On 08/12/2011, at 4:10 PM, Stephen Lin wrote:

> A thought:
> What if you were the blind man in the kingdom of the sighted? Alternatively, 
> what if you were the sighted man in the kingdom of the blind? How would you 
> tell the difference? Obviously, you can't.
> Now take it a step further: aren't these two states mutually orthogonal but 
> indistinguishable states of the universe? (at least, until you learn the 
> truth in retrospect).  Isn't this similar to considering whether you are 
> Schrodinger's cat in the state of dead or alive? (please think somewhat 
> metaphorically for that...)
> Now, I don't know about you, but I would be rather embarrassed (possibly 
> infinitely so) if I turned out to be the blind man in the kingdom of the 
> sighted, basically Truman on the Truman show.  But I would be feel the weight 
> of an awful lot of responsibility (possibly infinitely so) if the opposite 
> was the case and I was Neo in the Matrix. So I'd rather not think that either 
> possibility is true.  I'm going to bet neither case is, unless I'm somehow 
> God and hid the knowledge from myself.
> However, think about this: you might not be Truman in Truman show, or Neo in 
> the Matrix, but you are almost certainly in the linear combination of those 
> two states. Basically, there must be conscious entities out there wiser than 
> you, and you must be wiser than other conscious entities. How many times in 
> your life have you felt embarrassed in retrospect about something you didn't 
> understand? Alternatively, how many times in your life have you felt smarter 
> than everyone else around you and responsible for teaching them how to do the 
> right thing? Probably lots, right?
> Now let's examine the situation further. How many times were you in one of 
> these states or the other, and then things happened to show you you were 
> wrong and actually in the exact opposite state? Doesn't that make everything 
> much much worse? How do you avoid situations like that? I'll tell you how: 
> you have to make your algorithm for life a continuously differentiable linear 
> operator with regard to the Truman-anti-Truman axis of symmetry. Basically, 
> you should try your best to act completely and totally indifferent between 
> the two extreme possibilities, and you'll never have to experience infinite 
> regret (hopefully). This is the essence of enlightenment: unbiased thinking 
> in the most extreme way possible. At least, you might think so, if you 
> thought this far and agree with my reasoning.

Superb. Otherwise called "suspension of judgement". Don't think you know what 
is going on until you know what is going on. Humans are pathetic at getting 
that right. We are too used to interpreting the rustle in the grass as a 
sabre-toothed cat. It might have been a rabbit we could have caught and eaten.

> If you do though, you've got a problem: once you get this far, you're the 
> anti-Truman again, because you've just concluded that you're wiser than 
> everyone else around you. So what do you do? Why don't you try to teach other 
> people this concept, but make sure you do it in the most Truman-ish way 
> possible: why don't you stop answering questions and just start asking them, 
> and make them the best questions you can think of. This is the essence of a 
> religion known as Zen Buddhism (or at least, I think so).  I mean, seriously, 
> what's the sound of one hand clapping? ;-) Zen koans like this are basically 
> big jokes to test how deeply one is amused at the symmetry between points of 
> view.

It's also the basis of some aspects of Lateral Thinking technique. Challenge 
everything. Everything can be doubted in some way, says Bruno. Therefore doubt 
everything in the creative sense of seeking to improve upon it. The way 
something is right now is not necessarily its optimum state. Anything can be 
improved - even perfection. Perfection might turn out to be the wrong colour or 
smell, so we might like to change that.

> Alternatively, you can answer questions, but make sure you never get caught 
> with your pants down, and try your best to help everyone else avoid the same.

Accuracy of information is important, yes. We must not transmit bad or wrong 
information because as soon as it appears on someone's computer screen they 
will take it for real and transmit it to somebody else (usually via FB or YT). 
This is because if something comes to you from the internet these days an 
overwhelming majority of people believe it. There are of course other scenarios 
as well.

>  How do you do that? Make everything a very flexible metaphor. So why don't 
> we come up with stories about people who save the world in outlandish ways, 
> thereby resolving all others of the responsibility to do the same.  And make 
> sure you tell everyone that, as long as you truly believe this happened, 
> you'll never have to experience infinite regret (again, hopefully).

