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Old 04-14-2017   #721
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Re: Trump

Quote Originally Posted by Shadenuat View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Here's something I've been meaning to ask both "liberals" and "conservatives" here.

Do you find anything redeeming about the opposing side?
What impresses me about conservatives is how dedicated they are to their delusions, and how assured some of them are of their nobility even though their policies and goals are anything but noble.
I've seen this exact kind of statement said by conservatives regarding liberal policies and goals, so I don't know how to interpret what you're saying here.

The reason I asked the above question is because I wanted to see if people here were willing to acknowledge that there are some core beliefs which both sides share. If one disagrees completely with the opposition, I want to hear substantive reasons for why the opposition is completely in the wrong. If one does examine the opposition with even the minimum amount of tolerance, they would, I suspect, agree on some things. I think qcrisp understood what I was getting at.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 04-14-2017   #722
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Re: Trump

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
Perhaps where this attitude fails me is in relation to transhumanism, which I find it hard to see as anything other than a manifest evil, from which, if it succeeds in its aims, the world might never recover.
Would you care to go into detail about this? I'm just curious as to why you would feel this way. I haven't done enough research into the subject to offer a valid critique of it one way or the other. I think it may have some benefits though. Imagine a hypothetical world where one could change their gender/race/form as easily as one changes their clothes today. Might that not signal the end of tedious "identity politics?" I guess what I'm trying to say is that my own personal view of transhumanism (which is probably wrongheaded but there you have it) is that one of the end goals of it is to create a society of shapeshifters in a state of constant flux/change (in the past I've jokingly referred to this as "Generation Shoggoth"). And I think that fiction writers would be able to adapt to such a world better than most in that they make a career out of playing around with people that they're not (if that makes sense). I can see why some people might view the idea that our identity isn't fixed as a source of horror, but...

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Old 04-14-2017   #723
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Re: Trump

The major fear about transhumanism is that it would be kept to certain groups and create inequality the like of which has never been seen before. Or some might not want to be part of the evolution. Imagine people could legitimately say that their group was smarter and better than other people who weren't evolved the same.

Doesn't help that some transhumanists come across like massive geeks who want it because it's cool.

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Old 04-14-2017   #724
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Re: Trump

I'd love to always have a dry nose, no ocd, maybe have a group of clones I had a telepathic link with so I could do more things in multiple bodies but one of my main fears is forever losing an essential part of the human experience.

One of the scariest science fiction ideas I've heard is humanity becoming like software, then caught in an agonizing glitch that never ends. It could be like a new version of hell.

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Old 04-14-2017   #725
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Re: Trump

Interestingly enough, the computer game Deus Ex: Human Revolution spent a great deal of its narrative exploring the pros and cons of the Transhumanism philosophy. One of the cons (at least in that game's world) was that most of the benefits offered by transhumanism was only going to the haves rather than the have-nots. Obviously the solution would be to try to figure out a low-cost model available to anyone who wants it, but that could be pie in the sky thinking!

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Old 04-14-2017   #726
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Re: Trump

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
One of the scariest science fiction ideas I've heard is humanity becoming software, then caught in an agonizing glitch that never ends. It could be like a new version of hell.
Well, if Nietzsche/Alan Moore was right about Eternal Recurrence, arguably we are all already endlessly stuck in such a scenario!

On days where my IBS is bad I will admit to thinking that maybe being an AI wouldn't be such a bad thing, though... the body has its benefits but at the same time is something of a source of disgust.

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Old 04-14-2017   #727
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Re: Trump

Yeah I forgot to mention I'd like perfect digestion so I could eat chocolate again.

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Old 04-14-2017   #728
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Re: Trump

(I don't wan't people to overlook the interesting conversation concerning transhumanism, so I'm putting this is in parentheses)

In any case, here's what I believe OUGHT to happen whenever political disagreements arise:

One ought to first understand the core beliefs of any political ideology on an abstract, philosophical level. The reason I say this is because it enables one to examine actual political events as they occur with respect to whether or not the ideology in question could ever, under ideal conditions, give rise to said events. One ought to interpret the particular, the concrete, in light of the universal. If the particular is not consistent with the universal, the ideology, then there's probably some distortion occurring.

