Re: Random vs. Systematic Growth

Anders Sandberg (
Sun, 20 Jul 1997 22:43:42 +0200 (MET DST)

Sigh. It seems like I'm constantly frustrated by linguistic problems
of getting my point across in this debate. Well, labor improbus omnia

We grow as humans by our various experiences. Some experiences are
trivial and do not help much (e.g. making my bed this morning), some
are slightly useful (e.g. I just learnt the hard way never to put a
soft drink bottle in the fridge over a weekend), some are important
to us (e.g. driving with my brother I learned this weekend that I
actually *like* the northern swedish countryside) and some are truly
transforming experiences (e.g. understanding and proving my first
geometric theorem).

Most of these experiences occur more or less by chance - I certainly
didn't plan any of the above experiences except making my bed. Over
our lifetimes we accumulate experience and hopefully develop into
true humans (and transhumans); most of the truly well developed
people I know or have read of have lived long and eventful lives,
with both tragedies and triumphs.

I don't think it is possible or desirable to remove this accumulation
of experiences into personal growth, but it seems to me that at
present we have not attempted to support it. Some people (IMHO far
too few) seek out experiences since they know they will grow from
them (this was one of the reasons I started with ninjutsu), but we do
not yet have a "science/art of personal growth". This is what I want
to look into.

For example, I know I'm still fairly young and naive, and that my
view of the world is likely a bit unrealistically positive. While
I can intellectually understand this, it won't change my underlying
mental structures, personality and behavior much. Many people learn
this the hard way: personal disasters rob them of their naivity, and
their over-optimistic views are destroyed by traumatic events;
afterwards there is a complicated struggle to develop a more mature
mental model of the world, which many people fail (becoming depressed
or cynical). Is there really no better way than to experience painful
loss to develop a more mature worldview, a lesson which ought to be
among the earliest for a long lived transhuman? In what ways can we
make the personal growth and maturation process more efficient, less
painful and more transhuman?

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