[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 488: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 4762: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3897)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 4764: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3897)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 4765: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3897)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 4766: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3897)
RTP Discussions • View topic - The Switch

The Switch

Discussion of the article "Conversation With God"

The Switch

Postby ChaoticGood » Sun May 31, 2015 2:27 pm

Good Day All,

I just joined the forum, thanks for such an awesome welcome. I recently came upon the article "Talking to God"

and a particular part of the article which stated: "Each and every individual in such a species must eventually become capable of destroying their entire species at any time."

I wanted to know if anyone had any thoughts on what changes would be required for society in its current form to survive the "switch" <term I used to describe a technology or ability for everyone to have the capability to wipe out the whole species>

I have come up with a list of broad categories, although I seem to be stumbling a bit on my list and if someone can envision this kind of capability I feel we should be able to come up with a reasonable list of changes needed to survive it.

My initial goal was only for 10 "bad" things and 10 "good" things

So far I have 5 good or positive things and 1 potential and bad thing that might not even happen

I will be happy to share my list so far as well if asked. Although I didn't want to give you a bias where having my list might influence your own thought process.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

Regards
ChaoticGood
ChaoticGood
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 12:44 pm

Re: The Switch

Postby HarryStottle » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:10 pm

HarryStottle
Site Admin
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 4:01 pm

Re: The Switch

Postby ChaoticGood » Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:24 pm

Thank you Harry for the warm welcome.

The switch will, for instance, be advanced technology made part of every human being that allows any one individual to kill the entire human population with a single thought. People will be able to do this without authorisation/go ahead from anyone else and in this scenario it will be compulsory for everyone to have the switch.

So the question is, what would have to be in place (or what about the current state of the world will have to change) to keep people from deciding to pull the plug as soon as the switch is in place. Also what effects will the switch have on the world’s societies (both positive and negative)?

You hinted on the direction we were analysing when you mentioned this step in our future development in the article:

"When you've mastered the relevant technology, it will eliminate material inequalities and poverty within a generation or two, an absolutely vital step for any maturing species."

So inequalities and poverty would have to no longer exist in order to succeed past "the switch" but what else would we require as I feel that getting rid of poverty would be one of many requirements. <This is the list I have been working on>

To address some of the issues you raised:

I didnt ask the question "what kind of algorithm could make it possible for any member of a species to render their species extinct?" because I saw this as a technology query that I feel is yet to be developed and to a limited degree we are close to this scenario. Today, the US/Russian president, even the people in power in India/Pakistan and several European countries could in principal start a nuclear war and with the right distribution of nuclear weapons over the planet, these leaders could feasibly wipe us out without too much effort. Let alone anti-matter weapons/biological weapons etc all in the foreseeable future <next 50 to 100 years> that a handful of people would be able to unleash onto humanity.

I also hesitate to encourage people to try to envision a device such as this, because when something gets envisioned generally the next step is a prototype.

For this scenario I envisioned an advanced species, although not totally digital as you mention, but rather augmented by technology with a level of connectivity and capability far exceeding our own. Imagine if we were all digitally connected to each other and the switch required a simple thought by any one individual to pull the "digital switch".

I also wanted to add an additional thought on Fermi's Paradox, and that such a "switch" could possibly be part of the solution to this riddle and could itself act as a great filter. In part answering the question of why intelligent life appears to be so hard to find. I say this with the thought not so much that it would instantly wipe out an intelligent species, but that maybe a few generations of foresight and preparation <something we dont currently possess on this type of scale> would be required to adequately equip us for such a "switch device"if we were to survive past the first few seconds of it being switched on.

As for the immortality/Omortality question I assumed our lifespans were greatly enhanced to the hundreds if not thousands of years. But not totally immortal and we could still die through various means for example a meteorite strikes a city or there is an accident on a spacecraft etc.

Looking forward to the ongoing discussion, I also wanted to thank you for your time and say you raised many interesting points in your reply and I fear it will take a while for me to wrap my head around a few of these concepts.

I hope the above makes the "switch" and the circumstances surrounding it a bit clearer

Regards
ChaoticGood
ChaoticGood
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 12:44 pm

Re: The Switch

Postby HarryStottle » Sat Jun 06, 2015 3:28 pm

aha, you have a much harder line on the "Switch" than I ever envisaged.

