[extropy-chat] A future fit to live in? (was: RobertAntonWilson)

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Sat Jan 13 21:31:29 UTC 2007

Robert Bradbury wrote:

On 1/13/07, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net> wrote:

	This is a good example of why I keeping pointing out that it's not "survival" (whatever that could possibly mean in a rapidly changing environment) that matters, but rather the promotion of one's values into the future. 

> Agreed, though I perhaps like Damien am attached 
> to my current instantiation.  I doubt most of us would 
> have a problem with exiting stage left provided a 
> clear picture of stage right were presented (and we 
> happened to agree that that might be the best path 
> forward). 

> The reason that the Amish still exist is that nobody 
> has ever convinced them that their existence is 
> pointless.  (A separate moral question is whether 
> people should be allowed to propagate memes 
> that could be classified as maintaining a pointless 
> existence?) 
This is in line with the point I was trying to make to Anders recently.  We can never know the full extended consequences (i.e. the rightness or morality) of a specific act, such as bringing about the end of the Amish subculture.  But we can increasingly know principles of effective interaction that tend to promote our values.  We are becoming increasingly aware of principles of cooperative, synergetic, positive-sum growth.  We are becoming increasingly aware of the principle of requisite variety relative to a robust ecological growth.  We are becoming increasingly aware of the principle of diversity providing the raw stuff necessary for selection and growth.  This is the empirical basis of an argument for the widely shared value of "liberty", with all such "moral" arguments leading to an argument for growth in the direction of a constantly evolving values.
So, on the basis of *principles* that support the extended growth of our values, we find that we should want to promote a certain amount of diversity, even though some of those diverse branches appear to unproductive.  What is the optimum degree of diversity in this multidimensional matrix of values?  I don't know but I have a strong intuition that a formula will arise out of research on adaptive systems.  This is closely related to the question of the optimum research budget for a business, and related to Google's policy of allocating 20% of employees's time to activities unrelated to their direct business goals.
The more enlightened among us have long taught the wisdom of implementing from principles rather than towards ends, but it's only recently that we approach the technological capability for a general framework for such collaborative decision-making leading to increasingly "moral" actions.
- Jef

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