Re: Conscious machines

From: Jason Joel Thompson (
Date: Wed Nov 22 2000 - 16:40:51 MST

Hi Steve.

Boy, you are a slippery one.

You're pretty good at "not being wrong," ain'tcha?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve" <>

> >I think you're reading too much into what I'm saying Steve. Let's try to
> >keep this simple.
> Assuming that everything is simple is a BIG mistake.

You're right Steve. So let's not assume that everything is simple. In
addition, at the other extreme, let us not practice the deliberate
obfuscation and/or avoidance of the issues by continual reference to the
unknowability of all things. Can we agree that even in the absence of
purely predictable/deterministic properties, we, as cognizant beings, can
proceed anyway, and musn't be paralyzed with indecision?

> The Jehovah's Witness' are averse to blood transfusions. JW Betty
> a blood transfusion to live. Facilities exist to undertake the procedure
> a timely fashion. In the absence of her ability to remove and/or
> "hack-around" (oh, just this one time,) her ideology, she will die.
> But the Jehova Witness is making a value judgement that some things
> come before life & death even, and the emotional attachment to this wish
> for/
> belief in an afterlife wins out. We might think they are wrong and
> but
> they think the same about your outlook.

Again, yes, there are intangibles, but that's not what I'm talking about.
Further, I'm not even saying that *I'm* the one who gets to decide what a
limiting ideology is.

To be achingly clear: all you're arguing here is that, for some reason,
that belief may NOT be limiting in this particular case. Fine. If you hold
that to be the case, then it's a bad example. The point remains: we should
try to remove the genuinely limiting ideologies.

Let me further refine my usage of the term limiting, lest you deliberately
mis-interpret my intention (whoops, too late.) The type of ideologies I'm
talking about removing are the ones that limit the individual from achieving
'good things.' (or increased utility, or however you want to define it.)
You choose to argue the minutiae, "oh no Jason, that's not a limiting
ideology for this and that such and such reasons." Fine. I agree the
consequences of actions and ideologies are debatable. The point remains: IF
an ideology limits an individual from increasing utility, THEN it should be
stripped away.

Read that sentence again, carefully.

I'm not interested in arguing the IFs with you-- clearly we disagree on that
point: (JW Betty may be happy with her beliefs, but if her and I are in
adjacent operating rooms, facing blood transfusions, only one of us is
walking home tomorrow. Joe's concern with being seen as someone who is
always hitting on girls is the limiting insecurity of someone who can't
approach people on a friendly level without constantly worrying about the
public perception. Theo's insistence on drinking poison kool-aid to join
his alien liberators is a major stumbling block to his apparent goal of
exploring the universe.)

> >Now, we can debate whether a particular belief structure is limiting or
> >advantageous, but if we -agree- that a particular belief structure is
> >limiting, wouldn't you also hold that striping away such an ideology is
> >benefit?
> Not every "belief structure" can be intellectualized as you wish.
> Empowerment may be more to do with physical energy level than
> beliefs ... for example, if I have been drinking at lunchtime or am
> I just can't be arsed to do much. No beliefs holding me back ...

I'm not talking about -every- belief structure Steve, as the paragraph above
states in brutal, nay, shocking clarity. Where do you get these
counter-arguments from? Why don't you just answer the question? I won't
hold it against you if you say yes. If fact, it might re-assure me that you
weren't simply being difficult (whoops, too late.)

> I do not see your oversimplistic view as having any merit.

Fair enough. You think things are complicated. Mostly, they are.
Situational and environmental modifiers rear their ugly heads. However, a
simple core truth remains, and I have personally reaped the benefits from
understanding it: Humans often hold arbitrary beliefs that are negatively
limiting. Humans should try to identify such beliefs and remove them (so as
to no longer be arbitrarily limited.) Your protestations against this
'oversimplistic view' are argumentative and unhelpful. The abstractions you
introduce to this discussion seem designed to preserve your authority over
the process of human therapy. You don't need to do that-- I surrender to
your authority regarding the frequent complexity of procedure.

