Re: ESSAY: Goal Preservation

From: Joshua Fox (
Date: Sun Jul 23 2006 - 08:37:37 MDT


> Although some wants and desires (eg:
> food, shelter, pleasure…) generally remain unchanged throughout their
>lives – the conspicuousness of the exceptions make their rarity
> apparent – the goals that are human universals tend to be those that
>are more obviously preserved.

These are a few goals built into our genes. Humans have the unique
ability to set higher-level goals, but this is a shallow, recently
evolved ability, and often breaks down, especially in the face of the
built-in goals. That's why it is so hard to diet.

> marriage.
Marriage is, again, an attempt to to enforce higher level goals in
an area which has to do with reproducing the genes -- and so the
built-in goals are very strong. The override is carried out in
various cultures by a combination of personal choice and societal
pressure. Again, this is hard to pull off successfully.

There are other examples of enforcing a goal on one's future self.
Some ancient members of celibate religious orders castrated
themselves. Alcoholics take a drug that makes them sick when they
drink. Dieters go to a spa far away from temptation.

As you point out, an RPOP is different. A RPOP can have any
"built-in" goal it is given and can presumably (if it wants to, which
it probably does not) set its own built-in goals as well as
higher-level ones.


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