[ExI] Wrestling with Embodiment

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Wed Feb 1 00:10:11 UTC 2012

On Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I also wonder about the essential parts of emotional reaction to
> situations.  If during a depression one decides to selectively edit /
> remove the ability to feel depressed (seems like a good idea, right?)
> then later realizes that the creative introspection that came with the
> depressed state is also no longer accessible, what is lost?

I have found myself often wondering what is the cost to humanity of
losing out on human suffering. The mainstream Christian view of heaven
seems horribly boring to me, because without suffering, how can there
be meaning? Where would literature, art, music and poetry be without
the depressing side of those arts? I imagine that the music in heaven
is horribly boring. No Nine Inch Nails or Tori Amos there baby... and
what a loss.

If we got rid of depression, anger, sadness, melancholy, fatigue,
bitchiness, sarcasm, fear, inattentiveness, frustration, boredom and
all the other wonderful negative emotions, could you really call what
you ended up with human in any sense of the word?

So what is lost if we reach a state of paradise on earth? Everything.

Now, that doesn't mean things can't get better. When I think of the
sorts of negative life experiences my great ... great grandparents
suffered through, I can't compare that to "I lost all the songs on my
MP3 player"... but the emotion is the same. So in the future, humans
may complain about things that seem pretty inconsequential to us now
(the peppermint scent emitting E Coli in my gut died, and now I have
smelly farts) but the emotions will be the same for them. But get rid
of the negative emotions altogether, and you really do have something
that in a real way is inhuman.

The most dangerous emotion to get rid of might be disgust. It is one
of the most universal of emotions, and it is present in infants. It's
hard wired. Without disgust, you would be like a leper, unable to keep
any sort of basis for ethical thought. We are disgusted when someone
steals from us, murders, rapes, etc. Without disgust, there would be
no impetus to justice, and I fear then that we would lose a hell of a
lot more than just the good art.

Now, this isn't to say that all of our technology should have all of
these emotions. I would be very unhappy if someone designed fatigue,
boredom, inattentiveness, anger, etc. into the system that's going to
drive my car around. But, if it makes the car happy and fulfilled to
get me there safely, then I suppose I could live with that. :-) I
don't care if my car's autonomous driving system lives in the hell
that is the Christian heaven.


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