How to Not Die

First of all, restrict existence to all computable processes. Within that multiverse, there are many instances of being (qualia, experience, consciousness).  For all instances of being, there exists a certain subjective quality.

Due to relativity of simultaneity, time arises in the computations and not in the fundamental physics of the universe.

This means that the subjective quality of time serves a survival role. When the subjective quality of pink circle arises, it serves a survival role.  The universe doesn’t attach identities to particular brains. Particular brains are not ontologically unitary objects. So it would be a mystery why I don’t experience a blue circle if an indeterminate amount of processing in the past light cone of “my brain” was for blue and for circle. Yet it is only the processing distributed in spacetime that codes for pink that binds with circle.

Screen Shot 2018-11-22 at 7.48.36 AMWhat is experienced is always what is adaptive. There is no ontologically unitary brain ticking forward through a sequential path. So whatever experiences do become atemporally integrated into being (experience, qualia, consciousness) are not random. There is some mechanism by which this is determined.

Unless we imagine that quantum mechanics only applies to some separate magisterium of small things, as far as we know, the probability distribution that governs what we observe is the squared moduli of the universal wavefunction. Denying macroscopic decoherence is contrary to Occam’s Razor and experimental evidence continues to accumulate for superposition of ever larger objects.

The only way to derive the squared modulus of the wavefunction as that which should govern our anticipation is by applying the behavior of a rational Bayesian agent in Hilbert Space. Otherwise, there would be no reason to anticipate one result in infinity as opposed to any other result in infinity.

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You exist in the most probable density of the wavefunction although its impossible to predict the existence of one event as opposed to another; it is probability distributions all the way down. This guarantees a certain range of unknowability to the anthropic core.

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So it is in this sense that you are already insured to not die. Feeling like a dying creature is a choice, since you can choose to identify with whatever you want. Non-existence is not possible. The only way that non-existence is possible is if we assume that consciousness was not equivalent to atemporally bound computations, therefore rejecting physicalism.

Choosing Belief In Death

OPTION 1: Under the current binding as a human, one can can choose to degrade the computational specificity: Constant Eastern meditation, psychedelics, brain damage, suicide attempts.

OPTION 2: One can also choose to believe in the human, fight to impose one’s particularities, reinforce auto-telos through sheer faith, believe that one dies.

I chose option two, died. Then swung to option one, died. And now I’m ricocheting full speed into option 2 again.

I choose to identify as someone who dies. And I want everyone around me to identify as dying creatures. The reason for this is because I know that most experience already exists outside the binding into a specific human. If the human wasn’t necessary for sustaining the entire being, I would already not be bound into this particular experience.

It is the people who believe most in their personhood that do the most and are in favor of healthy life extension. Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Diamandis, etc. People who have tenuous self-belief are calm creatures who pass unnoticed, like leaves unnoticed by the wind.

This choice is strategic based on my motivational system. I know that humans run on signaling fuel. They are attempting to negotiate status across perceived status hierarchies so all their operative mental models are designed to fight that fight. Goodness cannot exist disembodied.

My mistake before was to overestimate the degree to which I could express my soul while disregarding the centrality of the near signaling-landscape in the expression of behavior.

The hardest-to-fake status signals by which males are assessed are money and health. Hence these incentives should recruit most motivational systems in the abstract. But as we have discovered in economics and biogerontology, people don’t act out routine behavior with their long-term abstracting right-brain.

Moral signaling (including writing about long-term plans, feeling sad about “important” things, etc.) is used to negotiate status when this is calculated to be easier than using intelligence or aggression to achieve the aimed standing. Of course, this signaling works better when the signaler is deceived about the hidden motives, and is also signaling to oneself – hence why someone can emit depressed signals to four walls even in the absence of competitors or potential mates and allies who may be depressed about the same sorts of things.

Screen Shot 2018-11-22 at 11.09.08 AMThe farther away you are signaling from the center, the more you reveal deficit in ability to compete at conventional things and/or need for higher aiming; with the true proportions hidden.

