First off, I want to say it's really pleasant and interesting to communicate
with you. You are a really open minded guy and you are very sincere in
communicating ideas that can lead people (and society) to more freedom,
without pretending to know it all. I really appreciate that. :)

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> What is it that is the same about consciousness? Consciousness is -  
>> or at
>> least appears - very heterogenous.
> You might have to distinguish consciousness (homogenous) and the  
> content of consciousness (heterogenous).
> With the self-consistency analogy, consciousness is Dt (consistency of  
> "1=1") and the content of consciousness, or the consciousness of  
> something is Dp (consistency of p). Of course things are more subtle  
> and consciousness of p is more akin to (Dp OR p) than Dp.
> The less axioms you have, the more models (realities) are available,  
> and consciousness is related to the inference of those realities. It  
> is the bearer of semantics.
Intellectually, we might be able to seperate consciousness and content of
But practically I don't see how we could do it. If we feel we are conscious,
the feeling of being conscious is the content of consciousness and we thus
can't seperate the two. And if we don't feel we are conscious we have no way
of seperating anything.

Actually this seems to imply there is something wrong with the theory
(something that is theoretically true but not practically is really false).
But I might well miss something.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> The only thing that I can easily see as being the same for all  
>> conscious
>> beings (or, for that matter states of conscious being) is some sense  
>> of
>> subjectivity or self-consistency (whatever is experienced is  
>> experienced).
>> But this is quite trivial and it is a very weak statement.
> Like zero, or the empty set. Those are trivial, but also key concepts  
> to progress. The pure consciousness of the Robinsonian machine (not  
> yet Löbian) is trivial from her point of view, but is crucial for any  
> enrichment of that point of view.
> In a sense, it is *not* trivial, because you will not find many people  
> even accepting the plausibility of that idea.
Yes, the intellectual belief in it is not trivial; no intellectual belief is
trivial, since there  already are a lot of requirements for any kind of
belief to form.
And the direct experience of it is only trivial in a sense of being
maximally obvious (you can't miss that you experience what you experience).
It can't be trivial in the sense of being non-rich. It even has to contain
the seed of everything that follows it (it baffles me how this is even
possible, even though it appears to be necessarily true to me).

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> In the same way I think consciousness in deep sleep or the  
>> "consciousness"
>> of the universe before the development of complex brains might be  
>> like that,
>> existent, but ungraspable due to its hazyness (without objectifying  
>> it,
>> which doesn't capture its essential character).
> I don't think it is hazy. Our memory of it is hazy and can only be so.
OK, I may be mislead by my memories and limits of my imagination. But then I
ask myself how I could know / guess that it is not hazy if my memories imply
a hazy experience?

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> I would say that consciousness might never be hazy. Only our memory of  
> it can. 
Isn't this dangerously close to an unfalsifable, yet not self evident
To me it feels like I can - to a large degree - distinguish between hazy
memory and clear memory of hazy experiences.
Sometimes everything about dreams feels hazy. You remember having no clear
thoughts, narrow and blurry perceptions, no sense of time, no real sense of
self, no sense of future and past, no sense of where you are and why you are
there...  On the other hand, sometimes you can badly remember what you did
experience, but you feel like you have had a clear consciousness. For
example I often can't remember clearly what happened on a shroom trip, yet I
have a strong feeling that my consciousness felt very clear.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> In the slow (non REM, non dreaming) sleep, consciousness can  
> be cristal clear, but an hazyness comes from the fact that from  
> instant to instant, the consciousness seems to jump and forget  
> (usually completely) the instant before.. 
What makes you believe that? I wouldn't rule it out, but I haven't seen
evidence of it, either.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> There is an 'agnosologic' path for any brain: that is, an order of  
> elimination of parts (neurons, molecules, it depend on the level)  
> which is such that the elimination keep your consciousness completely  
> invariant, from your point of view. You have the feeling that nothing  
> special happens. You don't notice. At some point you will be blind,  
> but you will have forgotten anything related to vision, and if someone  
> ask you if you have notice anything, you will answer that you are  
> fine, and have not yet notice anything. And this go up to the complete  
> elimination of all parts. 
This makes sense to me. It's like slipping into sleep - you don't realize it
happening, either. If I had never experienced slipping into sleep / "losing
consciousness", I probably would say it can't happen.
I don't think it keeps your consciousness invariant from your point of view,
though. It is just a change of consciousness without you becoming aware of
the fact that it has changed.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> For example I often don't
>> believe in a consistent reality (which really is a big bunch of  
>> interrelated
>> beliefs) and thus don't wonder about crazy things happening.
> I doubt so. You do bet in their consistency, which is relative to your  
> belief . 
OK, I see what you mean. I just meant it in a more everyday sense. Normally
we have a big slew of beliefs about how the world works. Most of these are
absent in the dream state. Like beliefs about how physics functions, how
people usually act, how you usually act, what logic or rational thinking is,

