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"Virtual retreat" hypothesis
in Science

By MayCaesarMayCaesar 1793 Pts
Fermi Paradox is the discrepancy between rough predictions of expected frequency of alien encounters, and us not having detected a single one. Simply put: where are the aliens?
There have been many hypotheses as to what the answer is. Perhaps life is not as common in the Universe as we would think. Or maybe aliens are everywhere, but we cannot detect them due to their advanced stealth technology. Maybe aliens observe us from a large distance, but feel no need to interact with us. 

One of the major hypotheses is the "Great Filter": that at some point every civilisation faces an issue making it unable to ever expand far beyond its planet. It could be that every civilisation develops a technology that leads it to exterminating itself - for example, a very powerful weapon of mass destruction, or a synthetic virus, or an artificial intelligence that rebels and genocides its creators. It also could be simply that the interstellar travel is unfeasible for a variety of reasons, and so every civilisation ends up stuck in its star system forever.
I personally like the theory that every civilisation eventually develops a very powerful AI that, through logical argumentation humans cannot comprehend, comes to the conclusion that all life is evil, and exterminates its creators, followed by self-destruction.

But recently I have been leaning towards a more optimistic scenario. Let us call it the "virtual retreat" hypothesis.
As our technology develops, so does our ability to build realistic virtual worlds. At some point, say, 1000 years from now, our virtual worlds can become nearly as realistic as our real world. We will be able to design any virtual world we could possibly like, and experience it in a very realistic way, with all 5 senses simulated. They would be nearly indistinguishable from the real world.
At that point, it becomes very tempting to escape our limited real life into a virtual world of our dreams. Our body could be infinitely preserved inside life support machines, while we are free to live in much nicer simulated worlds forever.

It is possible that eventually the entire population escapes into the virtual reality this way. The real world becomes irrelevant, as everyone virtually lives their dreams. Nobody has any incentive to ever leave their home planet, because everyone has already achieved everything they could possibly want.
So there could be billions civilisations out there, all consisting of nothing more but underground capsules with living organisms inside experiencing endless virtual bliss.

Do you think this hypothesis is realistic? And even if it is not, do you think such an end to a civilisation would be a good one? Is it better to live in a perfectly made virtual reality, or in the real world?
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  • @MayCaesar I don't view virtual retreat as optimistic, instead I view it as incredibly dystopian. Governments could only dream of the power the administrators of such a virtual reality would possess. Once you're logged in, you are the plaything of those who control the system.

    Moreover, endless bliss is not desirable. The struggle is what gives life meaning.

  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    @WinstonC

    You say .....

    Moreover, endless bliss is not desirable.

    My reply ....How do you know this?

    My reply ......

    The struggle is what gives life meaning.

    My reply ......

    What meaning did struggling to escape German death camps give the lives of the many who died? Would their lives have been as “meaningful “ without? 
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 582 Pts
    edited August 5
    @WinstonC
    Moreover, endless bliss is not desirable. The struggle is what gives life meaning.

    Is it the "endless" characteristic that makes bliss not desirable or is bliss itself not desirable? Is anything endless equally undesirable? If not, why does it matter with bliss and not to other feeling/sensation/state-of-mind?

    Struggle gives life meaning? That's just a subjective claim and not an actual argument, right?

    As for the "virtual retreat" scenario, I wonder how would this specie reproduce? Would later generations be born into it, unknowingly? Who's to say we are not already in a virtual universe? I would fear stellar objects crashing on my planet and destroying the computers that run this virtual world, if we all die then no big deal, but say there's a computer malfunction after a few millennium, the specie that would be pushed out of this virtual world would die off quite fast imo...

    I think there are intrinsic dangers when climbing the Kardashev ladder, due to the amount of energy that needs to be harnessed and controlled in order to move upward that scale... Any slight error in trying to control and harness the total energy of one's star could potentially eradicate the whole start system, maybe a few supernova recorded were in fact space civilizations killing themselves trying to go up the Kardashev scale...
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • @Dee @Plaffelvohfen Without a contrast to pleasure, pleasure has no meaning or significance. This is the same for all phenomena; without darkness, light has no meaning.