-I- however have luckily (and in the absence of expert advice) achieved
whiz-bang results from the logical observation of my own limiting ideologies
and the subsequent removal thereof. Still a work in progress, I am pleased
to report that my level of personal empowerment is currently quite high.
I'm actually still quite in a state of amazement regarding the incredibly
good things that have happened to me in the last two years, wow--
particularly the last 2 months in fact. Again, there's no self-help
literature, no expert psycho-analysis and no12 step plan behind my progress.
For me, at least, it -was- simple Steve: observation of self, determination
to optimize. I would recommend this philosophy to list members if I wasn't
extremely cognizant of the fact that most have already adopted some version
of it. Determine to optimize!

> >Desirable ends: Removal of limiting belief structures.
> My limiting belief is that I am "mortal" and not superman which stops
> me leaping from tall buildings ... this limiting belief is ESSENTIAL.
> No need to strip anything way, just evaluate your actions/beliefs

If you *really* think this is what I meant by 'limiting', then I hope I have
addressed this above.

But, come on Steve. Please.

> > You -are- looking to re-invent
> >yourself as a posthuman entity, aren't you?
> No, have been post-human a very long time already.

What is a human? What is it about -you- that makes you "not-a-human?"

> I think we should undertake that goal in a spirit of compassion, as I've
> stated, but do not
> >shrink away from the brass ring! Do not believe yourself unworthy.
> Not a problem I have. I just don't altogether trust everyone else with it

Ah, I see. You don't trust other people who might empower themselves. Fair
enough. So what's your strategy then? Is it your intention to prevent
other individuals from embracing rational self-empowerment?

> >The ability to dissolve one's ego is -also- an expression of personal
> power.
> >This is a paradox/truth.
> Humility ... yes maybe what your Joe character was exhibiting?

Probably that's what he tell himself. Again -->
More likely its fear-- and the longer that Joe perpetuates this belief
structure, the less likely that he'll actually sit down and do something:
write his book, say hello to someone nice. If he's lucky, he'll get knocked
out of this negative attractor state by a major situational modifier.

On the other hand, if Joe is perfectly content to be alone and unpublished
(which I'll grant may be the case,) then, hey, more power to him.

> > No, aeons ago our ancestors' behavior was governed by sunlight
> > & the primal eye, whereas nowadays our E-1 brains have infinite-state
> > capability (self-organising) since they are no longer governed by the
> > organic (primal eye) external clock.
> >Gobbledegook.
> Hmmm ... obviously you haven't studied solid state physics or neural
> computation,


> sorry if I am so far over your head. I can reference you the papers if you
> are able to
> read big words.

I'm not able to read big words, so don't bother. I'm actually quite slow,
you know.

For instance, I'm totally incapable of recognizing how your above paragraph
invalidates (or even remotely addresses) my statement that: "Environments
have decreased relevancy to our existence if we don't actually get to
"mentally interface" with them."

In fact, to my painfully addled intellect, your above paragraph appears to
be an attempt at tangential obfuscation by authority-- and seems to
demonstrate an unwillingness to agree with (or engage) a relatively
innocuous statement.

Perhaps, in deference to my ignorance regarding "E-1 non-primal-eye
infinite-state self-organizing" brain theory, you could (in detail) explain
how said terms increase the relevancy of environments that we don't actually
get to mentally interface with.

> If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It is overzealous evangelisers that cause
> problems.
> If their "limiting beliefs" get the Amish or whoever thru
> life .. they aren't complaining ... it is your inflexibility/purism of
> thought
> that creates the problem here, not the poor Amish.

Dude! I'm not judging the Amish. Hey, I say: "Go Amish!" I -love- the

But, you'll grant (I hope, dear God, I hope) that if a particular Amish
wants to, oh... visit Mir for instance, he/she has some ideological hurdles
to overcome.

> We all live in trance!

Well, if we -all- live in trance, then so what? It's irrelevant if there is
no such thing as "NOT-trance."

> let me ask you a question ...
> I can use MVT to devise new types of hypnotic induction (mind control).
> Should I use these techniques to promote my own agenda or not?

Well, if you want to place the agenda of self-empowerment into an ethical
context (I touched on this briefly with my 'spirit of compassion'
statements,) then I'll have to state that I am pretty much a utilitarian.
As much utility as possible, for as many people as possible, for as long as

So, if you're asking, do I agree with ALL forms of personal empowerment, my
answer is a definitive no. I'm a big fan of lots of them, however.


::jason.joel.thompson:: ::founder::

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