Community Director | EA Netherlands
I have a background in (moral) philosophy,risk analysis, and moral psychology. I also did some x-risk research.
I'm not sure if you're implying this: 'the neutral point of welfare is close to the point at which someone commits suicide'
If so, I'd argue that these points are often very far apart: there's tremendous evolutionary and social pressure against suicide, as well as that people can suffer immensely but hope the future will be better.
Therefore, I don't expect suicide rate to be very predictive of quality of life.
Great work! :) Very happy to see the increase in rigour over earlier estimates. If your research is correct (and, in my casual reading of it, I can find no reason why it wouldn't be) this opens up a whole new area of funding opportunities in the global health & wellbeing space!
I'm also excited about the rest of your research agenda. It seems very ambitious ;)
Some things I find interesting:
"we found evidence that group psychotherapy is more effective than psychotherapy delivered to individuals which is in line with other meta-analyses (Barkowski et al., 2020; Cuijpers et al., 2019). One explanation for the superiority is that the peer relationships formed in a group provide an additional source of value beyond the patient-therapist relationship."
--> I did not expect group therapy to be more effective. Instead I expected it to be less effective per person, but more cost effective in total. This is great news.
I am also surprised by the extremely low cost of lay therapy. Is there any correlation between the effectiveness of lay therapy and its cost? I can imagine training costing money but increasing effectiveness.
Most charities not responding/willing to share their costs is .. maybe not so surprising? Let's hope that changes if/when StrongMinds gets a bunch of funding, and you develop your reputation!
Last question: what's HLI's current funding situation? (Current funding, room for funding in different growth scenarios)
I have a concept for a story, but not the time/energy to finish it before Friday. I'm posting it here, in case anyone wants to take a go at turning it into a story! If it wins anything, some kind of split of prize money should be decided on..
The concept is inspired by Harsanyi's Veil of Ignorance: if you didn't know which person you'd be, what kind of world would you want to be in? Also inspired by Andy Weir's The Egg.
The story would start with an "empty soul" as MC. They have heard only a few (very positive) things about Life, and are really excited about it. Just before they get planted into an embryo, they need to sign some paperwork. When reading the fine print, they stumble on all the negatives that could happen: papercuts, heartbreak, losing loved ones, getting psychosis, starvation, being raised in a factory farm, drowning as a fish on a ship deck, etc. They realize that the probability of becoming a human, and a happy, healthy one at that, is very low.
Of course, the MC becomes hesitant, and considers maybe waiting a couple thousand years. But they hear, or realize, that Life may not exist anymore by then, or at least not humanity. And they would miss what might be the most important time in history! They don't really want to live for themselves, but wonder what to do about all that suffering they've read about!
Then they get offered a deal: they will be born with the ability to make a difference, if they pledge to use it the best they can. They are not guaranteed to be happy, nor to have it easy (is there really such a thing as an easy life? Few souls have the luck of turning into a house cat..). They are not guaranteed to make a difference.
The MC doubts: how can I possible make a difference, by myself? But it's revealed more souls have been offered the deal, and some have accepted (while most have chosen to wait for utopia). They could find like-minded souls. The story ends before the MC makes a choice, and that's it.
It still needs an explanation for why so many should did choose Life with those abysmal odds, but maybe most just didn't get a choice.
So, any takers? 🙃 I'd prefer to first be in touch before you start on it, so that we don't have multiple people writing on it. Details can definitely be changed, although I do have some preferences for a style that's not overly didactic.
The ending paragraph seems strange though: Simon just argued that the universe is at stake and that the MC is wrong, and then hands over the decision?
I suppose that you want to put the reader in the shoes of the MC, but I don't think that this is a good way to do that.
Can you give some examples of exciting work that you'd find exciting enough to accept, and your selection criteria/heuristics?
I like the concept, but it was a little confusing to be honest. I interpreted the wonderful world as the future, and was very confused about the travel between the worlds (still am). Are they different planets? Is it time travel? Dimensional travel?
Due to this, the literal hearing of screams was also unclear, dulling the final twist (which I like!)
Lastly, I felt odd with the last two paragraphs. I find them quite moralizing, and I'd find the piece stronger without them. I think that's a big challenge with this whole contest: to teach a lesson and motivate, while respecting the reader's own capacity to draw lessons and motivation from a story. Personally, I prefer endings that do less teaching, and instead let people ponder the story. Fewer people will reach the conclusion that we want them to reach, but the ones that do will be more motivated and have at least some capacity to think for themselves.
Oops! Sorry Peter, not my intention at all!
I think this is an excellent contribution to the forum: strong upvote! ;)
Retracting my comment because it's unclear what kind of event (game, ritual, experiment) this is.
Yeah, my comments should be read as [in-game] comments, not as [ritual] comments, and I all mean it in good nature!
Damn, seeing the social complexity of this event with the uncertainty about what it is quickly made it feel more like a social minefield than a game.