Re: Identity and becoming a Great Old One

From: Mike Dougherty (
Date: Fri Jan 27 2006 - 22:10:40 MST

On 1/27/06, Philip Goetz <> wrote:
> I think a stability analysis might be more appropriate. The greatest
> risk to a Great Old One is suicide. Equate suicidal thoughts with
> instability of some model. It might then turn out that the odds of
> falling into a suicidal state increase with the size of the network,
> so that the best strategy for living forever is to simplify your
> brain, and so that there is a (probabilistic) maximum on the amount of
> life that an individual can have! (where "amount of life" is
> approximated by the complexity of that organism's brain summed over
> time)

I am reminded of the 'stowaways' in the seed-reality in Greg Egan's
"Permutation City" - after having lived until boredom with an arbitrarily
large number of professions and perspective on life, the male character
decided to become a "Solipsist Nation" and fracture himself into an entire
civilisation of individuals his girlfriend could interact with. I vaguely
recall another character becoming so tired of trying to aquire new
experiences, that his subjective reality was reduced to the encoding of the
single moment of elation caused by rapelling down a mountain, which was then
experienced repeatedly.

Consider (and extend) this anology: Existance as a single polyp of coral.
At the end of that existance, awareness is increased to the resulting reef,
though still as a 'coral' awareness. (perhaps running over the original
point in time, from a larger subjective sense of self in spacial
dimensions) After that keyspace of the states of awareness is exhausted,
the spatial sense of self is increased again and time starts over from
zero. If each increment in time at each successive level required
progression through every previous point at each previous level, the
subjective value of time on each level would be constant - but from some
conceptual outside position, the amount of computational work would increase
factorially. (Ok, so NOW i think of the Towers of Hanoi as a simpler
computational example, but the richness of the polyp/coral/reef example
helped visualize my point)

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