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Many non lucid dreams can be very clear, and sometimes, even the  
> memory we have of them can be very clear (the realist or super-realist  
> dream).  
Yes, I have experienced this (but it is quite seldom). These dreams are
among the most impressive - and sometimes scary - ones.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> But don't confuse the state itself and the memory of the  
> state, they might be quite different.  
On the one hand this is clearly true, yet we have to bet on some connection
between the state and our memory , otherwise we couldn't say anything about
the state.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>> I can't even conceive what this could be like.
>>> Well, some drugs can help with that respect.
>> I know what you're getting at, because on some drugs it might seem  
>> like
>> you're maximally conscious, because you lose sense of time and space  
>> and
>> feel unified with something greater, which can feel like being an  
>> stable,
>> eternal, "absolute" experience.
>> I experienced something like this and it was very profound and  
>> influenced my
>> thinking quite strongly (not only positively, though).
> That is the common problem in all exploration, we don't necessarily  
> find what we wished for.
Yes. We should try learning to explore in a safer way. Unfortunately real
safety will probably just come through exploring the wrong thing or the
wrong way over and over and over again. We will just stop exploring in the
wrong direction for certain if it is impossible to do so (maybe because some
learning leads one to inevitable avoid some mistakes). It is a really hard
and long way.  But there is no shortcut. We can just be lucky and not be the
ones who make the biggest mistakes or directly suffer from the biggest
mistakes others make, while still learning from their mistakes.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> So in this way I can conceive what one could mean with maximal
>> consciousness.
> OK. Perhaps a better expression is "maximally free consciousness",  
> because it is not so much consciousness that is maximal, but his  
> possible spectrum of possibilities. It is more initial consciousness.
This makes more sense to me. Initital consciousness, if such a thing exists,
is maximal in the possible spectrum of possibilities, because all other
states follow it.
But I have doubt if we can return there.  Intuitively I'd guess we can never
return to any exact state of consciousness we've been to (because
consciousness is constantly self-transforming)
Also we shouldn't idolize it, because it is maximally free only in the sense
of maximizing possibility. But this also is maximal ignorance and thus
maximal ignorance of how to minimize bad things. We rather seek the freedom
to maximize only the desirable possibilities, which means constraining the
future (or discovering the constraints of the future).
My guess is that initial consciousness does not describe something
delimitable and the more we go into our past, the closer our experience was
to unconsciousness or inconsistency. In a way, it all is blurred by a fog of
ignorance, so we can't precisely point to what there was and we can't go
back to find out. Still there was something, but nothing concrete, like a
big ?.
I don't know if this is consistent with COMP. But I guess it might be the
consciousness "virgin machine(s) consciousness".
What I do expect, though, is that there are states which resemble the more
undifferentiated consciousness in its properties (openess?, wholeness?),
like fractal remerberances of the ground of being. This probably why these
experiences feel so deep, because they are indeed pointing to deep / "old" /
fundamental properties.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> After all, it'd make consciousness limited.
> Consciousness is a prison (Rössler) in the sense it is unescapable,  
> but it is non limited. It is an unboundable, prison (making it the  
> most inescapable prison).
Yep. Unfortunately this is a very good metaphor of how consciousness
sometimes feels. Feeling utterly imprisoned at times is a price we have to
pay for a consistent world. Any attempt to escape will only make it more
apparent that we really are absolutely imprisoned. We can only "escape" by
going into consciousness, not out of it.
Freedom with respect to consciousness means freedom to, not freedom from.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  There is no exit door of reality, but there  
> are exit door of physical reality (assuming comp).
Really? This would suprise me. The most I'd expect is a window :D.
I'd  guess physical reality is inescapable, because it is the only way a
consistent experience can be(come) structured, so the most we can do is to
be relatively (very) unware of our surroundings. Even if there are more
ethereal realms than ours (seems unlikely to me, but I'm not sure), these
are in some way physical, that is, they are based on "stuff" (only more
mutable, maybe).
You might explain why comp leads to an escape door.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> The thought that this probably is just one mode of consciousness the  
>> brain
>> is capable of generating (or maybe more accurately manifesting)  
>> sounds much
>> better and much more plausible to me. Technologically enhanced  
>> brains or
>> consciousness run on hardware specifically design to create mystic  
>> (or just
>> generally good) states of consciousness could surpass those states  
>> to an
>> unimaginable degree. This possibility makes me very excited about the
>> future.
> What a bigger and more sophisticated brain can do is a memory of that  
> state. We need more neurons to understand the inner view of the state  
> with less neurons. There are some treshold. 
This makes sense.  I think that the memory might be better characterized as
an reliving, because usually memory is less deep than the state that is
remembered. Whereas in this case it appears that we can deepen the state
through remembering it (not the remembering in every day life, but through
deep meditation / drug experiences).

