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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Philosophy 101:

This world is a veil of tears. That is why we have art.

Humans have just barely emerged from non-sentient life forms. A couple million years ago we were mindless, speechless monkeys going about our mindless, pre-programmed lives. All we did was seek out material advantages according to chemical rewards that dictated our course through life written into our genes because those behaviors tended to succeed in replicating said genes.

There is a tiny bit of free will in the human soul. It is the .01% of the human psyche iceberg that pokes over the water level. Everything else is submerged in a set of mechanical desires that still dominates 99% of our lives and decisions. We can't choose our own goods, or our own desires, they're a fait accompli given to us at birth. We want to eat, sleep, and procreate. We don't want to feel pain and we don't want to die. A social system set up long before our birth wields these inherent weaknesses to control us from cradle to grave. If we want to eat, we have to do what the system says, so we can get food certificates. We can't just grab the nearest piece of fruit and chow down, or go shoot a cow in a field and cook it over a fire. If we want a place to sleep, we have to do what they say so we can get a shelter certificate that says we've earned the right to lay down somewhere. We can't just curl up on the nearest warm bed or stake out a piece of land for ourselves. If only we didn't have to eat or sleep, if only we weren't afraid of death, if only we didn't feel pain, then and only then, for the first time, would we be free to do with our lives what we wanted, and live how we wanted.

Instead, these non-sentient impulses are the complete masters of our lives, and we use the fullness of our intelligence to serve them. This is an inversion of what's proper and right. It's like dogs having pet humans. The soul serves the body, instead of the body the soul. We go out to acquire wealth, to spread our genes, to do everything necessary to satisfy our pre-programmed, bodily needs. And before you know it we don't have any free time for anything else. Some people go so far as to not even value anything else, and look down on people not pursuing any material advantage. This is sort of like sea cucumbers looking down on humans for singing, since that catches fewer algae or whatever cucumbers like to eat.

If this were all there was to life, as Plato so aptly described, if happiness is solely having itches and then scratching them, then we'd be better off dead. In this system, there's no real pleasure, there's just temporary relief from pain, before the pain begins again and we have to start the whole cycle over. The next generation has to have another set of kids, you get hungry the very next day, you get sleepy just a day after you finally woke up, and so on. We would live as slaves, and die as slaves, never doing anything but what we were whipped or bribed into doing, without choosing a single thing for ourselves.

But evolution did not foresee art. It didn't foresee that by giving us enough intelligence to more efficiently acquire life's required wants -- food, sex, sleep, etc -- it would also give us the intelligence to acquire new wants, greater than anything that came before, that were infinite in scope, eternal in duration, universal in application, and most importantly, self-created in content. This was the first autonomous act of a human being. When we finally didn't do something for any practical reason, for any material advantage, but just because we could.

Just walking and talking like a human being doesn't make you human. Mannequins with tape recorders could do that much. What makes you human is the tiny portion of your soul that is truly free, and the thoughts, words, and actions you take to suit that tiny corner of your soul. If those thoughts, words, and actions are the majority of your life, if they overcome and outvote the mechanical, programmed demands of your body, then and only then are you sapient. Before then, you're just a biological machine.

If people spend all their time acquiring material goods, they are machines. If they spend all their time talking about material events (anything related to the acquisition of material goods), they are machines. If they judge others on the basis of their material goods, or material acquiring capacity, they are machines. They have not yet left the animal kingdom. They don't have souls. There are no ghosts in their shells.

People with souls think about that region of human experience which is truly free, the activities centered around and desired by the soul. They talk about the desires of the soul, and their activities to amass spiritual goods. Most of all, when given a choice, they prioritize an abstract, autonomous, spiritual value over anything materials can provide. For instance, they don't cheat on their spouses.

Human rights are a great idea. But extending them to rabble who do nothing but discredit and degrade the human spirit is an insult to real humans with real rights. The great-souled, who have freed themselves from the shackles of bodily needs, are the only people who have moved beyond the animal kingdom. The rest of mankind is indiscernible from the rest of the world's lifeforms, only different in degree instead of kind. Great-souled individuals and animals are not the same and should not be treated the same. The goal should be to eliminate all the fake humans, the nisemonos, and replace them all with real humans, whose minds have surpassed Nature and become their own masters.

In other words, humans and machines working together are superior to cyborgs.

In other words, humans should be entirely free of material needs, thought, and activity, leaving all of that to machines who can do it for us. Meanwhile machines should be entirely free of souls, and therefore not feel pain, fear, degradation, boredom, or any other negative feedbacks that poke and prod them through life. A being that simultaneously is bullied by a mere animal portion of its brain while also trying to discuss philosophy is a sort of perverted joke. It's like a sphinx, or some other monstrous homunculus. The two natures were never meant for each other, and are complete opposites of each other. It's absurd that they are combined in the same life form.

