RE: 3rd Annual SL4 Ascetics-Hedonists Deathmatch

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 22:25:42 MST

> Sigh. As always, Ben Goertzel thinks I'm a fuddy-duddy just because I
> don't do sex, drugs, drinking, smoking, fighting, or gambling.

No, I don't think you're a fuddy-duddy, Eli -- I think you're a bloody

But you're a fascinating and excellent freak, and I wish there were more
like you ;>

I consider myself a freak as well, though of a rather different nature.

Unlike you, I have made it my business to seek out almost every possible
type of experience. Call it a combination of curiosity and adventurousness
and recklessness.

It is true that love takes up some of one's time. I have a wife & 3 kids,
as you know, so I'm rather well aware of this. However, I find that
romantic and parental love both add a certain depth to one's thinking and
experiencing and living, sort of in the same way that spiritual experiences
do. And for sure my unconscious mind is always churning on intellectual
stuff, even when my body and awareness are largely occupied with family
stuff. I don't think I'd accomplish substantially more if I were single and
ascetic; I really am a hell of a workaholic anyway....

As for "sex, drugs, drinking, smoking, fighting, or gambling,"

-- gambling bores me (though I did make some $$ counting cards in Vegas a
long time ago -- that didn't bore me so much because I was using math, not
just gambling...)
-- I certainly don't fight very often (though I did mildly beat up a drunk
burglar who came into an apartment I was staying in, about 5 months ago ;p)
-- I don't smoke tobacco
-- I very rarely drink alcohol....
-- Drugs? Well, I don't use them frequently, but I do feel that psychedelic
drugs give you a unique vision of the world, and a very valuable one,
although they shouldn't be overused. (Hey, if you ever get the urge to try
out the psychedelic thing, I'll trip with ya, dude! Now that would be a
hell of a trip ;->)

I don't do much with myself besides work, play with the kids, spend a little
time with my wife, improvise freaky music... and occasionally hike or rock
climb. I'm probably almost as much of a workaholic as you are, actually.
Although it doesn't feel like "work" since I'm fortunate enough right now to
have a research fellowship that pays me for working on "real AI" stuff most
of the time.... (Last night was an exception -- I went out to see the Dead
Kennedys perform -- even without Jello Biafra they're a great band, I highly
recommend you all catch them on this tour... ;)

I look at the Singularity as a big, crazy, reckless adventure, sort of like
when I fly into a third world country where I don't speak the language and I
have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing -- I just plunge in and hope
for the best, relying on my wits and my heart to get me through... and
usually loving *most* every minute, though accepting the pain-in-the-butt
parts too.... No matter how much we plan and scheme, ultimately this is
what the Singularity is going to be like.... So perhaps having a more
experimental and adventurous approach to life's various experiences is
better preparation ;->

Eli, I will certainly admit that you are more devoted to the Singularity
than I am. I *am* very devoted to it, but I'm also committed to
experiencing all that *this* pre-Singularity world has to offer, or at least
a damn good sample. Call me overambitious, hey....

I value the perspective that the diverse experience I've gathered brings
me -- but, I also think it's great that you have your own unique perspective
based on your own more single-focused and narrowly-experienced approach to
life.... The Singularity is deep enough that it will take a lot of us with
different perspectives all working together to even get a reasonable partial
grip on what it's going to be...

-- ben g

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