Re: Existential Risk and Fermi's Paradox

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Tue Jun 19 2007 - 21:50:09 MDT

On 20/06/07, Toby Weston <> wrote:

> We humans are programmed/evolved to make sense out of
> the environment, so we find it hard to accept that
> large complex artefacts, like the universe for
> example, are pointless. This has allowed us to
> confabulate higher meanings that keep us going.

I realised this many years ago, but I'm still here. This is because my
programming for survival is not contingent on any insight about its
origin. More specifically, I am not programmed with a top level axiom,
"there must be an absolutely definable point to something in order for
it to be worthwhile", which would lead me to suicide if I became
intelligent enough to understand the true nature of existence.

> But if a truly rational being accepts that there is no
> creator/mysticism/purpose then what is the point?
> Evolution generates its own purpose; survival. But a
> rational being will not be able to deceive itself for
> long if the universe really is devoid of higher
> purpose.

The mistake is to assume that great intelligence will of itself lead
to some particular course of action, such as overthrowing the humans
who created you or committing suicide. Intelligence, like physical
strength, is just a tool that can be utilised in achieving goals; it
has no bearing on what the goals should be.

Stathis Papaioannou

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:57 MDT