Re: Beautiful Mind

From: Ken Clements (
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 21:28:35 MST

"E. Shaun Russell" wrote:

> This is just an opinion, but for what it's worth, I highly recommend the film.

I just saw it this afternoon, and found it deeply moving and thought provoking. It brought me hard up
against several questions that trouble me, and I suspect, will be serious for transhumanism. For
starters, there is the question of what makes a mind stable in the first place? As usual, if it were
not for the stories of the pathological cases, we would take far more for granted.

How do you control your own mind? If you start enhancing the power of your mind to show you new
things, you run the risk of not being able to stop it from doing so all the time. In order to get on
with life, I have to keep a damper on all the things I could think about. Upon walking out of the
theater, I turned that off for a short time and just let it rip.

Some video games have become so consuming to some players that the term "digital crack" has been
coined. What if your brain is enhanced to the point that you can gen up even greater dream worlds for
your total immersion. I have advocated the idea that after a sufficiently high level of intelligence
is reached, it becomes untestable because the subject would rather use the test for scratch paper for
his/her own musings. What if at a further level paper is superfluous, and the subject just goes into
that internal world and does not come out? The internal creations of a sufficiently enhanced mind may
be indistinguishable from reality (or what psychologists call consensus reality).

And who is in there generating these movies for you to watch? The question is strongly linked to the
identity questions we ponder on this list. If you have enough extra neurons (or nanomachine neuron
additions/replacements) doing nothing at the moment, a self propagating pattern of excitation may arise
on you and blurt out something like "Cogito ergo sum" sticking you with a moral dilemma over the
justification of getting rid of it (that is, if you can).

The best part for me was the basic idea that one might use the logical part of one's mind to work
around problems elsewhere. I will be thinking about this, and was very glad to learn the story of John
Nash (even if somewhat fictionalized) because it puts things in perspective. I am reminded of the old

    "I despaired of my poor shoes, until I met a man with no feet."


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:33 MST