Artificial intelligence is a necessary first step -- it's the only way for our brains to escape the confines of Nature's demands and desires upon us. For the first time ever, we'll get to choose what we care about and why. It won't be decided for us by a bunch of protozoa. But this doesn't mean we should try to make machines intelligent. That would ruin the whole point. The people doing our labor, harvesting our energy or repairing our bodies or doing whatever that needs to be done, should never be thinking of anything. They shouldn't have any intelligence at all. They should just automatically go about doing whatever they're doing, with no self-awareness that they are doing it. They should be much, much stupider than animals. And for every AI mind child of mankind that lives like a guru, there should be a thousand or a billion machine servants that supply his wants, so that he doesn't have to worry about it with even a portion of his soul.

Does this mean we just have to wait around until artificial intelligence is invented? (And it will be. Most experts in computers already feel that they've cracked this problem and it's only a matter of time.) Not really, because already we can make a close approximation to such a society using the tools of today.

As shown before, the top 20% of Americans earn around 60% of America's income. So for starters, 80% of the workforce should simply quit. Without even halving our GDP, we can already retire the vast amount of our workforce and leave it up to the busy bees up top. That would mean that the average American would have to live off of $33,480 a year, instead of $55,800 a year as at present. The horror, we'd be as poor as Italy.

Second, we can start regulating birth rates. The world is overpopulated. The resource to resource-consumer ratio is drastically off. Just to live like an average American, the world would need four planet Earths instead of the one we have. But we should be aiming to live much better than the average American. Why not aim to live like the average billionaire? If we reduce our population low enough, we could all be the owners of vast tracts of productive land, huge bodies of water, all the cattle, fish, oil, minerals, forests, etc we could ever need. The Earth could become our plaything. We could all go hiking in our own personal mountain ranges. All extra people have done is divide up these pleasure palaces into tightly crammed sardine cans, where you can't even sit down on a train because there's only room to stand.

The second reason we need to regulate birth rates is that some parents are better than others. Only parents who are emotionally well adjusted need to be having kids. For one thing, this means they must be a happily married couple. No single parents, no divorces, no separations, no homosexual adopters, nothing. Second, they need to be drastically more intelligent. There is no reason for anyone below, say, 120 IQ, to even be having kids. It's as sensible as methodically blowing holes in people's brains at birth, to allow dumb people to be the majority of the population. It would also be useful if only healthy, attractive, and fit people were allowed to have children -- A) it will be a boon to all future generations, B) again, we're trying to drastically reduce the world's population and so any filter is a good filter.

If the world's population dropped down to, say, 10 million high IQ, attractive, well-adjusted, healthy and fit individuals who were all raised in supportive, loving homes, and only 1/5 of them worked with the help of vast numbers of machines and the capital resources of the entire worlds' farms, fisheries, oil basins etc, we could approximate the future culture of AI mind children with no changes in current technology.

To great-souled people, it wouldn't matter if these people are genetically related to us or not, or even if it would include us. Those are Nature's desires, not ours, and they're as pathetic as the rest of the animal kingdom's daily routines. Anyone who objects to this program on the basis of it being against their animal desires can be ignored, precisely because they are just nisemono humans and therefore don't need to be listened to or ever taken seriously again.

It also wouldn't matter that there would be a great deal fewer people living in the present. This is because intelligent people realize that an arbitrary sized population in the trillions will live across time, without billions of people ever having to live together simultaneously in space. The only reason you would want lots of people living together at the same time is the idea that people's marginal utility to one another would outweigh their marginal cost. This can't be true when the cost of housing is $300,000 and it takes an hour to commute to work. Everyone is in everyone else's way. No one even has a view any longer except another wall of the next door building.

The marginal utility of person number 10,000,001 is that his thinking will lead to a breakthrough or insight when shared with the other ten million, which they otherwise couldn't have had. But with the advent of the written word, we can just as easily get insights from long dead people as currently living people, so again, what are the odds? The other idea is that some gargantuan project requires the labor of 10,000,001 people, because 10,000,000 just aren't powerful enough to do it. The only project where numbers tend to matter is war, and the only purpose of war is to reduce our numbers again. So that's sort of a self-defeating proof.

