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comment by Dagon · 2018-03-24T05:07:55.037Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"borrowed" vs "owned" is a pretty weak metaphor. One never returns "borrowed" power, and the funneling of probabilities that one accomplished with the power is not undone (usually).

One of my favorite things about resouce-based power is that it's ablative - if you spend money to excercise your will (as opposed to investing to maximize returns), you have less money afterward. Self-limiting power is awesome. Other types of power (social, governmental) gets stronger when used, as it trains people to obey.

comment by Samo Burja · 2018-03-26T21:18:37.131Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
One of my favorite things about resouce-based power is that it's ablative - if you spend money to excercise your will (as opposed to investing to maximize returns), you have less money afterward. Self-limiting power is awesome. Other types of power (social, governmental) gets stronger when used, as it trains people to obey.

Interesting observation!

Self-limiting power can be argued to be a useful feature for society. For the common good some wills should be contested rather than let loose. Some desires and goals should not be realized.

But for an individual ablative power does not seem as desirable as durable power. The individual presumably aspires to agency in the world and therefore wishes to actualize their will and values in the world. It would be strange to imagine a person that does not, however many psychological epicycles they might add on top.

It is true that sometimes self-distrust can be the right course of action, because of an outside view that suggests inside view irrationality. Self-distrust implies trust in something else. When you willingly tie yourself to the mast like Odysseus, someone else is steering the ship, hopefully your loyal crew and friends. An unsteered ship however meets an unsightly end either by Scylla or Charbydis.

Particularly with mistakes that cannot be survived unsteered outcomes are not desirable. Navigating existential risk requires steering.

comment by Samo Burja · 2018-03-26T21:22:09.788Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
One never returns "borrowed" power

Not quite correct, it is possible for example to rescind delegation. Nothing in the world can be undone as we seem to live in a universe of rising entropy. But since sustained vs. temporary access is an important distinction both for rational planning as well as having an excellent negotiating position, the ability to rescind access amounts to an important ability to have power returned to you.

comment by Samo Burja · 2018-03-23T20:53:46.384Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Distinguishing what kinds of power are durable goods and which are not, produces the best long term results. We are always at the mercy of chance of course. Work on fundamentals doesn't necessarily actualize the most power, it is merely the only thing that can raise the ceiling of achievable power.