RealFact#9, I'm not sure I can agree with certain points of yours, or perhaps I'm not understanding them clearly.
Just take a look at capitalism and not tell me we don't live in a dominating society. And with Innocence adressing the fact that humans are now only creating themselves, who's to say that A.I.'s wouldn't crowd us out? Just look at humans, supposedly we're the only ones who are aware of their own "self." Then look at how they've affected the Earth and other life forms. So if we were to create something that is to later become aware of itself while being mentally and physically superior, I just don't see how we couldn't be crowded out or dominated.
When I first read these words, I thought of Nietzsche's Zaruthustra
. "The Earth has a skin, and this skin has a sickness. One of these sicknesses is called 'man'." Then I felt something was wrong with the position itself
, and I pondered the matter. I struggled with your words, trying to decide why the Nietzschean epigram struck me as less problematic than your argument did.
"Just take a look at capitalism and tell me we don't live in a dominating society." This is pretty vague. Since you've asked Sylphisonic to look around her for evidence, I'll ask you something. How does power- and relationships involving domination must involve power- work in the present capitalist system?
Elsewhere in your post, you wrote that existentialists believe that meaning comes from action. Although I wouldn't call myself an existentialist, I'm fond of looking at actions, and as I'm not convinced that categories or words can perform actions independently, I'd like to examine "capitalism" and "society" as terms that resemble formless and indistinct monsters, the rhetorical equivalent of the beastie under the child's bed.
I want to examine RealFact#9's rhetoric in action
, as an act.
Whenever somebody uses the words "capitalism" and "society", I tend to wonder which brand of capitalism the person means (pun intended), and whose society the person is referring to. Someone uses the words, I ask questions about meaning. Cause, effect. Action, reaction, action.
If I ask which brand of capitalism you're referring to, I'm wondering which type of capitalism you mean. Even within the present-day economic system, more than one model of capitalism is at work; they're connected by shared communications networks and business interests, but that doesn't mean they share ideologies; some don't even have that many practices in common.
You might want to compare the "stewardship" model of capitalism, which fuses belief in individual or group intent with the quasi-religious notion of "good works", with the latter-day version of Hayek's self-organization argument: "Let the market sort itself out". Then consider the Chicago School, whose entire model is based on belief in that consumers are rational agents- or should be.
If one compares these groups, one finds that they behave differently; if one looks within each group, one finds a wide range of behaviors, some of which run contrary to the supposedly shared belief.
(I'm not advocating any of these schools of thought, nor am I endorsing their practitioners, nor am I embracing the way things are. And I'm not supporting Sylphisonic's position, either; I have some reservations about her post, too. I'm not even articulating my own position- at least, I'm not doing so at present, in this post. I am responding to RealFact#9.)
If you dislike "capitalism" in the abstract, you might decide that some forms of it are pretty innocuous. Maybe you'll decide that some capitalists have done some things that helped some folks, while others are silly and do little good- but have so little influence that they can't do much harm. You might find some types of capitalist so wrong-headed in thought and deed that they're downright dangerous.
You may find all types of capitalism distasteful, and want nothing to do with anyone who resembles a capitalist.
Whatever a capitalist is.
Still, it seemed to me that you were getting at something else; that this "dominating society" of "capitalism" or "capitalism" of the "dominating society" was the manifestation of a deeper problem, one which renders all forms of capitalism wrong-headed. Something that precedes both "capitalism" and the "dominating society." Something on an almost genetic level.
And that deeper evil seemed to be human nature.
"Just look at humans, supposedly we're the only ones who are aware of their own 'self.' Then look at how they've affected the Earth and other life forms."
The ground has shifted; the roots are revealed. When Sylphisonic looks around, she'll not only see what capitalism hath wrought; she'll see what human beings, who have the arrogance to think they're special, have done to the planet.
You seemed to be saying that capitalism does bad things and that our "dominating society" is a manifestation of capitalism, or is the product of capitalism, or is the producer of capitalism, or is identical with capitalism, or something of the sort. The terms "society" and "capitalism" were undefined, undescribed, and without example, and the relationship between the two terms remained unclear. But you implied they were a cause, and you told us where to find the effects. "Take a look around you."
I've written elsewhere: "Does one group speaking for another group have the effect of silencing the latter group?" I mention that, because your wording implied that Sylphisonic will have to agree with you if she looks around her. It implied that she hasn't looked around at all, or hasn't looked around in the right way, or is just naive. You seem to be asking, "Don't you have eyes?" But the statement can also be read, "If you see things differently, you're wrong."
I don't think telling Sylphisonic or anyone else to "look and see" proves anything. My experiences with- capitalism? society? human beings?- might be different from yours, and both of us might have experiences that differ from Sylph's experience.
You implied that capitalism and a "dominating society" were causes of the negative things around us. But they were also, you said, effects.
And what causes capitalism and the "dominating society"?
"Just look at humans, supposedly we're the only ones who are aware of their own 'self.' Then look at how they've affected the Earth and other life forms." "Humans claim this, then this happens." No human hubris, no capitalism, no dominating etc.
Does every human being claim that humans are self-aware, and that that's a characteristic unique to humanity? And do people who believe that humans are
unique in their self-awareness also claim that self-awareness leads to positive results in all instances? Are you arguing that being un-self-aware, or recognizing other lifeforms or consciousnesses as self-aware, would result in a more positive world? Or are you arguing that it's just as well if our entire species dropped dead simultaneously?
Who supposes that humans are the only ones with self-awareness? Is this a universally-held belief, something common to all human cultures at all times in all places? What do you mean by "self-awareness"? Why the shift from second to third person; why the shift from "we" to "they"?
Somehow, the argument didn't disturb me as much as the Nietzsche quotation does. Instead, it reminded me of a line from an Ed Wood film: "You earth people are stupid, I tell you. Stupid! Stupid!" You kinda sounded
like the alien in that movie for a sec. "Look at how they've affected the Earth and other life forms. Stupid, stupid earth people!"
Of course, I like Plan Nine from Outer Space
, so I didn't dislike your post.
I mean, the alien in that film had a point. He just stated it a little more directly than you did.
So if we were to create something that is to later become aware of itself while being mentally and physically superior, I just don't see how we couldn't be crowded out or dominated.
I'll respond with a question: Anyone familiar with the terms "technological singularity" and "Law of Accelerating Returns"?
I think they're relevant to a discussion of Man-Machine Interface
, to a discussion of A.I. in general.
P.S. RealFact#9, I hope I don't come across as a long-winded bozo, and I certainly don't mean to imply that you're a jerk. I think quite the opposite: I think you're correct that Innocence
rewrites the meaning of the first film, and I think the relationship between the two isn't dissimilar to the relationship between the original manga and Man-Machine Interface
. And your post made me think, and my thinking about your post prompted me to think of A.I. research in terms of corporate capitalism (another type of capitalism, or perhaps more accurately a complex of capitalistic behaviors) and funding, and that made me think of the terms I mentioned, which I hope someone will run with.
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi