Re: Goals

Anders Sandberg (
14 May 1999 16:29:52 +0200

jonwill <> writes:

> While no two humans are exactly the same, we are all of one race,
> the human race, and we all share the experience of life in an
> essentially identical carbon based life form structure. We all work
> for continuing survival while in this structure, and hope for a
> happy, safe, and good life for ourselves and loved ones. Therefore,
> everyone has a common desire for the best life attainable. Since
> visions of the best life attainable are as numerous as the number of
> people, the only universally acceptable definition would be, "the
> ability of each person to live as they desire". Humans could
> voluntarily coordinate their efforts to obtain that ability.

The problem here is that "the best life attainable" is something people disagree on, both due to different views on what it is and how it can be achieved. There are people who are completely convinced that the best way of achieve it is a socialist planned economy, and others who think that the best life attainable is comitting suicide to reach the higher energy state of the nice aliens. Between these extremes, there are still significant differences, many of which are due to values (do you value living close to nature over having technological progress?) - which cannot be resolved and must be accepted. In addition, these differences in value also make certain solutions problematic: there are many people who think it is ethically unacceptable with genetically modified organisms, even if they could help improve crops and farming.

> With the right knowledge all illness can be cured. With the right
> knowledge pollution can be eliminated. With the right knowledge all
> tangible and intangible human needs and desires can be
> fulfilled. With the right knowledge, any problem can be solved, and
> any desired result can be achieved. With the right knowledge
> everyone can have a high quality of life, a heaven on earth, a
> Utopia. Therefore, knowledge is the key to a better world. If
> humanity recognized this reality, and devoted more resources toward
> knowledge, we could accelerate the pace at which we reach a better
> world.

This is part of it. Knowledge gives us the base to act from, but we need to be able to interface our various views well too. Knowledge can help here too, but in the end I think we will find some irreducible differences in value.

> The three basic ways of interacting with knowledge, are: 1)
> dissemination from accessing stored information, through teaching,
> or from other methods of communication; 2) use through actions based
> on awareness of knowledge; and 3) acquisition of new knowledge from
> research, through experience, or from other avenues of
> discovery. Humanity has achieved proficient methods for
> dissemination of information and simply needs to better utilize the
> same in order to facilitate the use of knowledge. Yet, less than 2%
> of global productivity is devoted toward finding new knowledge
> (research and development). Clearly Humanity could and should be
> investing more in its future.

Definitely. But I wonder if we really have achived efficient methods of disseminating information and teaching knowledge.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y