Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Tue Jun 28 14:16:10 2005
Liquid Baritone Voice

For work, I'm converting a nasty old python/GUI script that runs on a system I want to retire to a perl/Tk script that'll run everywhere. The old was written for GTK1, using GLADE. Apparently nobody ever decided to think about backwards compatibility, or I wouldn't need to do this. Fortunately, it's not all that hard to rewrite things, once I drew a picture of the interface and annotated what bits of code are hooked to what bits of GUI.

Philosophical thought of the day:

You can tell something about how much people care about something by what sacrifices they're willing to make for it. This measure must be understood in context of the values one would sacrifice as well as the tendency of people to not constantly be reevaluating their ways of life to find new optima.

In particular, the latter issue is interesting to me -- as philosophers are ideally more than others designers of their own life and worldview, there is the tension between using habits built from older configurations of values and rebuilding those based on where one's values presently lie. Value drift happens, and so it can't be ignored if one wants to be faithful to one's values, but part of the reason behind building a value system (morals, ethics, etc) is to permit us to make quicker judgements when we're acting in the world by precomputing/predeciding how these values interact. One limits the advantage acquired by such thought when one is continually redoing it, especially if time/energy taken doing so limits too much the time/energy one can spend living life (of course, a certain pleasure in doing so may be present in the task for some for a time, so additional unrelated benefits may acrue for such people when thinking of such things). I don't think there's a strongly principled way to suggest how often one should revisit one's value conclusions -- it seems, like (dissapointingly?) many things in philosophy, to be an issue of judgement.

One heuristic might be to do it when any of the following are true:

  1. when one acquires a large or important shift in value(s) due to an event
  2. when one feels suitably different from where one was before
  3. when an infrequent event where one's action is likely to depend on value conclusions that are likely to no longer be current in a worked out value system
Viewed from this perspective, to wholesale adopt a moral philosophy is akin to a cache injection attack :) I sometimes suspect that people do this either because they're too lazy to build a value system, or are too timid to imagine that they could.