I imagined that it would be an unintended effect of some future knowledge: a bit analogous to our communal belief in fiat money today. If everyone on the planet suddenly stopped believing in fiat money, the global economy (or at least its debt based power structure) would come crashing down. I had in mind the possibility that we might, for instance, learn something fundamental about quantum mechanics that makes the observer effect even more extreme than we are learning in . Such as the need for "consensus" among the observers to "fix" the reality. If one observer breaks the consensus, it breaks our reality and we all vanish in a puff of probability.

Your vision is more similar to a fantasy I shared during the cold war, in which, to end all wars, I had the notion that we should equip EVERY nation state with a small number of viable nuclear weapons on the grounds that no one would be insane enough to use them, or to risk invading a neighbour for fear they might they might use them in retaliation. I figured that even if you had the occasional insane leader who thought they might get away with a pre-emptive strike, their underlings would ensure they were strait-jacketed or assassinated out of harms way should they show signs of moving in that direction.

I surrendered that fantasy when started looking like more than a flash in the pan. These imbeciles aren't deterred by the threat of personal or even species extinction because they've bought into the ludicrous fantasy that our Earthbound lives are even more illusory than quantum mechanics suggests and that the "real world" is the Jammat/Heaven that their deity has promised. It also became clear that they have a lot in common with the Xtian "End Timers".

So part of my answer is that there are zero circumstances in which I would actually distribute the kill Switch deliberately. But I can still accept that we might find ourselves holding one anyway. As to what would have to be in place before we could survive the existence of such a Switch, I'd have to say that the complete absence of irrational epistemologies, particularly those based on religion, would be a good start. We'd have to know that everybody fully understood, in a raw scientific manner, the exact consequences of the Switch and that they weren't even capable of masking that understanding beneath a veneer of religious belief or any other psychological delusion which might make using the Switch somehow less of a threat than it really would be.

We'd have to have a similar assurance that every member of our species was as emotionally and psychologically stable as, for example, Star Trek's Vulcans strove to become. We'd have to have some kind of agreement, backed up by plausible and - somehow - unbreakable promises, that if anyone was contemplating throwing the Switch, they would at least discuss it with the rest of us before proceeding. In short, I don't foresee the current human race being capable of such self-control. Only a species evolved beyond ours might be capable of living with such dangerous knowledge.

I like your connection between the Switch and . Viz, one explains the other. All the intelligent species evaporate on reaching the level of knowledge represented by the Switch and that's why we haven't yet met any other intelligent extra-solar species. If I was at all concerned by Fermi's Paradox, I might even buy that as its best explanation to date. However, I've never been impressed with the Fermi argument.

It rests on a number of unreasonable and untested assumptions; such as the high probability of Earth-like planets forming around Sun-like stars. Since Fermi's time we've actually started detecting planets around other stars and while it's becoming obvious that planets are common and numerous, it's also looking like Earth-like planets appearing in the "" required to sustain life (as we anticipate it) are exceptionally rare.

A particular unreasonable assumption is that a species advanced and intelligent enough to be capable of the kind of interstellar travel which might eventually bring them into proximity with ourselves would also be stupid enough to make contact with us in our current state. I deal with this, in some detail, in my .

The third and final unreasonable assumption is that, even if there were a dozen or so species roaming the galaxy looking for up and coming potential partners, that we have been detectable for long enough for them to have noticed. Unless they were already here, the only way they're ever going to notice us is by virtue of some of the noises we make in the form of radio transmissions and the occasional big bang. But we've only been broadcasting the kind of signals which might be picked up by alien observers for the past century or so, which means that nothing more than a hundred light years away has any hope of knowing that we exist. And a hundred light years and a century don't even constitute a drop in the galactic bucket!
HarryStottle
Site Admin
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 4:01 pm

Re: The Switch

Postby ChaoticGood » Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:57 pm

Hi all, the list I have so far can be read below

Hi Harry, I want to start by saying that your view is interesting, I would say maybe even more than my own views and opinions, I haven't been doing this as long as you so I'm sort of new to this way of thinking. The totally digital species, the idea of deadly knowledge, your view that under no circumstances could we survive under these "set up" conditions. I think, once I give up on this list, my next goal would be to write a list for an immortal species that had the kind of knowledge that you foresee. Although from our perspective today I fear that is an even tougher challenge to face than the one I put forward.