    If existence is pleasure then feeling pleasure is the baseline state and eventually our brains ignore it. This can be demonstrated by reference to long term drug use. The neurochemical releases from the drug use which produce the "positive" inebriated state eventually cease to produce the "positive" inebriated state. In fact, the long term user begins to get withdrawal symptoms: they feel the opposite effects of taking the drug when sober. The brain becomes acclimatised to the presence of high levels of the neurochemicals that the drug use causes and requires them to feel "normal". This short article (1) cites lots of studies on how pain and suffering makes pleasure better.

    "Struggle gives life meaning?"

    Without some kind of struggle, precisely what would there be to do?

    Sources:
    (1) https://www.iflscience.com/brain/pursuit-happiness-why-some-pain-helps-us-feel-pleasure/

    piloteer
  • maxxmaxx 81 Pts
    edited August 7
    actually, light without darkness does have meaning. That is like saying, without death, life has no meaning or without cold, then heat has no meaning, and so on. just because something does not have an opposite; it does not mean it has no meaning and is fruitless to exist on its own. Pleasure does have meaning upon its own and needs no dark counter-part to have significance.do not confuse the absence of something on having no meaning with what exist. @WinstonC
    John_C_87CYDdharta
  • @maxx "actually, light without darkness does have meaning."

    I don't see how. If it's always light then what is the difference between it being light and it just being? Without another contrasting state it's not relevant.

    "
    That is like saying, without death, life has no meaning or without cold, then heat has no meaning, and so on."

    With the example of death and life, it would make more sense to distinguish between life and non-life. After all, death is not a state of being and life is. If everything was alive then we wouldn't distinguish between life and non-life. If everything was warm then there would be no distinguishing between warm and cold. Warm or alive, would simply be how things are and thus would be irrelevant.

    "Pleasure does have meaning upon its own and needs no dark counter-part to have significance."

    If we experienced pleasure contrasted with a lack of pleasure then it would have meaning. However, if all you experienced was pleasure than how would pleasure matter? What difference would there be between experiencing pleasure and just experiencing?

  • @WinstonC

    I believe that life/existence is meaningless and without purpose, regardless of struggle or pleasure... Any meaning to life is subjective and illusory in my opinion. A life of struggle has objectively no more meaning than a life without struggle... Now, pain let's you know you're still alive, it also let's your body know something is wrong...  Pain can be pleasurable, but that is also subjective...
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • @Plaffelvohfen When I say that the struggle is what gives life meaning, what I mean is that without problems to overcome life is devoid of any purpose. As for life being meaningless, I would argue that our conscious experience is deeply meaningful.

    "Pain can be pleasurable, but that is also subjective."

    True, this is why I don't classify pain as the antithesis to pleasure. It's more like negative experience is the opposite of positive experience.
  • @WinstonC

     "what I mean is that without problems to overcome life is devoid of any purpose". 

    That is still a subjective claim, one's life purpose/meaning is always subjectively ascribed...  What could prevent anyone from ascribing meaning/purpose to a life without struggle or problems to overcome? If one can't, I'd suggest it is probably due to a lack of imagination...
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • @Plaffelvohfen "What could prevent anyone from ascribing meaning/purpose to a life without struggle or problems to overcome? If one can't, I'd suggest it is probably due to a lack of imagination... "

    By all means give an example.
  • @WinstonC

    Passive contemplation? One's purpose can be just to experience existence, period... 
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • maxxmaxx 81 Pts
    That philosophy predates Socrates and simply isn’t true. Say in a land of happiness, how can the absence of sadness affect me? It can’t make me less happy for that is a step towards sadness which doesn’t even exist. In a land of immortality death can’t affect the living. One does not need an opposite to live with out it. What of fish in perpetual darkness, for them light doesn’t exist. You are trying to say that I was happy all the time then I would feel happier if sadness existed. Simply put, what does not exist also does not exist in the human mind and can’t affect it.@WinstonC
  • @Plaffelvohfen I certainly agree that experience itself is meaningful. Indeed, it is the ultimate source of meaning. Yet would we really say that an alcoholic that watches football all day has an equally meaningful life to a doctor that goes out and works hard to save lives? Perhaps more importantly, the homebound alcoholic would not have the same feeling of meaning that the doctor has.
  • @maxx "Say in a land of happiness, how can the absence of sadness affect me?"

