comment by Algernoq ·
2014-08-09T13:26:55.980Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Yes, it's that "rationality" is arrogant and condescending.
Most of the high-status people I have met go out of their way to be pleasant even to much lower-status people. The selfish ones do this because it's easier to manipulate friends than enemies; the others have other reasons such as being "nice" or "friendly", but the end result is the same.
Rationality, on the other hand, believes "that which can be destroyed by the truth should be," and tries to claim the highest possible status (others are illogical, have goals that don't make sense, and aren't trying to save all of history from, for example, acausal AI blackmail, and therefore are inferior). Understandably, this doesn't persuade most people. As the people of Melos found during the Peloponnesian War, abstract arguments about what is "right" don't carry weight unless both sides have enough strength/status to threaten the other.
Rationality is like mathematics: useful but not adequate on its own for guiding real-world decision-making. Other required ingredients for high effectiveness are ample domain-specific knowledge and mostly-accurate gut feelings. There are numerous examples of forebrain lesions that disrupt emotional processing also causing poor decision-making, and examples of irrational and rarely-self-aware people who are very successful by conventional measures.
In negotiations, an effective strategy is to argue within the other side's moral framework (set of norms). The strategy of calling the other side stupid tends not to work very well, unless it's part of an appeal within a third party's moral framework (e.g. a powerful observer's) to get them to intervene. Thus, two effective strategies would be 1. actually do tests to show that assimilating the Rationality memeplex improves conventional success, or 2. "be nicer to everyone" (as Herm. tells Harry in HPMOR).
Additionally, Rationality discussion dives right into some massively unpleasant topics: apocalypse scenarios, amorality on a civilization-wide scale, the insanity of baseline humans, and the epistemological uncertainty of the Universe. While true and often useful, there is a high cognitive cost for carrying around this information. For example: nearly all great mathematicians have been men, because men can in general survive while being very naive about the real world, while women in general in existing societies must spend additional effort to be liked in order to stay safe, leaving less mental effort available for mathematics. Thus, many people recognize that losing their false beliefs will make them less happy and less effective (e.g. unable to be part of a religion, or to relate to people as people instead of bags of evolved motivations) and choose not to participate in Rationality.
In short, if you tell someone they're stupid for not agreeing with you, don't expect to change their mind.