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Synthetic



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Character Reply with quote

It seems to me that there is great crisis approaching, something that is of a unprecedented scale in the whole of human history.

Now it probably comes to no chock to people here that in time, we will be able to changes our bodies according to our wishes. But what happens when we start to tamper with what is most essential and most intimate to us, our minds?

No longer will we need to feel the way we feel, we would not even need to grasp reality in the way we currently do. As we get the tools to twist and turn anything into anything what should we strive for?

The boundaries of human behavior will be shattered as we get to redraw the lines just as we wish. What is happiness worth when we could drown ourselves in it? Natural value will go the same way as "vital spirits", "gods" and the dreams of thousands of years will suddenly feel incomprehensible.

Phylogeny, ontogeny, our origins will blur and their significance will disappear. Whatever culture once was worth to us it will be like a currency whose value has collapsed.

So should we choose to remain the same? Do our desires demand it? Once we have chosen to go on, our desires will change—how can we choose anything when there is only blackness beyond? We cannot know what our choice will mean once we have crossed over. What could stop us? Fear? We might not need fear anymore...



It's easy to draw parallels between this catastrophe and Nietzsche's "death of god", but this time it's not god who is dead, but man.

But perhaps there is reason to be cheerful, just as some were cheerful when god died.

Nietzsche - The gay science - section 343 wrote:
Indeed, we philosophers and "free spirits" feel, when we hear the news that the "old god is dead," as if a new dawn shone on us; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, premonitions, expectation,—at long last the horizon appears free to us again, even if it should not be bright; at long last our ships may venture out again, venture out to face any danger; all the daring of the lover of knowledge is permitted again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; perhaps there has never yet been such an "open sea."
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M4nu3l



Joined: 10 Mar 2009
Posts: 45
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These questions are proposed in the series. Idea
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cong06



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:59 am    Post subject: Re: Character Reply with quote

Synthetic wrote:
But what happens when we start to tamper with what is most essential and most intimate to us, our minds?

It scares me too...

Should we go about it slowly? or...

I recently attended a lecture titled "the limits of perfection" which argued that racing through science too fast could cause problems.

There's incredible advancements in bioengineering, and eventually we may accidentally create something that's not human..."homunculi" (to use the term from FullMetal Alchemist).

Yet going forward slowly, doesn't jive with me. I'm a scientist. I want that teleporter NAOI! I want mechanical arms NAOI!

Synthetic wrote:
No longer will we need to feel the way we feel, we would not even need to grasp reality in the way we currently do.

Kind of like that cyber-brain-theater....

Synthetic wrote:
What is happiness worth when we could drown ourselves in it?

Well, I can imagine that there may be a few people that could resist the urge to. It's change the landscape of the world as we know it, sure. But drugs do the same thing now, just not as direct...

Synthetic wrote:
So should we choose to remain the same?

That's the thing I struggle with. Maybe everyone needs to graduate with a philosophy degree, then we could all plow forward...carefully... (if only it were that easy)
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GhostLine



Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 633
Location: "the net is vast and infinite..."

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No longer will we need to feel the way we feel, we would not even need to grasp reality in the way we currently do. As we get the tools to twist and turn anything into anything what should we strive for?


Reminds me of all of thoday's youth being overly designated and medicated for having ADHD.
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Wanderland



Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Posts: 10
Location: AZ

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deep.
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Freitag



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 583
Location: Behind you

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Character Reply with quote

Synthetic wrote:
Phylogeny, ontogeny, our origins will blur and their significance will disappear. Whatever culture once was worth to us it will be like a currency whose value has collapsed.


Breaking into three points...

Phylogeny: I think we will still think of ourselves as human. I mean I buy a '66 Mustang. I dress it up in dayglo paint that didn't even exist in '66. I put an HD and Satellite radio in there. I replace the engine with a 454 and a hood that supports a blower. Nitrous in the back. I add an extra pair of batteries to run my stereo and pay more for my spark plug wires that a year of Venti Latte at Starbucks. And after all those changes, it's still a '66 Mustang.


Ontogeny: I dunno.


Origins: On this I disagree, I think that a sense of belonging transcends the body. People want to belong to things soo much that that they join gangs and commit murder. Your origin is the one part of you that never changes. You may choose to erase your memory of it, but that just proves that there was emotional weight still attached to the matter of origin.


I think we will run into the old adage that the more things change the more they stay the same.


