Hi all - nice to be here. I'm probably going to mostly lurk, but a brief introduction can't hurt, I guess.
BACKGROUND: 28 y/o, CS/media. Tech writer & freelance developer. Lately become fairly involved in a number of NGOs, notably Wikimedia Foundation (home of Wikipedia) & Open Progress (an open source / open knowledge think tank). I've written a book called "Die heimliche Medienrevolution" ("the secret media revolution") which describes the global media changes that have begun to emerge with the Internet. I'm helping to develop a collaborative, multilingual structured ontology engine at omegawiki.org , which has a multilingual dictionary/ thesaurus as its first application, though we also have working imports of scientific ontologies. I question modern thinking on sexuality, which I believe is still in continuity with monotheistic doctrine; I run a website at violence.de which presents some little known research on the topic of touch & sexuality. I believe "Intellectual Property" must be largely eliminated, and I'm also highly interested in enabling a new economy of knowledge which does not require IP, but uses distributed funding models instead. I strongly promote Free Culture & Open Access wherever I go. :-) INTEREST: Increasingly fascinated with emergence, as far as I can understand it. I'm a slow learner, but like to believe that random rules evolving under a meta-rule can be used to emerge all the complexity of a multiverse, and am interested in what smarter people than me have to say about that. I also wonder about the definition of "intelligence" as it is used in everyday life, as opposed to what I perceive as clearly intelligent patterns e.g. in biological evolution; I think intelligence needs to be redefined as a process that does not require a "subject" as such to occur. That is, I do believe in "intelligent design," but without a designer, and instead of "irreducible complexity", "fully reducible complexity." ;-) I'm an absolute amateur here, but fear not; the thing that distinguishes me from the average crackpot is that I do know that I know very little. The above is just a very tentative state of thinking which is flagged in my brain as "needs extensive review & discussion." I'm here to learn, over a period of years if necessary, to get at least a basic view of the state of thinking on these subjects. I have no delusions of grandeur -- my only hope to make any "original" contribution is to perhaps be able to help communicate some of the ideas of this group to a larger audience, as I feel they could be highly relevant to the view that we have on the multiverse and our own role therein. I do believe, and I think there is reason to do so, that Darwinian evolutionary thought has opened up a new chapter in our perception of ourselves and our species, but this chapter is not yet complete. The emergence of life on Earth is so utterly amazing that many refuse to believe it. When we fully realize that this process is itself part of a larger process of emergence, and become capable of describing (and perhaps replicating) it, redefining ourselves becomes inescapable. We are merely agents of emergence. Now here's a crackpot idea to throw into the mix, and then you can start laughing: I do believe that this perception can become the basis for a new kind of morality, an "objective morality", where the discovery of truth and the rational application thereof becomes the only _objectively justifiable_ moral course that an agent of emergence may take. Social behavior is "merely" utilitarian, but extremely powerful at the same time; anti-social societies, or those which tolerate anti-social behavior, are not sustainable. Historically, people have looked to arbitrary rule systems for moral guidance; these may be partially useful and partially harmful. My hope is that at least a segment of society can evolve to follow a completely rational rule system -- and that we may be at the brink of consensus about this. To my credit (or not), most of these thoughts are my own (which I haven't really shared before), and I'm only beginning to be influenced by the seemingly endless number of publications on the topic. Since I was a child, the idea of a "finite", single universe has always seemed bizarre to me, due to its arbitrary nature; the final "Why?" question should not be answered with "We don't know" but "Because there is no other way for things _to be_, for the phrase 'to be' to make any sense." If anyone wants to suggest a reading list, I'd be most appreciative. If anything has been written in particular on the topics of objective morality, or definition of "intelligence" in emergent systems, I'd be very interested. Stuff I've already flagged for reading is Schmidhuber's work (just trying to understand the conclusions -- no hope of following in his footsteps) and Wolfram's, which I'll take with the required block of salt. There's a number of pop sci books out about emergence, but I don't know if they're any good. I just ordered Vilenkin's "Many Worlds in One". LAST BOOK I'VE READ: Ian Rowlands: Full Facts Book of Cold Reading. It describes the technique used to make a person believe that you are reading their mind. Self-published - you can't get it on Amazon; written by a famous "magician". A book that for me caused a minor epiphany in understanding that the seemingly arbitrary actions of psychics and gurus actually follow patterns that are well described in the community of "magicians" and "mentalists". Not only that, but some literature even targets both groups; this is little known because the literature of magicians and mentalists is only sold in special stores or even only by special recommendation (though you can find much of it on P2P networks these days). To me, this is the "darker side of magic", which is commonly only seen as simple entertainment. The book also well illustrates the alterability of human memory (see also literature on False Memory Syndrome). I believe with this final connection, my understanding of religion is largely complete. --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. 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