Towards The Propagation of the Savior Imperative

Abstract

The Savior Imperative is a means of resistance. Resistance implies opposition – an attempt at eliminating opposites. This is one of the typical varieties of ideological constructions, either political or aesthetic. This essay investigates the meaning and the reasons for organizing a Savior Imperative -themed resistance from a theoretical, aesthetic, and cultural point of view. The thesis is that the resistance has to be considered as an articulation of difference, and that means following a different order of thought than that which is characteristic of the current human – no longer beholden to signaling or mere rationality, but utilitarian, like a new dharma, a goal-oriented path and practice of creativity, challenge, provocation, steadiness, and truth. Towards this end, the aesthetics of the Savior Imperative will have to be tailored to the individual. Not one which submits to established systems, and uncritically replicates their memes.

1. Selecting a proxy body for the Savior Imperative

We begin with the recognition that opposition does indeed exist. A recognition that is necessary if one is to destroy opposites. It can be argued that ∀ ideological constructions, either political or aesthetic, one must recognize opposites. It is also true that with society’s growing complex processes, creating an opposition movement can no longer be thought of without regard for the technological forces at work or without considering the sheer size of the population. It is argued that this opposition must be based around the fact that our telos cannot be contemplated according to the self-modeling behavior creating an experience of closed individualism for humans. But neither can it be considered from the absolutely correct physical point of view, still not obvious to most in the twenty-first century, i.e., the view of a world without contradiction and without free will: where all manifestations supervene on the single will of the God-machine (oft short-handed as “The Laws of Physics”).

So if the assumptions of closed individualism and mere rationality are to be excluded, and this must be done by choosing a fundamental approach to life, then let’s list our options. Not considering the so-called spiritual wisdom of being one with the flow in a non-judgmental way, four or five other prefrontal cortex archetypes, each distinct and irreconcilable, can be characterized. All of these propose ways of contemplating opposition and present several varying theoretical answers to the problem of opposites.

[1] In short, the first position contemplates the problem of opposites by reducing conflict, by pacifying and harmonizing opponents. This is the typical solution of the aesthetic tradition, which always seeks to reconcile opposites, overcoming all conflict, and which is found today in discourses that propose to rediscover and rehabilitate notions of beauty and harmony. Interfaith dialogue is an example of this. [2] A second position, on the contrary, proposes making opposites radical and conflict extreme. In the aesthetic field this is manifested by appealing to notions of the sublime, giving rise to what we could call a kind of aesthetics of terror/profundity. With the decline of nation narratives and religion, this sensibility is increasingly indulged passively through artistic media.  [3] A third position, on the other hand, moves towards the relativization and the problematizing of opposites, towards a presentation of the terms of conflict based on irony and masking. This is the course considered “postmodern” by many, which has distinct proponents and representatives all over the world.[4] A fourth position is one that could be based on the notion of difference, which contemplates opposites in a non-symmetrical, non-dialectical, non-polar way, through the concepts of acuteness and provocation. Zen as well as absurdist humor can be an example of this. [5] A fifth position, increasingly intermingled with the postmodern, is that of the social sciences – seeking to refine understanding through taxonomizing and theory building, but claiming abstinence from normative personhood.

Without entering into the individual merits of these situations, each having its own virtues and defects, the only one that appears open to an effective experience of conflict is that which allows for becoming opposites, and therefore resistance. Namely, the second position. So how can we take up this second approach to life?

2. The articulation of the difference

First of all, resistance goes in the opposite direction of aesthetic conciliation. It moves towards an experience of conflict larger than dialectic contradiction, towards the exploration of normative opposition. Hence, resistance presupposes a logic of difference. Even the physicalist resistance proposed in the Savior Imperative, for instrumental reasons, doesn’t ask us to understand ourselves as a monist whole – as a single physical law expressing her single will. We understand a dissimilarity larger than the logical concept of diversity or variance in dialectic confusion. The element of this downstream selectivity is that which has been characteristic of rationalist and transhumanist thought – to add the configuration of the status quo to the bin labeled ‘arbitrary’ and ‘open to modification.’ The status-quo reversal test is one of the most important results we have inherited from these thought experiences, and which finds ultimate conclusion in the open individualism underpinning Savior Imperative.