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> But bigger brain can gives  
> bigger pains, and bigger anxiety.
This may be true from say, insect brains to human brains.
But it need not always be so. I hope there is some treshold after which this
is not the case. Otherwise there might always be an realistic possibility
that the worst is yet to come, in case we make big mistakes in the way we
design brains (or a malicous being creates one). This seemingly would make
us either eternally fearful or reckless. Not a nice dichotomy.
Thankfully I can conceive of (to me) plausible reasons why this would not be
the case.
First, the parts of the brain that are responsible for  anxiety and pain
remained - as far as I know -  relatively invariant during the later course
of evolution, even though it seems like evolution will tend to maximize pain
and fear felt in the most dangerous situations. So maybe the brain is
already close to producing maximal pain (though bigger brain may prolong
suffering by introducing greater reflection and emotional consequences).
More speculatively, much more complex brains than ours might only arise by
constant self-improvement with a immediate feedback between emotions and the
"brain" altering its internal structure and/or programming. In this way a
bad feeling or even just a worsening of well-being could lead to an
immediate reversal to a state that is known to be not bad (if it is
switching off your brain). Or there might be, at some point, a momentum of
constant self-improvement in a positive direction that can not be stopped
anymore than something can escape the pull of a block hole.
But unfortunately it seems unlikely that there can be no brain that can feel
worse emotions than we can (or bad emotions for a longer time), so in any
case we should be extremely careful what kinds of brains we build for
ourselves or others. This might be an ethical reason to not build strong,
self-conscious AI from scratch before we have a *very* good theory what kind
of feelings our programming will lead to. We rather should modify us step by
step, so there is a feedback warning us if we do bad things.
Also we must be mercilessly fighting against evil entities. If someone
specifically wants (and plausibly has the ability) to build a being that
suffers much more or much more prolonged than we can, we should do (almost)
everything to prevent it.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> We have to  
> "initiate it before about what death can be according to different  
> (hopefully serious) theologies.
I don't know what you mean here...

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> But even though progress temporarily makes life more painful, it  
>> seems quite
>> impossible to me that that this will always be the case. Pain is  
>> already
>> (often) quite unuseful for modern human.
> I am not entirely sure of that.
I am mostly referring to chronic pain like headache, or pain that occurs
after we have identified and try to remedy the problem (but we don't expect
it to be gone yet), both of which are not useful, except in the case there
is some hidden spiritual purpose of this suffering.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> After we leave behind pain and strife and come together in peace to  
>> learn
>> and blossom ever faster, our lives may become very glorious, and  
>> they will
>> become only better.
> I appreciate your optimism.
Optimism is part of my "theology". I think there is little to lose by being
open to (and to some extent, believing in) the best that is not ruled out
with a high probability by what we know to be most likely true.
Very importantly, we must keep in mind that this is not all a excuse to be
reckless or lazy: Part of my optimism is that we will become aware of our
vast responsibilities. This is self-fullfilling in the sense that we know
our optimism will only have been warranted if we actually do assume

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Of course we can't see into the future and we don't know what  
>> obstacles
>> there might be on our way, but ultimately I have no doubt the good  
>> will
>> prevail in a drastic way.
> The platonists identify god and good (and truth!). 
There is something to it. I wouldn't go as far as identifying good and
truth, though. I think of good more as the outcome of increasing awareness
of truth, or the direction of change that discovering truth brings. There
are truths that are not good as such, even though they may ultimately lead
to good (eg  the truth that there is pain). But even these may be seen as
something good if one calls things good just because they ultimately lead to