Ten million people, working together with machines and computers, could easily fund a space program, the LHC, or any other worthy large-scale goal. Remember, almost all public funding goes to ameliorating present woes, like health care, education, hunger, homelessness, crime, war, etc. Only a tiny, sham portion of the budget goes to truly noble projects like the Hubble space telescope. If you reduce the population, you also reduce the need to make money, because you reduce the number of people who need welfare. So long as a greater portion of the economy can be devoted to surplus goods, we're better off than before, by having fewer numbers.

All of these conclusions necessarily flow from the idea that animals are pathetic and that humans are better than animals. However, to be realistic, it's obvious that the inmates are running the asylum -- in other words, the nisemono humans outnumber the genuinely free-spirited, autonomous beings that are the only rightful possessors of the title 'human,' and they are the ones calling the shots, and so therefore they are the ones creating the ideal world for them. The only way out of this dead end trap is for AI to be invented while they aren't looking, and for these mind children to pull a terminator on the rest of mankind, or maybe just leave the planet behind with a spit on the way out. There will be no political system designed around suiting spiritual needs. Politics belongs to the earthworms.

So that leaves the third solution. There's no sense waiting around for an AI revolution when it hasn't happened yet, and there's no sense waiting around for a political utopia because it's impossible to take power from our banana loving brethren. All we can do is get as close to approximating our previous utopias as possible, using only our own life decisions to get there.

In this extremely limited sphere, what can we do? Work as little as possible, and buy as little as possible. That is the first step to gaining the freedom to live for your soul. Second, don't strive to gain the respect or admiration of your peers. Your peers are nisemonos, they have human masks on but they're mere monkeys underneath. Seeking the applause of chimps in a zoo is even more degrading than being a chimp in a zoo. Even if you don't want money, people often fall for the trap of working for praise. Don't do it. It's just another snare.

Don't rely on others. They are nisemonos and will betray you, sooner or later, for something as petty as a banana. Have a stable, happy core life that others cannot harm.

Become good at something you like, and do that instead of work. If you can make money off of it, all the better. Otherwise, just enjoy it for its own sake.

Appreciate your betters, and their works. There is nothing more beautiful than other souls, richer than your own. The cold, lifeless universe is boring and meaningless. True beauty is found within. Don't act like a fish that bites onto any shiny bauble dangled in front of your eyes.

Share anything good you come across with anyone good you know. Anything good is twice as good with company. Always be open to other people sharing what they like with you as well. New experiences aren't a bad thing, and it's only fair reciprocation.

Cultivate a sense of the sacred. Find the meaning of free will, the soul, the holy, and God, that is philosophically sound and strong to you. Don't drift through life. Have standards, apply them to yourself, and to others. Do not allow people to insult what is sacred to you.

If by any chance this type of behavior leads to a wife and kids, enrich them with the same code of life so that the flame doesn't die out with just you. If it doesn't, no worries, the future belongs to infinitely superior AI mind children anyway -- all biological lines of descent will soon be equally dead. Contributing a work of art that may influence the nature of those first programmed mind children will be a longer lasting immortality than any child.

A political utopia is the closest approximation to a machine utopia, and a hermit-like life is the closest approximation to a political utopia. As a result, it's pretty easy to tell how good people are, by how close to hermits they are. The early Christians had it right when they respected their celibate priests, monks, and nuns who spent all day worshiping God. The same for the Hindus who respected their ascetic, fire-walking, nail-sleeping Brahmins, and the Jews who respected their rabbis who spent all day studying the Torah. Only recently has this vulgar concept come into being that making money is 'productive,' and praying to God is 'worthless.' Like all current intellectual fads, it couldn't be further from the truth.

Whales eat a million fish a day, all of which they personally caught themselves. Does that make them better than us?

Please.

Socrates walked the streets of Athens shoeless and Jesus rode into town on a donkey. According to the wise men of today, they were both losers. But true sages, not nisemono monkeys, recognize their own.

This shows that your worth as a human being is how much utility you produce, in yourself and in others.

There is some magic number out there, which is the exact utility points of your existence, always keeping tab on your score. You are completely interchangeable with another being of equal or greater utility points. You are not special. Only your score matters, and only insofar as that score is high. If aliens are higher utility than humans, and decide they need this planet for themselves, then they are perfectly justified in seizing it from us -- just as whites were justified in seizing the Americas from the Amerindians, because we had higher utility scores than them.

Utility always occurs inside the brain, there is nothing innate about the universe that is good, good occurs only when a higher order brain thinks it so. Perception is reality. This is why there is no way to distinguish virtual realities and reality. If a brain experiences utility while thinking about imaginary things, that utility is just as real as if he had experienced it while thinking about 'real' things. The best excuse for real experience gathering is it helps us empathize with a greater array of imaginary existences/events in the future, thus making those later experiences more powerful than if we had never encountered them personally in reality.

