I revised Jim Babcock’s Petrov Day ritual and used it for a small household ritual on Saturday. A link to the Google Doc with my ritual is here.

Major changes:

  • A much stronger focus on nuclear war throughout the text; AI risk, biorisk, and risk from nuclear war are name-checked near the end.
  • In line with the above, a “global coordination” candle replaces the “computation” candle.
  • Many factual errors fixed, including a complete rewrite of the section about World War II.
  • Preserving knowledge required redundancy. In 1439, during the European Renaissance, Gutenberg perfected a device to do just that” now appears twice (h/t Andrew Rettek)

Notes:

  • Jim Babcock’s version suggests using a menorah to hold the candles. Unfortunately, menorahs appear to be poorly designed for the amount of lighting candles, blowing them out, picking them up, and putting them back that the ritual calls for. Your Jewish friends will also complain a lot that it is not Hanukkah. I do not recommend doing this.
  • I unfortunately found out after the rewrite that the Black Plague may not have slowed the progress of humanity and, in fact, may have improved it by increasing the bargaining power of peasants. I would suggest that future ritual users either cut that section entirely or replace it with a less ambiguous case such as the Fall of Rome.
  • I’d suggest handing out the list of questions ahead of time so that no one pauses the ritual for two minutes while they try to think if they know of any older relatives.
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