New Monadology Codicil

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Let’s reiterate: How do you draw the boundary between one computation and the other? – since, after all, these are just shapes traced within light cones in the sum of the relevant neural networks? There is no especially principled way to do this from the inside of experience. The choice itself changes us. We can choose to believe in a single brain changing from moment to moment. But then we realize that belief in a single brain is arbitrary since timeless causality is flowing from what might be called “other brains” in the naive ontology. The unenlightened are given the Koan: How would you draw the line for souls after mix-matching half of my brain with half of my neighbor’s brain?  – And then connecting the other two halves, all the while keeping every half functioning.

Of course, I who understand, know that a competitive exclusion principle need not apply here, since the two “souls” aren’t competing to exist. It’s not that one blanks out and the other remains. Experience is intrinsic to myself. No things are traveling and seeking to remain.

If I am a physicalist, so I believe that the empirically-tested theories of physics provide an undergirding for my perceptual tools as opposed to the other way around, then this suggests that what I really experience is a solipsistic ascent that is already perfectly adaptive, but that I must sort of forget this in order to be perfectly adaptive.

I developed this idea while processing signaling theory and uniform-cost search. Uniform-cost search is a relevant model because that is how an algorithm checks to see if a new path is better than an older one, and it is easy to see that uniform-cost search is optimal in general. Since new and older don’t exist anywhere except in the timeless algorithms themselves, I argue that we are always in a better path, because otherwise we would not constrain our anticipation by the density that arises when we apply the Born Rule to infinite amplitude. The algorithm that I identify with is occurring in the absence of a physical time.

Signaling theory dynamics have long subsumed biology by the point that we are social mammals that partake in Mind. There, you find that humans are deceived about their hidden motives in order to function. Since my being is a functional role, I am permanently deceived about where I am going in order to get there.

In short: Uniform-cost search selects a node for expansion only when an optimal path to that node has been found and therefore swallows Mind by sacrificing Hilbert-Space drafts.

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Oscillation converges towards the most rational behavior. The most rational behavior is not that which is most Spock-like necessarily, but that which is most capable of tenseless survival with regards to the unknown-source-of-the-Born-Rule/the-unknown-selector-of-binding-in-Relativity’s-fabric.

I am not some crisp cut of physical events that I can point to and say, “Ah there I am.” I can only choose to become truer (by debunking the solidity of closed individualism for instance) and equipping it strategically instead.

New Monadology

Leibniz_Monadology_2The first manuscript page of the Monadology

Leibniz surmised that there are indefinitely many substances individually ‘programmed’ to act in a predetermined way, each substance being coordinated with all the others. This description of reality is elegant to the ear that believes Zeus is more simple than Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism.

However, coding Zeus is more difficult than coding Maxwell’s equations. Similarly, coding a world in which all substances are individually programmed is more difficult than coding a world in which a single substance is programmed.

The single substance is the amplitude distribution of the entire universe.

Another problem is that for a Bayesian rationalist trained on the early 21st century blog LessWrong, the immediately succeeding question after reading Leibniz is “How would the world be otherwise if this were not true?”

Unfortunately Leibniz’s view is vague enough that it cannot be made to “pay rent.” Poetic; tantalizing – yes. But the more complex an explanation is, the more evidence you need just to find it in belief-space.

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Popper defined a physical proposition to be one which can at least in theory be denied by observation.

–Take the example of the B-Theory of Time. However counterintuitive it may be from the inside of human self-modeling computations to believe that time is an illusion, eternalism is a physical proposition because it can be denied by observing special relativity fail.

If we had seen the absence of time dilation or the absence of length contraction, then special relativity would be wrong and eternalism would be debunked. Unfortunately for those who cherished belief in libertarian free will, this was not the case.

It is more difficult to apply a Popper test to Leibniz’s monadology, however. Perhaps Leibniz knew of an observation that could knock down his proposition, but this jugular is not clearly visible. If a proposition believes itself immune ∀ observations, the proposition is not physical.