I see your questions and raise you one more
What about the legal system? What do you do when the person guilty of a crime does not remember it and has in fact wiped the memory so completely that it effectively was a different person?

And does being able to fiddle with the mind open up the chance to sanitize the death penalty? Instead of killing he body, you just erase the inhabitant and replace them with a functional member of society. Now that is creepy (reminds me of the discussion between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy about the Genesis Device - destroy and create in one act)
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cong06



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Character Reply with quote

Freitag wrote:

Phylogeny: I think we will still think of ourselves as human. I mean I buy a '66 Mustang. I dress it up in dayglo paint that didn't even exist in '66. I put an HD and Satellite radio in there. I replace the engine with a 454 and a hood that supports a blower. Nitrous in the back. I add an extra pair of batteries to run my stereo and pay more for my spark plug wires that a year of Venti Latte at Starbucks. And after all those changes, it's still a '66 Mustang.


What point does the Mustang stop being the Mustang?
I can imagine it a bit more with a computer, since I've had more experience swapping parts in computers...
Once I change the motherboard of a computer, it may as well not be a Dell Desktop anymore, but be a different brand, the brand of the motherboard.

With a car is that the chassis? or the engine? I'd lean towards the engine, but I don't know what makes a mustang different, since I have little experience.

With humans, is that the brain or our entire body?

Maybe what crosses the line, and makes us something different is the part of us that really separates us. (ok, so that was obvious) When you talk about a car, you mean that the chassis is the significant part of the car? With the computer it's the processor, or the motherboard? With humans it's the brain? (all speculation)
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Freitag



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 583
Location: Behind you

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Tachkoma follow this line of questioning too. I don't recall the episode, but they postulate that the identity is tied to the shell as much as anything else.

I *think* it was the episode where the one Tach was reading a book.

Maybe some of the recent studies (about phantom pain in amputated limbs and then also re-integration when an amputee has a limb restored surgically after parts of the brain have essentially been taken over by other functions since they no longer have the original limb) can offer insight?
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Synthetic



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cong06 wrote:
That's the thing I struggle with. Maybe everyone needs to graduate with a philosophy degree, then we could all plow forward...carefully... (if only it were that easy)


The problem is—as I hinted in my previous post—that perfect knowledge of our choices would be impossible. Because we would not only have to deal with the consequences, which we might understand very well, but also with our reasons to do that choice in the first place. It is like looking at our pasts and asking ourselves why we acted the way we did, our actions were only sensible in the light of who we were. Now if we turn this view upside down, that our actions only make sense for who we are after we do them, it becomes clear, at least to me how impossible our future choices will be.

Freitag wrote:
I see your questions and raise you one more
What about the legal system? What do you do when the person guilty of a crime does not remember it and has in fact wiped the memory so completely that it effectively was a different person?


The same problem exists today, though not in the same extreme extent. Say someone kills someone else and then at a later point comes to realize that killing is wrong. Should we judge people by their "old" selves? Alternatively, we might just punish people who made someone else suffer. It does of course get tricky once our nature is completely in our own hands. I suppose we need new ethics for the future instead of looking at technology or progress as a problem.

Freitag wrote:
Origins: On this I disagree, I think that a sense of belonging transcends the body. People want to belong to things soo much that that they join gangs and commit murder. Your origin is the one part of you that never changes. You may choose to erase your memory of it, but that just proves that there was emotional weight still attached to the matter of origin.


Well imagine if you could morph your mind into the mind of someone else, from this it would seem that you would completely become that person, unless there might be more to your identity than your brain. Maybe I do not quite understand what you are saying, but I do not see how you connect sense of belonging to origin, maybe you could elaborate a bit on that.

I do not think that our awareness of our past will fade, just that what once made sense to us will be incomprehensible once we start to change radically. Today I can easily understand a play that is over 2000 years old, I can understand the emotions and the motives of the characters despite the fact that I know very little about their culture. In spite of all our differences, we are still the same old humans. Now imagine if future beings would not feel anything comparable to love and sexual attraction for example, to them many of today's human behaviors would seem completely senseless. They might learn why we do those things, but it's still not the same kind of intimate understanding that we have of people from thousands of years ago. Thus, the old ways will lose their grip and we will be free in unimaginable ways from the history of humankind. It would be wonderful to live in such a time, a new golden age to replace all those rusty values and ideas.

I sure hope I live long enough to see it happen.
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