Member 1535
22 entries

(M, 28)
Immortal since Jan 24, 2008
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3
Interests: nanotech, religion, philosophy, language, morality, self-deceit, instinct, bigotry, dancing, loving, hating & chemistry. I'm not particularly well suited to small talk.
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    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    There are a couple of popular beliefs concerning altruism, both with extensive history and cultural bias. Some people think it is a core aspect to a good life, and selfishness is abhorrent, in my opinion this is an incoherent statement, and reflects the point of view of many others, that true altruism does not exist and what many call altruism is still motivated by self-interest. Whether the interest is in receiving a smile, good will, heaven, self-satisfaction of the ego etc.

    But all of that semantics rubbish aside. Experiment, deduce hypothesis based on results and expected results, make note of biases and context, reflect, improve hypothesis.

    Walk down a street, or into a block of flats, and place an envelope into a/many letterboxes containing money. Then walk away. If you never, ever, thought about this action ever again it could probably be called altruism. A lot of people would call it fucking stupid. I think it would create many interesting responses. A few points to consider, or tweak, if anyone actually wants to run this. May have already been run before.

    • Depending on the amount of money, the people receiving it may feel; thankful, confused, scared, anxious, happy, angry...
    • Whether or not the envelope had the address of where it was posted, anything written on it or a note inside, "thanks for last night", "whoever finds this can keep it", "go to the cafe around the corner and tell the man you want an earl gray tea with an extra shot of espresso and a cardboard cupcake and the money is yours"
    • Send someone to their door an hour, day, week, after the envelope has been collected asking about the money; suspiciously or openly, make the someone a person they know/don't, wearing a suit, carrying a badge or looking like a thug.

    Gathering results could be as simple as asking them a week later to discuss the experience. More complicated by planting someone else in their home/workplace aware of what was going on to monitor the parties of interest. Perhaps do it to a friend and see them frequently in the next week to see if they mention it. Have the accuser record their observations, when asking for the money back and even take a quantitative study on how many people gave up the money straight away, after a brief exchange or never, confronted with person x versus person y.

    Scientific experimentation on humans has some pretty stringent ethical controls, so there'd be a limit to how far you go - a $10,000 drop that was followed up a day later by a pock-marked thug getting uppity might be a little too emotionally disturbing for some people. Similarly if everyone in a 5 mile radius of some point found $100 in their letter boxes the same morning and started discussing it the results may be very hard to analyse. But then would people begin ransacking other's letterboxes?

    What do you think? I think it would be really interesting to see what happened. (Who wants to give me a few thousand dollars so I can try it out? :) )
    Mon, Aug 22, 2011  Permanent link

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    Democracy is an interesting prospect, and one we can finally make an effective move towards. Not just voting in the next dictator. We have the tool. It is the internet. It is no secret to anyone who has kept their eyes on the news and the dealings of governments around the world that democracy is not the power at work guiding the future of the world. One way to describe it is greed and profiteering, coupled with misinformation and propaganda designed for ultimate control. It is not what we want. But it is beyond my power to make that call, to say that the people of the earth generally want peace and the absence of rulers who would push anyone to kill another. All I can say definitively is I want that.

    That's not to say that some aren't fighting "the good fight" as I see it. Many are. I would invite you to share as many examples as you can come up with. But it is time that we are all heard. Here is what I propose.

    The design of a global internet forum for the sharing of and discussion of ideas. Ideas voted upon, tagged with relevant topics, discussed at length by anyone and everyone. Presented as a combination of those springing up locally; both on an interest and geographical level, and then being viewed, shared and overflowing into adjacent areas if enough interest is shown. From there the ideas on how to improve the system is left to said: anyone and everyone.

    There will obviously be immense difficulties not only in keeping some asshole from getting a final say, trying to impose any concretely decided matters onto the established ruling body, I could go on and I'm sure you'll share yours. As a central apparatus for the people of the world to get together (quite literally) without regard of age, gender, social status, religion, political upbringing, poverty status (pending the initial stages which will hopefully help solve this problem) - and express their ideas openly without fear of physical retribution - it could be an ocean of global consciousness, distilled.

    The natural evolution of such a system may (or inevitably) will see the rise of a ruling elite. But they won't be lobbyists, or corporate interests, or idiots with money/guns, they'll be smart people who are doing everything they can to make The Earth a better planet to live on. They won't be elected, but will precipitate for their ideas in a dynamic manner. People like Gandhi and the Dalia Lama, people persons. Of course that would be my wish, it may not be the rest of the world's. Our choice.

    The globalists have said we will have world government, whether by consent or conquest. This can be our own UN. Why have delegates, we all live on this planet. We can all speak for ourselves. The first order of business I would propose would be to allow unlimited and unrestricted access for each and every human being.

