What am I doing?

by phil on Saturday May 10, 2003 1:16 PM
Me Me Me

I'm trying to find the "key" to life. No matter how hard I try not to, I cannot help but go, "okay, we're getting closer to 'figuring it out'" I don't normally tell people that that's what I'm trying to do. Whenever I do, they usual respond by saying something like, "there is no key." But isn't THAT just their suggestion about what the key is? I mean, is holding in your mind an unacceptance of "the key" really the key? Maybe I'm not interpreting them correctly, and really what the message is that the "key" is not something one can hold consciously but that one has to live day in and day out? Yes, that's probably a better interpretation. But what exactly is this living of the key? One could interject, annoyingly, well, if you could put it into words, it would just vA****. Then, that is saying almost the same thing again, that it can't be spoken? Is it saying that it's inaccessible? That the key is in the hidden, the magical. But, we have to manipulate it somehow, even by our acceptance of its obscurity. By not manipulating this unknown, aren't we doing manipulation through non-action?

Yes, this is another one of those recursive dilemmas. On a separate note, I'm always trying to figure out how to resolve these recursive dilemmas. Let's see if we can simplify this. It's like, as soon as you become aware of the way a system works you cannot help but forever negotiate with it in the terms of that process. i.e. As soon as you start to think of keys IN an active way, then the key to life can only be found through active work. Even if you tried to "passively" live the key to life, by the very fact that you are trying something automatically makes it active. So in other words, once you start being active about the key to life, then it remains permanently active. Well, hold on, is that exactly true? You could forget about actively pursuing it. Right, then you would then become one who passively pursues it. But, if you brought yourself there or said, okay, I'm going to attempt to NOT pursue it, then well, you're already are pursuing it. Well, you could not feed into it by not thinking about it, but STILL by doing that you are furthering your attempt to find the key.

It looks like there's some sort of logical black-hole here. Another way to look at it is that you either do or you don't. And once you start doing, you can't stop doing without doing another thing. Maybe man is just a constant doing process, but then can the doing affect his doing such that he undoes himself? i.e. can you have a program that rewrites it's ability to reprogram itself? What are the consequences of this? I think answering these recursive system problems (a la Gödel Escher Bach) is going to be useful when he have to deal with all those people in the Singularity who could spiral into suicide.

What? What am I talking about here? Fine, I'll elaborate. First, what is the Singularity?. In a nutshell, with the accelerating rate of intelligence on earth, it seems likely that eventually we'll reach a point where our acceleration will be so fast that we'll become infinitely intelligent in an infinitely small period of time.

As much as I believe that, I have counter-argument lurking in there. My thinking is that there is an upper-bound to the amount of intelligence that a single node can have. Or rather, in the plane of knowledge, certain parts of the plane have to be excluded from the node's knowledge base for it to continue to exist. My case in point is that after a certain point, you can know that nothing matters, everything is just an illusion, that purpose is just another facade, and so on and so forth until eventually you realize that continuing to the next point in the time chain is useless, and then you just kill yourself. This is the criticism that the simple-minded give at times for learning things like psychology and philosophy. They feel that when you know all this stuff, life loses the sort of glue and intoxicating magic that I has on people. Those that are supposedly in the "know" retort with some silly wise-saying like, "knowledge can enhance your appreciation of life" or that "it's not the fault of the knowledge but how we use it." Sigh, I side with both sides. The simpletons have a natural mechanism inside them that prevents them from "thinking too much" or looking at life in such technical terms. And alas, that they exist, and that they say this thing with such mechanical precision shows that natural selection has even put an anti-elucidation mechanism within us. As for the smarty-pants, they're just operating under a bias for their own knowledge. Once you have the knowledge, it's hard to get rid of it, and eventually you form an intimate relationship with it. I think knowledge is another one of those Chinese finger traps, once you put your fingers in them, you can't bring them out by yourself, but only with another's intervention.


Okay, so that was a long way to go about justifying my efforts for "finding the key." As for the actual "key" itself, I'll have to get to that in another post. I'm still testing out my latest key. The current one that i've been on has been lasting for about two and a half months. The other key I had lasted about 4 months, but then it lost its magic. Also, I bet "finding the key" is actually "finding your own key." However, if I can find a key for myself, I bet at least some parts of it could be universally applicable.

Okay, some teasers. The first key that lasted the most was "bearing pain." I figured out that my greatest problem was dealing with situations that I had aversions to, so I just flipped the switch and made myself pro-pain and pro-suffering. This made many thing possible and made me learn how to feel pain, which further heightened my feeling of pleasure. Fun. It failed primrily because it put too much emphasis on feeling pain and not on some alternatives such as avoiding pain, or getting yourself to not feel pain in certain situations. It also had other side effects, such as ... well, like I said, I don't want to go into it now.

As for the current "thing" I'm on... in short it's the imperative, "respond effectively to your emotions." Since emotions are where we get all our weight for everything, by learning how to respond to all the little men within us pushing us in various directions, then well, we can... ? I don't know what it is. Well, see, if I were to continue it would lead into a discussion about what my motivations are, and then a debate on those motivations, and aren't those motivations part of my response? Also, it'll lead to adiscussion on the nature of the key, such as, for example, that it has recursive consistency.

... but then I'm also anti-categorical imperative. Categorical imperatives are like, single goals or invocations that you keep repeating in order to derive what to do next. For example, objectivist's categorical imperative is, "do what's in your best interests." The social darwinists have, "survival of the fittest." Christian's have, "Deliver God's Will." Nietzsche criticizes categorical imperatives all the time, and for good reason. Our minds just don't work that way. Or rather, working with single categorical imperatives ignore all the fun multiciplicity of responses we have that emerges through fuzziness, such as sex, greed, avarice, hunger, passion for truth etc. So, then... okay, yeah, I don't want to get into it.

Creative Commons License