His essential claim is that there is no great gulf between nonliving, unconscious gizmos like computers and light switches, on the one hand, and the human brain, on the other. Our strong feeling that there’s something special and inexplicable about consciousness is largely an illusion. It will fade as science advances, like the illusion that the Earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around us. Biologists used to believe that living things are made of some special material, some elan vital that sets us apart from the stuff of rocks and minerals. Now that we know about DNA, we no longer need an elan vital. Someday we won’t need consciousness either. There’s no metaphysical difference between your body and your mind, or between your laptop and your necktop, so to speak.
We think that our emotions are life. When in fact, they may be just a very pleasurable part of life as a human. Don't confuse the two.
“life is a trap for logicians; it looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is. Its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait.”
Russell’s paradox is often explained using the tale of the meticulous librarian. One day, while wandering between the shelves, the librarian discovers a collection of catalogues. There are separate catalogues for novels, reference, poetry, and so on. The librarian notices that some of the catalogues list themselves, while others do not.
In order to simplify the system the librarian makes two more catalogues, one of which lists all the catalogues which do list themselves and, more interestingly, one which lists all the catalogues which do not list themselves. Upon completing the task the librarian has a problem: should the catalogue which lists all the catalogues which do not list themselves, be listed in itself? If it is listed, then by definition, it should not be listed. However, if it is not listed, then by definition it should be listed. The librarian is in a no-win situation.
A More Useful Way
"How do we know when we've switched dimensions?"
"Wrong way of looking at it. You don't switch dimensions. We're all in one sea of possibilities, there is no flow of time, there is no motion, those are only feelings, sensations. You could say illusions, but that makes them seem less real, they are very real indeed, it just depends on your perspective.
From another, larger perspective, nothing is moving, all that is happening is information is being processed. If you process information in one way, it feels like motion, it feels like time, if you process it another way, it doesn't."
"Are we living in a computer simulation then?"
"Hah. Wrong metaphor again, but an easy mistake to make. We always want to describe things in terms of other things we know. Sure, there are some parallels to a computer simulation, but remember, a computer is a very, very rudimentary information processing machine. Just because its the best thing we have available to us, certainly doesn't mean its the best at doing that. Its just a crude tool. In the same way that punch cards seem so simplistic to us now, so these machines will be laughable in the future. Beyond that though we can't even comprehend of the scale of how information can be processed and manipulated in realms we don't have access to.
So sorry, short answer, yes and no. It feels like a simulation, but I would argue that's not a useful way of looking at it. I'd start with, "things are not as they seem" and see where that gets you.
So without a background in nanotechnology—or whatever other subject you might be reading about—an emotionally charged comment is going to trigger your brain to act far before a logical explanation of how something works. And emotionally charged comments are a troll’s weapon of choice.
This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.
It's not that I 'went to the other side', it's more that I stepped outside of the illusion for a moment.
Last night I dreamed I saw an old, crazy looking woman sitting on a chair, almost like a judge. As I stared into her eyes, I became more awake in the dream. Her eyes were a deep blue. I kept being drawn in until I awoke.
Extractive states are controlled by ruling elites whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society. Inclusive states give everyone access to economic opportunity; often, greater inclusiveness creates more prosperity, which creates an incentive for ever greater inclusiveness.
The Finite Watch
The simple answer, that we so pine for, is that all conscious states emanate from some finite combination of physical states of the brain. That everything any human being could ever feel, because 'feeling' really is at the root of everything we do, will be able to be traced back to a specific combination of physical things. Switches, synapses, chemicals, whatever it is, will have figured out the code and be able to replicate the code. Because we know that, with exponentially increasing computation power, in the not so distant future, we'll be able to get our arms around any code, assuming it is finite.
This of course makes one huge assumption, and that is that the code is in our brain. This idea is so easy to understand and fits so easily into our current, mainstream knowledge base, that its hard to imagine any other answer. Which of course is one of the signature traits of our current, mainstream culture, a complete and utter lack of imagination. We can't imagine that there are things we don't know and therefore we refuse to build models based on things we don't know, we only build models on what we do know.
And particularly when you're human, you are more likely to die in the late morning -- around 11 a.m., specifically -- than at any other time during the day.
Eric Twelker is the owner of The Meteorite Market, an online meteorite retailer. While working full-time as a lawyer, Twelker founded the company in 1995 to make some money on the side; it’s now a full-time business, which he runs with his wife out of Juneau, Alaska.
What's my place in it all? #questionsevenmymomcantanswer
The Common Vision
The common vision is that we keep iterating over the problem until we get it right. Until we solve the puzzle. Until we know the 'one rule to rule them all'. Until we figure out how the whole system works. Which is interesting, because no one told us to do this, its seems baked into the architecture. Which one then might ask, why? Are we actually small programs designed to keep working on the problem, the BIG problem, until we figure it out? That would be a shocker, but would make total sense.
Breaking Habits Hurts
Of the many weakness of the 'human system', one is that breaking habits is hard to do. It physically hurts. So once a unhealthy habit is in place, even if it is causing harm to the individual, its still very difficult to change. Which, in a culture that is built to benefit from bad habits, leads problems.
Fan death is a widely held belief in South Korea that an electric fan left running overnight in a closed room can cause the death of those sleeping inside. All fans sold in South Korea come with an automatic timer that turns the fan off after a certain number of minutes. Scientific consensus holds that fan death is a myth.
A group of parents is bent out of shape by free yoga classes at schools in this San Diego County beachside community, fearing they are indoctrinating youngsters in eastern religion.