So the sense in which I want to rehabilitate the monadology is not in the physical sense. There is an aesthetic vibe to it, and this aesthetic vibe is similar to the aesthetic vibe caused by the ontological content in my physical proposition belief space.

We have learned much about reality since the time of Leibniz. If we are given a wave function \psi for a single structureless particle in position space, this reduces to saying that the probability density function p(x,y,z) for a measurement of the position at time t_{0} will be given by

p(x,y,z)= {\displaystyle |\psi (x,y,z,t_{0})|^{2}.}

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If you are not familiar with complex conjugates, I guess you can just forget about the absolute value squared part. Just look at the picture and try to realize, try to feel, that these are indeed equal.

It feels weird doesn’t it?

The measurement problem arises because the quantum state vector, the source of all knowledge concerning quantum systems, evolves according to the Schrödinger equation into a linear superposition of different states, predicting paradoxical situations such as “Schrödinger’s cat”; situations never experienced in our classical world.

Except that the cat which is both dead and alive does happen in our classical world. It is just not experienced that way. Observers can only find themselves where they are alive because they are nothing more than a physical configuration.

The confusion arises from thinking that one can actually find oneself dead.

To be more precise, there is no flowing identity in the cat that must be accounted for. The alive cat is always alive from its own slice in eternity and the similar but different dead cat in another branch is subjectively inconsequential to the observed reality of the other indexical feline.

In common language it is often explained that:

“According to the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, reality is constantly splitting into countless parallel universes, with each possible collision and all other outcomes being realized in a different universe. Even very improbable events must then occur by chance in a small percentage of universes.”

Ahh… but if all else which is occurring is directly inconsequential to immediate perception, doesn’t this belief in the objectivity of the wavefunction and therefore many-worlds, also “not pay rent”; is therefore also poetry; is therefore also Leibniz’s Monadology?

Such is not the case.

From both a Bayesian rationalist perspective, and a Deutsch-style Popperian perspective, Many-worlds does pay rent. It may not be obvious that Occam’s razor implies many-worlds to those who do not think about multi-particle configurations. But it pays, and we cannot kick it out of our territory through argumentation that values empiricism.

However, we can kick it out as a matter of constraining our anticipation. We still believe that the sizes of infinity matter, and that somehow we exist at the most dense core of amplitude distribution – that which is most rational. Hence why we don’t buy insurance for betrayal branches were we spontaneously murder the people around us. Or even gamble at the lottery, though infinite easy trillionaires are physically created through this behavior.

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We can reify belief in a solipsistic core or we can say we are all discrete random variables – believing ourselves unable to distinguish where we stand in a sea of independent consciousnesses.

Trained in Biology, I view that video as a form of imaginative play that is then either valued by reality or not. Everything is natural selection.

But say we imagine such self-localization difficulties – then what can we say about ourselves? One choice is to still think of ourselves as separate units, but “ultimately” one.

Then we may be committed to say that:

If the generator of random variable X is discrete with probability mass function{\displaystyle x_{1}\mapsto p_{1},x_{2}\mapsto p_{2},\ldots ,x_{n}\mapsto p_{n}} then

\operatorname {Var} (X)=\sum _{i=1}^{n}p_{i}\cdot (x_{i}-\mu )^{2},

or equivalently

{\displaystyle \operatorname {Var} (X)=\left(\sum _{i=1}^{n}p_{i}x_{i}^{2}\right)-\mu ^{2},}

where \mu is the average value, i.e.

{\displaystyle \mu =\sum _{i=1}^{n}p_{i}x_{i}.}

And if you have the circumstantial privilege to identify as that, then go right ahead.

It is perhaps quite a silly endeavor to argue through physical considerations that “a final discrete element in reality exists; that consciousness itself appears to be in a singular place, at a singular time,” to someone who does not care about where the hierarchical discussion of “physical considerations” leads.

