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

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Sun Jan 14 06:09:08 UTC 2007

At 05:50 PM 1/13/2007 -0500, Heartland wrote:


>Jef Albright 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 
>but rather the promotion of one's values into the future.
>This seems noble but isn't "promotion of one's values into the future" 
>merely a
>subgoal of the survival supergoal? Isn't it the case that people care 
>about their
>values simply because they think they would feel better *living* in a 
>society that
>nurtures those values?
>It always helps if we examine the first causes of our beliefs. And if we 
>do we
>might discover that there exists even higher goal than survival that 
>drives our
>behavior. It is simply pleasure. That is our true supergoal while 
>"promotion of
>values" is just a natural consequence of that goal.

Let's recast this in evolutionary psychology terms.

Through the effects of differential genetic survival, evolution has shaped 
us indeed to have higher goals than survival, the survival of our 
genes.  In the modern world the extreme examples of these psychological 
traits (dying to save relatives) are rarely displayed but they were 
probably common in our much more violent hunter gatherer past.

>I imagine when people first hear about pleasure, they immediately think of 
>like chocolate and sex and jump to an easy conclusion that to seek 
>pleasure for
>pleasure's sake would somehow be immoral. But pleasure comes in many flavors.
>Seeing your children grow up into decent people generates pleasure. 
>some difficult and noble goal induces pleasure. Helping other people and 
>nothing in return causes pleasure. Love is pleasure. Everything we do has 
>the same
>common denominator that drives our behavior.

And *what* cause pleasure (motivating us) has been shaped by millions of 
years of evolution.  Look at it from the gene's viewpoint.  We get pleasure 
from increasing our status.  In the past males required some minimum status 
before they were consider as mates by the females.

>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.



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