Unfortunately, here's what actually happens:

The universal is interpreted and understood in light of the particular, which results in a shallow understanding of said political ideology. This is inevitable. Most people will not devote enough time to understanding the opposing side because irrationality always prevails over rationality.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 04-14-2017   #729
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Re: Trump

Another question is whether the advanced AIs (and/or our own evolved organic bodies) would have any use for our conscious selves.
Few SF writers who deal in transhumanism go there, for obvious reasons. Ones like Watts did, and as a result of that their work is anything but romantic or optimistic, and it certainly doesn't make you wish for the immediate transhumanist future.

Talk of bodily immortality and whatnot makes no sense when "YOU" don't get to experience it.
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Old 04-14-2017   #730
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Re: Trump

Quote Originally Posted by Frater_Tsalal View Post
Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
Perhaps where this attitude fails me is in relation to transhumanism, which I find it hard to see as anything other than a manifest evil, from which, if it succeeds in its aims, the world might never recover.
Would you care to go into detail about this? I'm just curious as to why you would feel this way. I haven't done enough research into the subject to offer a valid critique of it one way or the other. I think it may have some benefits though. Imagine a hypothetical world where one could change their gender/race/form as easily as one changes their clothes today. Might that not signal the end of tedious "identity politics?" I guess what I'm trying to say is that my own personal view of transhumanism (which is probably wrongheaded but there you have it) is that one of the end goals of it is to create a society of shapeshifters in a state of constant flux/change (in the past I've jokingly referred to this as "Generation Shoggoth"). And I think that fiction writers would be able to adapt to such a world better than most in that they make a career out of playing around with people that they're not (if that makes sense). I can see why some people might view the idea that our identity isn't fixed as a source of horror, but...
In brief, I can explain one of my major ... reservations, in terms of one-time transactions against selling yourself to a permanent connection.

If I buy a printed book, I have taken part in a one-time transaction with the publisher. Though publishers of printed books are often denigrated as 'middle men', in fact, after you've bought the book, you need have no further business with the publisher and the books is yours to do with as you wish.

If you buy an e-book, although this is billed as having no middle man, in fact, the middle man is much more present. You have to buy into the whole infrastructure of the middle man, in the form of the technology, as long as you want to read that text.

This is an analogy, also, for transhumanism. Many people make the incredibly complacent 'argument' that we're already integrated with technology. But, as long as the technology is not a part of us, it is on the level of a one-time transaction. For instance, I can still switch my internet connection on and off. Etc. This makes it analogous with the one-time transaction, at least as compared with having the technology as part of my body.

Basically, once it's part of my body, I can no longer end my relationship with the supplier of the technology. In short, they own me.

Well, this is just one objection.

There is the objection - related to this - that has been mentioned, that transhumanism will enable the haves. I agree with this. Social inequality will become vastly exaggerated, to the extent that the rich and the poor will be like different species, the former tyrannising the latter.

There are also metaphysical considerations which bother me just as deeply, if not more so, though I realise that most people treat metaphysics as an inaudible bat-squeak.

For instance, the quest for physical immortality delegitimises death, shifting the 'loser-and-winner' zero sum game attitude currently culturally dominant into top gear and, I would say, emptying life of all possible meaning.

Some words from this article also (for instance) stuck in my mind:

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/...echno-utopians

Quote
Bratton is not anti-futurology like me; rather, he is against simple-minded futurology. He thinks the Ted style evades awkward complexities and evokes a future in which, somehow, everything will be changed by technology and yet the same. The geeks will still be living their laid-back California lifestyle because that will not be affected by the radical social and political implications of the very technology they plan to impose on societies and states. This is a naive, very local vision of heaven in which everybody drinks beer and plays baseball and the sun always shines.

The reality, as the revelations of the National Security Agency’s near-universal surveillance show, is that technology is just as likely to unleash hell as any other human enterprise. But the primary Ted faith is that the future is good simply because it is the future; not being the present or the past is seen as an intrinsic virtue.

Bratton, when I spoke to him, described some of the futures on offer as “anthrocidal” – indeed, Kurzweil’s singularity is often celebrated as the start of a “post-human” future. We are the only species that actively pursues and celebrates the possibility of its own extinction.
I am, these days, surprised that everyone is surprised that I don't support anthrocide.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy

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