RE: Collapsarity

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Apr 01 2003 - 10:15:01 MST

Well, this gets into age-old religious questions relating to the "problem of

It has long been asked "if God is good and omnipotent, why does evil exist?"

Now we are asking "how it it possible that a superpowerful, beneficent AI
could exist compatibly with evil?"

Your argument that much pain is in the mind, and learning to overcome it is
valuable, is a good one.

But I find it largely inapplicable to, say, the situation of a 3-year-old
Iraqi child getting his guts blown out by shrapnel in the current war....
Sure, you can say even that pain is a matter of interpretation. But then
the problem of evil becomes: **Why does the world present us with situations
that are so damn hard for most human minds to interpret except as very
painful, bad things??**

I don't really have an answer to the problem of evil -- my prior post was
really just pointing out that there's a lot we don't understand in the
universe, and it could be that a benevolent superintelligent superpowerful
AI exists but sees a reason we don't why all this suffering is necessary.

If I meet this AI, I won't ask it about my own psychological issues or the
pain when I tore a ligament skiing, I'll ask it about the 3-year-old Iraqi

-- Ben

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Paul
> Hughes
> Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 11:51 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: Collapsarity
> --- Ben Goertzel <> wrote:
> > Perhaps all this suffering is "necessary" in some
> > sense that our pesky
> > little human minds are not good at understanding...
> I would go so far as to say that most suffering is
> based on our own 'make wrongs" or negative contexts in
> which we hold otherwise intrinsincly pleasurable
> feelings. Someone might say, "but how can pain be
> pleasurable?". After years of advanced yoga, I can
> attest that severe pain can be transformed into
> intense pleasure. The feeling itself never changes,
> my context in which I experience that feeling does.
> This process of discovering the intrinsically ecstatic
> basis of my experience has been overwhelmingly joyous.
> So the question is would it be more benign for my
> long-term growth to discover this process on my own or
> have it given to me? It would certainly be easier and
> faster if Eli is right.
> Paul
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