Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Wed May 19, 2021 10:49 pm
Well, one thing I'd try is going back to January 26th and taking my Brother to the ER in the morning.
Yeah, that's very understandable. I guess I'd take my really good friend who died 8 years ago into the future where they'd have a cure for his lymphoma.

How is Mark's wife doing? I hope she's okay. If she's not, maybe some bereavement counseling would help.
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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I think she's doing okay. Probably better than me. I know she just came back from visiting friends in Nashville. She has a lot of support.

If time travel is possible, does that mean there's no such thing as now?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Perhaps not. If every person had access to time travel and regularly tampered with events from the past, there would either be no "now" or there would be infinite "nows". Could we ever believe anything that happens to us is real or manufactured or manipulated?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Perhaps reality is like an infinite cloud of fireflies, always changing.

Do you think it means something that the universe can be described both through math and with poetry?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Yes, I do.

Albert Einstein once said, 'I have deep faith that the principle of the universe will be beautiful and simple.'

By simple, I think he's referring to basic math and science (e.g., relativity) that can explain the universe. And by beautiful, I think he's referring to the aesthetic brilliance of it all.

Humans are the universe perceiving itself. The fact that the universe is perceiving itself both rationally and aesthetically suggests that both dimensions are crucial for fully understanding and appreciating the miracle of the universe.

Your thoughts?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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I definitely agree that truth equals beauty (and vice versa).

As for simple, I do think that it is, in a sense-- that sense being that complexity is a matter of perception. Calculus is complex to some, yet simple to others. The universe exists the only way it can, so it's the simplest thing possible. Whether or not we can figure that out entirely is a different matter. :D

But, yes, I do think that reality will turn out to be based on very simple rules that give rise to complexity, relatively speaking.

Do you think that the universe we see is all of reality, or just one small corner of a vaster expanse?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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We only see one small corner of a vaster expanse. But that's an act of faith on my part, mixed with a dab of intuition.

You?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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I figure existence must be infinite, because what's to stop it? But the conditions that we observe are very local and exist as a subset of a much larger context. I put some of my ideas in "Supernumerary." But infinity is probably something we can't understand or survive.

Do you think math describes the universe or controls it?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Mon May 24, 2021 10:19 pm
I figure existence must be infinite, because what's to stop it? But the conditions that we observe are very local and exist as a subset of a much larger context. I put some of my ideas in "Supernumerary." But infinity is probably something we can't understand or survive.
I don't mean to insult you or anything but you're almost answered that question the way a spiritual guru would. Very cool. I need to read Supernumerary.
RJDiogenes wrote:
Mon May 24, 2021 10:19 pm
Do you think math describes the universe or controls it?
Describes, certainly, but not controls. But you raise a fascinating question. Is there anything that "controls" the universe? Are we the operators, or is it more accurate to say that basic physical laws determine everything?

And finally, would you be disappointed or elated to learn that our entire universe is a simulation, perhaps an omnipotent being's science experiment?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Tue May 25, 2021 12:47 am
I don't mean to insult you or anything but you're almost answered that question the way a spiritual guru would.
How dare you?!? :mad: :lol: I understand what spiritual gurus are going for, but they have two problems: 1) They think too small, and 2) They think the universe is a person.
I need to read Supernumerary.
You asked for it. :lol:
Describes, certainly, but not controls. But you raise a fascinating question. Is there anything that "controls" the universe? Are we the operators, or is it more accurate to say that basic physical laws determine everything?
Physical laws determine everything, but the degree to which they can be controlled is an open question.
And finally, would you be disappointed or elated to learn that our entire universe is a simulation, perhaps an omnipotent being's science experiment?
Not really disappointed, because it wouldn't change anything. Wouldn't reality still have to be out there?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Yes, reality is what it is, regardless of what it is. In any good experiment, the experimenter 'debriefs' the participants. I'd like the advanced beings to eventually let us in on the simulation and give us a guided tour of their reality.

As head of the IRB here, the ethics of such a simulation are pretty shaky. At what point is a living creature too intelligent for experiments to be done on it without its permission?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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How do you know that what we think of as ethics is simply part of the experiment, and that the experimenters may not be impressed with the results?

(That debriefing idea is another good premise for a novel, though.)
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Wed May 26, 2021 10:32 pm
How do you know that what we think of as ethics is simply part of the experiment, and that the experimenters may not be impressed with the results?
Are you suggesting that if our conception of ethics falls short of their conception, they may get disgusted with us and throw us into their equivalent of an incinerator?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Actually, I was suggesting that the concept of ethics as we know it may not exist for them at all. Or may not apply to us if we're simulated. Perhaps they don't believe we are sentient, or that our feelings don't count if they are simulated. Since the outer world must of necessity be of a higher resolution physically than the simulated world, what if that applies to thoughts and feelings as well? What would you think about being the equivalent of Mario and Luigi?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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I would hope that any intelligence advanced enough for interstellar travel, or for producing us as a simulation, would also have advanced ethics. How naive I am :lol:

Is it possible that advanced alien intelligent life is so unrecognizable to us that they're already here, right under our noses?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 1:40 am
I would hope that any intelligence advanced enough for interstellar travel, or for producing us as a simulation, would also have advanced ethics. How naive I am :lol:
But what are ethics? If we're a simulation, maybe we're just programmed to think that ethics are ethics. Maybe there's something else out there in place of ethics-- something that we might find wondrous or horrific.
Is it possible that advanced alien intelligent life is so unrecognizable to us that they're already here, right under our noses?
You mean aliens that look like surgical masks who created the pandemic so that we'd carry them around on a tour of the world? That sounds like an EC Comic waiting to happen.