    If there was only happiness then your brain would tune it out because it would be irrelevant. This is demonstrated practically in the drug addiction example.

    "You are trying to say that I was happy all the time then I would feel happier if sadness existed."

    No, I'm saying that if you were happy all the time then "happy" would become "normal" and your brain would ignore it. It's like how optical illusions work: your brain tunes out parts of the image because it has become acclimatized to their constant existence. We only perceive contrast; anything that remains the same becomes ignored.
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 582 Pts
    edited August 8
    @WinstonC

    Meaning to life is subjective, existence has no intrinsic value, meaning or purpose... We all subjectively ascribe those according to our own desires, we are the ones that give meaning to life, it's a question of will, we "will" meaning into our own life, it's an internal process, not external like struggle and such... That's why saying that struggle gives life meaning is a subjective claim, it's only an opinion... 
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • @Plaffelvohfen Surely you can agree that conscious experience has intrinsic meaning, at least to it's experiencer? If not then why would you care about whether your experiences are positive or negative?

    As for the psychological sense of meaning/purpose, this is a phenomenon that is attained from struggle towards an end goal. Surely you have had times in your life when you felt you were doing something meaningful and times you felt you were wasting your life on empty pleasures?
  • @WinstonC

    Of course I sometime feel I'm doing something useful, and sometimes I don't, but that is still entirely subjective...

    I actually don't agree that conscious experience has any objective meaning or purpose, it only has subjective ones that we ourselves, by act of will, ascribe to it...
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • @Plaffelvohfen "Of course I sometime feel I'm doing something useful, and sometimes I don't, but that is still entirely subjective..."

    Does this mean that it's equally useful to sit around and drink beer or go out and save lives in an ER? In any case my point is that without enduring challenges you won't get that psychological feeling of purpose.

    "I actually don't agree that conscious experience has any objective meaning or purpose, it only has subjective ones that we ourselves, by act of will, ascribe to it..."

    Surely then, you can choose to simply not willfully ascribe meaning to your conscious experience and endure torture with cool indifference?
  • @WinstonC
     "Of course I sometime feel I'm doing something useful, and sometimes I don't, but that is still entirely subjective..."

    Does this mean that it's equally useful to sit around and drink beer or go out and save lives in an ER? In any case my point is that without enduring challenges you won't get that psychological feeling of purpose.
    Useful to who, to what? As stated and without context, yes they are equally useful... And still, that "feeling" you're talking about is entirely subjective... 
    "I actually don't agree that conscious experience has any objective meaning or purpose, it only has subjective ones that we ourselves, by act of will, ascribe to it..."

    Surely then, you can choose to simply not willfully ascribe meaning to your conscious experience and endure torture with cool indifference?
    That's ridiculous & fallacious, the body will react to torture whether one wills it or not... I think you're running out of valid arguments... 

    You are perfectly justified in enjoying struggle and justified in feeling that way, but it's not objective, it's still only your own personal opinion... 
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • @Plaffelvohfen "Useful to who, to what? As stated and without context, yes they are equally useful...  "

    I suppose there is an implicit "useful to humanity" in there, but the point still stands. Going out and saving lives is useful to you and the people you save, staying at home and getting drunk your whole life isn't even useful to you.

    "And still, that "feeling" you're talking about is entirely subjective... ou are perfectly justified in enjoying struggle and justified in feeling that way but it's not objective, it's still only your own personal opinion.""

    The psychological feeling of purpose is caused by biological processes, it's not subjective.

    "That's ridiculous & fallacious, the body will react to torture whether one wills it or not... I think you're running out of valid arguments... "

    You said "I actually don't agree that conscious experience has any objective meaning or purpose, it only has subjective ones that we ourselves, by act of will, ascribe to it..." Yet you clearly aren't ascribing meaning to your experience by act of will otherwise you could choose not to ascribe meaning to being tortured.
  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    edited August 8
    @WinstonC

    You say .....Without a contrast to pleasure, pleasure has no meaning or significance.

    My reply ......How do you know that’s true? We take pleasure in many things why do we need to know it’s  meaning or significance? 

    What meaning and significance are pleasure meant to have?

