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Peter_Hurford comments on A Defense of Normality - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 07 September 2015 11:05:14PM 14 points [-]

I'd take a different argument -- there's very little evidence that eschewing solid food, sleeping less than eight hours a night, or not spending any time having fun correlates with more impact. In fact, the sleeping less and not having fun correlates with less impact! The belief that less sleep + less breaks = more work time = more impact done is not just unmarketable... it's dangerously wrong.

Comment author: xccf 09 September 2015 10:34:42PM 5 points [-]

Yes. Honestly some of the behaviors Eric describes sound a bit more like optimizing for self-sacrifice than optimizing for impact to me. In power law world, spending a few bucks on recreation is not likely to move the needle in terms of your overall impact, and taking effective breaks is really valuable even if you're trying to maximize productivity at all costs. Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Comment author: jayd 12 September 2015 06:33:43AM 1 point [-]

spending a few bucks on recreation is not likely to move the needle in terms of your overall impact

Why is that? Do you mean that someone spending $500 less on entertainment over the year and donating it instead will result in less rather than more money going to help people, due to damage to sustainability and marketability?

Comment author: xccf 13 September 2015 02:22:43AM 1 point [-]

That's not the claim I'm making. The claim I'm making is that your attention is a more valuable currency than you realize and you are best off focusing it on the very highest impact things you could be doing. The only point at which it makes sense to optimize small-scale recreational consumption is when you have already thought a lot about higher-impact ways to improve the world and concluded that none of them are feasible for you, so cutting down on recreation spend is the best way for you to convert attention & willpower in to utility for others.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 13 September 2015 02:42:07AM 0 points [-]

This doesn't make sense. If there are higher impact things you could be doing then that increases the opportunity cost of time rather than decreases it.

Comment author: xccf 13 September 2015 03:21:28AM 0 points [-]

I think attention and energy are generally more valuable currencies than time.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 13 September 2015 03:34:30AM 0 points [-]

That's such a specific claim that it's going to be much different from individual to individual. You're probably better off just saying "be as productive as you can" and then telling people to figure out for themselves what their optimal schedule is.

Comment author: bcforstadt 09 September 2015 08:24:08PM *  1 point [-]

On the subject of polyphasic sleep, I strongly suggest reading Dr. Piotr Wozniak's criticism of it at http://www.supermemo.com/articles/polyphasic.htm