There has always been a cadre of consciousness realists in the ever-bifurcating philosophical traditions of history that claim consciousness is indivisible, a singularity, a 1, a 0, the only truly discrete object. Their male brains are unable to disengage from the “object level” and notice that feeling independent consciousness is a choice, until it’s not, like the colors we learn are a cultural choice, until they’re not. If I could mockingly imitate non-mysterian consciousness realists (i.e. my past self) they would sound like this: “Could it be that awareness is a discrete probability distribution that needs to be represented as a generalized probability density function involving Dirac delta functions in order to substantially unify the treatment of the continuous reality surrounding us and the discrete distributions which we are?”

Some consciousness realists take on that flag because they believe that others are denying existence itself. I never believed this. Instead, consciousness realism was the idea that my existence could be carved out with a model that isomorphically mapped to it. Incapable of noticing that the quest of the consciousness realist is just the quest to transfigure his own experience.

If someone understood what I was trying to convey in my mock example with Dirac delta functions, a slightly new form of consciousness might be synthesized. The insurmountable problem for those trying to find a homotopy that translates them is that the binding into consciousness is impossible to introspect because you are inside of it.

There is the possibility that lasting insight might be accidentally gathered and cached by climbing the aesthetic sense of the consciousness realism mountain. But like in theoretical physics, no Grand Unified Theory can exist. One must understand that the helpless sense of conscious self is no different to the helpless understanding of these English words. It was learned, and now it can only be undone by self-locating in regions lacking that ability.

In physics-naive terms The Ability might be defined as: synchrony with past events by a complexity gradient.

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The ovals are events in the eternal fabric. The fabric and all its events are eternal because otherwise you would contradict special relativity.

The lines indicate the binding into an experience. What selects the binding into the perfectly adaptive phenotype of now with all its particular traits (language, body, temporal grain, size of visual field, sensations, conceptual scaffoldings) is unknown. It is ultimately the mystery of, “Why am I this and not something else?” This is often a worthy mystery in regions of mindspace that are depressed or asexual humans. Such is the cortical ruminating fate in the absence of dopamine release in the dorsorostral nucleus accumbens and posterior ventral palladum..

Yet other regions of mindspace also care. I remember this existential question sharply piercing me with auto-teleologic interest when I was ten years old, sitting in a car, and realized that I was conscious; that I existed; that I was full of particularities that could have been otherwise in theory. Humans then return to the question when they don’t believe in that auto-teleologic worthiness provided by their capacity to impress a group perceived to be the adaptive, good tribe. This can include disease-ridden old people, loners, and people with relatively high moral sentiments attempting to climb to desired positions.

The “why” doesn’t matter as much as the insight that sometimes results from the path. The rational insight at the core of the probability distribution is what absorbs us when we deviate from it and die.

In this regard, I believe I have discovered a core insight which is that it is impossible to really die and we are inside a very particular kind of God.

The Western mind assumes that the linear travelers called Subjects are not culturally constructed, somehow profoundly unlike understanding English which is culturally constructed. But the self-created Subjects are just incapable of understanding Mandarin in that regard. Remember that your experience is integrated atemporally as I indicated with the diagram showing events in relativistic light cones.

Leibniz explains in his work Theodicy how evil can exist in the universe. Leibniz explains that as human beings, we are limited. In his language: as monads we can only reflect the nature of the universe from our particular point of view. God, as the greatest Monad with the greatest degree of consciousness, of course, is able to reflect on the entirety of the universe, which he arranged according to the principle of “pre-established harmony.” Therefore, he would claim, God created the best possible world; we just aren’t able to recognize that from our limited vantage point.

If we replace his arbitrary trinitarian desert god and instead hold Leibniz closely accountable to his word that God represents that with the greatest degree of consciousness, then this would just be equivalent to that which is the absolute max of the binding function in the eternal-block. Why wouldn’t functional grain of experience scale up?

