RE: Socialism, Intelligence, and Posthumanity

Billy Brown (
Thu, 14 Jan 1999 10:49:39 -0600

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Interesting idea. I think rational thinking is something we have to
> learn, but that we have some built in facilities for learning just
> like we has a built in facility for learning languages. But you can
> train your rationality more or less.
> Sanity might be something similar. I would guess it is really composed
> by several components that synergize, like rationality, emotional
> maturity and good metaprograms.

IMO, there is a long list of unusual mental abilities that a hypothetical, perfectly sane being would possess. I've never met a human who had all of them, but some people certainly have more than others. A partial list:

  1. The basic ability of rational thinking. Its amazing how few people bother to develop this, or even see it as a worthwhile goal.
  2. A willingness to apply rational thought to _all_ topics, not just a select few.
  3. The ability to tell when you are lying to yourself, and to stop doing it. No one ever seems to be perfect at this, but some people are much better than others.
  4. A good mental immune system, again based on rational thought. If you have 2 and 3, you probably have this - although thinking of ideas as memes seems to make it much easier.
  5. Global change propagation. When new information overturns a long-established belief, the effects should propagate through the rest of your mind in a reasonable amount of time. This one sounds easy, but it is actually very difficult to make sure you don't retain distantly-related beliefs whose foundation has been undermined.

What else should be on the list?

Billy Brown, MCSE+I