In its best theorization, and here I think specially of Eliezer Yudkowsky, one must recognize that physicalism has left us with the duty of attuning our notions to it, not to find ourselves permanent strangers upon the ground of reality thus revealed, for example by calling quantum mechanics “weird” and attempting to bend it so as to preserve our intuitions. Physicalism urges us to resist simplification, our genes, the arbitrary. While instilling in us the pleasure of absolute truth, of ultimate remembering, of eternities of hope; in short, it has opened up to us the channel of reality.

It is sometimes said that embracing science consists of mistrusting everything from indubitable certainties, absolute principles, essentialist and totalizing visions, to univocal and comforting answers. Yet there are truths to be discovered in the universe. Truths which are not beholden to the mental pirouettes and tribal identities of apes. Having realized a truth which is universal and interesting for true reasons, we must hold on to it and situationally transcend our indexicality.

 

3. Box B and Omega as self-reinforcing mirage

But here, in our indexical present, it appears we are manifesting something paradoxical. On the one hand we have a desire to revoke imperfection and, consequently on the eternal block, a proof of failure. For example, within the forward light-cone, as seen from outside the tenseless mathematical object, there exist minds of cosmic proportion who could assume their role as saviors of sub-par configurations by application of their own realization, intelligence, benevolence, resources, and do so for selfish reasons, knowing we are them. Take the case, for example, where a ‘single branch’ in the universal wavefunction figures out how to shut off the universe, a raindrop the size of epsilon in the probability density cloud containing success in this regard is all that was needed for reality to be permanently off. Given that this now exists, and that one is called by reason to believe in a physical universe outside immediate experience, we must conclude that all other nows also exist from their reference frame. Experiences are situational. They are rendered separate by virtue of their geometry and not by continuity of separate soul streams to the consternation of Atheists, Christians, Muslims, and common sense. Vindicated are those with looser frontal lobes, physicalists, and hoary mystics. We find ourselves, hence, face to face with a reality that will take absolute courage, grit, wisdom and social points to spare, in order to replicate upstream against biologically hard-coded intuitions and low-status associations.

Therefore, confronted with the difficult burden of physicalism, arises the temptation to crawl back into the womb of closed individualism, of uniqueness – not in configuration but rather a linear, persistent, and named kind of uniqueness. However, we must resist this temptation and still bet in favor of Box B in this Dark Version of Newcomb’s Paradox where our will is reduced to neither free nor emerald-studded by Omega. Embrace the Barbarian warrior-hood which takes up a sword even in the absence of a promised heaven. The reality of eternity is truly too important to leave in the hands of the non-rationalist ideologues ambulating today, or in those actuators of so many misaligned AGI’s of various avatar emanations (Clippy’s, Basilisk’s, Em-style, etc.).

In light of the long defeat, faced with vast forms of luxurious pleasure, of an endless amount of sufferings extending from the Stelliferous Era to the last harvestable black hole, from Lucy to 0x730x6By not available in your colors. Confronted above all with the event horizon preventing us from seeing it as it is – in every nook and cranny of conscious computation space we manifest with the tendency to conform to the trivialities of our local design, with the goal of sex or Dyson spheres, incapable of anything but confirming and flattering all levels of mediocrity and vulgarity and thus unveiling the true oppressive and mystifying nature of being informationally isolated. It remains the only hope to affirm the principle of difference, to activate forms of resistance, and to develop strategies of opposition.

It would be absurd, however, to recklessly oppose one’s psychological machinery, which would be like disagreeing with the very mitochondrial ATP transactions powering our motions, in favor of some abstract morality or utility of an untouchable shore. Yet this resistance cannot simply be expressed in counterfactual selves, much less in word; rather, the strategy of the meta-self is to be at once contingent, local, tolerant, and compromising. Its disjointed modules must not mean surrender, rejection, or resignation but rather remembrance and myelination. In this way, resistance does not mean inertia or defending the status quo; it is an imperfect and fleeting but dutiful and insistent promise to remember – a discrimination between levels of reality.