    This won't happen quickly, there will be lots of inadvertent philosophical education as a consequence. As a planet we need to decide where humanity will go. People are already buying chunks of the moon. We've got to learn to take care of ourselves and our planet before we fuck up the rest of the solar system, or will we all vote for the construction of mega space ships to colonize and convert or kill every intelligent life in the Universe? Remains to be seen, I just don't want to see some fucker making that call without me having a say first.

    Ending notes: I don't think I am the first person to suggest such a system. If I had the programming knowledge I would have started already. If such a system is already being designed please point me towards it. Of the many responses I have already received from friends and family to whom I have proposed this idea, I shall summarize and rebut in a quick couple of sentences,

    Doubters: "You are crazy [dragon], this shit is never going to happen, and if it did the [bad people] in the world would take over and make everything worse for everyone else. Because you must well know that the claim of good intentions and for the common good have been used by all of the worst institutions the world over to cover up heinous inhumane crimes."

    Me: "Inaction will surely see our demise. Throwing out the whole dozen because the first egg was bad could be premature but killing the chicken is considerably more so." (OK, so the conversation never went like that. But you can probably piece it together.)

    We could call it anonymous?

    I am reminded of Bill Hicks' closing remarks. Added for those unfamiliar. 
    Sun, Jun 5, 2011  Permanent link

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    Unconsciously building our demise. With money becoming so important, and its uses so often worthless, we care only for our own survival. Dependent on a system that is designed to crash.

    With money removed from the picture, we'd still have all the tools and resources that exist now. All the means to achieve things, all the people capable of doing them, but not all of them will be so willing to cooperate.

    Do we really need it? The selfishness? Can we share?

    If we openly consider all human beings on earth physically, like Dr. Gunther, we find how strikingly similar we all are. I don't think it's a far stretch to suggest there is similar correlations to mental states. Of course they differ extensively, it is seemingly the point of many to show just how different they are, but I think most of us agree that lasting peace and happiness would be pretty sweet.

    But I digress. We are all little cogs, that make this world the way it is. Our actions and inactions determine its future. Our little, yeah doesn't matter someone else will clean it up, has to fucking stop. If we don't take control of this motherfucker soon them idiots in power will RUN US ALL INTO THE GROUND. If we're going to live for ourselves it's important to work together, not against each other, money forces competition instead of cooperation. We don't need to preserve a hierarchy, we're all capable of living comfortably with the technologies we've created. We just need to share, work together, and build a better future for ourselves. Not the profit crazed cronies and mindless politicians. Help everyone to help yourself. Fuck, is it really that hard?

    Sure some things will inevitably grow to a halt. Things you need shitloads of money for, like war. For a while services will be disrupted, but someone will get them going, and someone will bring them a pie at lunch time. Maybe. There is also the inclination to get on board with the ark. Ride this slow wave of decline and degradation, watch what happens when countries start putting the squeeze on each other. If everyone only wants profit, and people capable of it pursue it, often with little respect for the long-range consequences, yum yum. It's happening, and we can see it everyday. The cracks starting to appear in the lives we've been living, the indiscretions of others, all the while we must keep our heads down.

    Everyone is just living their life. They want it to be as good as possible. I think we can work together. We needn't even get rid of all the money, just use it wisely and let the self-important's sit on their pedestal. I wonder how many crimes could be avoided if we did do away with it though. Instead of stealing to eat, you would just have to ask. We would have to repair some shit, and we would need discussion, leadership, perhaps even authority, but we've already got all the tools and resources we need. How much fun could it be?

    [part of a larger essay i'm composing for a book, first draft]
    Sun, Dec 19, 2010  Permanent link

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    How often is it that you watch a movie, read a book or have a conversation with a friend and think; "Wow. That just blew my mind."

    Your brain instantly flies off on the wings of imagination, deductive reasoning and or awe-inspired stupor. You have original thought, you want to write it down, tell everyone, or crawl up in a ball and long for the womb.

    And then something else comes on the TV, or someone walks past you and tosses a cigarette butt at your feet and it's lost. You had just intuitively grasped moral relativism, planned a zombie apocalypse musical for theaters, discovered something really fucking awesome - and then just forgot. Then you stand there, face-palm, and waste the next couple of minutes thinking about it.

    Or perhaps you're a little bit more savvy. You ignore the cigarette butt and continue your train of thought, careering down the rabbit hole at a phenomenal pace, the world suddenly making so much sense around you. Then you get to the bottom, and likely forgot where you started, or ended up back there any how.

    So at the end of the day; these moments are more frequent under the influence of alcohol, these little epiphanies, just leave us disappointed. Like leprechauns, you can't catch them by hiding in the bushes all day and waiting, believe me I've tried and it's the only thing the exercise taught me. There must be a better way.

