RE: Rationality and altered states of consciousness

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Sep 17 2002 - 10:10:33 MDT

> 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.

I guess I don't understand what you mean by a "force" ...

> > 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?

No, when you include your eccentric definition of "work", then your
definition of rationality comes very close to my definition of intelligence
as the "ability to achieve complex goals in complex environments." What
you're calling rationality, I just call intelligence, basically. The
difference is that intelligence is measured (according to my definition) in
terms of the complexity of the goals achieved, whereas a system with very
simple goals that achieves them effectively may be called just as rational
as a system with very complex goals that achieves them effectively.

Putting our two perspectives together we find: Rationality is about
effective goal-achievement, intelligence is about effective

To me, "truth-finding" emerges as a side-effect of goal-achievement. No
finite organism has objective truth, but it has subjective truths that help
it achieve its goals. And from a perspective encompassing an organism plus
its environment, one can assess agreement btw subjective and
objective/environmental truth.

> > 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.

Well I spent a lot of time this last weekend getting excited about the
interactions between 12-bar blues chord progressions and Middle Eastern
scales. Not boring to me at all, even though not as important in any sense
as the Singularity or my AI work.... And I can get VERY excited about the
idea of an intelligent musical computer program that one could jam with...
even though it's not as important or exciting as the Singularity...

So what?

> >
> >> 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?

If that person was capable of contributing *much more strongly* to other
valuable things like helping humans concretely in the present world.

-- Ben

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