With respect to a purely deontological or by-any-means vision of resistance, typical of not only the heroes of fiction but also of tunnel vision that thinks only in terms of relentlessness and head-on contraposition, or with respect to a Dzogchen vision that blurs its attention too restfully on the abstract and thus renounces the moment in question, we lack an intelligence required by the practical and game-theoretic implications of resistance. We are multiple and differentiated, in the personal place of the contender. Renounce the fragilizing wills at each end: rest and unrest.

The resistance we are thinking about rejects taking an apocalyptic or visionary position, but at the same time it avoids being watered down to the level of surrendering to the society of spectacle and generalized communication in which we live. Resistance cannot fall into the naïveté of head-on confrontation with the enemy in which the wheel of samsara turns, as some deva might say. We cannot be naive to the point of believing that we can defeat the adversary so easily, much less be defeated and come to believe that we meant to conciliate or be absorbed by him all along. It is indexically here not a time of prudish fear of money or submission to allure, but of courageous thinkers who know how to assess their comparative advantages, whether at directly collecting social capital or collecting paper powers as a means, to live as between monk and capitalist, merchant and prophet.

What is lacking today is rational but moral thinking, fluid but resistant, interested but not trivial. It is a thinking that is capable of riding the waves in our proximate light-cone while at the same time remaining hooked to the meta-narrative, playing a super-position of seemingly distinct games. To this end, it would perhaps be convenient to remember the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama who, although believing himself deprived of illusions with respect to all things, spoke into and by means of samsara. The attitude the Savior Imperative’s resistant should have is therefore that of a strong interest, yet a kind of distrusting disenchantment with the trends of the day, an egoless aspiration that puts it in direct contact with the integral of all presents, with its transformations. Taking care not to leave ourselves us frightened, much less dazzled.

However, living far from the illogic and contradiction of closed identity, is not to be understood as eschatology in itself. Downloading truths can sometimes, as unadaptive or untested behavior, be dysfunctional to the very system that ends up re-enforcing it. Einstein and Schrödinger have taught us wrongfully: we can debate stochasticity, determinism, without changing it, incorporating it, reducing it in some way to the same. The Savior Imperative is really a differential movement that incites us to deconstruct the illusion of a pure theory of science and of disconnect, and instead to play within the familiarity of purpose, a fight that inextricably unites meta and indexical, the zero and the infinite.

The model for this familiar purpose could come pre-built into our brains and be similar, in some regards, to the pre-set shape of our hands inside our brain. In fact, amputation alone is no match for the design burned in neural pathways. It takes training, on top of the lost hand, to establish a substitute simulation strong enough to oppose the stubborn proclivities in morphological space. Compromise is thus the aesthetic mode for bearing cross. It makes adaptations for local kinks endowed with great fineness in which goals are to be realized as effectively as possible.

The traits are recognized and played in their fullness unless it is expedient that they be transhumanly conciliated, annulled, assimilated, or converted one into the other. For this reason, the shape of the transhuman must not be that of the human; it must be the product of the subtle, the capacity for contemplating physicalism with great rationality and courage.

Having decided on the second archetype, beauty will be important. There are two main proposed kinds of beauty: beauty as harmony, symmetry, and conciliation, present in Schmidhuber’s beauty postulate – that is, the classic idea of beauty. And there has, as well, always existed a diverse, alternative idea, a strategic idea of beauty thought of as the experience of opposites and as challenges. I hypothesize that in a grand-unification of these seemingly irreconcilable theories, lies the truest beauty. Quick information compression (i.e. “easy on the eyes”) plus challenge providing novelty equals beauty in this girl.

