Re: Selfishness vs Altruism; an outdated dicotomy?
Wed, 17 Nov 1999 13:31:55 EST

In a message dated 99-11-17 02:09:34 EST, I believe Eliezar wrote:

<< Frankly, I'm leaning towards the idea that even human minds will still function better without a self-image. I mean, I have one or two ASIMs (ASIM: Alternate Self-Image) that I can use if I need a personality or something, but on the whole, the Universe is a cleaner, simpler place if you don't try to distinguish between the several modules composing your
"self" and the rest of the Universe. So, yes, both selfishness and
altruism are kind of missing the point - but the better way isn't a compromise between them; the better way is the truth - modelling the Universe without artificial distinctions between the quarks composing
"Eliezer" and all the other quarks.

It's just easier to think without all the artificial asymmetries. It's just easier to think when you're not trying to warp reality because of your emotional attachment to some particular outcome. Maybe that's what they call Zen - I wouldn't know, I don't have any formal training in Zen. It just sounds Zenny: Enlightenment is like sneezing, and the self is the snot.

            Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
 Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians Heading for Singularity There Is A Better Way </XMP> >>

For myself, I find that my self image developed very early and with little conscious direction, and have found it quite a useful part of my modeling of the universe. I often frame things in a very egocentric manner, not necessarily out of a sense of my own importance, but rather due to my intimate familiarity with all things Glen. By relating everything to myself, I have a quasi-stable common point of reference from which I can begin to explore the universe. Also, my self image has grown and developed over the years, becoming fuller and richer and deeply connected by associations to som much of life. Does this mean I see through "Glen"-colored glasses? Probably to a certain extent, but I have always had the capacity to imagine and empathize what other states than Glen-ness are like, so I can use that to check my perceptions (which I often do).

BTW, have you been using one of those ASIMs in your posts here? Because to me you've always seemed to have quite a strong sense of self in them. Or maybe I'm just projecting onto your blank canvas<g>.

Glen Finney