Topic Contributions


Online Working / Community Meetup for the Abolition of Suffering

Only one week is left until the next meetup: 09 July 2022 at 07:00 am UTC

This is the first time now in EA Gather Town.

The first 10 minutes will be dedicated to help people enter, navigate and explore the Suffering Abolition hall in EA Gather Town, which I have set up and decorated with lots of care and help from Emrik. 

As always, in order for everyone to make the most of the event, please make a commitment to work on a topic of your choice relevant to suffering abolitionism. Our list of initiatives should serve as inspiration. But there is no need to make big commitments. Reading an article is fine too! Note: The more precise you are with what you choose to commit to, the more committed you will feel to actually do it. Even better if you share what you committed yourself to. E.g. as a comment here.

As inspiration for cause areas to work on, check out the following mind maps: 


Excited to talk to you soon!


It's OK to feed stray cats

Although I agree with the message that fuzzy-feely  altruism can benefit your own well-being and motivation to do high impact altruism, I cringed a bit at the title. Please consider feeding only sterilised stray cats. Thanks ^^'

Otherwise, by feeding a fertile stray cat you contribute to creation of more starving, diseased cats. So even for the fuzzy feely altruism it is important to not just see what you want to see (the one moment of a pleased stray cat you interacted with), but assess relevant (future) consequences to not cause more suffering. 

Actually, sterilising would be the more valuable doing than feeding, but that again may not be a fuzzy feely altruism anymore, as the immediate reaction of the cat certainly will not be gratefulness. And we usually need (immediate) gratefulness of other beings to create the desired improved mental well-being for ourselves and motivation. 

A Critical Perspective on Maximizing Happiness

What attitude promotes the best mental well-being in the long run? Maybe stoicism is more sustainable and robust. Or maybe it's not, maybe positive psychology is also a good route to acceptance. I think it's not clear.

I agree! My own understanding comes mostly from personal experience, observation and logic reasoning, as well as a lot of research around that topic. However, I don't know of actual quantitative data collection comparing both approaches and their effects on well-being and the sustainability. So I try very much to stay open minded towards new data, and would love people to share it if they know of comparing research data.

However, to be honest my interest isn't actually aiming for improvement of individual feelings but for improving the ability and skills to do good. And what we know so far in order to be efficient in being good (meaning effective in working for one's own values) one needs to be mentally strong and resilient, and not fearful to a potentially cruel truth, to not manipulate data collection and analysis.

Because, what is the value if it is discovered that being an ideal effective altruist isn't a happiness maximizing thing to do. I question that, because I very much believe being classic altruistic (if at all), and not effective altruistic, has way more potential to gather positive feelings.

A Critical Perspective on Maximizing Happiness

Thank you very much, Telofy, for your contribution! I am actually not addressing or arguing about value systems like positive or negative utilitarianism or suffering focused ethics. I see how my arguments may seem like being related to that discussion, but sustainability and propagation of well-being I think is as important for positive utilitarians as sustainable suffering reduction for negative utilitarians, so I hope I can win both sides over for my arguments. It is rather true that I am partly referring to Michael Plant's use of words. However, I do actually approve of his work very much so this post isn't really addressing that, but the confusion and misunderstanding that is coming from not using differential terms (according to their connotations) and moreover the concept of positive psychology.
And since I'm working on similar issues I notice how much confusion there is among professionals, that make working together rather hard. So this post is partly to clarify my take on things in order to avoid repeatedly debate on principles, and rather have it once on a high level (which so far doesn't seem to work, as people keep their arguments for themselves). I wish people would reveal a bit more then dislike, so I could actually address things accordingly. But maybe my writing doesn't reach a quality standard people feel worthy to argue with.

Open Thread #40

Looking for Karma points.

Hi all, I would like to post a critical perspective on maximizing happiness. It includes an alternative approach, mental health issues and burnout. I would love to see a discussion about it, but not only on FB :) Anyone interested and willing to give me some karma to enable my post?

Cheers :)