Another day packed full of useful insights and thoroughly enjoyable conversations. However, I'm afraid I will have to keep this post very short as I'm running a little low on energy due to a complete lack of sleep last night, and I'd like to save my energy for paying attention during our final day! So, briefly, here are my 6 highlights of Day 6.
Did you know that “effective altruism” was nearly called “rational altruism”? I'm glad it didn't catch on because it sounds a bit too pretentious, but the thinking behind it was this strong connection to the “rationality” movement. Rationality is essentially about identifying biases in our natural way of thinking about things and managing to take action on our better judgement…which is easier said than done!
This week is roughly divided into "effective altruism days" and "rationality days"; Tuesday was technically an effective altruism day, although I learnt a lot about rationality! But I'm afraid I'm going to leave room for other attendees to blog about the content of the day and instead simply share some more subtly useful moments of the day that are indicative of the kind of cool little habits that a lot of effective altruists are developing in their everyday lives.
Just a short post for Day 2, as we did applied rationality training which I will write about as a whole after we have completed all of the sessions on Thursday. (Spoiler alert...IT'S AWESOME.)
I am living in a house in the San Francisco Bay Area with 75 other effective altruists. If our hosts had simply shut us in and left us to our own devices for a week, I would still have paid good money to be here (well, maybe not in one house...I am quite appreciative of the extra house they have down the road for bedtime). I have met so many inspiring people so far and had so many useful conversations already. I eagerly await the day when I can walk into any city in the world and expect to find a community this wonderful!
When I took the pledge to give 1% of my income to charities fighting global poverty, I suddenly found myself thrust into a giant research project. Thousands of charities, dozens of charity evaluators, white papers and UN reports... it was too much. I spent weeks (maybe months?) deciding where to give. (I ended up selecting The Fistula Foundation, where I continue to make my largest annual gifts).
I have just come across Julia Wise's blog "Giving Gladly". She is spending a lot of time thinking how best to live as an effective altruist. I particularly like her latest post, "Cheerfully", in which she describes how she originally thought she would not have a child, because it takes so much time and resources with which you could do a lot of good in the world.
The Life You Can Save has recently joined the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign. The name is often abbreviated to "the IF campaign", but I prefer to abbreviate it to "the Enough Food For Everyone campaign". Because there's enough food for everyone. No IFs, no BUTs. There's enough food for everyone...we're just not sharing it out fairly. But we should!
Personal Best
As Co-Director of The Life You Can Save, I am trying very hard to stop eating sugar (metaphorically speaking) – I am trying to cut back on useless consumption that harms my capacity to fight global poverty and also contributes to environmental destruction. This year my wife and I hope to reduce our consumption significantly, but it is hard work after so many years of acquiring bad habits relating to overconsumption.
“But I’m not doing enough!” Dealing with guilt as an effective altruist.
Peter Singer’s message is a powerful one. So powerful, in fact, that it makes many people feel that there is no limit to what they should give, and this can either turn them off of the whole idea completely or leave them with a constant feeling of guilt no matter how much they are giving. If this problem sounds familiar to you, let me tell you how I dealt with it.
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