Is it possible to end suffering for any abstract, conscious, intelligent being?

by phil on Friday Apr 11, 2008 4:49 PM

Thesis: all conscious, intelligent beings (nodes) inflict suffering on each other.


- Nodes feel pain
- Nodes compete with each other for resources
- All conscious, intelligent beings are nodes that behave this way


Let's call these abstract, conscious, intelligent beings "nodes." Each of these nodes had to evolve. Even if we create sentient intelligent beings, they are just an extension of the evolution of us. Even if God creates these beings, God had to evolve through the trials of persistence. God exists because he asserts his existence. God's/Our existence depends fundamentally on God's/our ability to assert our ability to exist. All intelligent nodes live under the principles of "survival of the fittest."

Another principle is that of scarcity of resources. There is no unlimited source of anything in the universe. Every node has a non-zero amount of physical material, and that material, we know, is ultimately limited. So some games between nodes—games that these nodes have trained themselves on through evolution—will be zero-sum games. As a result, the increase in value for one node (anything that helps perpetuate its persistence) may often require the decrease in value for other nodes. Competition exists.

In order for nodes to respond to competition for survival, they have to respond in kind to these attacks. They have to feel pain. Why pain though? If we think of what pain is, it is an alarm. And an alarm is data that dominates all data on the buffer. So a computer that has "pain" like we do would have situations it encounters where it stops processing ambient data around it, and it focuses in on the alarm, the pain. It also girds itself up, and probably creates an exceptional circumstance that involves using energy temporarily inefficiently in order to deal with the thing causing the pain. The result would look like an approximation of the human experience of pain.

As a result, nodes will harm other nodes in a competition for resources, and as a result, they will suffer at the hands of each other.

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