    The religions believe they go to a place of eternal bliss why would such a place need contrast to give it significance? 
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 582 Pts
    edited August 8
    @WinstonC
    - I suppose there is an implicit "useful to humanity" in there, but the point still stands.
    Sorry it doesn't...  Humanity has no intrinsic purpose or value, if humanity was winked out of existence tomorrow, would it matter? Not in the slightest, it would matter to some of us sure, but in itself? No.
    -The psychological feeling of purpose is caused by biological processes...
    Yes, that is indeed objectively true, that process exist and does what it does, but what is subjective is the value you ascribe to this feeling of purpose... 
    You said "I actually don't agree that conscious experience has any objective meaning or purpose, it only has subjective ones that we ourselves, by act of will, ascribe to it..." 
    Yet you clearly aren't ascribing meaning to your experience by act of will otherwise you could choose not to ascribe meaning to being tortured.
    There is that fallacy again but this time you slightly change the wording... I can absolutely choose not to ascribe meaning to "being tortured", in fact I do think torture is pointless, I already chose not to give it value, what you said was that I could choose to "endure" torture with "cool indifference" by force of will, that is not ascribing meaning or value, that is physically enduring pain and has nothing to do with value, meaning or purpose... 
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • That could be true but in 1000 years other aliens will explore and eventually might arrive in our planets without even noticing. We may forget about food and starve. What about other animals in this world.? It is an unsafe idea.
  • @Dee "How do you know that’s true? We take pleasure in many things why do we need to know it’s  meaning or significance?"

    I'm saying that if you only experienced pleasure then you would ignore the experience of pleasure. Our brains are adapted to perceive contrasts, rather than absolutes. This is why drug addicts experience withdrawal symptoms; because the brain becomes acclimatized to the constant positive experience of the drug use. When they cease using the drug they then experience the opposite effects of the drug because the brain has begun to register the constant positive experience as the baseline state. Anything that remains the same becomes ignored, because it is irrelevant. This is also how optical illusions work.
  • WinstonCWinstonC 98 Pts
    edited August 10
    @Plaffelvohfen "Sorry it doesn't...  Humanity has no intrinsic purpose or value, if humanity was winked out of existence tomorrow, would it matter? Not in the slightest, it would matter to some of us sure, but in itself? No."

    I haven't claimed that it does, though coincidentally I do believe that conscious entities matter for without them everything may as well not exist, like a video game lacking a player. This is somewhat beside the point, though, my point here being that it's not subjective whether things are or are not useful to humanity.

    "Yes, that is indeed objectively true, that process exist and does what it does, but what is subjective is the value you ascribe to this feeling of purpose..."

    If one has no feeling of purpose in their life their quality of life (QoL) is lower. If we are merely focusing on pleasure as a means to improve QoL then we are missing a major part of the puzzle.

    "There is that fallacy again but this time you slightly change the wording... I can absolutely choose not to ascribe meaning to "being tortured", in fact I do think torture is pointless, I already chose not to give it value, what you said was that I could choose to "endure" torture with "cool indifference" by force of will, that is not ascribing meaning or value, that is physically enduring pain and has nothing to do with value, meaning or purpose... "

    My point here is that you have no control over whether you ascribe meaning to your experience of being tortured because your experience is intrinsically meaningful. You can't simply choose to be indifferent to the experience. Perhaps it would be good to distinguish between noumenous meaning and phenomenous meaning. You certainly can interpret events as meaningful or meaningless, which would be phenomenous meaning and subjective to your own perception. You can't change the noumenous meaning of your conscious experience though: you can't cause your conscious experience to not matter to you.
    Plaffelvohfen
  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    @WinstonC You say ......I'm saying that if you only experienced pleasure then you would ignore the experience of pleasure. My reply .......How would one ignore it if it was their constant state?My reply ......Our brains are adapted to perceive contrasts, rather than absolutesMy reply ......But we don’t know that for a fact as who can claim they have experience of such?. You say .....This is why drug addicts experience withdrawal symptoms; because the brain becomes acclimatized to the constant positive experience of the drug use. When they cease using the drug they then experience the opposite effects of the drug because the brain has begun to register the constant positive experience as the baseline state. Anything that remains the same becomes ignored, My reply ......But some have and do claim to be in a constant state of bliss I don’t think they ignore the sameness of their experience,  I think the feeling of bliss or pure pleasure they feel turns to one of pure peace and  grounded in the experience of  living in the now , I still do not get how one can ignore an experience if it remains the same 
  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    @WinstonC

    You say ......You certainly can interpret events as meaningful or meaningless, which would be phenomenous meaning and subjective to your own perception. 

