On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 12:44 AM, freqflyer07281972 <
> I totally agree with you that science, when you really start getting into
> the implications of things like QM (and relativity for that matter),
> provides some rather unsettling (and yet very exciting!) conclusions. And
> yet... they always rest on the tip of uncertainty. Either that, or else the
> conclusions are so terrible that I can't bear to think of them.
I have come to think few things could be more certain than universalism. If
you take a few moments to consider why you were born as you, and not
someone else, the only possible answer that fits that answer is for "me" to
be born, an exact arrangement of matter or genes had to come into being. If
the exact matter was necessary, then that means if your mom at something
else, or took a sip of water at the wrong time, then you would never have
been born. If the exact genes are required, then that means you had a 1 in
100 million chance that the right sperm met the right egg for you to be
born, otherwise you would not exist at all. The odds become that much more
staggering when you consider not only your begetting, but all other
begettings of all your ancestors would have to be EXACTLY right, otherwise
you would not be born and would never have existed.
On the other hand, if you believe even if one gene or two were different,
you would still have been born, this means there really was no specific
requirement for you to be born as you, and if a completely different sperm
or egg were fertilized, then maybe you would instead be one of your
brothers or sisters. If this is true, then shouldn't that mean you are in
fact, also your brothers and sisters. For that matter, all of the children
born to any other parent, or any being hatched anywhere that is conscious.
We are forced to choose between "universalism is false and we won the
cosmic lottery (with odds less than 1:10^24 just going back 3 generations)"
or "universalism is true".
> Like, for example, you mention the idea of "universalism," the idea that
> all minds are fundamentally connected. This has always been a very strong
> intuition with me ever since I had a "religious conversion" type experience
> in my teens. Finding this list was a wonderful moment, because it appeared
> that the implications of comp reinforced this intuition. BUT... on the
> other hand, ethically, I hate the idea that my mind and the mind of, say,
> Josef Stalin, are linked in any way,
I remember telling someone about these ideas a few years ago, and the
person exclaimed "That's horrible, you mean I'm Bush?" But it is natural I
suppose to focus on the worst. By and large you experience normal lives of
average people. All the buildings you see on all the skylines of the world,
you were the architect, the mason, the stone cutter, construction worker
who helped build it, you're the people who grow, prepare, cook and serve
every meal you ever eat, and so on. You are everyone in ancient history,
and everyone in the future, throughout the whole saga of humanity. We
shouldn't focus on the worst and worry about that. Rather, this lesson, if
it becomes widely known and accepted, should deter future Stalin's: they
know they are also all the people that suffer because of the things they
do. In a society where so many in power are selfish if not psychopathic,
being compelled to extend their self-interest to others could transform how
those in power decide to wield it.
> and the more I learn about the enormity of various acts of evil and
> violence, the more I feel OK with the idea that maybe death qua oblivion
> really isn't such a bad thing after all, but is instead a kind of mercy
> that is bestowed upon us.
Maybe there is a certain sense of that. For example, if you were an
uploaded transhuman, would you *want *to experience the life of Stalin and
carry around all the guilt and shame of his experiences knowing what he
did? If not, that deterrence means he has a lower measure, his life and
being him is "experienced less" than other people with better lives. Who
knows... I think we are still only beginning to scratch the surface in our
understanding of reality. Intelligent processes may have much more control
over the direction of long-running computations in the UD than we might
> I guess I just have some trouble squaring my metaphysical curiosities
> (that tend to pull me way out into the stratosphere) with my ethical
> demands and expectations (that tend to reign in my speculations).
> Do I make any sense?
Plenty. These are difficult questions I don't have answers for, just some
> On Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:55:27 PM UTC-5, Jason wrote:
>> There is a "glass half empty" and "glass half full" way of looking at it.
>> It may be that every time you get on a plane, you are certain in some
>> fraction of resulting future states, to experience it crashing. But you are
>> also guaranteed (and in a much larger fraction) to make it safely. When
>> someone dies, especially a young person dies, what makes it so tragic is
>> the unrealized potential, the experiences they never got to have or make.
