Re: Sociopaths (was Re: Reforming Education)
Mon, 11 Oct 1999 03:36:17 EDT

In a message dated 10/10/99 10:18:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

> > In a message dated 10/10/99 7:21:57 PM Pacific Daylight Time,

> > writes:
> >
> >
> > ...are you going to argue that an intrinsic value should be associated
> > with human life? if so, im really curious about how you would do so.
> The issue I would like to focus on is why many of us believe that
> life, human or otherwise, is valuable and how it came to pass that
> someone can be a member of a group and regard all other members
> ("human lives") as devoid of the value you attribute to yourself?

im not sure if i grok you here, because it seems to me like your asking two questions, yet you say "issue", in the singular... correct me if im wrong, but i hear you asking "why do people think of life as valuable?", and "how can groups function if the members of the group value themselves and their individual goals above the group and the group goals, and the other members, and their goals?"

for the first question, wouldnt evolution favor vectors that optimized humans for tribal cohesiveness? wouldnt a reflexive attribution of value to the lives of (and accompanying aversion to the suffering of) ones fellow tribesmen greatly enhance tribal cohesiveness? i thought the necassity of the urge to preserve that-which-is-similar-to-oneself was a standard example used in introductions to evolutionary psychology...

and for the second one, as long as the individual goals coincide with the group goals, the group gets along pretty well, right? when they dont, some very great schisms are produced... i view groups as functions of individuals and their goals (maybe im being too reductionist here; if anyone can mu at me, fire away). pardon my punkassness in saying this (and maybe im just being stereotypical; aint labeling theory great?), but these conclusions seem quite straightforward and intuitive to me.

> Do you really believe a life as a "transhistorical, augmented and
> superior being" lived in "splendid isolation" would be worth the
> effort?

i dont know, but i do intend to try it for a while, if i can. ill meet ya on the far edge, but itll be a long trip over; ill have plenty of time to try the splendid isolation thing... but, i must say, the prospect an existance of coevolving and self-editing with such intellects as those on this list is very appealing... and i dont think thats just my vestigial hardwiring talking. i would probably benefit greatly from interaction, in whatever metastable attractor i end up in, as i do now.

> [do you really believe] That now, as you are, your have
> no need to socialize for its own sake, that your relationship
> with others is entirely manipulative and exploitative in order
> to meet you uniquely valuable needs?

i think social activity is not only useful, but necassary, given my current, well, form. such are the idiosyncrasies of my hardwiring... but i intend to take this reflex and make it a switch.

> If you, Sayke, have no "intrinsic value" this does not prevent you
> considering your goals, hopes and intentions as having some sort
> of unique extrinsic value.

naaaa, my intrinsic nature is to be a point of view that interacts with what it views (and in many cases is incapable of discerning the difference between figure, ground, and self (this too needs to be fixed)). i think, therefore i am, therefore i am that which is subjectivly/intrinsicly valuable. significance is an observer-depandent property, and i am an observer. i do not pretend to attribute objective/extrinsic value to myself, my goals, my hopes, or my intentions. its all subjective/intrinsic, and perfectly rational, i think. i expect others to attribute subjective/intrinsic value to themselves and their priorities, as well.

here there be funky truth-by-definition recursion.

> You were born with the conviction that
> only what you wanted was worth attention, and utterly shocked
> to find that your parents had needs too and and could not reliably
> provide immediate gratification. In fact, they even expected you
> to tolerate unpleasant bladder pressure so you would not urinate
> on the living room rug?

the neural net i am a function of needed training in order to reach the level of recursively-analytical self-awareness that i now posses. my parents were programmed to train my network, as i am programmed to train progeny of my own. my life is an attempt to override my programming.

> I've never understood the moral philsophy of "Solipsism", so your
> motivation and attitude remain a mystery to me. This post is
> in no way critical -- it is driven by an intense curiosity about
> the issues you raise in relation to Extropianism.

thank you for being uncritical and candid and stuff... and please understand that my motives are similar to yours when i say that ive never understood the moral philosophy of "collectivism", and so your apparent motivations and attitudes remain a mystery to me.

> Is it really true
> that all of us, despite our denials and rationalizations, are
> egoists engaged in an EXCLUSIVE and ruthless search for
> self-aggrandizement?

i would argue that are we programmed to be engaged in a ruthless search for reproduction-aggrandizement... but i dont think its nearly exclusive. evolution fucked up when it made me. one strand of the circle of life breaks here, and becomes a line.

> Regards,
> Bob

sayke, v2.3.05