My thought process was simple, if everyone knew the switch was coming in 10 years or 100 years and we had a sufficient communication network to ask every human on earth to make a list of what they would require <realising as well that a lot of people dont know what they want or need> to not pull the switch before it was activated and we managed to meet all their criteria. What would this list look like:

1. Equality - being fair to each other, basically making the whole of societies way of thinking about "me vs. them" change. This includes how we treat each other. How we look after the sick/dying. The support structures we put in place for people who are going through difficult times. I spoke to a someone who's mother has alzheimers and he was against all change in society because he felt that his mother should of been dead 5 years ago but we keep her alive with machines, it might be an extreme view i.e. no more progress, but even he has a switch and therefore his opinion must be taken seriously and his mental as well as economic and social needs need to be taken into consideration. I stated if we had millions of people working on a cure for alzheimers and a way to reverse the effects and his mom had the best medical care possible and he had a whole emotional support structure behind him, would he still feel the need to say "No change is good change". I need to emphasize this "treating others fairly" also drastically changes the way we handle all human interactions including relationships and sex.

The equality category sprout out of the realisation that there is a lot of poverty, discrimination, unfairness in the world and people who experience this or perceive to be experiencing this could use that as a reason to act on switch pulling urges (SPU's). As a way of eliminating this reason there would have to be an absolute equality amongst all population groups in the world in every area of a persons life, equal opportunity for all, equal access to education, job opportunities, equal opportunities to speak your mind and be heard, zero discrimination, etc.

However inequality is not always because of human intervention. Some inequality exists due to things outside of human control (e.g. Natural disasters) which lead to negative experiences and negative emotions which might lead to SPUs. Also realise accidents can happen, maybe a meteorite lands on a nearby city and kills a womans son, it wasnt anyone fault <no violence - point number 2> but she still might become depressed or angry enough to pull the switch and we would be totally relying on the emotional and psychological support structures to make sure the mother has everything that she needs to not make the decision to pull the switch.

Everyone would also have the right to follow their passions and dreams and society from the ground up would be build to support these desires and goals. Thus many of the jobs currently in existence would have to disappear or be replaced in order for everyone to follow their passions, we would probably end up with a lot of artists, but maybe a lot more people would want to be doctors and teachers, or work with their hands etc. <This would also interlink well with point number 4 - production and the way we produce goods and services> 500 years of painting pictures or surfing or playing computer games might get really boring and people in my opinion would become very clear minded and focused on their passions.

Switzerland is looking to implement a basic income for all policy to try encourage its citizens to really pursue their passions as opposed to worrying about money for rent/food etc.

http://www.exposingtruth.com/swiss-to-p ... e-for-all/

Or imagine 20 years maternity/paternity leave for a Mother/Father. it might seem like a lot today, but watching a child grow up will be important and 20 years relative to 500 years <expected lifespan at this point> is a small sacrifice for that amount of focus on raising children.

Being raised differently I feel would also play a big part in what we consider a passion or a dream. A lot of people today do not think being a scientist is a excellent career path, but being raised with it and not facing the prospect of a limited salary etc in that position might drastically change our view of many careers society currently admires such as lawyers/actors/sports professionals etc etc

The other side of Equality is how we distribute goods - I am not advocating a socialist or communist view "everybody gets 5 potatoes" Im talking about real psychological fairness i.e. one person might prefer a bmw another might want a mercedes another man in china might be perfectly happy with a bicycle. I think a lot of people will want a lot less knowing that at a moments notice they can get anything they want. Take Bill Gates or Warren Buffet who live reasonable simply lives because its enough knowing that they can go out and get their own submarine if they wanted to. I also want to note here, that there are certain resources that cannot be "limitless", such as land <at least on earth> and it would probably change the way we view ownership completely. Because again we simply cannot distribute these things in any sort of fair way and attempting to do it and failing could result in death so we wouldnt try and we would learn to live without ownership in the traditional sense, at least when it comes to these types of limited resources.

Deliberate Segregation - Humanity has a long history of segregation and if the technology for the switch existed. I would assume there could potentially be ways to divide humanity. for example there might be a way to test at birth or pre-birth for their tendency to be submissive or dominant (Even if its determined on a 20% genetic + 80% conditioning) it might be enough for a split to occur and even if these people had switches they might be brainwashed/ conditioned that they have no right to use the switch and thats just the way things are.

Im not saying these people would be banished to a life of slavery and abuse, Im saying they might get 2nd rate medical care or a new car only once a year or a new cellphone only every 3 months instead of whenever they want, or they live in average/below average accommodation or maybe they only have limited choices on their career paths.(Just using examples, most people would relate to today) But with enough conditioning and segregation I feel it has a possibility to occur.

