Today, I was contemplating becoming rich enough that I could be confident that I wouldn't be able to spend all of that money on X-risk related projects, and I could give a chunk to Give Directly, every year, or every month.
(This wouldn't be the important, world-saving, money. It would be what I have LEFT OVER from that, which I could give away to help people have better lives.)
Thinking about that, I started to feel a kind of happiness and optimism and...brightness, that I haven't felt since I was first getting involved in EA, back in 2015.
There's a kind of aliveness that I used to be in touch with all the time, that I'm rarely in touch with now.

The way I used to live my life (which, for flavor, entailed carrying around extra food in my backpack, to give to homeless people, and donating to third-world charities, and always stopping to help someone change a flat tire, etc.), ineffectual as it was, did have this about it.
Working on x-risk seems not to?

I'm not sure why. Maybe because it is more abstract. Maybe just because it seems less tractable, and any given action seems unlikely to help at all ("hits-based" as we say in the biz).
Oh! Actually there's a name for that feeling. We call it "warm fuzzies"!
. . .

Well then, in retrospect, it seems like we mis-named this thing, because the name sort of denigrates it, as if it is merely a subjective feeling unconnected to reality.
The term in implies that this is just a random foible of my poor-monkey brain, that I should grudgingly accommodate.

I think this that's not right. This is something spiritual.
The thing that I'm pointing at isn't just a random nice-feeling quale.

It's more like, the feeling is an indicator about my "metaphysical stance" towards the world.
Which ties in elements of abundance mindset, and generosity, and empathy, and an openness to the world, and a general, default, compersion, and connection with the universal human struggle, and a kind of...relaxation / not taking yourself too seriously?
There's something pretty _important_ about that fact that when I have the opportunity to make someone's life better, it feels great. And that it is something that I want to do.
So...I think that I'm going to continue working on x-risk, and also aim to become rich enough that I have more money than I think I can reasonably spend on self-investment and world-saving projects before the end, so that I have a surplus to donate to Give Directly?
I think this sentiment might be mistaken in some fundamental mathematical-philosophical way related to money and returns to money. But I'm confident that there is at least a way in which it is NOT mistaken.

I think it is good that I want to be the sort of person that helps.

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More from @EpistemicHope

25 Feb
Does anyone else find being an embedded / naturalistic agent disturbing?

Like, I could be injected with a chemical that would cause my cells to make new proteins, which could alter my brain.

It could change the algorithm that this body is running.
Which, from a computational theory of identity, is to say that you could inject me with a chemical that would delete ME, and replace me with someone else.
That's horrifying. It feels like one of the things that "shouldn't be allowed".
Read 6 tweets
23 Feb
Ok. Let's try and make a technique for each one of these.

My first suggestion is "TAPs", but I think that's too general.

Maybe something that puts you in a "long term mode" or helps you recall your specific long term desire?

I've been getting mileage out of the "Bezos criterion": "When faced with a decision, let your 80 year old self decide."

Very crisp, for helping me steer towards the things that matter to me in the long run, without precluding meaningful things in the moment.
Read 39 tweets
20 Feb
I'm increasingly hopeful that the combination of a shift to remote work + the breakdown of the legitimacy of the existing institutions, is a good thing, because power and initiative will accrue to states and cities as they provide notably better governance than their competitors.
It seems to me that moving the locus of power down to a more local level is a win for the world, because it can increase variance in governance.
Because of network effects, a handful of hubs can be disproportionately important to global well-being. Which means that creating highly productive urban centers with unusually good governance waaaay outweighs the cost of all the places that end up with worse governance.
Read 26 tweets
20 Feb
I'm currently reading "The Pragmatist's Guide to Sexuality", in which the authors outline a central framework:

"Arousal pathways should be thought of as existing in one of three states: positive, neutral, and negative. Negative arousal is experienced as a 'gross' sensation."
Broadly, they are conceptualizing the disgust reaction that a person might have to various sexual acts (say incest, or necrophilia) as something like "inverse arousal." The same basic thing, but with the sign flipped.
I, personally, apparently have a much lower sex drive than most men: I seem to be much less compelled by arousal, or typically have a weaker form of arousal, or something.

If we're gonna label me, it's not far off to say that I'm asexual. I'm comparatively uninterested in sex.
Read 15 tweets
18 Feb
@ben_r_hoffman, @jessi_cata, I took some time / emotional space to reflect on if I was doing something in this and related tweets that I would or should consider objectionable.

Having done so, I currently think

1) I did not do anything objectionable according to my ethics and discourse norms,

2) that there were better and more skillful things that I could have done instead, but

3) I endorse not having spent more time finding those better things.
My understanding of your critique is something like

"You, Eli, were optimizing for social harmony, and so were willing to paper over places where you disagree with Glen, and were therefore misinforming him and others."
Read 15 tweets

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