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> But souls tend to lost themselves and forget  
> about all that, regularly, leading soon or later to catastrophes. 
In general, it appears to me the opposite is the case. Sometimes we forget,
but when we do forget we tend to remember faster the next time. 
Evolution can forget things and take millions of years to recover, but
society generally seems to recover much faster, and modern society even

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Golden era are possible, and I am optimistic for the long run. But  
> this can take a lot of time, and although the human are good candidate  
> for some spiritual prosperity, they are wrong to believe that they are  
> the last word of god.
Yes, but I think this is a property  that is to be expected of beings that
begin to think rationally. If you are the first rational animal, it can
easily appear as though you are the special creation of god. Especially
considering that all species are naturally egocentric. 

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Spiders, or more modest animals are not yet  
> eliminated.
Right. But I'm not sure if it is plausible that spiders could become our
spiritual successors. I am rather confident they can't become as intelligent
(in the more usual sense of the word) due to their limitations of size.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Now, if the mystical machine is correct, the 'terrestrial  
> identity' of the winner does not really matter.
I agree. I believe that in the long run, we are all in the same boat.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Hell is literally paved with the good intention, assuming the comp  
> assumption. It is akin to the second incompleteness: BDt -> ~Dt.
But the road to hell is surely even more paved with bad intentions, and the
road to heaven also paved with good intentions...
Also, I don't see the relation to the second incompleteness theorem. You
mean if we believe we are good, we are in fact bad? I'm not sure it's so

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Even so called enlightened people are still obviously
>> subject to change. They are just in a generally stable / peaceful  
>> (but often
>> dispassionate) state of consciousness.
> Don't confuse the samadhi (feeling of infinite peace) with  
> enlightenment (the discovery of the other side).
The discovery of the other side? That's not what I understand as
enlightenment, or I don't know what you mean.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Furthermore I believe the idea of progress not being desirable opens  
>> up
>> large philosophical problems, too. The universe apparently has a drive
>> towards progress. If we assume the world makes any sense from a  
>> point of
>> conscious beings it wouldn't have this drive if there wasn't  
>> something to
>> gain by this.
>> If there wasn't, there would be a fundmental error in in this  
>> omniverse.
>> There is too much perfection in the fundamental principles of the  
>> omniverse
>> (as shown by math) for me to believe that.
> But perfection does not really exist, even in Platonia.
OK, I might have better written "meaning". Perfection may not really be
applicable to fundamental things, in the sense that they are beyond that.
Something can only be perfect in some limited realm (like A+ is the best
grade in America).

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  The "real  progress" is when we invite the devil at the table of
> negociation. We  
> cannot fight it for its eliminination, but can help the situation so  
> that it hurts less.  i do believe in education, and civilization. But  
> sometimes we decline, because we are overwhelmed by the complexity of  
> special interests. Regularly the liars takes power. And I'm afraid  
> this is a common natural process, which nature itself uses many times,  
> and I don't know since when comes the first lie. In any case I think  
> that the meta-ethic of comp is harm reduction, not any ultimate  
> victory of the good against the bad.
While I don't think we can "exterminate" the evil, I believe we can
plausibly ultimately transfrom and integrate the bad in a way that we feel
as very good.  And in this sense I believe the good can win. The bad might
just remain as a faint memory, metaphor, relative description and maybe,
roles in play.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Everything can
>> eternally be improved, no matter how good it already is.
> OK. But this is a risky enterprise, and some delusions have to be  
> expected. Nobody can decide for you what is good and bad, but many  
> will try.
I agree. But we should keep in mind living while defending against progress
may ultimately be as risky (or more).

