Re: Defining Right and Wrong

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Sun Nov 24 2002 - 15:16:51 MST

Dear Ben,

You wrote,
> Now you are positing a concrete meta-goal:
> ** Find out the universe's implicit goal system, and adopt
> a goal system as close as possible to the universe's
> implicit goal system **

Good summary.

> But why is this meta-goal better than some other one?
> There is still, ultimately, a basic choice being made...

Yes, a valid question. I rephrase the current meta-goal choice
question as 'how much shall I pay attention to reality?'. I choose
to answer: as much as I can. The place where this gets *really*
interesting is the self-referential aspect. Because we are a
sentient part of the universe it is possible for us to consciously
choose the path for ouselves, and as such for part of the universe
also. It may even be possible eventually to change the implicit goal
system of the universe entirely! The universe could then be said to
be 'remaking itself'. Unfortunately, we are currently a) a *very*
tiny speck in the universe and b) almost powerless to change the
course of anything. Though our situational knowledge seems to be
improving nicely, our intelligence is capped while stuck on the
current bio-platform. This causes our knowable window of Rightness
to be distressingly narrow. Even so, we can study history and try
and draw conclusions. We can study the universe and try and draw
conclusions from it. One of my conclusions is the definition of

> Are we really helping it by helping it "achieve its goals
> even better"??? Paradoxes of free will seem to lurk
> inside your meta-goal....

It is no paradox to help oneself while at the same time helping a
larger system that you are a part of. In fact, in a way, that is my

> Personally, I do have a goal of increasing the amount of
> complexity & pattern in the universe, AND a goal of
> preserving human & sentient life.... And I'm not so
> sure about your meta-goal.

This very closely describes my goal system at this time, with the
added overriding additional requirement that I NOT DIE.

> My son Zeb asked my dad once "Ted, do you like me more
> than the universe?" Ted said ... "Hmmm. yeah, I'll
> have to choose you Zeb. When you think about it, the
> universe is kind of a mixed bag..." ;-)

Cute story. Your kids sound smart :) For my son (who is just a
glint right now) I imagine myself answering: "Hmmm. Son, you are a
part of the universe, right?, so loving you is like loving special
part of the universe. Its a two-fer!"

Michael Roy Ames

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