[extropy-chat] Would You Enjoy Knitting?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at tsoft.com
Wed Jun 28 04:02:15 UTC 2006

Robin writes

> It is not clear to me which will be more important: what people now 
> want, or what they now want to want.
> People now do seem to have preferences they want to have, that differ 
> from the preferences they do have.   Many religious people, for 
> example, want to be more committed to their religion.   Many married 
> people want to be less tempted to betray their marriage.   Many 
> somewhat ambitious people would like to be more devoted to their 
> ambitions...
> In general humans want to be more "ideal" than they are, and this is 
> due to a generic self-deception whereby people believe they are more 
> ideal than they are, in order to convince others to admire and 
> affiliate with them.

Sometimes I am concerned about the ultimate origins of the way we
are or the way I am, and about other things I'm not. Yes indeed,
people in general have ideals that they'd strive for given fewer
or no costs.

> "Be careful what you wish for" is apt here - many bad things will
> happen when people get their wish to be more ideal.

Many things worth striving for come with risk. People I've known
have worked out elaborate strategies for trial versions of themselves
to be ultimately nullified by a consensus of earlier versions.

A guiding principle is of course to seek moderation. And that
would apply to becoming more honest, or smart, or satisfied.
Yet I'm certain that most Extropians will entertain improvements
like these and those you mentioned.


> And because deep down people know they really don't want to 
> be as ideal as they say they do, many people will find excuses to 
> back away from their professed ideals.
> It is not even clear that people who can change themselves will 
> become more consistent, wanting to want what they do want.   Perhaps 
> they will instead become better at self-deception.

P.S. An offline correspondent just wrote about knitting itself: 

    i am a middle aged [creative] woman.  i thought how nice it would
    be to do something mindless and productive.  what an oxymoron! 

    i have not learned to cast on. there is always someone to lend a
    hand in the casting on.  if i cared more about knitting more i might
    make the effort to learn.  but it is the act of moving my hands
    while sitting still that attracted me 
    all the knitters said i should make myself a scarf...

    i noticed that my listening was heightened when i was moving my hands.

    i live and work in berkeley california and am a real beginner but i
    finished one thing and will no doubt finish another in the intersection
    on the horizon.  .  funny that you should raise such conversation.

She's probably right about listening better while distracting herself.
I've read that tapping a pencil or rocking does enable boys to attend
better in class.

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