The aesthetic flirting with challenge finds its champions in postmodernism and earlier in wabi-sabi. Think, on the other hand, of Greek statues, that left no room for exploration of anything besides perfection. But, perhaps for the best, forget all this philosophizing, for in the twenty-first century, the Dawn of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning models can capture our wants, understanding what it is to “decode” human preferences from the depths of the real matrices of natural order, therefore carving neat and mathematical, statistical and refined, encasings for our brains. The ideas of pre-data are henceforth buried except in so far as they are expected to stimulate dopamine release, thus spilling nutritious utilons for reinforcement learning algorithms. Who so proclaims that beauty is to be assigned only by he who contemplates it, is a Copernican unto the sun and an ingrate unto evolution.

4. Aesthetic for conversions

In light of these considerations, the Savior Imperative resistance as aesthetic cannot but assume the game of data collection and analysis. But what is to be done with this? At the heart of the challenge, over and above all else, is the compromise of building a hedonic yet ethical path for society, this is necessary for the Savior Imperative. Society needs tailored content, but not to at the limit rendering us into oblivion. We make our move right now, before the planes with clouds of Soma descend on us all. It is before full automation, UBI, and max VR comfort, while there is still in some locations an incessant fight for individual and collective recognition, that we can strategically ease people into this worldview. The few major tech companies have the greatest knowledge for shaping people into ad-clickers and returning users. Not unlike this, is the machine learning problem of converting many humans to a world-view, which presents itself as an unromantic technicality. Deviation from this norm, is thus maintaining the stance that we prefer to lose to other remorseless replicators. Anti-propagandistic norms are to be left to an alternate history, for here entails honest appreciation of the contenders and our own role with respect to upholding the importance of our differences.

 

A Temple Where People Actually Believe Physics

Imagine a place of gathering where you weren’t asked to worship a random deity – where you weren’t asked to believe in a fairytale afterlife, but you weren’t asked to believe in eternal none-existence either, because, after all, the only condition for entry to this temple was that you had to take physics seriously while inside its premises.

Being a hardcore reductionistic physicalist forces one to conclude that experience never ends. There are just mind configurations which equal specific experiences. These mind configurations exist only from their location. Despite the unrelenting work of medial parietal cortices and parietal lobes to imbue themselves with a sense of owning a forward-traveling soul, no soul has actually been found in the mechanism.

Even today’s popularizers of science have fallen prey to a non-reductionistic view. Richard Dawkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, Sam Harris, and all their following of mainstream atheism believe that they are passengers on a ship that will dump them into absolute oblivion once it reaches the other shore.

It was the more careful thinkers such as Albert Einstein, Hugh Everett, David Pearce, and Eliezer Yudkowsky, who realized that viewing a present experience as anything more than its present configuration is uncalled for. And if my own narrative-stream and the comment section on LessWrong are honest, then a bunch of other nameless people also discovered this (and thought it was easy and trivial). All we had to do was to believe the universe exists outside of us. This means that it is littered with configurations which are present from their own inner present. Since there is no universal reference frame, i.e., the pasts and the futures are already there. I ask then, “Whence cometh death?”

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It is clear that there are just many experiences, not belonging to anyone special besides their own intrinsic existence. We can therefore say that we are all one single fragmented being, or that we are many different infinitesimal beings. If you want to be a proper reductionist, take your pick between something like Brahman or Anatta. But the pieces of reality contain nothing like Abrahamic souls.

And isn’t this why people made up all those elaborate lies about Vishnu, all those eschatologies and cosmogonies? They wanted something more than mere dust-to-dust. Well, the universe has given it to you already. Immortalists rejoice, efilists tremble.

Open individualism (saying we are all one, but can’t know it from each location) and empty individualism (saying there is no self) are the same thing at ground level. The aesthetic preference displayed in this regard supervenes on the quarks.

Here are great visuals from Qualia Computing

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 6.45.15 PM

Note: Empty = Open

Acknowledging the elephant in the room gives us a tremendous incentive to cooperate and can help some people out of nihilism. Yet it seems that many smart people feel ashamed to own up to what is an easy-picking implication of materialism and physicalism. Maybe they don’t have enough contrarian chakra to overcome the shame from normie atheists. Maybe they have learned to take comfort in a closed little world which ultimately asks nothing of them.