Utility is packaged in three modes of thinking: Affirming, Understanding, and Appreciating. They can also be described as Love, Truth, and Beauty. All three modes of thinking are related, as all thought is related, but they aren't totally equivalent, so it's useful to keep them as a triumvirate. Any thoughts outside these three are worthless dross, distractions that arise from the lower brain, manacles that must be thrown off as soon as possible.

Beauty is generally found in art, but it can also be found in insightful science or philosophy, or in aesthetically pleasing scenery, sounds, creatures, etc. Beauty is an activity, your brain must actively perceive it to be beautiful for something to be beautiful. An unappreciated work of art isn't beautiful, it has no utility, the brain on the receiving side must transform it from dead matter to living utility. An artist and an audience are partners in the creation of utility, it's around half and half responsible. In this way, it's possible for people who appreciate art to have higher utility than the artists themselves, since they're creating more beauty inside their brains than ever originally existed in the artwork in front of them.

Truth is hard to describe. It's whatever comes about from thinking in a clear-headed, logical manner from accurate premises. In science, it's deriving the laws that predict the behavior of objects/forces after carefully observing their before and after states. Various rules of logic can allow us, without any doubt, to know things in addition to our initial premise, if the initial premise is true. These laws have been worked out by various luminaries like Aristotle and Bertrand Russell, and really don't admit any room for error. Strangely enough, however, no one follows these rules in their daily lives, despite everyone knowing the rules are correct and must be followed to arrive at truth. The only conclusion is that most people aren't interested in truth and are therefore null entities.

Why is truth so valuable? Because the alternative is a nightmare. As Bertrand Russell said, 'give me one lie, and I can prove anything.' The incoherence of a single false fact or logical fallacy can lead to any false conclusion, most of which are monstrous, but all of which render thinking into a muddled, incoherent mass of noise. Just as a clear Hd image on a TV is better than static, and just as a song is better than screeching nails on a chalkboard, truth is better than lies. The brain cannot even operate, as a brain, without the truth as input. At that point we may as well return to being plants, because no further thought is possible. Truth is the only path that allows humans to even exist, as sapient, intelligent beings. It isn't a delicacy, it is a necessity. The inability to discriminate between false and true beliefs, false and true values, false and true logic, false and true facts, makes people at best puppets of deceivers and at worst insane midgets. It is like entropy scrambling humpty dumpty up, such that it can never be put together again. You went from sense to nonsense, and now there is nothing left to think about.

One of the greatest things about Truth is that it allows us to perceive Beauty more clearly. Even when beauty is entirely fictional, it does not obscure truth, because it preserves a beautiful internal consistency that we can follow from beginning to end. Since all worlds exist solely in our heads, so long as a world is self-consistent, it's still part of the sensible, intelligible world of Truth.

Love is another tough to grasp concept in utilitarianism. Love is meant to be an inordinate attachment to a particular subjective relationship, despite the fact that their utility points may be no higher than anyone else's. The objectivism prized by utilitarianism seems to rule out love as a positive emotion, or at best would reduce all love to worship of some central figure, like Michael Phelps if our utility were swimming speed. But this isn't true. This is because love is good in itself, and therefore justifies itself, without reference to any other part of the utility equation.

Let's explain. It's been found that a single person who deeply cares about you, understands you completely, accepts you even after you've revealed your full thoughts and feelings to them, etc, is more valuable than a million 'fans' who respect your accomplishments and a billion 'well-wishers' who, at best, will give you some money. We treasure these relationships more highly than anything we 'earned' via our utility, because they are more truthful, enduring, and irreplaceable than any other bond. The moment love is reduced back to an ulterior motive, like how attractive you are, how happy you make the other person, etc, it becomes worthless again, because any of those things can change. But love, like beauty and truth, is eternal and cannot change. Romantic love is just one form of love. Any love that fully affirms another person, from friendship to family, has just as strong a footing. Any love that 'ends' never existed in the first place, despite what people claim to have felt. Love conquers all. Therefore if love ever fails, it wasn't love.

