RE: qualia, once and for all

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Jun 19 2004 - 12:00:17 MDT

> So, some would say, let us have constant pleasure, but let it
> be varying
> degrees of pleasure, such that we are motivated to interact with our
> friends, love others, and inspired to create. Well, then you
> would be
> right where you are now, with only a shift in viewpoint.
> - zen jef

Ok, I will briefly take the bait, o dharma brother...

Clearly, human life as a whole isn't very well described by your phrase
"constant pleasure, but ... varying degrees of pleasure."

Hence the well-known Buddhist dictum, "All existence is suffering."

Perhaps your phrase describes YOUR life reasonably well. If so you're a
fortunate dude. It describes my life during its best intervals. It
doesn't do much justice to the experience of the average Sudanese right
now, or say the average Afghani soldier.... Alas, even as a spoiled
middle-class American I've had many life experiences that don't match
this description too well, such as serious auto accidents, divorce,
colitis ... I'll refrain from boring you with the full list....

The phenomenology of pleasure and pain are somewhat subtle. As
Nietzsche and many others have pointed out, pleasure and pain are not
exactly opposites. It may be possible to eliminate pain from the
experience of intelligent beings without reducing everything to a
massive undifferentiated orgasmo-tinuum. Then we would be left with
your hypothesized phenomenology of "constant pleasure ... but varying
degrees of pleasure... such that we are motivated..." Sounds good to

-- Ben G

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (
Version: 6.0.698 / Virus Database: 455 - Release Date: 6/2/2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:47 MDT