Re: Thought love

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sun Jul 09 2000 - 19:33:05 MDT

>I was more interested in what kind of meme choices we are making egarding
>our own tastes and love interests. And what is programmed in by cultural
>memes, and what is our own. Not what's hardwired, that's just simply a dead

The fascinating question, the one that I have not yet seen a truly good
answer to, is: "How do we select our values?". We are entering the same
dilemma as the protagonist in Egan's _Reasons to be Cheerful_ - how do we
bootstrap a value system if we ignore the default settings? But if we don't
ignore them (rather hard anyway) we instead must select our values, our
tastes, based on other values we know are biased in complex and often
obscurely self-serving ways. We are, to use another Egan phrase, threading
water here. There is no solid support, just the diffuse buoyancy of
evolution, rationality, feedback from others. Learning how to select oneself
in this situation is hard, and it would be nice to get some heuristics.

One book I highly recommend is Robert J. Weber's _The Created Self_. i will
likely review it at length later, but his thoughts (partially borrowed from
William James) is that we use an 'unity system' to guide us when we create
ourselves. We seek coherence, closure, completeness, community etc, and when
we manage to combine them in a way that minimizes the conflicts, then we
feel balanced. Maybe the same approach could be used here, in selecting what
we consider beautiful?

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:34:19 MDT