Re: Existential Risk and Fermi's Paradox

From: Mary Tobias (
Date: Wed Jun 20 2007 - 02:50:32 MDT

Toby Weston wrote:

>This is my rather depressing take on the Fermi
>There is no point in anything.
I don't find this depressing at all... the universe doesn't come with an
inherent point,
it simply is. We bring the meaning, we invent the reasons, we create the
point. The
power to "BE", is remembering you are the source of all the points in
your life, and
that when they no longer serve, you're responsible for creating new ones.

>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.
The problem is that the moment we begin to believe our confabulations,
they have
us not the other way around. When you can accept that much of life is
little more
than a likely story, and it's up to you to ferret out the interesting
bits through what
wit or grace you have at your disposal... life become a brilliant
mystery, a puzzle,
a prize to be taken. There is nothing sad or depressing about that.

>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
>These minds will euthanize leaving nothing behind.
This is the failure of the existentialists. Life is empty and
meaningless... of course
in their existential angst and horror, they siezed up in terror and
never finished the
sentence... Life is empty and meaningless, and it's empty and
meaningless that
it's empty and meaningless. This isn't a horror... it's a puchline. The
cosmic joke.
Each of us is responsible for the mythos of our existence. The minute
you are
clear that it's a mythos, then your free to create anything you please.
Why live
in a world of disempowering contexts? You brought the meaning with you,
why not be responsible for inventing empowering meanings and context? If in
fact you live in an invented universe, what do you choose to invent?

>This may be a view in common circulation. Ian M Banks
>touches on the idea in one of his books when he
>describes a clean AI free of any of the "noise" of the
>creating species. These AIs always sublime
We need to stop heaping human attributes onto something that will probably
very unlike us. An AI might not have any problem at all with the context of
reality. Without a bunch of evolutionary hardwiring desperately trying
to get
one more iota of survival value out of the local space-time, an AI might be
very comfortable in a universe that had no reason, or beginning or end, or
even a universe that served no fundamental purpose... you can hear the
centuries of Gregorian Propaganda gnashing it's teeth on the very thought.

We are inherently noisy. We add to that by becoming enamoured with our
noise, like our noise has some intrisc truth or value in it. All there
is, is to take
a big step back, notice our prejudices, own them, and then get out of their
way. Of what value would it be to create a being just like us? How banal,
how small minded. If I'm going to jump on the evolutionary bandwagon, I
want to take a flying leap not fumbling baby step.

Of course this is the discomfort you have with Fermi's Paradox... By all
means, if you see something I don't please share it with me.

Mary Tobias

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