People recommend that one another ‘be themselves’ rather than being influenced by outside expectations and norms. Nobody suggests others should try harder to follow the crowd. They needn’t anyway; we seem fairly motivated by impressing others and fitting in. Few seem interested in ‘being themselves’ in the sense of behaving as they would if nobody was ever watching. The ‘individuality’ we celebrate usually seems designed for observers. What do people do when there’s only themselves to care? Fart louder and leave their dirty cups around. This striving for unadulterated selfhood is not praised. Yes, it seems in most cases you can get more approval if you tailor your actions to getting approval. So why do we so commonly offer this same advice, that we don’t follow, and don’t approve of any real manifestation of?
This is Katja Grace’s blog. It is about the idiosyncratic class of things Katja considers to be on the frontier of important and interesting. Empirically, it tends to be about human behavior, social institutions and rules, anthropic reasoning, personal experimentation and improvement, philanthropy, and the prospect of robots replacing humans. Katja is responsible for omissions as well as actions, and aspires to save the world at some point.