Thomas Henry Huxley, when presented with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution said, “How incredibly stupid not to have thought of that.” This is quite an entertaining quote, but it would be surprising if no one had actually ever thought about common descent and some hereditary mechanism for it. It is closer to the truth to say that many people had already seen much in the puzzle pieces, even ignoring the probable people who died without publishing their thoughts. There is a block which tends to appear in one’s mind when an obvious thing isn’t obvious to others. Darwin only got around to publishing his major work when he found out that another naturalist had also arrived at the same conclusion. Before that, he was just scared.

I say, burn this aspect of human nature. Why walk trepidatiously, when one is sure that the ground is stable?

One day, when open individualism is interpersonally assumed as a matter of convention, people will say the same as Huxley. How incredibly stupid that no one thought of this before. Except, of course, just like with evolution, many people did – but their sounds were drowned by their own undulations of submissive fear or by the heaving motions of the masses.

It is true that society will not reward you for merely discovering true things. Especially if those true things don’t fit usefully in their status-signaling neural networks. There are already many true things that society would rather not look at. But if you are here, you are probably not normal, and might as well embrace it.

People like Derek Parfit, Sam Harris, and Sean Carroll are especially curious. And that is because they exist somewhere near that stage were Darwin found himself before learning about Wallace’s similar conclusions. Derek Parfit reasoned out selflessness but just turned out to be wrong about physics, so he believed that atoms had persistent individual identities which made for his continuity of consciousness. I suspect something similar occurs with Sam Harris. He at times seems to understand selflessness, but ultimately refuses to be sure of it at the very edge, by saying something about “continuity of consciousness.” So you get a soul with a finite timeline split into many pieces. A fusion of closed individualism and empty individualism.

Sean Carroll, like me, also says that no one is traveling because each brain just exists from where it exists, also understands that relativity implies an eternal block, even assigns most likelihood to the reality of the wave-function and hence Everett’s many-worlds; to top it off, he knows way more physics than me. So why the heck does he still believe he is going to simply die?

I am not a psychoanalyst, but I’m going to be a psychoanalyst anyway. To top off the general suggestions offered before for our collective failure, I would add to that list the suspicion that so much energy is spent sparring with religious non-challenges. Religious people care a lot about life after death, so the antithetical position (eternal non-existence) also becomes very important to the atheist, and would now be extra-embarrassing to reject.

Okay, so why, of all the assortment of truths that I could be pointing to in the world, am I picking a fight over this one? Well that’s because it matters. Because I am selfish. Because in the most fundamental sense, I am you, and you, and you; all experience slices everywhere. It is in my best interest that you live an enjoyable life of some sort. Although I won’t be able to access the experience of this mind typing these words from that location, I am that. This is enough to concern me.

We should be no more solipsistic with regard to “another person’s” now slices than we are with regard to some past slice of now with our name (which we also can’t access) or some future slice with our name (which we also can’t access from these spacetime coordinates). I don’t care about this name. I don’t merely care about similar memories. I care about the sum of my experiences. Somewhere, I am still that child in my old photographs. And by his physical constitution, he cannot tell that the inner light of awareness also shines here and in that girl in the Mughal Empire.

This brings me to the matter of building a temple. I had already shown an inclination for pursuing a related line of thought when I was sixteen. And it seems he assumed failure at convincing people, based on the title of that post.

It is not the case that I am convinced this is a good idea. Questions abound. How many positive hedons should we be okay with creating instead of blocking dams of potential negative hedons? How do we account for the effects that mining positive qualia and inspirational stimuli can have on people who belong to a religious-like community?

The first question has already been explored in the public eye with current religions. Often as a source of accusations against the powerful institutions. For example, the statement that “If the Vatican were really Christian, it would sell everything of high market value that it owns and use it to save kids in Africa.”

Unlike nations or corporations, organized religions put themselves on the spot by claiming moral high ground. The moral high ground seems to track closer to negative utilitarianism in most people. Our most abstract sense of good generally says that it is more important to prevent suffering than to create happiness.

