[ExI] Effectiveness of democracy as a result of selection bias

Aware aware at awareresearch.com
Wed Jul 1 15:09:07 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 7:19 AM, Stathis Papaioannou<stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/7/1 Henrique Moraes Machado <cetico.iconoclasta at gmail.com>:
>> So... the post-humanism will make us buddhists? :-)
> It has parallels with Buddhism; this hadn't occurred to me, thank-you.
> I suppose a difference is that Buddhism sees desire as bad in itself
> and something to be relinquished, whereas the posthumanist would deal
> with the problem by adjusting desire so that it is consistent with
> what is felt to be intrinsically good and achievable. Also, the
> posthuman will be able to achieve nirvana by flicking a switch in his
> head rather than donning saffron robes and living as an ascetic, which
> I think the Buddhists might regard that as cheating.

Stathis, this description of Buddhism reflects fundamental
misconceptions, popular as they might be.

Desire is not bad in itself; it just is.  But *attachment* to desires
leads to suffering.  Desires are not to be relinquished, but to be
acted upon, effectively and *coherently*.  But attachment to any
particular desire(s) just gets in the way.

"Adjusting desire" and the notion of "intrinsic good" are examples of
appealing but incoherent (paradoxical, self-referential, unmodelable)
notions popular at the Science Fiction level of philosophical thought.
 They are indeed at a level of sophistication above that of the
popular masses, but sadly, too many of us remain at that level as if
enamored of the (relatively) superior view.

"Flicking a switch to achieve Nirvana" is similarly naive, and
additionally an example of category error.  Enlightenment is not
bliss, but rather, an effective understanding of the relationship of
the observer to the observed.  Thus the saying that pain is
inevitable; suffering is optional.

As for asceticism, it can be useful as a technique and practice for
attaining an effective realization of the nature of attachment, but
(in Buddhism) it isn't seen as an end in itself.

The essence of Buddhist thought--its coherent conception of the "self"
and its pragmatic "getting out of one's own way"--offer much of value
to "tranhumanist" thought: the application of increasing instrumental
effectiveness within an environment of increasing uncertainty (and

For what it's worth. Please carry on...

- Jef

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