Re: ethics, joyous growth, etc.

From: Metaqualia (
Date: Tue Feb 03 2004 - 00:43:50 MST

> has proposed "abundance of positive qualia"

Let's not forget the "elimination of negative qualia" which is to me even
more important.

>It seems that accepting "positive qualia" only as an abstract principle
>leads to very obvious problems (its ideal universe is a single, mindless,
>endless orgasm?)

Such a universe looks free of challenge, free of gain, and from the point of
view of evolved mammals it is not satisfactory. However I don't think any
one of us can appreciate the meaning of an endless cosmic-scale orgasm. I
think most would give up the small and temporary satisfactions they get with
growth, discovery and progress, in order to remain in such a state of
orgasmic, albeit thoughtless joy.

This issue aside, I do not necessarily think that an ideal universe based on
maximization of positive qualia will be mindless. I don't know what kind of
brain is required in order to experience human-equivalent orgasms.
But I do know a lot of different types of joy that require the full human
cognitive architecture to be appreciated. It is reasonable to think that the
most intense qualia need a complex brain to exist. For example, a shrimp can
hardly appreciate music at all. A child can rejoyce with simple tunes, but
perhaps not cry listening to classical music. You need a modern day citizen,
who is also smart and educated, a scientist, to appreciate complex dynamic
systems such as cells and AI. Whether a shrimp's orgasm feels better than a
human orgasm, is completely beyond me :)

Maximization of positive qualia also includes finding out new positive
qualia, for variety is just as important as quantity and intensity. The
universe may just, in the process of creating a universal orgasm, evolve to
the maximum level of awareness and intelligence, to the point in which it
simulates all transhuman heavens for all possible creatures. I doubt that a
homogeneous mindless substance can produce the most amount of positive
qualia, although this is indeed a possibility.

At any rate, I am willing to sacrifice some absolutism on this side for the
sake of freedom, which is so important to most people. Part of the reason I
am willing to settle for something less is that my 'absolutistic' scenario
is so far away from what we have today than even a millimeter in the right
direction would be amazing, so there isn't a need to agree to 25 decimal
digits for now.

What I can't compromise about are negative qualia...


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