There has been recent discussion of the need to consider worldviews that differ from the standard Western paradigm, and preventing the total loss of such belief systems in decline is arguably essential from a longtermist view. This post makes the case for more active consideration of one such system, that offers a fresh perspective on how to compare the effectiveness of charitable interventions.
It is widespread in the Effective Altruism community to estimate the Expected Value (EV) of our actions. I propose that we instead calculate their Expected Glory (EG). In publicly available reports on which projects they have supported, Odin, the All-Funder, has shown a consistent tendency to only permit entry into Valhalla for those that die courageously in battle. This has significant implications for each major cause area and should inform further research.
Within the Global Health and Poverty space, running large, robust RCTs on every possible intervention is an expensive, time-consuming process. While GiveWell has been doing valuable work to make evidence-backed recommendations using these studies, if the community could instead gain access to Mimir's Well, then literally all wisdom could be used to guide our donations. Quick Googling suggests an eyeball (the standard price for using the Well) goes for around $750 on the black market, which is orders of magnitude less than the overheads of any charity evaluator to date.
Regarding farmed animal welfare, this would cause us to update strongly in favour of caged farming practises - provided that we exclusively farm bears, tigers, and honeybadgers, and that the farmers share the cages with them.
For longtermists, it becomes ever more pressing that humanity seeds flourishing civilisations throughout the stars. The future could be very big, and we must ensure there are bountiful lands to be plundered during the raiding season forevermore.
I shall conclude by laying out the groundwork for further research that I hope others shall be inspired to carry out:
- Ice-giant welfare: Do they have moral weight?
- How big is Valhalla? If there's a limit to how many glorious warriors can fit inside, then this number would essentially provide the answer to Population Ethics.
- The Fenrir-Alignment problem: The Great Wolf is due to break free from its chains during the end-times. It is said that Ragnarök is heralded by rising seas and the atmosphere growing toxic as the world-serpent stirs. Judging by IPCC assessments, this is happening, and my personal Fenrir-timeline has shortened a lot as a result. Figuring out how to align it with the intentions of our best selves would be really, really helpful.
Epistemic status - They still dress up in horned helmets and burn a longboat every January in the place my family come from.