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Instead we should try find calm, clear-headedness and
>> peace through balance in our lifes  - and fun, excitement and  
>> motivation
>> through relentless pursuit of our deep wishes and hopes.
> Some wishes the death of their neighbors. Some hopes the devil or evil  
> will be eradicated, but then eradicate what looks evil to them, and  
> they becomes the evil. Of course it is already less grave if they do  
> this when smoking cannabis instead of drinking alcohol, so local harm- 
> reduction type of solutions do exist.
Yes, it is not easy. That's what I wrote "deepest wishes". We should not be
to quick to treat every wish that crosses our mind as something valuable.
Someone that wishes the death of their neighbours still has deeper wishes,
like being free, which may prevent them from following their superficial and
possibly barbaric wishes.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Many people are not happy. The richest are not the most happier.  
As far as I know, rich people are statistically more happy. But not as much
as we expect. And some poor peoples seem to be quite happy (the people in
Bhutan for example). However it's hard to measure happiness, so we can not
be sure of the conclusions.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Computationalism is a bit an intellectual drug taking. It leads to a  
> travel near inconsistency. I am close to such an inconsistency, and  
> plausibly escape it by reminding constantly that I have no clue if  
> comp is true, and thus no clue if the consequences of comp are true.  
> But comp escapes the inconsistency, technically, by paying another big  
> price: it cannot be connected to practical matters, except by personal  
> understanding (intellectual or experiential).
> Buddhism is vast, but the ending little vehicle and a big part of the  
> whole Mahayana (great vehicle) is very close to Plotinus and to the  
> idealism of comp. Comp, thanks to digitality and Church thesis,  
> provides a more rational view, actually very close to the initial  
> Pythagorean intuition.
> We cannot use it in the field of ethic, because it contains build in  
> the respect of the idea that comp might be false, so it suggest just a  
> form of respect for the others based on a doubt about our own  
> interpretations. Comp, or the universal machine itself, teaches that  
> the virtue are not teachable, and can only be communicated by examples  
> and practices. It cannot lead to a normative theory. It cannot be  
> preached.
> I am wrong to say "ethical detachment", it is more a vigilant state of  
> mind with respect to ethical attachment. I think the human history is  
> full of examples showing that ethical attachment, especially when  
> institutionalised, leads to ethical catastrophes. What comp says is  
> that the truth is inside ourself, or, for those who are lazy to look  
> inward, inside the universal machine. This asks for doing math.  What  
> do we find there?  Marvellous but complex living ideas, that nobody  
> can predict what they will become, or how they will be used, or even  
> interpreted by the complex universal fellows we may have, or their  
> children.
OK, this makes sense to me.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> A machine is intelligent if and only if it is not stupid.
>>> A machine is stupid when one of the following clause is satisfied:
>>>  - the machine believes that she is intelligent
>>>  - the machine believes that she is stupid
>> I don't like this definition. Assuming  you are either stupid or  
>> intelligent
>> and you know and believe this definition, you either are intelligent  
>> but in
>> denial of yourself or you are already stupid in the first place.
> That does not follow. You would be in denial of yourself if you  
> believe in your own stupidity, but you can just not believe in your  
> stupidity. You can, luckily enough, doubt it.
I have reasoned that if you don't believe you are stupid, you would be
intelligent per this definition, and if you believe the definition, you
would believe you are intelligent and thus you would be stupid.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Also it is not clear to me why Gödel prevents you from consistently
>> believing that you are intelligent. From what I see it just implies  
>> you
>> can't prove your intelligence (there is always an unprovable part of  
>> your
>> intelligence that is obviously true - and thus believable - but not  
>> provable
>> from any given axioms).
> OK, but I model "believable" by "provable".
This doesn't makes sense for me. Aren't the things you believe precisely the
things that can't be proven?

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> An obvious defect of that theory is that it makes pebbles  
>>> intelligent.
>>> But then, why not? Who has ever heard a pebble saying that it is
>>> intelligent, or stupid, or said any kind stupidities. Like with the
>>> taoists, the wise person keep silent.
>> Well, I think you just gave a reductio ad absurdum of your theory.  
>> It seems
>> pragmatically unwise to me to define intelligence in a way that is  
>> many ways
>> opposite to what we usually call intelligence.
> I think people confuse intelligence/consciousness with competence/ 
> ingenuity/cleverness/talent/work.
But isn't intelligence just a word? That you define it as something else as
other people doesn't necessarily mean that people are confused.
I can see what you mean, though, in that people often confuse what you mean
with intelligence with what you mean with competence.
But then you might better say that they confuse deep intelligence with
shallow intelligence, or something like that.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Clearly we should keep silent
>> if we have nothing to say, but this is just a small part of  
>> intelligence.
> We have to limit our feeling of superiority. "I am intelligent" or "I  
> am happy" is not an assertion made by intelligent or happy people,  
> except as jokes or in some intimate ways.
OK, this is what you mean. I totally agree with respect to assertions of
intelligence. I think it is okay to believe in your own intelligence, but it
is very problematic to assert it. Either others think you are stupid and/or
immodest or they believe you and treat you as an authority. Neither of the
two is good.
I don't get what's problematic about saying "I am happy.", though.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> If all wise persons kept silent
>> the stupid people would dominate
>> communication and be the only ones spreading their ideas, which is IMO
>> clearly not a good goal for intelligent persons.
> They have to kept silent only on their intelligence (and thus on the  
> intelligence of others). They can still say "I love Einstein when he  
> says ...". Instead of judging Einstein intelligent, or stupid.
OK, I agree.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> The last century has been a triumph for science and I think we've  
>> become
>> much more intelligent during it. Our morals have improved much and
>> superstition has a less firm ground now.
> The only progress is in democracies.
Why? Isn't it, for example, a huge progress that there religous
funamentalism has become less dominant than in the middle ages? That more
people do science? That there is more spirituality and less superstition?