>> But under many-worlds, that potential is realized, and those experience are
>> had, only in other branches. Consider that in many branches, each of us has
>> died at times where we were younger than we are now, and certainly our
>> family in other branches would have mourned what they perceived as your
>> death. But you are alive, here and now, despite their opinion.
>> I think science seems depressing only on the surface, when one doesn't
>> try to explore the implications of all the theories to their logical ends.
>> Quantum immortality may seem to imply the horrible fate of aging forever,
>> but this ignores the implications of the computational theory of mind, the
>> simulation argument, universalism, etc. Though the odds that we exist in a
>> computer simulation might be high or might be low, certainly it seems the
>> odds are higher than living to 200 years without some form of intervention.
>> So in many of the possible continuations where your "physical" life ends,
>> at say a normal age, your life continues in the virtual world in which some
>> being chose to live as you, in a "game world". This implies a type of after
>> life not unlike those in various religions, where you can take your
>> memories with you and you can reunite with others with whom you crossed
>> paths in the previous life.
>> Just from arithmetical realism, there exist ultra-intelligent, god-like
>> minds with access to unlimited computational power. For all intents and
>> purposes they are "Gods", with the power to explore the rest of reality,
>> and even copy and paste beings from other "physical universes" into its own
>> realm. Perhaps out of good-will, for introducing suffering as a process of
>> simulating physical worlds with conscious life in them, it extends an
>> after-life of its choice to the beings instantiated in the course of that
>> simulation. This may be an outlandish speculation, but it follows directly
>> from arithmetical realism, programs that do exactly this exist already.
>> Finally, with universalism (the only theory of personal identity that
>> does not fail in the face of the overwhelming probability against you ever
>> being born in the first place), we can realize that all conscious moments
>> equally belong to us all. There will never be a moment that you are not
>> alive so long as there is life, somewhere, anywhere. In that sense, we are
>> each of the universal soul, though most of us have forgotten our true
>> nature. But since our consciousness continues forever, we are all on a path
>> that will eventually lead home again. Until we decide to jump back in and
>> do it all over again. (Not unlike Lila https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
>> Lila_%28Hinduism%29 )
>> I think our current theories lead us back to various ideas most would say
>> belong exclusively to religion, such as: eternal life, immortality,
>> reincarnation, resurrection and afterlives, a self existent ground of all
>> being, a universal soul, and divine union. Perhaps all of these ideas is
>> wrong, but each one is supported by one or more separate scientific
>> theories, many of them being well-established.
>> Special relativity -> block time -> eternal life: we each exist forever
>> embedded in our own time, our consciousness is not extinguished when some
>> present marches on without us, rather we are alive now despite the opinions
>> of our descendants 2,000 years from now, despite that they might think we
>> are long dead. They are also are equally alive and experiencing their time
>> according to block time.
>> Quantum mechanics -> many worlds -> quantum immortality: we are each
>> subjectively immortal, we effectively each live an infinite number of
>> lives, and there is no end to one's consciousness.
>> Mechanism + Infinite universe (cosmic inflation, string theory,
>> many-worlds, arithmetical realism) -> consciousness is copyable -> FPI ->
>> reincarnation: whenever the state of your mind becomes sufficiently simple,
>> it is bound to intersect the state of some other mind elsewhere in the
>> infinite reality. A dying brain or a brain falling asleep can reach the
>> same state as a brain developing on a womb or one waking up. This provides
>> an escape from the eternal aging implied by many worlds.
>> Technological Singularity + Simulation Argument -> mind uploading ->
>> immortality for whole civilizations: and the ability for them (or
>> super-intelligences they create) to explore reality through simulation.
>> Again, if the universe is infinite, then some of the explanations for your
>> current moment of awareness right now is as the "dream" of a being who
>> explores possibilities, limited only by their ability to imagine. If each
>> "post biological" person experiences just a few hundred lives over the
>> course of their possibly billions of years of existence, then it is more
>> likely you are one of them, then the biological person you believe yourself
>> to be. (In another sense, you are already both of them, and after the death
>> of the biological copy the post-biological one will remain).
>> Arithmetical realism, Universalism -> all minds are ultimately connected
>> -> we each experience an infinite number of lives and afterlives, all lives
>> in fact
>> Far from being depressing I find such speculations awe inspiring.
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