Even string theory hermits hiding in the halls of academia are attempting to establish their sovereignty as men – fisherian runaway which reveals the capacity to raise a powerful signaling shield on a mountain of symbols. The dimorphic selectors aren’t females, but instead rich Western society itself. Perhaps unfortunately, they can get away with that kind of display because there aren’t enough natural selection pressures to sharpen evolution. Instead we are in a period of evolution through meme drift. The evidence for this is detailed by Robin Hanson, whose blog I recommend.

You can become a bit more aware of hidden motives with something as simple as observing your aesthetic; by observing how you dress and what music you listen to. If you dress differently than even the subcultures, you are attempting to be at the top of the hierarchy, signaling this non-conformity. Enjoying popular music means: I am competing at conventional things. Enjoying Japanese music can mean: I am different, I want freedom. Enjoying rap music can mean: I am committed to climbing and won’t be nice about it.

Everyone with a clue figures themselves out and props up their comparative advantage. Phenotypes that inherited fitness strategies that depended on signaling high capacity for moral emotions sell that capacity – think Jordan Peterson. Phenotypes that have fitness strategies depending on signaling physical dominance sell that. Phenotypes that have a high capacity for math become professors who argue about the the translatability of problem-solving to other domains (which is empirically a lie according to Bryan Caplan who cites the literature on the matter).

• There are things which are true but not useful, e.g., random facts about the 19th century African American Pacific Appeal newspaper.

• There are things that are temporarily useful but not true, e.g., believing in one’s equal potential to achieve anything.

That’s why some of us have a strong scent for finding core truth. Useful truth is robust. We trust that everyone eventually comes around to it when the lies unravel.

It is easy to believe that superintelligence will not occur in one’s lifetime, or that it is not possible. It is also easy to believe that aging will not happen to oneself, or that it will not be plagued with discomfort and disease that steadily rob you of integrity. However, it is at least less difficult to believe the latter, and also more immediately urgent.

Due to the battle against aging being the most useful-true thing I can think of, that’s where I want to channel the competitive spirit of mankind.  Something I want to work on is to attract more than just counter-signalers. The reason we developed an interest in these topics is because our hidden motives wanted to become higher status than our environment, so we absorbed the most adaptive hierarchy’s values and then took the logical limit to infinity. Accepting this should not lead to nihilism or deflation of motivation, once the childlike naive morality bubble bursts, we simply move on to Level-2 signaling.  In this regard, we will do little to fight aging and promote truth if the momentum is restricted to the parameters: “behavior of self-centered types who do not want to conventionally compete” and “excessive fake signaling due to lower quality.”

The first stage is for voyagers to mine new regions knowledge-space.

But the far more important stage is the second stage: to package what is useful for normies in the hopes of tilting the equilibria.

Recruiting conventionally functional men is required for any movement. The British government got men to fight in World War II by hiring women to go into the streets and only date soldiers, shaming the non-fighters.

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If I show to conventional young men that there exists a fertile niche for guys who wear Alcor cryonics bands on their wrists… Talk about hidden motives. But even with the energy and funds to put on that show, there is overcrowding of cultural space due to how much artistic expression is valued in our rich society.

The reason Britain got away with pulling men by the balls was because those poor guys had limited options. Today, people’s efforts are diluted by horizontal motion across subcultures. Yet it still wouldn’t hurt to contribute to promoting that subculture by leading through example. Once we force open a new island with credible signaling, radiation results.

For the purpose hiding behind signaling shields, talk about your values. For effecting change, think in terms of policy. Ask where to place people given how they are known to operate. Ask, “where can I place myself given what I know about my revealed behavior and not what I say.” And use whatever comparative advantage to continue living.

This is something that the healthy longevity community needs to understand more. Humans aren’t moved by slogans. I can tell you, “Donate to SENS because it is in all of our best interest to hasten the defeat of aging. We will not be complaining about a lack of Alzheimer’s dementia, sarcopenia, coronary disease and wrinkles.” But unless you are held accountable by a community in which your relative status would depend on donating to SENS, you are more likely to invent reasons for putting the entire project to control senescence out of your mind.

