Re: c * (positive qualia -negative qualia) + (1-c)* (total complexity of pattern)

From: Zeph Campbell (
Date: Thu Jan 08 2004 - 17:58:10 MST

I have to say I have found this debate over removing negative human
emotions and such entertaining.

I feel I must note that true Zen (and Taoist) masters do not banish any
emotion. It is an "Western" idea that thinks that positive and
negative emotions/concepts are separable, but it is one side which
defines its opposite. Judeo-Christian beliefs have somehow instilled
in Western society that good could exist without evil, that somehow
they are not two sides to the same coin. (No, I don't buy into the idea
of there being actual Evil and Good forces in nature - those are
features we apply to the egoless, faceless, consciousnessless universe
of which we are a part).

To use a simple example: on a light switch, there would be no concept
of 'off' if 'on' didn't exist. Sure, human emotions also involve a
gradient, but it is the extremes upon which the gradient is based, and
if there is only one extreme and no other, say only pleasure, you have
nothing against which to compare it, the pleasure becomes meaningless
without context. Removing them gives us nothing to which we can
compare out positive experiences. If that makes any sense :)

So the debate about eliminating all suffering I think misses the point
of how an SI could *really* help humanity. It's not to eliminate ANY
and ALL bad feeling, it's to eliminate *unnecessary* human suffering -
starvation, torture, slavery, etc. These are certainly things our
species can do without, however, those ills should never be forgotten,
or again we lose context to our own situation -- we would never know
how good we have it.

- Zeph

On Jan 7, 2004, at 5:30 AM, Ben Goertzel wrote:
> [...] Zen masters who have banished negative emotions from their mind
> are not a counterexample, because they have in a sense stopped
> themselves from emotionally engaging in the world (an interesting
> choice, but not necessarily the "right" one).

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