Re: [sl4] Re: Property rights

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Fri Jul 11 2008 - 11:12:45 MDT

2008/7/11 Stuart Armstrong <>:

> The vatican would make itself more dogmatic on the condom issue...
> Anti-free traders would live up to their beliefs and become more vocal
> about them...

You're assuming they feel there is something wrong with their beliefs
and would try to remove this feeling. But they might be equally likely
to modify themselves for the opposite result.

> anyone in a semi-repressive environment (even a
> repressive family environment) would be pressured to make the "right"
> modification to their mental make-ups... companies would only offer
> jobs to those who can prove they have modified to unswerving
> loyalty...

Or those people who think this would be a bad thing might modify
themselves so that they are not susceptible to such pressure.

> The "better" or "worse" of the individual is practically irrelevant
> compared with the format they express that feeling. A psychopathic
> killer serving his country loyaly on the battlefield is much better
> than the devout, considerate, kindly, compassionate bishop denying
> condoms to africans, or the aid worker pushing well-meaning but
> erroneous solutions on the populations.

Yes, but all else equal we are better off with people who are good.

> The biger problem is that people's beliefs in how the world works is
> only tangentially related to reality. Self modification will increase
> this gap, not diminish it; we may soon see the rise of the dogmatisms,
> in a much more potent form.

I think the more dogmatic you are, the less you are likely to think
that your mind needs modifying.

>> I expect there would be great pressure for people to conform to some
>> general standard of moral behaviour. There is such pressure today, but
>> we all reluctantly acknowledge that there will be people who behave in
>> antisocial ways because, without getting into a whole discussion about
>> free will, they can't help it. This excuse won't count for much if
>> anyone can easily change their nature to whatever they want.
> But based on what most people think today, once of the first things
> they'll do is make themselves less worried about the opinions of
> others. Few people value conformity to "whole human population", so
> conformity impulses will be the first ones out the window, replaced by
> rabbid individuals or tightly knit opposing groups.

Being overly sensitive to the opinions of others can be a problem, but
in most cases people won't wish they can throw off the values they
have already acquired through living in their community. If they think
the values are wrong then ipso facto they are already negated, without
recourse to direct mind modification.

Stathis Papaioannou

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