rePost::The meme of honourable death : Greg Laden’s Blog

I heard this about a month ago uttered multiple times by friends:

Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional.

I feel that this is quoted somewhere but that doesn’t subtract from its validity. You always have a choice. You always can say no.  You can always say yes.

I’ve always hated and basked on the feeling of helplessness . It’s the perfect excuse  for failure. It’s never your fault, It’s always because of other people, external circumstances that you did or did not expect.

I call BS on this. For that little slice of the universe we call our life, WE ARE NEVER HELPLESS. We fear ourselves. we fear failure. we fear success.

I bask in failure I bask in success. For they are the same. It is I that is unique. It is you that is unique. Shit Happens. Stuff Happens. Live. Love!

A useless sacrifice, you may say; but while the men who saw them die can tell such a story round the camp fire the example of such deaths as these does more than clang of bugle or roll of drum to stir the warrior spirit of our race. [emphasis added]

At no point during this particular engagement could anyone with a modicum of rationality have believed that this was a good idea. Even if the officers in charge, who were taken out of action right away, honestly thought that bringing the artillery, with its horses and its gunners, to within killing range of several hundred sharp shooters would be an effective strategy, it would not have taken long to figure out that they were wrong. Yet once the operation started up, the “right” thing to do was not to back off, not to question authority, not to run and hide because death was a near certainty and success impossible. No. The “right” thing to do was do die, and the reason to die was because … well, because it was the right thing to do. Those soldiers that were hiding in the hollow or the hut were forgiven by Doyle, because there was not much they could do. But the soldiers that stayed with the artillery were honoured by him, and by the British Government and the people back home and their comrades.

The meme of honourable death served the British Empire well.

via The meme of honourable death : Greg Laden’s Blog.

rePost:: Less Wrong: Let them eat cake: Interpersonal Problems vs Tasks

Nice post on the difference between tasks and problems, very generalizable. to most facets of decision making/problem solving etc.

When I read Alicorn’s post on problems vs tasks, I immediately realized that the proposed terminology helped express one of my pet peeves: the resistance in society to applying rationality to socializing and dating.

In a thread long, long ago, SilasBarta described his experience with dating advice:

I notice all advice on finding a girlfriend glosses over the actual nuts-and-bolts of it.

In Alicorn’s terms, he would be saying that the advice he has encountered treats problems as if they were tasks. Alicorn defines these terms a particular way:

It is a critical faculty to distinguish tasks from problems. A task is something you do because you predict it will get you from one state of affairs to another state of affairs that you prefer. A problem is an unacceptable/displeasing state of affairs, now or in the likely future. So a task is something you do, or can do, while a problem is something that is, or may be.

Yet as she observes in her post, treating genuine problems as if they were defined tasks is a mistake:

Because treating problems like tasks will slow you down in solving them. You can’t just become immortal any more than you can just make a peanut butter sandwich without any bread.

Similarly, many straight guys or queer women can’t just find a girlfriend, and many straight women or queer men can’t just find a boyfriend, any more than they can “just become immortal.”

People having trouble in those areas may ask for advice, perhaps out of a latent effort to turn the problem into more of a task. Yet a lot of conventional advice doesn’t really turn the problem into the task (at least, not for everyone), but rather poses new problems, due to difficulties that Alicorn mentioned, such as lack of resources, lack of propositional knowledge, or lack of procedural knowledge.

via Less Wrong: Let them eat cake: Interpersonal Problems vs Tasks.

rePost::We’re more likely to behave ethically when we see rivals behaving badly : Cognitive Daily

So it appears that all three of our initial questions about why we cheat play into real-world cheating. We’re influenced by our chances of getting caught, by how much attention we’re paying to the ethical issues involved, and whether or not people like us are doing it. And we reserve special disdain for our rivals, taking care not to behave in the unethical ways they do. Perhaps if the University of Chicago wants to cut down on theft in their cafeteria, what they really need to do is point out how often those unethical Northwestern students steal silverware.

via We’re more likely to behave ethically when we see rivals behaving badly : Cognitive Daily.