Re: Unbounded happiness. (was Re: Property rights)

From: Vladimir Nesov (
Date: Sat Apr 26 2008 - 07:18:45 MDT

On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 12:53 AM, John K Clark <> wrote:
> The trouble is if you're perfectly happy right now then you have no
> incentive to do anything because things are perfect already so any
> change you make will only make things worse. Best to just put your hands
> in your pockets and do nothing except enjoy the ride. The Universe may
> be full of intelligent civilizations but they're all lotus eaters and
> hence invisible. I hope I'm wrong, although I can imagine more horrible
> fates.

The stigma on "perfect happiness" partially comes from an image of
stagnation, which in any form looks as a bad state. But there is no
such dilemma: first, perfect state is not achievable, it can only be
approximated, and so there is always process of change. Second,
perfection can be in change, not in state, so that "moving in a
circle" or "seeking enlightement" might be an optimum. It's a choice
of future dynamics and not just present state. Real problem is in
deciding which path to take, not how the control mechanism is
implemented. If there is a counter that becomes the focus of
optimization, instead of the real intention behind it, there just as
well can be a different process that starts to ignore the counter. You
don't need to set the counter to BusyBeaver(smth), you can just write
"BusyBeaver(smth)" at the margin of your edition of World Domination
Manual and stare at this note for all eternity, leaving the universe
at peace.

Vladimir Nesov

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