"Rational agents should never be made worse off by more information—well, almost never. So if I can no longer contemplate the big picture without life seeming like a bad thing—the fewer needs you have, the fewer ways in which you can be hurt; if you don't exist, you can't be hurt—then maybe I could just—not contemplate it? If my will to live is something that can be destroyed by the truth, then maybe P. C. Hodgell was wrong? This needn't entail self-delusion: distraction is quite sufficient. There are plenty of things to do that won't remind me of the vastness of suffering in the multiverse.

"Daily life, exercise, practical programming skills, finding a job—pure math and compsci if I need something intellectual. But no philosophy, history, current events, futurism, social science, biology, or game theory. Not much fiction, because stories are about people's pain. I just don't want to know anymore."

4 thoughts on “Retirement

  1. For what it's worth, I think that it's also actually epistemically incorrect to focus on the vastness of suffering in the universe. I think that the belief in this supposed vast suffering is substantially the result of biases that I could explain in a much MUCH longer post, or in a conversation.
    For now though, I suggest staying distracted.

  2. (attempted paraphrasing from personal conversation with Michael Vassar—) The future (after the intelligence explosion) is so big that the entire history of life before it is a rounding error; the reason you're worrying about the rest of the universe at all (instead of paying attention to your local environment like any other animal) is because you're trying to (as it is written) "shut up and multiply", but it you're going to try to multiply, you should also take into account that the cosmic gods don't suffer. The psychological cause of professed "negative utilitarianism" is a confused attempt to generalize the concept of "inviolable rights": the idea that specific bad things should not be permitted to happen. Once you understand this, it should seem less compelling (in addition to the standard "NU implies we should destroy the world; we should not destroy the world; modus tollens").

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