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  But they have drawback, and we  
> have not succeeded in maintaining the separation of powers. Many  
> people suffer a lot from this, and in the long run it leads to  
> pyramidal powers where a minority steals the wealth of a majority.  
I totally agree. I think democracy as it is today (not as an ideal of
parcipatory democrarcy) is no good tool for actualizing what people really
want, even though it is much better than dictatorship.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Democracies have been a partial remedy on this, but have led us come  
> back to this when powers separation, and independence of organizations  
> are sick or disappearing.
Right. I think this is rooted in the seperation between state and "normal"
people. There can be no real independence of organizations if some people
form a group that gets special rights just based on their status of rulers
(or their special relationship with rulers like big corporations). 
If something is right or wrong should be decided by the circumstances, the
reasons and the consequences of an act, not by status. This directly
contradicts an exlusive right on violence, like the state has. It is a false
justification that this were what the people want, and thus it were
legitimate. No one is asked if they want the government ruling over them.
They just can give a vote on whether they want the devil or satan to rule

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> I have already argued that science, well understood, is born with
>>> Pythagorus, and is ended with the apparition of the roman empire.
>>> Fundamental questions are still complete taboo, for most scientists.
>> They mostly do not talk about them in the scientific community, but  
>> they
>> often do have a great interest in them personally. The problem with
>> fundamental questions is that they are hard to settle with evidence  
>> and
>> talking about it yields little objective progress which probably is  
>> why it
>> is not much of a topic in the scientific community. Many think they  
>> are
>> simply too difficult to tackle right now.
> But *that* is the big mistake. The greeks have invented science  
> including theology at the start. Then science and theology have been  
> stolen by politicians (the roman empire). A bit of science has come  
> back to the academy, but theology has not yet followed. It might  
> explain why we are nowhere in the human sciences, and why barbaric  
> behavior still exist, and is widespread.
> To reintroduce theology in the academy means to reintroduce the right  
> of doubting and theorizing; the right to ignore, and the necessity,  
> for the rationalists to be agnostic on all gods, be it the physical  
> universe(s) or the <one which has no name>.
I agree it is a big mistake. Still, it is better to ignore theology than
adopting a utterly poisoning one (christianity). That's why I defend them as
making progress compared to their predecessors. 
I don't see why we should be agnostic on all gods anymore than we should be
agnostic of the pink  invisble unicorn. There is no evidence for the
christian god and he makes no sense, so I believe he doesn't exist. 

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> There is no question to rise any doubt on the theology of Aristotle.
>> Many ideas of Aristotle are not widely believed anymore, but you  
>> probably
>> mean materialism. I agree that this is a problem, in that it makes  
>> people
>> ignore the fundamental facts beyond physical space and time (eg  
>> numbers).
>> But then materialism is most often meant as naturalism as opposed to  
>> belief
>> in the supernatural, belief in things not accessible through reason  
>> that
>> intervene in the world.
> Well, the reason why there are numbers is not accessible to the  
> possible reason of universal numbers.
Yes, but they don't intervene into the world. They constitute a part of the
world (world in the broadest sense, not physical world).
I think most scientists have less problems with that (which doesn't mean
none at all).

