Re: Rationality and altered states of consciousness

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Tue Sep 17 2002 - 09:25:15 MDT

On Monday, September 16, 2002, at 11:53 PM, Ben Goertzel wrote:

>> rationality: a force in the universe, specifically the BPT,
> I do not think it's reasonable to call Bayes' Theorem a "force"!!
> It's a mathematical theorem, a modeling tool, and an observed pattern
> in the
> universe on many different scales...

Rationality is employed in nonaccidently successful processes. Because
of their nonaccidental nature, there must be something guiding them in
the right direction. If you examine enough examples I think you'll find
that the BPT exists as that guiding force. Keep in mind that you may
not see the BPT applied explicitly; evolution can be modeled using the
BPT, since it is a directed process that ends in nonaccidental success
(yes, evolution really did mean to make more Blue Whales).

>> that is
>> required for all nonaccidental successes to occur
>> work: any nonaccidental success, where success is defined as the
>> completion of a process
>> Let U be the set of all processes in the Universe
>> Let T be the proper subset of U that is equal to the set of all
>> processes in U that work
>> If x is a member of T, then x draws upon rationality
> You have now created the problem of defining what "work" means, it
> seems to
> me. Also of defining "completion."

I thought you might object here, so here is a full definition of work:

"nonaccidental truthfinding, or nonaccidental correlation of a given
representation with an aspect of external reality; plus nonaccidental
achievement, defined as the nonaccidental convergence of an aspect of
external reality to a given goal pattern" (Eliezer Yudkowsky)

> Any subset of the universe that changes over time may be said to be
> carrying
> out a "process". If the moon crashes into the sun, is this to be
> considered
> rational? It's a process which comes to completion.... So by your
> definition, it seems that yes, this is rational. But this doesn't
> accord
> with my understanding of rationality at all...

Look at the definition of work I just gave you. If you still think that
this could be rational, why?

>> As an aside, if you're curious why T is a proper subset of U, it is
>> because the Universe is by default arational and, for example, the
>> formation of stars and planets in no way draws upon rationality; all
>> those successes were accidental. The Universe, as far as we know, did
>> not set out with the goal of creating Earth.
> Making T a proper subset of Universe does not achieve what you seem to
> think
> it does. After all, the universe minus one molecule is a proper subset
> of
> Universe...

I don't think it accomplishes anything. Just a side discussion of why I
said proper subset rather than subset for anyone who might not be able
to see it.

>> In other words,
>> leave the memetic battles to those like Kurzweil who are interested in
>> not only SL4 technology.
> Well, as it happens, I *am* interested in many things besides SL4
> technology.... For example, pygmies, Russian literature, peculiar piano
> chords, and cactus flesh and pot-bellied pigs. [And -- well, no I won't
> even get into that, there may be minors on this list... ;->] So what???

Do you spend time getting excited about the potential of flying cars and
spaceships to mars? Or do you find those things boring because you are
actively trying to create things that are much more exciting.

>> If you want the Singularity to happen you
>> should be doing what you can to work towards it.
> I personally AM, but I don't believe this is the optimal path for
> everyone...

If a person wants to see the Singularity happen and is capable of
contributing to it's creation, under what conditions would working
towards the Singularity not be an optimal path?

Gordon Worley "Man will become better when you show him what he is like." --Anton Chekhov
PGP: 0xBBD3B003

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