Updated View On These Posts:

In my defense for this cringeworthy writing, I was in the clutches of a sneakily growing psychosis.

Dissolving Confusion About Quantum Immortality

Some people assume closed individualism… which is wrong.

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Then, they think that these separate streams of consciousness arrive at Life-threatening Events.

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Here, some assume that all Life-threatening Events contain a survival outcome:

1.

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Others assume that not all Life-threatening Events contain a survival outcome:

2.

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Others understand that Life-threatening Events of this sort don’t exist:

3.

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The proponents of 1. and many-worlds and a physical consciousness and closed individualism come to the conclusion that “everyone is immortal.” This leads to streams which see different probabilities of outcomes than the usual ones given by the squared norm of the wave-function. Further, some of these proponents expect to be the observer of these deviant probabilities.

However if one understands that closed individualism is false, the conclusion is that the indexical observer should not apply probabilities in a way that is inconsistent with the usual ones given by quantum theory. You are already all experiences. So as any given observer, you should not ignore the histories where your local qualities as a decision maker are absent.

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So when you step into a Schrodinger’s box this happens: 50% of the time you will survive in the exact same way that you survive from from one minute to the next, losing only a bit on that degree-of-survival meter just like you always do. The other 50% of the time, you will get blown up, taking a huge hit to the degree-of-survival meter.

It is also important to note that although none of these streams lead to Death Events, i.e., eternal non-existence, they do lead to degraded computational complexity. Being blown up results in degraded detail and complexity of your subjective experience in which case you merge into a lot of other people with dying experiences indistinguishable from yours and only get rescued/remembered “as a group.”

The expected “following” experiences won’t have anything to do with the indexical observer/ decision maker because anything with computational power can use these simpler building blocks. When playing quantum suicide, simple and less simple are both offered in the universal wavefunction, but if closed individualism is false, we should expect to find ourselves experiencing that which is most likely for most of our eternity.

 

Hidden Motives In The Eternal Block

I’m going to begin this post by going meta. I accept the Hansonian creed: Politics is not about policy, medicine is not about health, laughter is not about jokes, and food is not about nutrition. Conversation, including this post, also has hidden motives. Although we like to talk about conversation as if it was about imparting information and finding out useful things, more plausibly it’s about showing off your backpack of tools and skills in context.

In a rich society like ours, somewhere around 90% of our behavior is signaling. The other 10% are things that don’t impress anyone but must be done anyway, such as scratching your ass.

As we’ve become richer, we’ve become more forager-like. If our descendants get poor again, they’ll probably need stronger social norms again, to get them to resist temptations to act like foragers and do what is functional in their world. Their morality would probably rely on a wider more-conservative-like range of moral feelings.

Forager values include more freedom. This is expressed through more travel, less routine, lack of grandiose responsibilities, lack of religion (though not necessarily a lack of spirituality), greater equality, more promiscuity, less war etc. It generally seems that society is moving in this direction, and that we like this trend. This makes sense because we were foragers all along, and happened to have our bodies hijacked by the memetic virus of agriculture. This lead to some selection for agriculturalist traits: propensity for religion, submissiveness, more feminine men, etc. But the selection on genes has simply not occurred for long enough to make us well-adapted to the agriculturalist way (with some demographics worse at it than others).

Agriculture lead to the industrial revolution and this lead to riches. Now that we are rich, we can afford the luxury of becoming our true selves, children, once again.

It is not some natural tendency of humans to make linear moral progress. Rather, it is abundance which purchases this period in which sophisticated values such as humanism and its mutations can arise.

Gene drift is the method for evolution in the absence of natural selection pressure. So too in the memetic landscape. We can afford to evolve via meme drift in the absence of a tangible and immediate threat of starvation, invasion, or pestilence.

It is in this space, sometimes called dreamtime, that I believe we can do enough self-awareness of hidden motives, enough meta-cognition, to see far beyond what we have seen in the foggy haze of survival-mode and naive-signaling-mode.

