Re: Rationality and altered states of consciousness

From: Cliff Stabbert (
Date: Tue Sep 17 2002 - 12:30:05 MDT

Tuesday, September 17, 2002, 11:25:15 AM, Gordon Worley wrote:

GW> I thought you might object here, so here is a full definition of
GW> work:
GW> "nonaccidental truthfinding, or nonaccidental correlation of a
GW> given representation with an aspect of external reality; plus
GW> nonaccidental achievement, defined as the nonaccidental
GW> convergence of an aspect of external reality to a given goal
GW> pattern" (Eliezer Yudkowsky)

I don't think there's anything wrong with that definition of work, but
would point out that the burden of capturing "rationality" has now
been shifted to "given goal pattern" (this burden was previously
carried by "work", or more specifically "success" in the definition of

We may identify "goals" of certain processes, e.g. evolution, but
I see no evidence that we always can do so, or always do so correctly.

In Ben's example of the moon crashing into the sun, who are we to say
some complex or higher goal (of which that, perhaps, is a sub-goal) is
not being achieved?

It seems to me that judging a process rational or arational is, among
other things, a matter of perspective. Thus a rainy season may be
rational because it's a necessary part of the process of plant life --
while the people of the village that gets flooded when the river
overruns its banks due to that rain may feel otherwise. Then again,
we can look at the village/villagers as a system that learns that the
river overruns its banks at around the same time every year -- so that
would be Rational, too...

Don't get me wrong, I admire you trying to capture Some Essence with
these definitions -- I just don't think it can be done. IMO, at some
point, identifying a process as Rational requires an intuitive and
fallible judgment ;)


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