Re: Nietzsche (Was: Quoting Nietzsche)

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 21:39:03 MST

From: "Anders Sandberg" <>
> Well, I was merely using the term from James H. Austin's _Zen and the
> Brain_. I think he gives a fairly definite definition of it.

I like definite definitions, Anders...
What page is that on?

> Irrationalism doesn't mean that "strange stuff I can't explain
> happens", but rather "reason isn't enough". Which implies that the best
> way of reaching my goals (whatever they may be) is not to base my
> behavior on past and current experience and inductions from it, but on
> other factors not linked in any way to this. Somehow we are supposed to
> act better if we take information with no correlation to what we know
> or think into account.

James H. Austin comments on why reason is not enough:
"Have we learned anything about meditation? If so, it will not be from
applying EEG electrodes to the scalp, but from the deeper act of practicing
the meditative mode ourselves and infusing it into the present moment.
Finally, each day's practice starts to become life's meditation, by one life,
within all life." (page 697)
IOW, beyond reason, direct (empirical) experience of reality reveals that to
which meditation directs us.

> Finitude is finitude.

...and eternal recurrence is eternal recurrence.

> If the real character of transhumanism is just to theorize that
> transhumans are possible, then it is not in itself a very interesting
> movement. It is the application of this theory to improve human life,
> set practical agendas and guide further research that makes
> transhumanism better than (say) theorizing that angels exist.

Yes, and if the real character of anti-transhumanism is just to theorize that
transhumans are impossible, then it is even less interesting, and if
anti-transhumanism opposes eternal recurrence (and I think it does), then it
is wrong on both counts. The improvement of human life, setting practical
goals, and conducting research that promotes health and prosperity makes any
program or movement better than mere theorizing, and this includes
(indidentally) transhumanism.

> Transhumanism makes sense regardless of whether eternal return occurs
> or not.

Right, and eternal recurrence happens regardless of whether transhumanism
makes sense or not.

> BTW, note that if recurrence occurs and transhumanity is possible it is
> still not correct to deduce that transhumanity must have emerged
> somewhere sometime. It might be just an unrealized possiblity, cycle
> after cycle.

I don't think so, because given infinite time and space, everything that is
possible eventually and inevitably happens, otherwise (by definition) it can't
be a possibility. IOW, unrealized possibilities must eventually become real,
or they are not possibilities to begin with.

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI,
non-sensory experience, SETI

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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