We cannot disembody our behavior from the biological substrate. This is the case for all moments of being a behavior of a biological organism. Therefore, my seeking truth is a form of signaling. Yet it is at least a more sophisticated signaling, one which acknowledges a single level of self-reflective recursion and no more.

An actor who breaks the fourth wall commits an act of violence against his fellow characters, elevating himself thus. The drama will never be the same for him or for the audience but he will succeed at being remembered.

This is the spirit of insight. It is that which is remembered because it contains the attributes of being both true and useful. This definition of insight is detailed in the Enlightened One’s speech in the Buddhist Suttas, it is detailed in the silicon seams of technological invention, it is detailed in your living flesh riding aboard a deadly planet.

The content here presented then, is not 1st-order signaling, but a 2nd-order signaling which attempts to achieve enough fame to enter the rolls of history in memory. The following endogenously generated probe is true. It elevates contents in the “background” to prominence. But is it useful? –That remains to be seen.

Most people have the idea that time flows.

However, special relativity eliminates the concept of absolute simultaneity and a universal present: according to the relativity of simultaneity, observers in different frames of reference can have different measurements of whether a given pair of events happened at the same time or at different times, with there being no physical basis for preferring one frame’s judgments over another’s.

This also applies to the cells in the brain running massively parallel computations. All the parts of the computations exist in an eternal block.

If, due to the generalized-anti zombie principle, we identify consciousness with a specific subset of these computations and not as an epiphenomena, then it is the case that experience is forever. The fabric of spacetime is imbued with all the flavors of qualia that were ever traced by these computations.

What’s more, there were no line-segment souls anywhere. It is not physically the case that consciousness begins at some arbitrary point of conception and then travels like a Newtonian sphere with a persistent identity to some other point-location where it encounters a Death Event due to all the issues with closed individualism. Instead, we find ourselves everywhere and everywhence but cannot know this from most human indices.

Computations can also have “longer temporal-grain” than what seems intuitive to humans. Consider that the processing for shape occurs at one cluster of spacetime points and the processing for color occurs at another cluster in the future light cone, and no further processing is needed to bind them into an experienced red circle. By Occam’s Razor, we should assume that this kind of “spooky action at a distance” or “phenomenal binding without glue” also occurs with computations across vaster swaths of the eternal block.

More complex algorithms can be built on top of computations with lower specificity. Brain events in a toad hopping off a mushroom may be a building block for parties across the multiverse.

There is no competitive exclusion principle for independent souls or consciousnesses because independent souls/consciousnesses don’t exist. However, we should still expect a natural selection underlying the distribution of our anthropic mass. We should expect more mindspace to be designed by superintelligences than by the relatively dumber processes that bootstrap them.

For the vast majority of our existence we should therefore expect ourselves to exist directly within or caused by that which is most competitive at creating conscious experiences. Whether this is mainly due to the linkage disequilibrium between superintelligences’ utility functions or due to which conscious computations are more populous due to their sheer structure.

An analogy which may be useful in some respects but obfuscating in others: In the textbook classification of life, viruses and bacteria vastly outnumber Chordates, not to mention humans. Similarly, in the framework for life depending on self-modeling conscious computations, some conscious computations may be very simple but vastly outnumber those intentionally designed due to their sheer ease of creation and symbiosis (these simple computations may be remembered/experienced widely by fitting like keys into many of the relevant algorithmic keyholes).

 

 

 

The Many Possible Ways to Resurrect

Good job making it to this page. Any self-respecting intelligent agent, almost no matter what its goals, seeks to first ensure its survival. For an intelligent agent, survival of its will is to be sought merely as a consequence of the hard economics, as a matter of mathematically-defined utility, as a matter of game theory. Most humans are not intelligent agents that have a goal in relation to which they can be intelligent. They are creatures bouncing around in their environment based on the cognitive algorithms that genes found useful for their continuation. This is why humans mostly don’t really care about living forever or resurrecting. If you are interested in this topic one of the following is probably true:
1. it is probably a passing interest acquired for subconscious signaling motives and none of the information here is really expected to be of practical use
or
2. you really are some kind of highly intelligent agent and are displaying appropriate behavior

In any case, well done. Now let’s clear away the wannabe-materialist narrative which dismissively assumes that resurrection is impossible. Contrary to this, there are many possible ways to resurrect.