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> And I think this is a useful belief.
>> It is just that now many scientist throw out the baby with the  
>> bathwater and
>> - for example - try to make the truth of ineffability of subjective
>> experience into something irrational. I don't believe this reflects  
>> that we
>> have abonded real science, but that we must learn to better  
>> distinguish
>> between claims that seem irrational from some perspective and claims  
>> that
>> really are irrational.
> The problem is not so much that they condemn the irrational. The  
> problem is that they make the very mistake that they condemn. They do  
> believe irrationally in a primitive universe, when science comes from  
> a doubt on this, and leads to more doubt, on this.
I agree.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> Neither atheists nor Christians can accept that.
>> I would consider myself an atheist by most people's conception of  
>> atheism
>> and I acknowledge the shortcomings of materialistic "theology".
> May be you live in a society where atheists are a bit agnostic.
I think, if properly understood, atheist can be both agnostic and gnostic,
as can theists.
You can lack belief in good and think it is knowable that there is no god or
you can lack belief in good and think it is not knowable if there one.
I can't really decide for one or the other. If depends on which gods and on
what one understands as knowable. I am a theist by some rare and really
broad definitons of god. For example some define God as all-that-is and I
can't doubt existence itself exists.
I think here they are many atheists that are sure there is no god, not even
in the sense of some fundamental ordering principle (they believe there is
just chaos), and there are many people that call themselves atheists that
just happen to not actively believe in any god, and there are many people

