Posted by: captainfalcon | February 9, 2010

Slumber-jacked (again!)

One of the more pressing issues in applied ethics, solved.

Update: Nick early morning moralized today. By banging pots. Defiantly. I heard the “just sleeping in” tattoo and a steady drum-beat against Pareto superiority, all overlaid by proudly paternalistic rat-a-tat-tats. Clearly outrageous, but

Early-risers…often seem not to understand this. Perhaps they think that [anyone] who’s still asleep at 8am is just “sleeping in”, the way that they themselves might do on a lazy weekend. I don’t think that would be an adequate justification anyhow — interrupting a pleasant sleep-in is bad enough — but of course the actual situation for those of us with later sleep schedules is rather different. We’re talking about interrupting one’s normal sleep schedule. It is less like interrupting the early-riser’s weekend sleep-in, and more like waking them up at 5am, or whenever qualifies as a couple of hours before their usual waking time. (Or perhaps like keeping them up at night for a couple of hours past their usual bedtime.) It’s really quite unpleasant.

Perhaps the inconsistent treatment is thought to be justified by early-riser moralizing: really (the thought goes), people ought to wake early…But this argument seems doubly dubious. First, I’m not sure what the empirical basis is for thinking that everyone would flourish best with a larkish sleep schedule. This neglects the full scope of human cognitive diversity. Secondly, the attempted justification seems objectionably paternalistic. Even if someone would do better to change their sleep schedule, surely that’s their business, and others ought to respect their wishes (including their actual sleep schedule) so far as possible. And on a more practical note: interrupting their sleep this once (or however often the apartment requires maintenance work [or the Ashram evening desserts in the early morning]) doesn’t seem likely to have any long-term effect. It’ll just make them tired and grumpy for the rest of the day. And that’s really not a very nice thing to do to someone.

And, from the comments, the obvious retort to those who’d opt for a brisk dismissal: why should I inconvenience myself for some (disreputable) bum and/or degenerate?

Part of [what Nick does all day takes place] in areas where people aren’t sleeping. So pareto improvements could very easily be achieved by simply switching the order.

Adequately pwned, I think. Also, see what I mean, George, about norms over people?

Part of the ordered maintenance was in areas where people aren’t sleeping. So pareto improvements could very easily be achieved by simply switching the order.

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