What music do you find most inspires you to use your resources (effectively) to help others?

post by So-Low Growth · 2020-11-21T13:54:35.910Z · EA · GW · 15 comments

This is a question post.

Reading through lukefreeman's question was uplifting. I'm guessing we could compile similar lists (i.e. art and music). Not sure if this has been done before so here goes, "what music do you find most inspires you to use your resources (effectively) to help others?". 


answer by tae · 2022-04-11T18:11:04.204Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"Two Thousand Years" by Billy Joel.

This is our moment
Here at the crossroads of time
We hope our children carry our dreams down the line
They are the vintage
What kind of life will they live?
Is this a curse or a blessing that we give?


There will be miracles
After the last war is won
Science and poetry rule in the new world to come
Prophets and angels
Gave us the power to see
What an amazing future there will be

answer by rossaokod · 2021-09-23T17:13:26.047Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I just came across 'Ordinary Pleasure' by Toro y Moi, the lyrics of the chorus: 

Maximize all the pleasure
Even with all this weather
Nothing can make it better
Maximize all the pleasure
Maximize all the pleasure
Even with all this weather
Nothing can make it better
Maximize all the pleasure

answer by SamiM · 2020-11-21T19:19:32.275Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't think music affects my behavior a lot, but I really like this song.

comment by So-Low Growth · 2020-11-21T22:35:44.744Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Haha - wow!

Replies from: SamiM
comment by SamiM · 2020-11-22T12:17:53.390Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I came across this playlist about the end of the world, might be of interest.

Replies from: evelynciara, So-Low Growth, evelynciara, Rowan_Stanley
comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-04-17T17:51:19.526Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) has its own playlist: Atomic Songs

comment by So-Low Growth · 2020-11-22T13:50:31.120Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Haha - 15 hours of end of the world music sounds up my street! Here's one I like, Charles Bradley, "The World is Going Up in Flames." 

Replies from: Rowan_Stanley
comment by Rowan_Stanley · 2020-11-29T09:30:56.090Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the rec- I've added that one to  my EA playlist

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2020-11-22T18:52:46.011Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for sharing this playlist! I added some songs from the Linkin Park album A Thousand Suns, which deals with x-risk.

Replies from: Rowan_Stanley
comment by Rowan_Stanley · 2020-11-29T10:01:40.558Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for sharing these- I've added some of them to my playlist.

comment by Rowan_Stanley · 2020-11-29T09:29:42.424Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This is awesome, thank you! Another song on the X risk / end of the world theme is Tom Lehrer's 'We'll All Go Together When We Go', though that's more comedy than inspirational.

answer by Rowan_Stanley · 2020-11-29T09:28:25.125Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Ooh, good question! I have a playlist I sometimes listen to when doing EA work, to keep me going/inspired.

Most of the songs aren't specifically EA related, though, just vaguely... humanist-y? (What my husband calls 'atheist worship music').

Picking out a few of the more thematically appropriate ones:

  • 'Every Little Thing' by Peter Doran. (A nice anticonsumerist/minimalist piece that helps keep me motivated to donate)
  • 'Oh Virtus Sapientiae' by Hildegard von Bingen. (A hymn by a medieval nun, extolling the virtues of wisdom)
  • 'Glory Hallelujah' by Frank Turner. Not a religious song, despite the name. I particularly like the later verse/s:

"...If we accept that there's an end game and we haven't got much time,
Then in the here and now we can try and do things right.
We'd be our own Salvation Army, and together we'd believe
In all the wondrous things that mere mortals can achieve."

I'm always on the lookout for more songs for my playlist, so keen to hear everyone's suggestions.

answer by Ben Cottier · 2022-01-29T20:02:16.793Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I love this question! I have a couple favourites.

"I.G.Y" by Donald Fagen. It's about International Geophysical Year. The lyrics have techno-utopian visions:

"On that train all graphite and glitter / Undersea by rail / Ninety minutes from New York to Paris"

"Here at home we'll play in the city / Powered by the sun"

...even AI alignment (and anti-aging?):

"A just machine to make big decisions / Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision / We'll be clean when their work is done / We'll be eternally free yes and eternally young"

And I just find the chorus so uplifting and inspiring:

"What a beautiful world this will be / What a glorious time to be free"


"Well Rested" by Kero Kero Bonito. This has more of an environmentalist / "Mother Earth" theme. But it also has a more general longtermist theme of perserverence and ensuring civilisation is "well rested" (which I interpret as being wise and resilient).  The final lines are especially powerful to me:

"We have survived a hundred apocalypses / Doomsday hasn't come yet / You cannot stop civilisation"

It's also just an epic song that gets me up dancing!

answer by Rowan_Stanley · 2020-11-29T09:48:44.789Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Also worth mentioning here, especially with the holidays coming up- Raymond Arnold's 'Secular Solstice' album. I particularly like 'Brighter than Today' and 'Five Billion Years'


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comment by Rowan_Stanley · 2020-11-29T09:54:12.375Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

There's a somewhat related discussion, including people's recommendations,  over on LessWrong: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/jyDTh9vnmczuNNxgt/rational-humanist-music [LW · GW]