Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Thu Mar 15 2001 - 14:31:29 MST

Hmmm, I think the Blue people have messed up again
  (or it could be just be flakey software...)

This message:

Ostensibly from:
> From: Robert Coyote (
> Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 13:31:59 MST

Seems signed by Nick:
> (A bizarre thought, admittedly, but I was thinking of including it in a
> footnote in the next version.)
> Nick Bostrom
> Department of Philosophy

Perhaps it is a mis-quote of previous messages.

> How do you know that there is suffering?
I have to agree with Robert [Nick?] here. I think that Brent's position
may be related to his interest in qualia. Perhaps Brent expereiences
these "emotions" to a greater extent than others do. This might even
be genetic (as some women can effectivly get 4-color vision while
the men usually get stuck with 3-color vision or sometimes only
2-color vision).

In any case, I will hold up the process or state of "enlightenment"
to back up the question being posed. In my experience of enlightenment,
my perspective shifted from "being" the emotions or feelings to
"having" the emotions or feelings. That is a subtle but important
difference because it allows you to make a "choice" about how
one wishes to perceive those emotions or feelings (at least on a
good day). Now, the example of sticking a needle in ones finger
is good because you have neurons there and those neurons are designed
to make you feel pain and react. These are an important part
of the nervous system of higher species that provide a survival
benefit. Now, you can "perceive" those pain impulses as "pain"
and "suffering" or you can perceive them simply as a sharp piece
of metal being inserted into your finger. Unfortunately most of
humanity isn't very good at reducing physiological sensations
to abstract statements about reality. { Pointers to an exception
I can think of are attached... } (I would cite for example
sword swallowers as examples of individuals who learn to reject
the standard responses the body evolved to produce.)

So it could be quite interesting to consider that the purpose
of the simulation is to allow us to evolve to the point where
everyone agrees that the interpretation of a perception (qualia?)
as "pain" and "suffering" is a choice that all people may
or may not make. If that is the case then we all eventually
get to the point in which the running of amoral simulations
(in which the actors are making choices to experience their
perceptions as "pain" or "suffering" is quite a natural thing to do).

Ultimately allowing "free will", means that you must allow the
simulated entities to experience pain and suffering in "life".
Doing otherwise would be removing their choice in the matter
thus denying them the opportunity to develop to the realization
that they really do have a choice about how they experience "reality".


Some people clearly do have the ability to endure great suffering,

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