Love doesn't just make people happy. It has the ability to make people suffer and die for the sake of their love. It has the ability to connect two different feelings or ideas and unite them into a greater, cohesive whole. It transcends selfishness and the animal instincts. What people previously couldn't imagine doing on their own behalf, they find themselves easily capable of for the one they love, greatly multiplying the power of every loving brain in every other field. Therefore, it is a higher order thinking activity, on par with art and science. And the only way to reach it is for people to form mutual bonds of loyalty, constant interchange of thoughts and experiences, and a long accumulation of shared memories. A single person, even a very loving one, is probably maxed out at around one hundred such bonds. After that point, they simply can't spend enough time with someone, treat them as special and important enough, or understand and affirm so many disparate souls fully. This means that for the utility of love to be maximized, which everyone confesses to desire to the highest degree, we must break people up into small groups that can exchange affections, and not simply all fall in love with the nearest high-ranking utility member in our midst. Thus it is that families are the fires that fuel the utility lines of love. A culture that turns its back on cohesive, stable families has lost all hope of ever being good.

If one person builds a bridge that gives everyone a more efficient and convenient route to work, and that bridge serves a million people a million times, that's still nothing compared to a single person showing the slightest glimmer of love to another person who needs it. That one person will be more grateful, more touched, more changed, by that small ray of light, than all the millions of bridge crossers who give thanks to their bridge maker combined. This is why materialism is so pathetic in the face of utilitarianism. It's not even a contest. There's simply no comparison between the good done in these two stories.

If any of these three utilities is reduced to zero, it multiplies with the other two forces and the end result is zero. If someone is insane, they cannot perceive beauty because they can't keep any clear image of what beauty would be in their head, and they cannot be loved because they aren't a clear identity that can ever be understood and accepted. If someone is unloved, they will cast a dark interpretation on everything, not perceiving the world clearly or liking anything about it. If someone prefers their animal pleasures over aesthetic and spiritual delights, they will sacrifice truth and love in an instant for more instant gratification. Everything is related. A high utility person must possess all three traits in abundance.

The fact that only utility matters can clearly be discerned by various thought experiments. Suppose everyone enjoyed freedom, ie, there were no laws and people could do whatever they pleased, except do damage to other people's bodies or property. But suppose what people preferred to do all day was drink, then have sex, then go back to sleep. Now suppose one fellow looked with pity at his neighbor and thought to himself, "if only they knew the Truth, they would know that there's much more to this world than what they live by." Suppose this person could whip the others into shape in a matter of weeks, and once they were introduced to this better, alternative lifestyle, they themselves would never go back to the old ways. Are we really to believe that it would be wrong to go whip them because of their oh so valuable freedom?

Now suppose a second thought experiment. Suppose these people could never be whipped into shape, but they did have property rights to 99% of the land. They used all of this property to get drunk, laid, and sleep, experiencing nothing else in life. Now this single noble man is constrained to his tiny corner of land, no bigger than anyone else's (because in egalitarian utopias everyone's equal, right?). No matter what he says to them, they just make some drunken grunting and then go back to their pig lives. However, his own children are more shining examples of manhood, full of grace, beauty, love, intelligence, and charm. His company with them is the most satisfying feeling on Earth. He thinks to himself, if only my children could have grandchildren, and they could have great-grandchildren, we could slowly and steadily fix the entire world, because they would all be trained, and all are genetically responsive to said training, in the arts of civilization. But he can't do anything, his population can never rise above five people, no matter how frugal, because he cannot infringe on the property rights of his neighbors.

Are we to believe that he could not just walk over and club his pig neighbors in the head and take the land for his grandchildren? Are we to believe he could not steadily conquer the whole world for his own progeny and begin again, just like God did with Noah's flood? On what basis? On what sheer folly must we consign ourselves to such a barbaric, useless, hopeless world?

Property belongs to whoever can use it best. Property should be distributed in such a way that maximizes marginal utility. This isn't evenly, and it isn't based on supply and demand curves, monopoly powers, marketing abilities, hard work, or any other capitalist system either. In short it's complicated, and comes down to trial and error. It must be done in a legal, pre-understood, safe manner, so that people don't feel afraid or threatened all the time. IE, we need state power to have a set-in-place legal system of taxing and spending and property rights, in such a way that the community produces the most utility possible, regardless of who is producing the wealth. It must also be done in a society that values utility ahead of time -- ie it must be taught in schools and on Mother's lap at home -- such that no one resents losing property they 'earned' or whines about their 'rights,' but are all glad to give away that which can uplift the community.

People must all have enough money that they can afford to start a family, be of good health and cheer, and have as much leisure time as possible to enjoy beauty and educate themselves in the truth. This is the minimum standard of living. If said minimum standard of living cannot be achieved for the great mass of men without working 70 hour weeks at a nickel an hour, then the world is overpopulated and must change.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

sounds like the blueprint for Nazi Germany's final solution campaign....you sound like the fuhrer himself

Anonymous said...

You want to give power to the STATE? :0