Re: Time and Minds

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Fri Sep 28 2001 - 00:28:35 MDT

So this clearly requires a much longer response than I'm willing to give right
now, but here's a few hopefully thought-provoking shots across the bow:

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

> Jeff Bone wrote:
> >
> > "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> >
> > > If I found out that my life was a simulation, either for purposes of
> > > remodeling the real Eliezer on Old Old Earth, or for purposes of forcing
> > > myself to improve myself over time, it would violate what *I* think is
> > > valuable about the Universe. I cannot sympathize with any entity that
> > > would choose to keep me locked up in a pre-Singularity world for such a
> > > lousy reason. Ve is not operating within any moral frame of reference
> > > that I recognize as valid.
> >
> > Why?

It should be noted that my question is not actually to get a first-order answer,
but to discover if Eli knows why he thinks this...

> But life is unpleasant, sometimes very unpleasant. And life is not a
> trade, where you agree to experience some unpleasant things in exchange
> for the good parts. That is simply a nitwit philosophical idea that was
> dreamed up to rationalize away the discomfort from living with gratuitous
> unpleasantness that humanity was powerless to do anything about.

Not defending or attacking that attitude, but: "humanity" as such is powerless
to do anything at all, because it is an abstraction without any volition or
capacity to act in / of itself. One must instead ask: what can individuals do,
what are they responsible for / what are their obligations, and what kind of
framework yields the optimum benefit (max benefit for min cost for most

> Pain is
> not necessary for growth, or to give life meaning, or to teach us
> responsibility, or any other nitwit philosophical reason.

Not disputing this point of view, but: prove it. This is an extraordinary
claim, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. It's contrary to
most philosophical viewpoints, and someone who seeks to code what they believe
as a core philosophy into a compulsory "operating system" for the world should
be ready to defend said philosophy. I do not disagree with you, but I want to
see your defense.

> If you were
> constructing a world from scratch it would not contain child abuse

Again, not disputing you, but I suppose that depends on who you are, doesn't
it? My point is not to defend or advance any particular position, but only to
point out the number of as-yet ungrounded and unexplained assumptions and
assertions, here.

> And similarly, the fun I have, regardless of how it measures up compared
> to an "average" pre-Singularity life,

You say "regardless" but --- interwoven throughout the argument, and previous
ones --- are assumptions about the Singularity. As you have previously and
adamantly asserted the unknowability of post-Singularity existance, I find it
odd that you fall back on arguments which assumes positive (or negative)
qualitative differences between pre- and post-Singularity life. I would say
"check your premises" but in this case I think first you should make them
explicit. We may not even need or want to be individuals post-Singularity, so
your argument may be as sensible as pro- and eukaryotic cells arguing which form
is "superior."

> Some of the unpleasantness in my life is due to choices I made willingly,
> but I will not forgive any entity that turns out to be responsible for
> having made those choices necessary.

So you are not responsible for everything that has ever happened to you?
Respectfully but gravely, this sounds like the symptoms of a dangerous memetic
infection called "victimhood." It is unfortunately epidemic in our society.


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