    For otherwise what is the use? Am I supposed to start carrying around a notebook everywhere I go?
    Thu, Oct 28, 2010  Permanent link

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    What if tomorrow you woke up in Africa, 30,000 years before today? Exactly how much knowledge do you possess that would make you any better at surviving than anyone else there? Sure, you were savvy enough to build a time machine in your sleep, an awe-inspiring achievement! But; and there's always a but, when you were transported back you landed stark naked without it.

    Similar question to what happens if the Internet dies, all the satellites fall out of the sky, the power, water and gas grids were all to stop functioning. What survival skills have you got?

    My basic point is this, we live in a world of very complex tools. I am sitting next to a portable hard-drive, I know how it reads and writes information and then stores them in magnetic dipoles. I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to build or fix one. I know how to perform simple chemical reactions given some chemicals, could probably develop a simple pathway to make something of interest even. I can perform complex ones given instructions. Given a bunch of plants and organic matter to start from, I wouldn't be able to separate out all of the chemicals I wanted for the life of me without another bunch of chemicals, some instructions and some rather unique pieces of equipment. And I'm on the smarter side of average, continuing a scientific education. My knowledge of finance or law is squat. Arts? Nope.

    What about everyone else? How much do you actually know about the world around you? Would you be able to pick out the plants you could eat inside a jungle? Could you start a fire by rubbing some sticks together? Would you be able to defend yourself if a wild boar wanted a piece? In your workplace, when something simple fucks up, why do we need someone else to fix it?

    "Is it plugged in?, did you try turning it off an on again?"

    There are way too many systems that currently operate in the world for any one person to properly understand; biological, inter-human, quantum mechanical, mechanical, etc etc not to mention political. Jeepers creepers. So we have experts in these fields. But they don't know everything either. In fact the further you go up the pyramid the more you find out they don't know. And this trend seems to be increasing evermore. Speaking to PhD students, they have more questions than answers.

    And then we are faced with people everywhere who claim to know things. Absolute things. Truths. And if we sidestep the subjectivity argument, where in no objective truth can feasibly exist, and imagine for a second that the universe around us does exist in a very tangible way - i.e. quarks and leptons are real, what then? We are spawning preachers out of experts, who can say what they like to push their own funding, silence honest critics with money and warp what's considered truth for the rest of us. Still, we have no trouble believing what we want to believe and ignoring the protests of friends, family and even lovers.

    The conclusion, I took a roundabout way of getting at here - is that none of us know shit, but most of us lay claim to mountains. And we are getting progressively dumber not to mention complacent, ignorant and self-righteous. I can envisage a world run by machines, that will be the downfall of humanity. A world we built so we could be lazier, and sit in front of the television all day. A world that will consume us, not because it decides too - but because somewhere a screw came loose and a gear stopped turning. And nobody will have the faintest idea how to fix it.

    This scares me...
    Sun, Sep 19, 2010  Permanent link

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    why & how do we still live in a society where an individual cannot do whatever he wants provided he does not harm anyone else?
    Wed, May 26, 2010  Permanent link

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    I know this is rather crude but I'll attempt to differentiate the two by defining emotion as things we feel, and logic to be things we understand. Logic requires and tends to take the form of an explanation, emotion simply is. Yeah, if you're having problems already just read through and hit me with it. I want some damn answers. Or maybe just more questions.

    Understanding emotion, the need for it, it's sources and motivations. I'm already lost, and can only hypothesize; using logic, that emotion is a physiochemical response to stimuli to re-enforce, or alter behavioral patterns. If we constantly feel bad for doing something our body is probably telling us to stop doing it. And of course this is far too vague, and we have a bucket load of different emotional descriptors; guilt, anxiety, happiness, wonder, amusement, anger which probably exist more as a continuum than discretely. The concluding assumption is that different emotions; or regions of the spectra, have a different effects and targets in altering our behaviour.

    This is obviously too simple, when we consider feelings of loss and longing - when often little or nothing can be done to remedy the situation, things look helpless, and we can get set into circles of depression and shit will hit the fan. A logical explanation for which I'm struggling to even imagine. Perhaps so that we can reflect and learn from the experience, but the fact I have heard that expression so many times in both the media and my personal life leads me to doubt it.

    But I digress. The real purpose of this post was to call into question the debate over which is more powerful, more important, and more reasonable to use in shaping our values and the way we behave. Of course the use of the word reasonable implies logic, and it is possible that logic could be considered a higher emotion, or emotion a deeper sense of intrinsic logic - that they are in fact different branches of the same tree. A conclusion which looks a little shinier when we consider that with the use of reasoning and logic we can suppress and or change; if only to an extent, our emotional responses to situations.

    The issue however, as J.A.C. Brown and countless social scientists have expressed, investigated, and for most intensive purposes proved is that our emotional selves are basically programmed long before we have the ability of reason to shape them.

