrong/FAI/etc/etc memeplex.

comment by Locaha · 2013-05-31T08:44:50.375Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, if you have to choose between dying depressed and dying happy.... well, assuming you believe in freedom of will. Otherwise you can't choose. :-p

But lets take a different look on the issue. Who said positive singularity will help you survive indefinitely? Whatever it will be, it won't be God and you won't be in Heaven. So it may take 3^^^3 years, but eventually you WILL die .