RE: Ethical basics

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 06:54:56 MST

> Unlike Eliezer, my goal is only to be rational, not rationally
> altruistic necessarily. If that's what being rational requires, then so
> be it. From what Eliezer writes, I'm not nearly as far along as he is,
> but at least the rational module of my brain doesn't get upset very much
> any more (i.e. I'm not acting irrationally). Of course, my mind could
> be in possession of an emotion I don't even know is there and it is
> fooling me, but from what I can tell of my own mind there is no such
> emotion.

Wow, you people are weird!!!!!

Not that it bothers me -- I *love* weird people! ;> [note: I am displaying,
egads, an emotion!]

Personally, I very much enjoy having strong passions and emotions and I
have very little desire to squash my feelings. To me, the sometimes crazy &
overwhelming passion of feeling is much of what makes life worth living....
Rationality is wonderful too, but it's sure not the whole story...

A huge amount of the human brain is devoted to dealing with emotion
(Cytowic, in "The Man Who Tasted Shapes", makes this point pretty nicely)...
it's a huge amount of what we are.

Will AI superminds be more rational, more free of emotion? Maybe. Or maybe
they will just have different kinds of emotions. Maybe they will have
different mental patterns altogether, different from what we call either
emotional OR rational.... Who knows? I guess we'll find out. I'll be very
*excited* to find out!! [note: another gosh-darned emotion!! ;) ]

Why do I *feel* feeling is so important? Is this just a self-perpetuating
complex? -- feeling feels like there has to be lots of feeling?

And other other hand, reason reasons that there has to be lots of reason???

Reason is only meaningful in service of some goal. Feeling gives that goal.

You say you're altruistic, your goal is "good." How do you define "good"?
As the causing of pleasure rather than pain to others? Then your goal is
defined in terms of feeling.... In a universe of purely rational unfeeling
beings, you would have no notion of good, because there would be no pleasure
or pain...

I don't have time this morning to spend hours writing a detailed and fully
rationally convincing essay on the necessary of love, passion and intense
emotional mania in the universe. But maybe I will sometime later.
Obviously I have strong *feelings* on this topic, which this conversation
has elicited ;>

Love, my friends! LOVE! Lust! Rage!! Excitement! Wonder! passion!
Yes, you can have the Singularity, and you can have THESE TOO! All for own
low, low price...

-- Ben G

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