Re: Yet another robot set free from its designer

From: Miriam English (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 18:23:21 MST

Wow! This is beautiful... poetic. I like very much.

It seems to me a nice reconciling of the conscious and non-conscious
meanings of "purpose" that have spoken of here lately. I had felt they were
totally different and was going to send a posting to that effect, but
luckily Jacques sent this lovely post before I could.

At 10:58 AM 30/01/2002, Jacques Du Pasquier wrote:

>I agree to this last point, but I am not sure that "moral reasonning"
>is really key to the psychological explanation for the Question.
>There is one simple point, which is that we were not meant, as
>individuals, to realize we are mortal, and to reflect about it.
>Animals seek what they are made to desire, and the stream of life (the
>genes' purpose) goes through them that way. When one animal, to which
>a strong sense of self has been given, realizes that he or she was
>designed as instrumental to this stream of life (he is not the end --
>in fact, though apparently *made to survive*, he is actualy *certain
>to die*), a strange situation results. (in which we spent all of our
>history so far)
>We were built for a well defined purpose (copying our genes), and
>autonomy was given to us, so to speak, for seconding that purpose more
>efficiently ; but too much autonomy it would seem, and too much
>cognition, as it has now led us to reflect on that purpose and take
>distance from it, and consequently to wonder what purpose we should
>That's the origin of the Question. Not the fact that we of all things
>seek to have purpose ("moral reasoning") ; but the fact that we used
>to act blindly according to a definite purpose, and by successive
>steps we woke up from this and ended up strangely free (but mortal).
>If you think of evolution (or the genes) as a conscious designer, you
>could say that he (or she) messed up, that he overlooked the
>consequences of his design, and lost control of some of his robots
>(humans). It's an old story told by many traditions (but in which the
>creator is either God -- think Satan -- or Man -- think Dr Frankenstein's
>creature --, not evolution), and it turns out that, with all the
>support of our scientific understanding, we now realize this is actually
>*our* story.
>The question is not really linked per se with consciousness of
>mortality ; but that's a huge hint (that we are instrumental), and
>that's why, though having no clue about evolution, humans started
>suspecting something long ago.

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Virtual Reality Association

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