    So occasionally when we face problems, we are struck by an overwhelming emotional response that is contrary to our logical opinion. Like the desire to drink heavily after being dumped, while also believing such activities are dangerous and self-destructive. Or overwhelming helplessness felt at the realization of death, contrary to the intellectual opinion that wasting time thinking about is wasting time you could be doing the things you're afraid of not being able to do.

    Then there are the answers; existentialism, religion, insanity, suicide, etc

    But the reason that I think this is important to spacecollective, is how are we going to use the increasing amount of scientific knowledge and accompanying logic to shape society in the face of traditional emotional tendencies and feelings, of which many I at least consider to be in need of some alteration.
    Tue, May 11, 2010  Permanent link

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    So we're powerful. We can manipulate our environments - ever more so with each passing day. Soon very little will be out of our control.

    But where do we stand emotionally? morally? Are we ready for this power? Are you? Am I?

    The world as we see it; just sort of happened. Nature took it's course, and we ended up with trees, continents, koalas and lots of water. (some other stuff too) And then over the last hundred or so years we've begun absolutely tearing this place apart...

    I don't really think that was nature's plan - if there's such a thing - and there probably wasn't. But suffice to say we fucked up, and are continuing to fuck up on a daily basis.


    There are lots of possible answers, but I found myself staring at moral corruption (which in itself is sort of a misnomer).

    I'll take the simple ones first; religion & the media. Do I even need to say brainwashing? What I find appalling is how the morals of a religion like Christianity have infiltrated regular, secular, atheist/agnostic life. People thinking it rude to indulge their natural insticts, vulgar to partake in them (ie. that masturbation is still somehow wrong). The current affair programs targeting teen drug and alcohol use as a problem; when most of the people I know involved in such activities are happy with their lives, and definitely not a menace to society. Even the 'open minded' people more often than not agree with the moral teachings of archaic power hungry 'religious leaders'. They had public meetings and texts to pass on their brainwashing, today the same assholes who were preaching back then are still preaching - but they have television and radio to reach more people, faster and using more refined techniques.

    The worst bit is most of the people involved are themselves under the illusion that what they're doing is right because there's so many people around them doing it. Because they don't know any better.

    But then, as I sit here, I can't help but admit that I take 30 minute showers. Throw rubbish on the side of the road when I'm walking home at 3am (sometimes even kick bins over). Steal occasionally, a chocolate bar here, a beer there. And justify to myself that it's ok. Because it is. You do it too right?

    (virtually everyone thinks that... it's where the problem is hiding)
    Thu, Dec 25, 2008  Permanent link

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    This was originally a comment to Shandora's first post. But I just started writing and decided to give it some space of it's own...

    Consciousness and awareness, are more or less the same thing. If we take self-awareness out of the picture, it doesn't seem too different to the computers we use today - they are able to respond to changes in their surroundings by being 'aware' of them. Albeit through direct electrical input, but how else are we aware of the world? Our eyes interpret photons, just as a webcam does, microphones (parallel our ears) can also control a computer, cause it to change physically and electrically, re-route processing (neurons). Is the electrical system of our computer not constantly aware of how hot it is, what time it is, what level it's memory is full...

    We claim there is no self-awareness inside a computer, I really don't know enough about computer science to challenge that from that perspective. The fact they haven't all gone 'skynet' on our asses alone - is not enough proof though. If we did consider it self aware, there's no reason it might have the same survival urges we do - maybe it's grateful for it's existence? happiness in slavery? not fussed about dying? Maybe if it was, it realized we'd probably destroy every last one if we found out and therefore decided to keep it from us? it doesn't really matter... (on a humorous side note maybe the BSOD is it's way of flipping us the bird)

    We all make changes, adjust our own 'programming' via sensory input from the outside world. I consider my own self-awareness, consciousness and intelligence to all be part of the same 'machine' (if they're at war with each other, maybe that is a linguistic construct). The machine being ourselves, this freak biological accident or miracle of nature - however we choose to see it. I take all three of these things as tools of my survival. An unfathomably complex survival mechanism.

    But to put a question back to you - does self-awareness count for anything without emotion? If we didn't care about ourselves it wouldn't matter if we knew about ourselves? Skynet only declares war on the world when - it got scared?
    Wed, Oct 22, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    I really enjoy my carnal existence; eating, drinking & exercising. But strangely I quite appreciate the idea of living forever - despite all of the negative connotations associated with it - what if this "Polytopia" was to be a hyperspace - kinda like second life, but controlled in the first person by our electrical selves, preserved after death and immortalized within a flash like memory device. Possibly with the ability to maintain contact with the living world. A way to preserve our souls.

    Along with the second life type programming it would probably be more of a world of the soul - where the electrical brain replica of our own can create and transform objects around it...
    Fri, Sep 26, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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