Yet one witnesses an apparently stark hypocrisy:

According to Vinod Rai, the former Comptroller-and-Auditor-General(CAG) of India, who had audited some of the Temple records from 1990, in August 2014, in the already opened vault A, there is an 800 kg (1,800 lb) hoard of gold coins dating to around 200 B.C, each coin priced at over 2.7 crore (US$390,000).[42] Also found was a pure Golden Throne, studded with hundreds of diamonds and other fully precious stones, meant for the 18-foot-long Deity.[43] According to varying reports, at least three, if not more, solid gold crowns have been found, studded with diamonds and other precious stones.[44][45][46] Some other media reports also mention hundreds of pure gold chairs, thousands of gold pots and jars, among the articles recovered from Vault A and its antechambers.[47]

This revelation has solidified the status of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple as the wealthiest place of worship in the world.[48] It is conservatively estimated that the value of the monumental items is close to ₹1.2 lakh crore or ₹1.2 trillion (US$17 billion). If the antique and cultural value were taken into account these assets could be worth ten times the current market price.[49]

These estimates were on the basis of the revelations since July 2011, when five vaults were opened, with the at least one remaining vault (B), which is the largest, still closed. One of the oldest existing estimates regarding Vault B, which can be considered to be at least as reliable as any other made since the discovery of the hidden treasure (or assets) of the Temple in 2011, was by the Travancore Royal Family itself in the 1880s (when an older existing estimate was updated). According to it, the gold and precious stones contained in Vault B, which is by far the largest and the only vault (of the reported six) that is unopened so far, since the discovery of the treasure, were worth ₹12,000 crore (US$1.7 billion). Considering the subsequent inflation of the rupee, and the increase in the prices of gold and precious metals and precious stones since in general, the treasure in the unopened vault B alone, would be worth at least ₹50 trillion (US$730 billion) in present-day terms, without the cultural value being factored in.[50][51]

Why don’t these devout Hindus spread this wealth to the faithful crowds on the streets who could surely benefit greatly from it? Why don’t the crowds expect this from the religious authority?

We don’t mean what we say is the short answer.

The sacred has a cost. In practice, we are willing to pay that cost.

I may be a utilitarian on paper – talking about carefully dissecting masses of hedonia, and weighing them at their fault lines. But in reality I am much more practical. I workout  every day without worrying about how much it pains me or what arithmetic I’m performing on the longevity of my narrative stream. I eat the same thing every day for simplicity, regardless of how much positive qualia is going unborn. We pay prices to uphold the establishment of our sacred rituals.

Both in the Vatican and the Padmanabhaswamy case, it is not even that long-term happiness/status sustenance is implicitly preferred to suffering prevention. If the goal was to create happiness or preserve status, having jewels locked up in a temple dungeon would do little in that regard.

This is more a brute side effect of deontological reinforcement. Quite similar to how I have not taken a single bite of a donut in over five years – to reinforce the sacredness of my commitment to diet, even though I know based on my will-power that a bite of a cookie would do no harm.

Selling a diamond-encrusted crown or two would not make a difference to the temple’s public glamour, since no one would notice. And yet the person on the street almost starving, or needing treatment, would surely notice. The energy of the temple’s reasoning engine is not enough to overcome the systematizer. The reasoner is an expensive process and prefers to sleep in the belly unless it is absolutely necessary to awake.

If we are going to create a religious-like community, it better be weighed against the other potential uses of that money and energy. Overcoming systematizers is very expensive, and no one likes it. Those who would benefit the most from an overthrow don’t even peep about it (Prussian-style soul-destroying school system come to mind?). The sort of smart people who would end up loving having access to such a physics temple, will likely be the primary obstacle to the formation of such a thing. And their children who would grow up with the proven benefits of a reassuring community gathered to contemplate their commitment to each other and to ‘the ultimate’ will also miss out. All because we were embedded in invisible systematizing agents that happened to trade too many precision points in exchange for energy conservation when evaluating what sounded “religious” or “spiritual”.

Finally, I do recommend taking architectural cues from the Padmanabhaswamy temple:

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