From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 3:43 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Re: [msal-tech] Global Mind Link NOT totalitarian
>> His, point is that there are no interests of society
>> which are different from the interests of
>> individuals. There is no society at all without
>> individuals. I have often pointed out that society
>> is only a collection of individuals.
>### I wouldn't agree with the claim that the society >is just a collection of individuals anymore than say
> that my body is just a collection of cells.
Okay, so you don't agree. The analogy between individuals in society and cells in the body is just an analogy. It is nothing more
than that. It is not even a very good analogy in my opinion. But even if you think it is a great analogy, that does not mean that
what is true of the body is true of society.
> In fact, I could imagine changing my body as well as
> parts of my mind and still maintain my personal
So? Some people can move out of a city and others move in and the city could still be called a society. This supports your point,
but it does not contradict the point that Von Mises and I make that the relationship between individuals is fundamentally different
than the relationship between cells in the body. Do cells negotiate prices? Do cells pass laws? Do cells enter into contracts?
The analogy breaks down here.
>I could get rid of all my so selfish genes by
> uploading and continue my existence.
Uploading? I presume you mean storing your "personality" or "mind" in some sort of artificial means. If you ever discover a way to
do this, please let me know. It would be a major breakthrough. As you may know there is currently no technology anywhere in
existence which can do this.
> Similarly, a sufficiently developed human society
> could get rid of all its starting components,
> substituting for them minds designed to function and
> survive only within the society. Such specialized
> entities would not have their own, independent
> survival instincts and would be wholly and
> consciously devoted to the survival of the society.
Of course, the technology to do this does not exist either at the present time. But if you care to speculate on it, go ahead. If
it could be done, would the result be a society of human beings or one big organism which was really only a single individual?
> Just like the skin cells on my feet are not
> slaves of the neurons in my brain but rather co
>-workers in a common undertaking (putting their genes
> through to the next generation),
I hope you recognize that "co-workers in a common undertaking" is just an analogy. In my opinion it is not a very useful analogy.
Co-workers in a common undertaking are, in real life, individual thinking human beings who have their own motives and desires. It
is because they have their own goals that they can decide to work together when their own goals can best be served by cooperation
with others and vice versa. The cells in the body have no conscious goals, do not determine that they should work together to
achieve them and therefore we should not be surprised to find that the analogy to co-workers is not very accurate. You are right
that the analogy of masters and slaves is also highly inaccurate. In fact ANY analogy between cells in the body and thinking
individual human beings is bound to be misleading. Some folks seem mighty fond of the analogy anyway.
By the way, you might want to clarify what would happen to ordinary old fashioned "entities" such as the sort of human beings who
are walking around on Earth today if you or someone else were to somehow get the technology to start "designing" sub-human
"entities" to be like cells in a superorganism. Other people who have had similar ideas usually wanted to start with ordinary
people as their raw material. The crimes of such social engineers (mass murder of millions of people) were so vast that folks on
this planet are still a bit touchy on the subject. Please clarify whether you intend to leave old fashioned individuals to do their
own thing or some of us might become somewhat hostile.
>the minds making up the supersociety would not be the
>oppressed, externally controlled or deceived victims
>of a tyranny.
But would they be minds? Cells in the body are not. And if they are minds, would they be willing to accept the role you have in
mind? If they are somehow genetically or psychologically deprived of their independent will to survive (as you suggested earlier)
would they survive?
And if this whole wild scheme could succeed (which is in doubt) would it be a good thing? Or would it be a monstrous, inhuman evil?
You can be sure that creating a race of "entities" with no instinct for self-preservation, if it could even be done, would
inevitably result in the deaths of many of them. Why would this be a good thing? You talk as though these "entities" will be
intelligent yet currently the only source of intelligence is living human beings. Yes, there is research being done on artificial
intelligence but so far it has not succeeded. So in the meantime is there any way you could do this without trying to somehow
genetically or psychologically mess up a human child to have no instinct for preservation? And if you did that and the child died
because of it would you have done something wrong? Of course, a true "superorganism" would need many, many such children. I hope
the ethical issues are more obvious now.
> They would be supremely conscious of their situation
> and would be designed to be earnestly willing to
> perform their duties. At least I think so
>- I would find it hard to imagine that the only
>general intelligence you can build needs to have
> motivational mechanisms similar to ours, primarily
> focused on individual survival.
You find it hard to imagine. Consider this theory. Maybe you just lack sufficient imagination. If intelligence could exist
without being focused on individual survival, why has not such a thing evolved? Could it be that it's impossible? Could it be that
it is not as successful as the kind of intelligence we have? Or maybe it's just a matter of chance and such a thing will arise
By the way, does all this interest in a "supersociety" or "superorganism" stem from some dissatisfaction with your life as an
individual human being?
>We, humans are somewhat similar to slime molds (as
> mentioned on the site being referred to) because we
> can and usually are willing to survive outside of our
> initial cultural environments.
A disgusting analogy, but certainly less misleading and less inaccurate than the cells in a body analogy.
> The cells of our bodies are fully committed to the
> welfare of the whole body,
Committed? I think you might want to reconsider the definition of the word committed. It implies a conscious decision and will. I
suggest that cells in the body do not have any such thing.
>and, just think about how much more than slime molds
> can these cells achieve.
Here is where two bad analogies lead you to illogical conclusions. Just because slime mold sounds disgusting to us as human beings
and does not do any of the things that we as human beings find really laudable does not mean that we should want to be cells in a
body rather than whole human beings.
> As Anders mentioned earlier, the universe does not
> care about our wishes. It is possible that the
> transhuman form of consciousness best adapted to
> survive over long periods of time might be the
> supersociety rather than the society of free
> individuals as we know them.
True. It is also highly possible that a transhuman form of consciousness best adapted to long term surival might consist of free
thinking individuals. The history of the past several hundred million years indicates this is the most likely scenario.
> The supersociety is not morally superior and has no
> more of an idependent claim to existence than we or
> slime molds have but it could work so much better as
> to make us obsolete.
What evidence, if any, is there for this? My own studies of history, biology, evolution and anthropology lead me to suspect that
what you call a "supersociety" where individualism fades, would be fatally flawed and could never compete with individuals.
Probably not even with individual animals but definitely not with individuals of an intelligent species.
> If this is true, then only the cosmic equivalents of
> rotting logs would offer ecological niches for
> individualistic transhumans.
Perhaps, but IF your assumptions were true, outright extinction or evolution into a "supersociety" would be far more likely than any
form of survival. But are these ideas true? Would a collective "supersociety" where individuals are no more than cells in a body
be superior? Why on Earth would we think so? Yes, it is a thought which challenges our assumptions and makes us think. But having
thought about it and being entertained or elightened or horrified by the thought, let us consider whether there is any evidence at
all for this hypothesis. Of course we don't have enough evidence to be sure since the type of "supersociety" in question does not
exist for us to study. But even if we can't be sure it's impossible is there ANY evidence that it could exist AT ALL much less that
it would somehow prove superior to us?
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:16 MDT