2. No more violence towards anyone or anything with a switch - A stop to all violence (Both legal e.g. wars as well as illegal (crime, bullying, angry outbursts, rape, verbal abuse, social abuse, racism, etc ) Even attempting to manipulate someone in a "nice" way, carries the risk that it would build up tension and eventually that person being pushed around might decide to strike back by pulling the switch

People would think twice before acting on their rage, jealousy or any other negative emotion experienced in order to not agitate those around them into pulling the switch. Also everyone will be included to take care of each other and therefore there should be very few incidents of someone going through negative experiences that would lead to SPU's and even when they do go through such experiences, the necessary support systems would be in place to assist that person and help them cope (These systems would already be in place and we would make sure their maintained as to avoid people from using the switch)

3. Violence towards inanimate objects and animals <Anything without a switch> - Not being able to act on violent urges due to fear of pushing someone over the edge and into a state of mind where they might use the switch, could result in a build up of frustration which would lead to violence against the only things that cannot pull the switch - animals and inanimate objects (kick that door in/ shoot that dog/drown those kittens etc etc)

Alien life - If we came across Aliens/Intelligent Aliens we might also be violent towards them as they would not have any switches either and thus it would be an additional way for us to express our more primal violent urges.

This is the only negative on my list and I feel its also the weakest point and it would most likely be temporary as some people with the switch might say they will pull the switch if the violence towards animals/inanimate objects/aliens continues. But it meets the criteria that it wouldn't be absolutely necessary to have it from the very beginning.

Some people are inherently violent and they might decide to express these tendencies by lashing out at things including animals and inanimate objects that don't have a switch.

4. Production - The whole way we produce goods and services would need to change to meet the needs of society in a rapid and fluid way with an extreme amount of flexibility build into the system. So if everybody wanted an apple they could all get them and if half wanted apples and half wanted bananas or everyone wanted the usual fruit and 1 guy wanted a Jabuticaba <yes, its a real fruit> then the production system would need to accommodate for this. It would also need to be very focused on recycling and products themselves would need to change with the strategy being long lasting and well build items that meet the needs of everyone who has a requirement, while still making sure everyone has the latest screens, best cameras etc if they desire it

This is an indirect result of (or extension of) the attempt by society to create equality. In order to have a world where everyone can have what they want when they want it (access to everything you may ever want or need) We would have to change our ways of producing and providing goods and services in order to fullfil everyones needs/wants. However what we need and want will also change as our lives would be focused on making sure everyone is taken care of

Knowing that you can get a mercedes benz or a fancy private jet whenever you want would be enough and most people simply wouldnt go out and get these things. We would quickly learn what we really value and what is really important to us and most other things would become a lot less important when they loose their value as status symbols, knowing we are all equal.

Also I feel there would be a huge benefit to societal progress, if even one person wanted to build a deathstar or spaceship or go to mars or further <it wouldnt be a political debate on why we should do it, we would simply dig in and look at how to get it done and start working on it> This approach would I feel drastically change the speed at which a society moves and develops.

Distribution and marketing <which might be looked at as a form of coercion and therefore frowned upon would most likely be completely stopped or it would drastically change to make sure humanities real needs are met on all levels>

5. Institutions - From Religious to Political to Economic to Social to Military "Basically anything that tells anyone how or why they should live their life, from gay and lesbian to abortions to anything that 1 individual or group perceives as wrong, but they will no longer be able to express through coercion or force to make another group go along with their ideals. I'm not saying they will completely disappear <perhaps money and economics would or certain aspects of the military would> but they would all need to drastically change in order for us as a species to live. Even Nations would need to most likely disappear <part of politics> since its an institution that automatically includes and excludes people. Anything that has any unfairness or bias would likely not be around in order for us to survive the switch.

I also wanted to add that our Military Institutions even though they would drastically change, they might still exist and develop specifically for "unknown dangers". Other species might even steer clear of us for this reason. But again this is something that might not occur because a group within humanity might argue its unnecessary and we would have to listen to their views and opinions because they would have a switch.

6. Nature - The way we treat nature would most likely change drastically because now advocates of protecting nature in all its forms becomes vitally important <they pull switch if you shoot that rhino or run over someone's dog> This might be expressed in an extreme manner, they might say we have to live in a place away from any location where we can spoil nature < underground or in space> or they might take a more balancing view and say something along the lines of lets protect and make sure we interfere as little as possible in what is left, so the parks etc that currently exist need to be protected with no more human encroachment on nature anywhere on earth. Either way I felt it was a big enough of a change to have its own separate category. The possibility that "everyone needs to move underground or in space to not disturb nature" makes it a huge factor in the way we would need to change in order to survive the switch.

