I made a discussion thread about this on another forum by the way.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=634170

On Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 6:11 AM, Kim Jones <kimjo...@ozemail.com.au> wrote:

>
> 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 pico-second.
>
>
>
>
> > 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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