[extropy-chat] Prime Directive

Heartland velvethum at hotmail.com
Sat Oct 28 00:08:12 UTC 2006

Jef Allbright wrote:
>> Slawomir wrote:
>> I'm having hard time seeing the absurdity here and how the
>> last sentence follows from the rest of the paragraph. Is
>> there something wrong with choosing death in order to avoid
>> suffering?

> Correct, that was poorly worded.  Should have said something like "the
> absurdity of choosing death to avoid all suffering."

I still fail to see the absurdity here. If *all* humans were to suffer unspeakable 
and endless torture, what would be wrong with avoiding that suffering?

>> More importantly, the above implies that promotion of values
>> is somehow more important than ability to experience them. It
>> suggests that values could exist in absence of experience,
>> that is, they could still exist even with all the humans in
>> the world wiped out.

Jef Allbright:
> Yes, my point is that values are what influence rational
> decision-making, and one can (and we often do) choose to promote our
> values extending beyond any expectation of experience.  For example,
> parents sacrificing for children, philanthropy, heroic sacrifice of
> life.

But please realize that expectation of experience *is* a type of direct experience. 
People do those seemingly selfless acts because it makes them "feel" better at the 
time. So even though it seems like promotion of values is removed from direct 
experience of these values, the action of promoting them is still motivated by real 
and immediate benefits of direct experience. People promote these values because it 
makes them more "happy" to promote them. The extreme case of this is a suicide 
bomber who promotes his religion by blowing himself up. In reality, the "sacrifice" 
is not motivated by anything other than the happiness and pride that the suicide 
bomber experiences directly *before* dying.

Preservation of ability to process reality/information has (or should have) 
priority over preservation of values. (I have no ability to enjoy a cookie being 
eaten by someone in China. I can't appreciate a beautiful sunrise when I'm in a 
coma. I derive no benefit from seeing other people happy *after* I'm dead.)


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