Stories about creative risk in other words. Creativity usually involves risk. 
There is no guarantee that a creative idea will succeed but if you don't suck 
it and seeā€¦if you are going to save the world seriously, you probably will be 
putting yourself at enormous risk, especially because of what you say at the 
beginning. You might be wrong in your assessment. You have to be able to act on 
limited knowledge at all times. I mean, how often do we ever have complete 
knowledge of a situation in which we have a role to play? It's actually 
impossible when you think about it. The universe is changing at every 

> This, I think, is the essence of a religion that most people in the Western 
> world are quite familiar with: Scientology! Actually, that was a big joke, 
> since it's obviously the big C that I was talking about.

Thanks. I nearly had a heart attack then.

>  (Or at least, you're probably pretty sure of that.  Just ask yourself one 
> question though: why are so many successful movie stars Scientologists? Why 
> do they swear by it despite how illogical it sounds to everyone else? What 
> was that space opera story they keep telling each other about again, and why 
> is it such a big secret?)

Ain't no secret, buddy. It's about aliens and hydrogen bombs. Didn't Travolta 
star in some risible b-grade cinema version?

> So I hope you're following me this far, because I'd like to ask an even 
> bigger question now: why do mental illnesses like schizophrenia exist? Aren't 
> the chemicals in our brain implementation substrates for our personal 
> algorithms for life?

I like that. Conduits. Ducts. 

> We already established that the correct one needs to be linear, but who 
> decided if you're linear or non-linear? Is someone ill because their function 
> along the Truman-anti-Truman axis is more linear than yours or less linear? 
> How could you ever tell the difference? Interestingly though, mental 
> illnesses (or at least those involving psychosis) all tend to cluster around 
> similar symptoms, like thinking one is Jesus Christ, seeing conspiracy 
> theories, seeing messages directed at you from public sources, feeling 
> creative and euphoric with the need to share one's knowledge with the world 
> immediately, etc. Isn't is slightly suprising chemical charges in the brain 
> be so consistent in their behavioral outcomes?

Hmmmm. You can take charge of all this by an act of will. You can think 
deliberately. You don't have to be ruled by your emotions and inner states. 
Deliberate thinking involves desire (a kind of ambition) and intention ( a sort 
of mysterious force that nobody fully understands yet- could be an energy field 
composed of "bio-photons" surrounding the person that interacts with reality at 
the quantum level if the Nut from Space Edgar Mitchell can be believed. 
Actually, I don't think he's a nut. He has observed an effect in his own life. 
He had the intention of healing a diseased kidney rather than plug himself into 
a dialysis machine and he claims he cured it just through focussing his 
bio-photons. Good on him. I've never been sick in my life so my bio-photons are 
still in shrink-wrap. 

> Now finally, consider this: who's the most famous schizophrenic in popular 
> culture? John Nash.
>  What was he responsible for before the worst of his illness? "Game theory". 
> What did he start seeing afterwards? Conspiracy theories, political intrigue, 
> etc. Could he have been the anti-Truman?

It's possible. If you were him, you would say so. Your ability to conceive all 
this makes me think you might be up for an episode or two as well. Maybe you 
are having one right now and certainly when you sat there typing this very 
interesting and lucid post. You might smoke some marijuana and continue 
allowing your mind to dwell on this. Many possibilities might emerge. Perhaps 
you are communicating with another version of yourself in a parallel universe. 
Perhaps that is what schizophrenia is. I can contact the universe in which I am 
Jesus or Beethoven. The part that needs further explanation is why Nash saw 
negativity through the perception allowed him by his schizoid mind. Why didn't 
he also see wonderful things that didn't stress him or harrass him but rather 
soothed and comforted him. Do schizos ever experience that?  

> How would we know? And by the way, if you take out the possibility of 
> infinite regret (i.e. hell), wouldn't that really imply that everything we're 
> doing is part of some game anyway?

Yes. The universe may well be a put-up job. I felt that way yesterday. I still 
feel that way today. I think you and I both better get checked in somewhere.

> If the singularity exists and contains conscious entities, won't they 
> necessarily be playing more and more convoluted and interesting games with 
> each other in order to make life interesting?

Like that early episode of "Star Trek"called "The Corbonite Manoeuvre" where 
the Enterprise is menaced by some fearsome entity and they have no hope of 
escaping it's death plan for them except Kirk and Spock use deliberate thinking 
to explore the possibilities and alternatives (as usual) and realise that the 
menacing entity is just a kid with a fancy technology looking for a bit of fun 
with a passing starship. Why not. 

KIm Jones

> Anyway, I'm not sure how far any of you have followed me, but I hope as many 
> of you can consider as many of the question I've asked.

> Thank you,
> Stephen Lin
> -

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