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Comment by tavaton on Uncategories and empty categories · 2015-02-17T05:18:09.675Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I use the formula engagement + meaning + enjoyment to calculate happiness. Children may well be a net negative to enjoyment at times. Whether or not I decide to have them depends on whether I believe that's going to be outweighed by engagement and meaning most of the time.

Comment by tavaton on Uncategories and empty categories · 2015-02-17T05:10:31.342Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The cause of my having these values doesn't really make a difference to what my values are. The values I'm conscious of is all that matters to me. I have no moral or emotional commitment whatsoever to reproductive efficiency. That is not one of my values.

Comment by tavaton on Uncategories and empty categories · 2015-02-16T18:54:51.718Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't want to be happy because that increases the likelihood that I'll have lots of happy, well-fed grandchildren. I want lots of happy, well-fed grandchildren because I believe that would increase the likelihood that I'm happy. My desire for grandchildren may change, especially if I think they would be unhappy. My desire for happiness will not change. This is not an error or a case of messed up priorities or me making decisions based on faulty assumptions, it's just how my values are.

Comment by tavaton on Uncategories and empty categories · 2015-02-16T18:26:49.848Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Precisely. So human values, terminal or not, are divorced from genetic terminal values. We may be survival machines, but that doesn't mean we're aware of it or think like we're aware of it, so that fact is only related to what our actual values are. It doesn't dictate it.

Comment by tavaton on Uncategories and empty categories · 2015-02-16T09:12:49.656Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I'm confused.

Why would human terminal values necessarily have to encompass or be compatible with genetic terminal values? Doesn't this assume whatever mental algorithm determines which instrumental values are most conducive to reproductive efficiency in any environment has access to explicit and accurate information about the genetic endgoal? If it's using heuristic proxies instead, and of course it is, since it's not possible to directly observe reproductive fitness, the proxies would then be human terminal values.

Comment by tavaton on The Importance of Sidekicks · 2015-01-22T21:15:10.969Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There does not seem to be an argument for why removing social pressures is not necessary here.

Comment by tavaton on The Importance of Sidekicks · 2015-01-22T09:11:05.442Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If I read this post correctly, you're iterating the conventional wisdom that team players are not less important or less necessary than star players even though the status is less glamorous. (They are, perhaps, more interchangeable, but also definitely indispensable on much shorter timescales than star players.) Only you are framing it in terms that make it sound as if this was not generally agreed upon by everyone not suffering from the malignant form of ambition.

Nuance matters. "Sidekick" is not meant to refer to actual humans, but to second grade fictional characters. When applied to a human being it turns into an ugly word. It reduces the character/person being referred to into a prop for another. This works well in storytelling: minor characters are not thinking, feeling beings. It is reasonable and appropriate to treat them as if they existed for the purposes of others. But by bringing these connotations into real life, you end up implicitly reinforcing the contagious and intuitive falsehood that there is always a number one and having any other number means you failed. Life can easily be made to look like this, if simplified into a single story, but it's not an accurate or helpful way to look at things.

Your use of the word "sidekick" poisons the entire post for me. I have to suspect I'm not getting the general tone quite right. To me, it's an unhappy post. Not only because other people have consistently and unfairly made you defend being what you are, but because you are still trying to convince yourself that it shouldn't have to be defended. I hope I'm wrong and "sidekick" does not mean to you what it means to me, and that if you ever felt genuinely inadequate because of this in the past that's ended now.

In real life Samwise Gamgee would be, by any reasonable standards, a true full-blown hero. At least I can't see how doing something extraordinary that greatly benefits other people stops being heroic if someone else was also involved and did a little bit more or played a more central or interesting role.