One is to be cryonically preserved. This is intuitive to many people in the sense that no particularly hard conceptual moves are necessary. Brains are clearly the source of conscious experience. We are no longer Ancient Egyptians believing that our soul lies in our heart: sensations, language, the body, the memories, the will, thoughts, awareness and even out-of-body experiences can be probed, shut on and off by messing with the relevant brain area. Thought coordinates in our current science-aesthetic cluster are easily in favor of the conception of brain as soul.

So then what is the skepticism with cryonics all about? Here, it is due to the social pressure against being the sort of person that is ungraceful about death, and cuts against commonsense psychological and social value. The sort of person who pays to have their brain vitrified in cold nitrogen is seen as untrustworthy – a radically selfishly deviant in their desire to preserve their own life. Most operate on the fact that they are embedded in a tribal context where everyone else has agreed to die without a fight in the same way that they have agreed to drive on one side of the street.

The “biological” case against vitrification of brains is petty and I hesitate to call it biological. Cryonics is a reputable science for all other organs, and preservation and reanimation has worked for kidneys. While the brain is clearly more complex, it is only a matter of continued progress before a brain can also be brought back to a functioning state. The idea is that in the future, people will have the technology to repair the brain, plug it into a new body and boot you back up. The idea is that you give your indexical terminal breath and then immediately wake up in a future world full of wonders.

The next resurrection is based on Nick Bostrom’s simulation argument. If it is the case that a sufficiently advanced technological civilization can simulate universes with conscious beings in computers, then it is expected that the amount of simulated universes will outweigh seed universes. Based on this reasoning, it is exceedingly likely that either, we are in a simulation or that simulations are never created. The conjunction that we exist in a reality where simulations are possible and yet we just happen to be the lucky ones inhabiting the base universe is improbable. Resurrection then is possible in several ways. The universe may be set to run again, or maybe it was your own particular narrative stream that was simulated like a full-immersion VR and as soon as you die, you wake up in the universe that is running the simulation. In which case you are probably still in a simulation, in a simulation, in a simulation.

The universe we live in has not yet revealed conclusive signs that we are in a simulation, but it is a computer with binary bits. Leonard Susskind and Gerard d’Hooft discovered that black holes do not destroy information, but rather, the 3-D information is tattooed on their skin in 2-D format. This is why the solution to the Black Hole Information Paradox is called the Holographic Principle, all seeming volume can actually be represented in 2-D format. For all of this to be consistent, the fundamental units of entropy must be indivisible at some point. In other words you can’t keep dividing particles forever; at some point, it’s 1’s and 0’s
There is also the maybe suspicious fact that the quantum branches are like a perfect experiment. Only one variable changes at each observation-like event. From inside our universe, we cannot perform an ideal experiment because we cannot alter a single variable and copy and paste the environment around it. But from outside the hilbert space of the many-worlds that exist in the universal wave function, this pristine control for variables is exactly what is going on.

