Re: Why do we seek to transcend ourselves?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Jul 15 2002 - 07:49:49 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> I think this drive exists, and is an abstraction from several more
> particular drives, including the drive to compete, the drive to find
> an optimal mate, to seek social status, etc. etc.
> I do not think it's one of our more powerful drives, however

I'm hitting myself over the head for going on quibbling over this, but
what do you mean by the term "abstraction"? Abstraction is a conscious
process; it takes place in the (human) organism, not the genome. How
can an evolved drive be an abstraction?

> My hypothesis is that the modern human psyche generically contains a
> certain lack, a feeling of emptiness. Obviously this is far from an
> original idea! It's been called many things -- a feeling of
> aloneness, meaninglessness, purposelessness, existential angst...

Obviously a great many people feel this way. But why would the human
psyche generically contain it? Where does it come from?

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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