7. Communication - Speaking and body language in its current form in highly inefficient and allows for large miscommunication's especially across different languages, to survive beyond the switch these "misunderstandings" would have to be either minimized or non-existent and thus we would have to develop a form of communication that allows us to express feelings, ideas and emotions in a much more clearer way than we currently do. In this world any miscommunication could be fatal.

We are already looking at various options ranging from a wearable jacket https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c1lqFXHvqI to a device to monitor and interpret a heartbeat, which could give a lot of detail on a persons state of mind and how they are feeling.
ChaoticGood
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 12:44 pm

Re: The Switch

Postby HarryStottle » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:39 pm

I've finally grokked what you're asking and why.

You're addressing the question: what would it take to ensure that no (switch equipped) human was ever likely to want to throw the switch. The point of the question is to examine whether, if only we can somehow make the changes necessary, that we could achieve a world in which no one would ever be motivated to trigger our extinction.

Have to say, I think you're a lot more optimistic than I am about the prospects for such a batch of necessary "consensi" (what IS the plural of Consensus?)

With almost the first word on your list, I would argue that you've answered your own question. "Equality"

I challenge you to find 7 people to agree on its definition and ethical implications. Then tell me how we're going to scale that debate up to 7 billion.

That, I think, illustrates the scale of the problem we're up against.

It is a familiar problem to those of us who are struggling to improve the human condition. We all ask the question: Is there anything at all that we can ALL agree on and could we make that the basis for some new social and political organisation (with a view to ending all sorts of conflict and, presumably, any tendency to trigger human extinction).

My own answer to the first question is the basis of my "Survival Based Ethics". i.e. the only thing I can think of that we can all agree on is that, with a few exceptions arising from personal circumstances, each of us wants to "carry on being alive". The few exceptions include those in chronic mental or physical pain and a few of those who know they're terminally ill. Today I'd have to add Suicide bombers, who have become tediously and terrifyingly "normal". But apart from that (almost) universal desire to survive, we can and will agree (meaning 100% global consensus) on nothing else. We can't agree, for example, even on why or whether it's a "good thing" to be alive.

That insight led me to the conclusion that such a search (for those things we can universally agree on) is
a) a waste of time and philosophical effort and
b) the wrong path to any solutions for the multitude of problems facing us.

The best we can probably achieve is the kind of rational decision making process I am trying to describe in my ramblings here and elsewhere. And I'm not very optimistic about that either. I can't, for the time being at least, even imagine the circumstances in which the vast majority of human beings could even agree on what constitutes a "rational decision making process" not least because approximately 50-70% of humans are still in thrall to religions which explicitly deprecate "rational" thought about anything (or, worse, try to define rationality as being "obedience" to their religious preconceptions).

The most optimistic vision I currently hold is that a critical mass of rational humans will come together, almost certainly in this digital realm, to agree on how we're going to take ourselves into our digital future. They may or may not adopt some of my ethical analysis or democratic modelling, but it will be similar, at least to the extent of being empirical, logically self consistent and genuinely rational. Every human on the planet will be invited along for the ride, but the vast majority will not just decline but probable try to eliminate us in what I have referred to elsewhere as the "Final War". If we've managed to create off-world backups by then, we'll survive, in digital form, but most of the organic human race will perish.

I'm not usually this negative and I want to indicate that I have no serious quarrel with any of the areas you include on the list as being issues where we should strive for agreement and improvement. But the real problem for the human species is not, in my view, down to poisonous policies enacted by political pillocks. They are merely a symptom of the deeper and more intractable problem. We have no idea how to hold intelligent discussions with each other - once the numbers involved exceed a dozen or so - without resorting to hostility. We, the most advanced primate on planet earth, have evolved to co-operate in small numbers only. Large numbers inevitably lead to conflict.

My suspicion (which is partly supported by emerging evidence) is that this may be an evolutionary feature which is deeply embedded into the species. Biologically we may not be able to escape our xenophobic tendencies. Which is why I am increasingly convinced that our only long term hope may be digital.
HarryStottle
Site Admin
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 4:01 pm


Return to Conversation with God

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests

cron