Re: Complexity, Ethics, Esthetics

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Wed Dec 04 2002 - 19:55:26 MST

Dear Gordon,

You wrote:
> While this kind of argument usually gets me in trouble, maybe
> it won't be misconstrued here.

He he! I'll bet it does get you in trouble ;> But not from me 8^)

> I argue that you are not looking closely enough at your own
> mind. I am not a big fan of dogs. I'm not scared of them,
> but I'm not going to keep one in my house. When I see a
> puppy or any dog I don't really feel like it's cute. At
> the same time, I can tell that there is part of my brain
> saying "cute cute cute" even though other parts of my brain
> are overriding it enough that its influence can be very
> subtle and difficult to notice.

Ahh. The scenario of 'looking at part of my brain' is familiar. To
me it is part of considering different points of view, or modelling
different mind-states. Indeed I do it all the time. However, if
someone were to ask me: "Do you consider X beautiful" I can usually
give them a truthful answer in short order. I do not have to 'hedge'
by saying: "Well part of me thinks X is a bit too yellow, and another
part of me loves the yellowness of it".

> Also, if you really truly do not have anything in your
> brain saying that puppies or babies are cute, then
> your brain may be broken in that respect.

One being's break may be another beings advantage.

> As far as your brain is concerned, it's anything that you
> like to sense and might seek out to sense.

Oh, I agree with that: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

> [snip]
> On the other hand, not many people will refuse members of
> their kin group food (note that there is some cultural
> influence as to how large you actively consider your kin
> group, but it's usually several levels out, even in
> America). Also, there are ethics concerning how much
> sharing you'll permit, even with kin groups. The
> degree of support hinges on the degree of relatedness.
> If a person is related too little, you might even refuse
> support.

I have heard this argument before, and have observed that it closely
corresponds to how humans behave *generally speaking*. However, this
behaviour may change for individuals who understand EP and take it to
heart. Such a person might say to themselves: "I am genetically
programmed to decide this way... but is it in my best interest? Does
it still make sense?" Sometimes I ask these questions to myself, and
find that the answer is: No - not in my best interest, and doesn't
make sense. Does that mean my mind is broken? I think not. Newly
'patched' perhaps. ;)

Michael Roy Ames

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