This is a hard chapter for me, because I am not a hero or a god. Eliezer endorsed a Reddit thread about this chapter, not for the initial post, but for the replies that it received. I’ll be borrowing from it a bit. To quote PlacidPlatypus:
“ it doesn’t really matter whose “fault” it is. What matters is that it happened. The idea of responsibility doesn’t refer to anything real about what happened or is going to happen, it refers to what you are willing to do about it.”
This concept of responsibility was taught me by my parents. It was also one of the major reasons I started doubting their religion – the real world plainly demonstrated that God did not hold to this moral code. Perhaps foolishly, I continued to hold to it while also continuing to watch the nightly news. It ended up damn near breaking me. It was just one factor of many, of course, including a genetic disposition to mental instability. But I believe that this is a moral code that only gods can uphold, and that only Heroes try to.
“When you say, “This is not my responsibility,” all you really mean is, “I am not willing to do anything to make this turn out right.””
I have had to come to terms with the fact that there are a lot of things I’m not willing to do. And yet, it still remains the gold standard for me. The ideal moral code to implement if it were possible. The fact that I can’t still tears at me when it’s brought to my attention. Bujold once said that a large part of SF is the fantasy of political agency (paraphrased). The ability to make things right. In my opinion SF/F has always been the genre of the idealist. And perhaps anything that can get the reader to live some of that idealism in the world is a good thing, even if it’s a bit hard to take at times.
Also, this is taken from Eliezer’s Author’s Notes for November:
To anyone who wants to live in a saner world: the Center for Applied Rationality is now in that vital startup stage where every dollar matters – where donations greatly shorten the timeline to better research, and determine who can be hired as the first employees. There’s a chance here to reach up toward that impossible dream of a better world where people aren’t crazy all the damn time, because believe it or not, nobody’s really tried anything like this before. If you’ve got the power to fund this sort of thing – drop by our Berkeley office and talk to us, or attend a workshop and see for yourself what’s going on. Or just act immediately. Science, reason, and rationality – it’s what Muggles use instead of magic, and it’s all we’ve got.
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