Rationality Quotes 25

post by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2009-01-28T08:39:46.000Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 12 comments

"People want to think there is some huge conspiracy run by evil geniuses.  The reality is actually much more horrifying.  The people running the show aren't evil geniuses.  They are just as stupid as the rest of us."
        -- Vaksel

"Rule of thumb:  Be skeptical of things you learned before you could read.  E.g., religion."
        -- Ben Casnocha

"Truth is not always popular, but it is always right."
        -- Anon

"Computer programming is omnipotence without omniscience."
        -- Prospero

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good, and the very gentle, and the very brave, impartially."
        -- Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

"Those who take delight in their own might are merely pretenders to power.  The true warrior of fate needs no adoration or fear, no tricks or overwhelming effort; he need not be stronger or smarter or innately more capable than everyone else; he need not even admit it to himself.  All he needs to do is to stand there, at that moment when all hope is dead, and look upon the abyss without flinching."
        -- Shinji and Warhammer40k

"Though here at journey's end I lie
 in darkness buried deep,
 beyond all towers strong and high,
 beyond all mountains steep,
 above all shadows rides the Sun
 and Stars forever dwell:
 I will not say the Day is done,
 nor bid the Stars farewell."
        -- Banazîr Galbasi (Samwise Gamgee), The Return of the King


Comments sorted by oldest first, as this post is from before comment nesting was available (around 2009-02-27).

comment by Abigail · 2009-01-28T10:06:38.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, gawd. "Look upon the abyss without flinching". All that Nobility. You make it sound impossible, and it does indeed seem so: but it is very simple. A translation for normal life:

All the human being need do is see what needs to be done, and do it.

comment by Aurini · 2009-01-28T10:26:54.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So I suggested to my stepfather, after several drinks, that given 1% occurrence, and 95% accuracy, a diagnostic test would yield only a 19% probability. I got yelled at for a good fifteen mintues; "I'm a bloody logical Engineer!" The diagram did nothing to repair matters. I think this just might qualify me as an Initiate (even if I've forgotten most of my calculus).

Damn good, mind-itching, quotes as usual Eleizer. You might get me back onto Fantasy yet (just don't expect poetry).

comment by Doug_S. · 2009-01-28T11:22:32.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Shinji and Warhammer40K? So, we've been reduced to quoting fanfiction now? Oh, and can you fix me up with more of the good stuff? ;)

comment by Aurini · 2009-01-28T11:30:24.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I mean 16... damnit.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2009-01-28T13:32:26.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In re omnipotence without omniscience: This reminds me of Bester's "Hell Is Forever"-- one of the characters makes a devil's bargain to permanently become the Creator in a sub-universe, and then discovers he doesn't have good enough taste/a clean enough subconscious to make universes he doesn't detest.

comment by Zubon2 · 2009-01-28T16:47:38.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Potential quote for a future post:

The Tick: "Isn't sanity really a one-trick pony, anyway? I mean, all you get is one trick, rational thinking! But when you're good and crazy...ooh hoo hoo hoo...the sky's the limit!"

Replies from: Raw_Power
comment by Raw_Power · 2010-10-02T15:20:21.863Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Rational Thinking is a pretty nifty trick, all things considered.

comment by Aron · 2009-01-28T19:33:17.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Terrence McKenna was fond of saying essentially the same thing as Vaksel.

"1% occurrence, and 95% accuracy, a diagnostic test would yield only a 19% probability"

Isn't it ~16.1%? (95 1) / ((95 1) + (5 * 99))

comment by Aron · 2009-01-28T19:40:41.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

..just saw the stat correction..

comment by Anon24 · 2009-01-28T20:50:33.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just thought I'd point out that the first quote, though good, bears a striking resemblance to something Steve Jobs said: When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth. [Interview in WIRED magazine (February 1996)]

comment by nazgulnarsil3 · 2009-01-28T23:19:38.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

with regards to the Steve Jobs Quote: Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. - H.L. Mencken

comment by Doomsought · 2009-02-07T04:07:33.000Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you must define religion, it must be thus: The ultimate given, the foundation of all logic in your mind. That is your religion. It is what you take on faith alone. Some have much of it, some have very little. But none are without.