Or is it possible for an alien intelligence to be decentralized throughout the cells of a virus and not have a physical form as we know it?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 10:55 pm
If we're a simulation, maybe we're just programmed to think that ethics are ethics. Maybe there's something else out there in place of ethics-- something that we might find wondrous or horrific.
Well, if we're a simulation and can be programmed to think anything, and there is no way to know for sure that we're a simulation, then we may as well not worry about it :lol:

For the record, I'm grateful to be in a simulation that includes chocolate, although it is possible that other simulations include a food that we've never encountered that is even better than chocolate, in which case I would be pissed :lol:
RJDiogenes wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 10:55 pm
Or is it possible for an alien intelligence to be decentralized throughout the cells of a virus and not have a physical form as we know it?
Now that's brilliant. The Covidians already dwell among us....

If the Covidians exist as an advanced intelligent race, how could we possibly communicate with them? Would they have to reach out to us first? Might they have a universal translator?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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They might not know we exist as an intelligent life form. If they are alive and conscious, their consciousness would have to be spread out among billions of cells in millions of bodies, with massive redundancy and very slow communication as those cells travel from body to body. They may just be aware of us as an environment, like we think of a forest.

How do you suppose the morality of a hive mind would differ from humans?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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The hive mind might view single entities with disdain, deeming them simple life-forms deserving of exploitation.

Much like how The Borg view the universe :borg:

But then again, The Borg are intent on conquering all life forms, hive or otherwise.

Your thoughts?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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Well, speaking strictly about morality and not getting into motivation or philosophy, I think a hive-minded alien would certainly differ from us in their views of individual rights, since they essentially have no individuals. They may have no concept, or a very different concept, of murder, since eliminating a defective comrade would be like us having a hangnail removed or something. They would have no concept of motherhood or fatherhood. No concept of romantic love or friendship or other feelings that result from being a segmented species, since they are all one individual. They may not understand the concept of mortality the way we do. If the hive mind on their homeworld is divided into separate hives, they may have some instincts and feelings that are analogous to ours.

What do you suppose their concept of the Arts would be like?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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RJDiogenes wrote:
Sun May 30, 2021 9:54 pm
Well, speaking strictly about morality and not getting into motivation or philosophy, I think a hive-minded alien would certainly differ from us in their views of individual rights, since they essentially have no individuals.
I agree that this would be true for unenlightened hive-minded aliens. Just as we could take an enlightened perspective in understanding their morality, they could take an enlightened perspective in understanding our individual-based morality. The danger, of course, is encountering aliens whose ethical maturity lags way behind their technological maturity.
RJDiogenes wrote:
Sun May 30, 2021 9:54 pm
What do you suppose their concept of the Arts would be like?
Their collective art could either be superior, if it combines the strengths of the individuals contributing to it. Or it could be inferior if it relies on some combinatorial algorithm that undermines the art in a too-many-cooks-spoil-the-broth kind of way.

Your thoughts about art?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Sun May 30, 2021 10:12 pm
I agree that this would be true for unenlightened hive-minded aliens. Just as we could take an enlightened perspective in understanding their morality, they could take an enlightened perspective in understanding our individual-based morality. The danger, of course, is encountering aliens whose ethical maturity lags way behind their technological maturity.
As I said, I was leaving philosophy and motivation out of it just to describe their own internal ethics. Their opinions and interactions with other species are also open to speculation.
Your thoughts about art?
If they're a true hive mind, would they have any concept of art? The Arts in general are a way of communicating with other individuals, basically for the purpose of sharing a unique perception and emotions. Without individuals, why would there be art? Which brings up another question: Since feelings and emotions are biologically based, what would be the emotional makeup of a hive species?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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I guess you're coming from the perspective that the hive-minded alien is governed more by intellect than by emotion. That certainly describes The Borg. They seem unrattled, calm, and cool as they assimilate various species. :borg:

When Picard rescued an individual Borg (named Hugh) and helped him return to his individuality, Hugh transformed from unfeeling robot to an emotional being.

With so many animal species enjoying success being hive-minded (e.g., bees) why didn't humans evolve this way? Wouldn't there be some obvious evolutionary advantages?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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scottydog wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 10:40 pm
I guess you're coming from the perspective that the hive-minded alien is governed more by intellect than by emotion. That certainly describes The Borg. They seem unrattled, calm, and cool as they assimilate various species. :borg:
Not necessarily, but their emotions would be very alien to us since their biology is so different. For example, we're motivated by romantic love and parental instincts because of reproductive biology. What kind of feelings would the alien Bee-ings have?
When Picard rescued an individual Borg (named Hugh) and helped him return to his individuality, Hugh transformed from unfeeling robot to an emotional being.
Right, but Hugh was a human who was kidnapped and brainwashed. We're talking about beings for whom the hive mind is normal, with a million years of evolution defining it.
With so many animal species enjoying success being hive-minded (e.g., bees) why didn't humans evolve this way? Wouldn't there be some obvious evolutionary advantages?
Life has taken many routes to evolutionary success. It's a very fluid phenomenon. One question might be, is a hive mind so successful that intelligence would be superfluous or detrimental?
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Re: Questions Only VI: How Much Is Too Much?

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That's a great question, and it also begs the question, does the hive-entity inhibit evolutionary advances? If individuality is squashed, what chance does any mutation have to improve the collective?
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