Re: Humans are not equal.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Jun 06 2005 - 08:30:01 MDT


Well, we've all had that feeling from time to time -- but one obvious
problem with making this sort of judgment is that one person's hero is
another person's "asshole." I think I'm a pretty good guy but I've been
called a "complete asshole" and worse before -- and I'm really glad the
people who did so lacked the will and/or power to annihilate me.... For
instance, I once supported a girlfriend's choice to abort; which in the view
of some makes me an accomplice to murder....

Another point is that, within one's own mind, it seems to cultivate
emotional health better to feel COMPASSION toward those one feels are
"complete assholes" rather than to feel anger. Anger creates rampant
illusions and all sorts of emotional problems; compassion -- if it's
experienced genuinely along with an acknowledgement of others' faults as
well as one's own -- creates a more happy and productive internal landscape.
Of course, this is basically Buddhism 101. I'm highly anti-religious, but
when I was experiencing a lot of anger a couple years ago (divorce-related)
I started practicing the variant of Buddhist meditation practice described
in this funny little book:

It was quite helpful to me, although I've drifted away from the practice now
due to over-busyness.... In fact, I'd probably be better off at the moment
if I'd stuck with it.... I didn't view it as a belief system, not at all,
just as a set of mental and physical practices for optimizing human
emotional/philosophical/cognitive functioning....

Anyway as my basic ethical principles I have chosen "freedom, joy and
growth" ... "joy" being interpreted universally having the implication of
compassion; freedom implying that the complete-assholes-from-my-perspective
still get the right to exist ... although our mutual joy will be greater if
we don't have to live in the same region of the universe...

I admit that human life sucks sometime, but in trying to resolve this
suckiness, I find it more productive to

a) look at how my own cognitive/emotional systems prevent me from
experiencing maximum joy and doing the maximum amount of interesting
things... and then try to fix these internal problems

b) work on upgrading humanity ...

rather than think about taking revenge on "evil" people...

Also, if we want to preserve *humanity* past the Singularity, we're going to
be preserving the shitty aspects as well as the ones we like better.
Personally I don't think that preserving humanity as-is has very much value.
But I do think that if there's a friendly Singularity then afterwards there
will be ample options for humans to live in custom universes with other
humans of their choosing -- so the complete-assholes-to-me (who also mostly
think I'm a complete asshole, an accomplice to murder or whatever) will be
in the mini-verse nextdoor and won't be pestering me or vice versa...

-- Ben

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joel Pitt" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 7:31 AM
Subject: Humans are not equal.

> Hi all,
> Not to start a large argument, but how does one manage to continue to want
> everyone to become immortal when they are complete assholes?
> Obviously speaking from personal experience, but I found that certain
> people have done things that don't respect a person's right such as who to
> be physically close to.
> I am at a cross roads as to whether to forgive and forget.. working
> towards singularity goals, or to become a vigilanty and bring people to
> immediate justice and removal of life.
> I'm trying to remain sane, but why should these people who don't respect
> other's rights remain in existence?
> Joel

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