[Link] “Art as the starting point” (Autotranslucence)

https://​​au­to­translu­cence.word­press.com/​​2019/​​11/​​26/​​art-as-the-start­ing-point/​​ (a)

The open­ing:


Pre­tend you’re an Effec­tive Altru­ist. Go put on some gog­gles and imag­ine what it would be like to eval­u­ate ev­ery ma­jor life de­ci­sion you make based on a util­ity calcu­la­tion that as­sumes all be­ings are roughly equal in their im­por­tance to you. I’ll wait.
Are you still al­lowed to paint, or sing? How can you jus­tify that when you, and maybe a hand­ful of oth­ers, are the only ones who will ever see plea­sure from it? At the very most, you could jus­tify them as strate­gies for keep­ing your­self sane long enough to throw your­self back into op­ti­mis­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion of malaria nets to peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries or some­thing. They aren’t al­lowed to be real, mean­ingful ac­tivi­ties in their own right, of course.
‘All moral­ity is aes­thet­ics.’
In­suffer­able, yes, but this quote has some­thing real to say.

And a bit later on:


If al­tru­ism is mostly au­thor­i­tar­ian self­less­ness plus a nor­mal need for power plus a nor­mal need for love and beauty, then ac­knowl­edg­ing the deeply self­ish ori­gins of al­tru­ism is nec­es­sary and, to be hon­est, ac­tu­ally fine – and pur­su­ing al­tru­ist pro­jects is a fun­da­men­tally cre­ative act. From this per­spec­tive, a to­tal­is­ing value-frame­work like EA or the mod­ern cult of pro­duc­tivity is a hack that is likely both sup­press­ing our in­nate, worth­while de­sires and offer­ing us se­cu­rity via some kind of ‘right an­swers’, that might be use­ful as train­ing wheels, but not when we are coura­geous and try­ing to ex­press the best and deep­est parts of our­selves.

You’ll have to ac­tu­ally read the thing to get what she means by al­tru­ism be­ing “au­thor­i­tar­ian self­less­ness,” etc. Re­minds me of this.

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