Re: Extropianism & Theology
Fri, 5 Mar 1999 07:03:23 EST
Thank you for taking an interest in my theological musings. Allow me to
share some thoughts on your comments.
- The Nightmare Big Brother Power - If I am following you correctly, this
Big Brother takes charge and makes all the decisions for everyone else in
existence, using the "I know better than you" argument as justification (if
only to this being's self). A few questions come to mind. Is this being
truly flawless, with perfect knowledge of the right action in any instance?
And how would the being know that it IS truly flawless? What if one of the
flaws is in your ability to detect personal imperfection? If there were a way
to be absolutely certain that such a being were absolutely infallible (and
quite frankly, I can't conceive of such a method), than the optimal thing
might just be for it to do just that, although it could be that the act of
imposing the correct action on a conscious being may in itself be
intrinsically harmful, and thus the wrong action. If the Big Brother being
were aware of this, it would have to determine which was more harmful,
directing the action or letting the "puny" individual make mistakes. Of
course, our Big Brother could instead control our actions unbeknownst to us,
in which case we would have no independent existence at all and really be
parts of the mind of God under the illusion of division. Wow, we've just
rediscovered Hinduism! Of course, Big Brother might not be so arrogant. The
Big Bro might believe it knows all, but admit the possibility that this is a
mistaken belief. In which case, the Bio Brother God might decide to let us
"puny" ones make our own decisions, on the off chace that one of us discovers
something it doesn't know. Maybe it would only play dictator in the case of
decisions where based on his so far uncontradicted knowledge an absolutely
irrevocable harm will be committed...of course, if Big Brother is all
powerful, than there shouldn't be much that it couldn't see a way to fix if we
don't do it ourselves.
- A Power might not care at all if such beings were grateful or not, but be
aware that technically they should be based on the puny ones own standards of
gratitude. You also pointed out that a Power built on human value standards
would be quite likely to meddle - probably still is holding onto that pesky
- When you speak of nonhuman/inhuman Powers, do you mean, "not of human
origin" or "not humane"? This may be quibbling a bit on my part, but it
seems to me that if an alien Power developed from social antecedants, then it
might share some "humane" values, though by no means necessarily all, nor all
interpreted the same way. I think that there are certain strategies of
interaction that are likely to arise in any social being, and I have
difficulty imagining a solitary species achieving Power status. A Power
descended from a social species may have some capacity for empathy, and even
though us puny humans might be stretching the limits of its imagination, it
might just be able to recognize us as kindred in a sense. Then again, I could
be wrong. Well, I would accept noninterference from such a being so us "puny"
beings could work on our own Powers, which might be a little more friendly.
If this "inhuman" Power were to consider us a pest, than I guess I'll just
have to go out fighting (hey, no fair incinerating me before I have a chance
to shake my fist).
Again, thanks for the comments.