Re: Rationality and altered states of consciousness

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Tue Sep 24 2002 - 00:55:44 MDT

Gordon Worley wrote:
> On Monday, September 23, 2002, at 05:42 PM, Samantha Atkins wrote:
>> I don't think the transition guide is the problem. What may be *if*
>> we get to Singularity and *if* it is Friendly is not what I am most
>> concerned about today or in the immediate future.
> If there is no Singularity and there is no Friendly AI then humans are
> as good as dead.

I very much disagree with Singularity or nothing statements.
Would you lay down and die if Friendly AI was somehow shown to
be impossible in say, the next 40 years? It has been well
argued that Singularity is the *best* option. But that doesn't
mean it is the *only* option.

> The kind of changes that you want to see are only
> partially achievable at best. Making the populace more Rational is not
> merely a memetic battle; you have to get people to actually fix their
> minds on their own. Even then there is only so much fixing that can be
> done.

Sufficient partial acheivement is all that is required in order
to keep us from destroying one another and keep us moving toward
a better world. I don't call what is needed making the populace
more [capital-R] Rational though.

> Maybe you'll figure out how to succeed where Jesus and Siddhartha and
> Ghandi failed. More likely you won't.

They did not in any sense *fail*. They were spiritual lights
that inspired many millions and do so to this day. Arguably in
both cases the "Pharisees" took over and started supposed
religions based on their teachings that often are
counter-productive. Most who say they are followers quite
honestly really don't "get it". But much good grew out of their
teachings also. They succeeded in beginning the process, in
lighting the way within their own context. Ghandi was successful
in even the material realm in that he led a non-violent movement
that freed the Indian people simply by always standing for the
truth and for the best understanding and motivations in those
who were against independence. By example and words he inspired
hundreds of thousands to do the same. It is up to some of us to
continue positive changes in human consciousness and
institutions within the context of our own abilities, time and
situations. In any case, I hardly have any choice but to try. I
don't expect to be a Ghandi. But then again, neither did he.

> This is not to discourage you. If you're successful enough before the
> Singularity maybe you can save enough people that you did better than if
> you contributed more to creating the Singularity. You have a better
> idea than I do of what you are capable of and what you can contribute
> where. I just hope that you will make the best choice.

Fair enough. May your choice be the best for you also.

- samantha

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