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  I live  
> in a country where some (perhaps many) atheists are radically against  
> agnosticism. Atheists are not just not believing in God, they do  
> positively believe that there is no God (of course most means the  
> Christian God, and take for granted some naïve literal christian  
> doctrines). But the worst is that they take for granted the material  
> universe, and so they are double believers. They believe in NON_GOD,  
> and they believe in the god MATTER.
OK, this is the kind of atheists that I too see as irrational and falsly
secure of something they can't know. But it is a mistake to lump all
atheists into this category. It is like lumping all believers into the
category of fundamentalist christians.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>   I do have concrete problem with radical and influent atheists. They  
> are more barbarian (and subtle) than inquisition. 
This is ridiculous. And it belittles the horrors of inquisition. There are
immoral atheists, but none that I know of is knowingly hurting peope and
trying to silence them with violence and justifies it with their atheism.
And being tolerant and non-accepting of others' belief is by every measure
better than being violently intolerant and non-accepting of others' belief.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Personally I consider atheism as a radical objective ally of the  
> "naïve" christians. Atheism is a form of christianism. They fight,  
> above or below reason, together, against science, doubt, and  
> platonism. They make the living of their statu quo, and they embrace  
> dogmatically most of Aristotle theology.
> I like very much when John Mikes says that he does not believe in the  
> God that the atheist needs to be atheist.
Again, I think you make a grave mistake by lumping all atheists together.
It's just unfair and misrepresentive of the beliefs atheists really hold.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> So there is
>> at least one counterexample :).
> You don't look too much like an atheist to me.
Well, maybe you should change your view on atheists.  ;) The atheists that
are spouting their radical opinion on god and their materialist
fundamentalism are only the ones you mostly hear of, not the only ones.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> Free thinking is a myth.
>> Well, yes, most people largly simply believe what they are told.
> I was meaning that most people who apply free thinking lose their job  
> or are send in asylum, or in jail, or are ignored, etc.
Yes, that is true as well.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> But
>> nowadays you can meet many people that are open to a wide variety of  
>> ideas
>> and you can speak about them mostly without being suppressed.
> No more in many academies.
Well, I am speaking relatively. Not being allowed to speak in academies or
being ignored is not being supressed in the sense free thinking was
supressed in the middle ages. 
There are many, many places where free thinking is not welcome. But there
are quite a few where it is.
In this sense, we've made a lot of progress.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>  You are not even burned alive
>>> for your ideas, today, which is a mark of acknowledging the existence
>>> of you and your ideas. Today, obscurantism has developed more
>>> efficacious means. This results in an impoverishment of ideas, and in
>>> powerful mediatic propaganda.
>> Yes, is there still is much propaganda.
>> But I don't know where you live that you think there is an  
>> impoverishment of
>> ideas. New ideas are blossoming, even though they only slowly  
>> displace the
>> old, widespread, ugly weeds. Our culture(s) is/are more diverse than  
>> ever.
> That might be a bit superficial.
I actually agree. Much diversity is only superficial, and at a deeper level
it is supressed. But superficial progress is better than none. Every
revolution begins small.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> There are people of many different religions and world views and  
>> political
>> views living together. Of course many valid ones are still not  
>> universally
>> respected, but at least widely tolerated. You now can be an atheist,  
>> muslim,
>> communist or homosexual in Germany
> Yes. In Germany. Especially in Germany. But even in Germany, the  
> "beast" is still alive. The roots of violent intolerance and the  
> willingness to exploit it are still living well everywhere in Europa.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> and still live a mostly normal life and
>> rarely be persecuted without hiding what you believe in or are.  
>> Whereas 70
>> years ago...
> My personal experience, which I do not want to talk about, does not  
> confirm this. In many places it look like that, and it can tend to  
> that, but then it is often not really like that. The most used of all  
> theories is still "the boss is right".
Totally. I too have personal experience that I don't want to talk about
here, that felt like being persecuted. Actually it was really horrible.
Still we have to differentiate the limited persecution in the western world
today and the persecution of the past, with people being horribly tortured
and then killed due to fanatical hatred, and realize how much better the
former is, even though we live just a few decades later.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> A good example is the politics of health
>>> and prohibition, which destroys lives and minds more efficaciously
>>> than atomic bombs.
>> I agree. Politics doesn't really care for scientifc truth, but it  
>> never did
>> (and I think it never will, which is why we should get rid of it).
> ?
What I wrote was  a little too short and can easily be missunderstood. I
don't mean politics as collective decisionmaking, which is good and
necessary, but politics in a narrower sense as decisionmaking in the context
of the state.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> We should vote for honest opportunists and get rid of corrupted  
> politicians, and separate politics from lobbying and anything private,  
> and things like that.
This is a nice idea, but I am afraid that it will probably not help.
Politics does not work like that. Politician thrive by being corrupt and
dishonest, because they are not accountable and don't have the incentives to
be honest and sincere. It is an integral part of the way democratic politics
They want to appeal to everyone (and need to in order to be elected) by
appearing to advance everyone's cause, but because there are conflicting
causes, they will end up shoveling the money between them, losing a lot in
bureaucracies, and not helping anyone. And worse than that, they mostly
advance only their own causes of perpetuating a disfunctional system (by
making no big important decisions that acutally change the root of problems
at all), to everyone's harm.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  But politics, elections and money have been the  
> vector of the "progress" you defend above.
Money, yes, certainly (though it too has been corrupted). Politics and
elections, it depends. They have brought about progess. But not by virtue of
being  superior to a society with non forcefully centralized decisionmaking,
but because it is better than no large-scale organization at all.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> To criticize politics per  
> se would be like condemning the blood cells for feeding the cancer. We  
> should heal the political system, not get rid of it.
I think politics (in the narrow sense) *is* the cancer. There is no need for
a central organ that sees itself as the one having the right and
responsibility to control everything. As an anology: The brain does not
decide it is superior to the other organs and thus can supress them and grow
uncontrollably (like the state does), but it emerges naturally as a helpful
structure that is an cooperative relationship with the other organs.
This is not the case with the state. It dominates, instead of cooperating.
It uses violence for virtually all things it accomplishes. I don't pay taxes
because I want to cooperate with a useful agency, but because I am forced
to. A blood cell doesn't force its services on the organism.
If you see politics as collective decisionmaking, I am with you. But it
seems you make the common mistake of seeing the political system as the only
way to do this. We should subvert the state and build cooperative instutions
to supersede it (the internet is a great tool in this). It will take a long
time, but I think it the only route. Of course we can use politics as a way
of helping to replace itself, but obviously it can only be done with great
care because it is too easy to perpetuate it by using it.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  Before such  
> systems, it was only many wars between many conflicting interests.  
There is no dichotomy between chaos and our system, a violent monopoly on
power. As much as it brought cooperation, it brought strife. A better way is
abolishing not only the wars between tribes, but the war between the big,
important institutions and the people. In order to do this, first we have to
realize that there is war. Most people think the state represents the will
of the people, somehow. If it did, it wouldn't have to impose itself on the
people. Why should one use violence to impose on some group what they
themselve want?
Violence should be reserved to deal with people that can't be dealt with any
other way. People that don't want to participate in a corrupt and
inefficient system by paying taxes are not among them. I would glad to pay
more than the taxes I pay now for roads,defense, care for the poor,
healtcare, education and law if the money would go into the hands of people
that really care and that are accountable and that act on a voluntary basis.
But no alternatives are allowed to exist. If you are lucky, you can form a
supplementary institution.
We have to make it clear to ourselves and subsequently, the government, that
this is not acceptable.
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