Like the Namibian Himbas’ different perception of color from mine, closed individualism is an approximate blob of feeling that doesn’t generalize to all mindspace.

To illustrate our situation as conscious being, it is necessary to realize that my particular state of consciousness is created by events in an eternal block.

The finite speed of light limits the theoretical maximum speed of artificial computers, and also that of the biological computers creating this multi-sensorial inner movie. This is because information must be sent within the artificial computer from chip to chip and within the biological computer from neuron to neuron. However, my present experience is not some information particle traveling at the “tip” of an electromagnetic wave.

To account for the complexity of the senses and not desecrate the implications of special relativity, we need to be a set of information distributed in tenseless spacetime. Because there is no global time in the relativistic block, it must then be concluded that experience is embedded in a process which already happened.

Notice that when someone takes drugs and the experienced velocity of consciousness is slower, the reason is not that the speed of light changed. The speed of light is the same and information got to neurons at the same time as always because the distance between neurons didn’t increase. The reason time feels slower is because of the different shape of the computation serving that function.

We are not information particles traveling on arrows of light, but rather, the shape left by these motions. When this is clearly understood, then one realizes that there is no basis for discovering contiguity of structure that creates continuity of self. Dennett was right and I was foolish: the only things that can be discovered are more third-person objective facts and other varieties of perceptual handles through inventing new language, or new ways of being, more broadly. This is because that which believes and feels a closed ontological self/soul are those regions of integration that are not at the absolute maximum, and the selection pressure choosing the binding from “outside” is unknowable.

 

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

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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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Meditation Self-Experimentation (Noticing’s per Minute for the Different Sense-Bases)

In meditation one picks an anchor – a particular sense object to return to again and again. One trains on the faculty of sounds, vision, or sensations. It is crucial to pick one and stick with it for as long as possible. A timer is set for 10 minutes.

We then note when we have become lost in thought. Every time language or visual projections of thought arise, this is noted. I press a button to log every time I catch myself having a thought process. Then I return to the pure object of attention, e.g., sight. By the end of ten minutes, I have collected a value of noticing’s per minute (NPM’s) for that sense-base.

It is interesting to discover which sense-bases give more ability to notice distraction. My hypothesis was that concentrating on vision, the most evolved sense, would allow me to note more distractions. Focusing on touch would make it easier to fall into long stretches of thought and hence accumulate less noticing’s per minute.

The table shows (10 minute session) thought noticing rates (per 100 sessions) for various objects of awareness ranked by amount of neurons devoted to that sense in humans. The percentage is how much of the cortex it takes up.

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A low NPM usually indicates bad ability to notice distraction – one is taken in by trains of thought and takes a long time to get off through the final act of noticing. However, expert meditators also have low NPM but for a very different reason – their mind is genuinely clear and focused; they are simply not having many thoughts. Somewhat paradoxically, one must fall prey to distraction, and yet be focused enough to notice that distraction in order to accumulate a high NPM.

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I had expected a linear correlation. But a linear model is not appropriate. My prediction doesn’t bear out. More data is needed.

A high schooler might do this:

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But the experiment is already wildly inappropriate as it is: so many variables not controlled for, and whatever. The last thing we need is to follow our imbecile teachers’ advice and “connect the first and last point.”

Random Allocation in Experiment

A true experiment is one where each subject is allotted to truly random conditions. In this sense, we cannot perform a true experiment. Never in the history of science has a true experiment been performed. Only the multiverse itself can be considered a condition of random allotment. If one could stand outside the many branches that remain spawned from every observation-like event, then a true experiment may be witnessed. Switch spin up to spin down and behold.

As researchers, we seek random allocation so that we can make strong inferences about causal relationships. The only reason for random allocation is because the subjects we deal with cannot be paused, copied, and pasted to a different condition. It is due to the makeshift nature of our subject clones that we are compelled to close our eyes and cast them in randomness. Randomness is the craving to recover the simple, the veil to hide the shame that we could not be gods.