[extropy-chat] A future fit to live in?

Heartland velvethum at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 14 03:27:05 UTC 2007

If survival was not a necessary condition for experiencing pleasure, people would
not care about survival, but since it is, that's the topic that usually steals the
headlines. But let's not forget that survival is only a subgoal of the higher goal
that gives meaning to our lives.

A problem with thinking in terms of goals and supergoals is that it's teleological.
No organism has a viewpoint outside itself from which it can actually formulate
original goals for itself.  Such thinking leads to the well-known paradoxes of
free-will.  You believe you choose to seek pleasure, and this requires that you
survive, requiring that you eat, and so on down the line.  Uhm, where did your
starting goal of pleasure-seeking come from? Who chose it?

I would never imply that pleasure supergoal is a choice. It never was. As you point
out, what we are and what we want has been caused by blind evolutionary mechanism.
We've been all hardwired to seek pleasure and have no choice in this matter.

My point is that your choice to promote values even at a cost of your survival is
still motivated by the higher goal of pleasure. There's a big difference between
what we consciously want and what we need. People pursue wealth all their life and
when they get rich they find they needed something else instead, like love or fun.
IMHO, a similar gap exists between a goal of promoting values and a desire to
experience pleasure. The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we can satisfy this
need as we adjust our decisions and views in light of this observation.

(I realize that pleasure is how evolution tricks us into spreading our genes, but I
doubt you can find an argument that could show objectively that seeking pleasure is
bad or immoral. If you or someone else can show why wireheading is wrong without
resorting to the obvious "yuck factor" I would like to read it.)


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