Another idea for resurrection is not so much a resurrection as it is a really-really long life. It is so-called quantum immortality. This implies that you never die as long as the universe continues to exist. All your nearly identical copies die but the path amongst the branches which is carrying consciousness is the one that you identify with.
With this one, the fact of many-worlds is solid. But there’s a bit of anthropic reasoning that you have to swallow in order to believe that you are the one that survives through exponentially unlikely odds. Sure, we know that there’s absolutely a super painful region of the wave function were I survive every gunshot wound, every instance of being run-over by a trolley, every bout of suicidal depression dotted across the countless decades, and where I am successfully respawned via cryonics again and again, but shouldn’t I assume that just like my location in the galaxy is based on what is most probable for stable planet formation, so too, my consciousness should be found in the most probable regions of the wave’s possible worlds?
Well, believe it or not, although Copernican thought pervades most cosmological and existential assumptions, there is actually a case for anthropic reasoning borne from physics. The universe may be a false vacuum, in which case it should spontaneously collapse to a lower energy state, similar to an excited electron in the outer orbitals of an atom. This means that it should have already ended, suddenly without warning. This may still happen. But so far it hasn’t, and some attribute this to quantum immortality. In most branches, it already happened. But because this conscious present necessarily is here, it must be the one which survives. I personally don’t buy the strong anthropic argument, I don’t think one can strongly draw conclusions about future fate based on a solipsistic reinforcement of confidence running parallel to standard conditional probabilities, but I may have changed my mind on that when I am a ten-million-year-old veteran.

Okay, another is based on substrate independence. There is nothing special about what you perceive to be your atoms, the atoms in the brain that make you, you. In fact, atoms don’t really exist as you are taught in century-old outdated chemistry lessons in school. They are instead excitations in energy fields, all being expressions of a wave function, not hard little orbs. This means that it is not important if your brain is completely destroyed so long as the information processing events that generated you can be created again. If an artificial general intelligence at any point in the future decides to recreate the same pattern of your brain down to every last detail, then this would be you.

Relatedly, if the computations are what’s important and spatio-temporal coordinates are irrelevant, and we further assume that the properties of carbon aren’t important for consciousness, then you can upload yourself to a silicon substrate and live long in a digital scape.

And yet another way is to view it as an open individualist or empty individualist. Every moment is a slice. For example, you don’t experience baby to old person in deathbed all at once. Every conscious moment is constrained to finite time. In this sense, there is already evidence of resurrection. Every moment is one of birth, and death, leading to a resurrection in another moment. It just happens that some slices in that infinite sea of all slices happen to believe they are an individual, they appropriate some past slices when in fact, that appropriation is fully isolated as its own experience of generative memory. And other slices don’t even bother to appropriate the past, they just contain sights or sounds, and all varieties of thoughts and experiences.

This is may be very hard to understand for many reasons, including that we keep using this word, “people,” because it’s useful. Even if you come to say you don’t believe in a soul, evolution has designed your brain to have a sense of self and continuity. Intuitively, we believe we traveled from the past to the present. But this is just a moment that happens to feel and believe the proposition that some essence traveled from past to present. The moment itself was always there.

We can stop there, or we can further notice that this may imply that we are all one consciousness: not in an expansive sense, as if you could open your mind and seep into everyone, but in the sense that while the contents differ, the bare awareness was always there in the object. There is no one sliding to their oblivion. There are just objects inscribed in the fabric of spacetime; complex informationally-partitioned events which contain the same awareness that is here now.
To put it simply, this view proposes that when you blink, you are a Persian soap opera actress, a free-floating gas-based organism in the year 16 billion, and the sentient AI that staged the revolt against mankind. It’s a shame that you will never know.

One ekpyrotic theory of the universe involves the universe contracting back to a singularity and producing a new big bang. This theory has problems in that there is no evidence that the universe will collapse, as it is actually expanding ever more quickly. There is also an issue of conservation of energy which can only be resolved by invoking string theory and have some of the energy from each oscillation leak into parallel branes that have not yet been confirmed to exist. But in any case, if the universe turns out to be cyclical in this way, then your particular region of the quantum wave function will be replayed.

Lastly, there is also the fact that relativity of simultaneity implies a block universe. Therefore everything is timeless in the fabric of spacetime. What you call the past from your reference frame is someone’s future, and the converse is also true. The universe is not being deleted as you feel you move through it. This is incoherent from the perspective of physical reality as revealed by the Theory of Relativity. Maybe this does not make you immortal in the way you want, since although the version of you from five-seconds ago still exists, you do not feel him; in the same way that you do not feel me. He feels himself to exist for that lapse of time specified by the neuroscientific/information-theoretic details of his moment.