    You can't change the noumenous meaning of your conscious experience though: you can't cause your conscious experience to not matter to you.


    My reply .....But  that would by definition be entirely independent of our experience of it, we are utterly ignorant of the noumenal realm.

    How exactly do we have noumenous meanings  regards conscious experiences?


  • @Dee "How would one ignore it if it was their constant state?"

    You simply cease to acknowledge it.

    "But we don’t know that for a fact as who can claim they have experience of such?"

    The research is clear that our brain ignores stimuli that are constant (1). Try out a few optical illusions, they demonstrate the phenomenon quite well.

    "But  that would by definition be entirely independent of our experience of it, we are utterly ignorant of the noumenal realm."

    I don't understand what you mean. I'm saying that our perception cannot change the fact that our conscious experience matters to us. This means that it's significance is not phenomenal, or subject to our interpretation.

    Sources:

    (1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_adaptation
  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    @WinstonC

    You say ......You simply cease to acknowledge it.


    My reply .....As in make it not matter? 


    Yet you said ......you can't cause your conscious experience to not matter to


    You say ......The research is clear that our brain ignores stimuli that are constant (1). Try out a few optical illusions, they demonstrate the phenomenon quite well.


    My reply .....I can find research that would contradict that position, How is the research clear regarding the example I cited? 


    Your optical Illusion example is just one of many what if the constant stimuli is of a different nature to an optical illusion would we ignore it? 


    There is zero research on the situation I mentioned as in a state of complete bliss being ignored , also how would our brains ignore constant severe pain? 



    You say ......I don't understand what you mean. I'm saying that our perception cannot change the fact that our conscious experience matters to us. This means that it's significance is not phenomenal, or subject to our interpretation


    My reply .....We seem to be at crossed purposes here as I don’t get what it is you’re trying to say. 


    You say ....... I'm saying that our perception cannot change the fact that our conscious experience matters to us


    How can it matter if as you stated you refuse to acknowledge it in certain cases?


    Phenomenal experience – whatever it is – is the primary component of consciousness and is in fact the entirety of what it means to be conscious.

  • @Dee "My reply .....As in make it not matter?.. Yet you said ......you can't cause your conscious experience to not matter to... How can it matter if as you stated you refuse to acknowledge it in certain cases?"

    You are constantly having a conscious experience, but you are not constantly perceiving everything. The fact that you don't perceive something does not mean that your conscious experience doesn't matter to you, it means that your conscious experience does not include that perception.

    "I can find research that would contradict that position"

    By all means, I would be fascinated to read evidence against neural adaptation.

    "How is the research clear regarding the example I cited?"

    Sorry what example?

    "Your optical Illusion example is just one of many what if the constant stimuli is of a different nature to an optical illusion would we ignore it?"

    Other examples off the top of my head include neurotransmitters (e.g. drug use), proprioception (e.g. going from a boat to land), muscle tricks (e.g. where you get someone to push the frame of a door constantly), temperature, tactile sensation and so on. There were several other examples in the Wikipedia article I linked too.

    "There is zero research on the situation I mentioned as in a state of complete bliss being ignored"

    Heroin addicts. To begin, they experience the drug use as blissful yet over time they need to use the drug merely to feel "normal".

    "also how would our brains ignore constant severe pain?"

    Pain to some extent is an exception. To quote the Wikipedia article I linked:

    "While large mechanosensory neurons such as type I/group Aß display adaptation, smaller type IV/group C nociceptive neurons do not. As a result, pain does not usually subside rapidly but persists for long periods of time; in contrast, other sensory information is quickly adapted to, if surroundings remain constant."

    This makes sense, because while it is evolutionarily of advantage to ignore irrelevant stimuli that never change, pain is unlikely to be irrelevant. Note, however, that some parts of the nociception system do undergo neural adaptation.

    "We seem to be at crossed purposes here as I don’t get what it is you’re trying to say."

    I'm saying that the significance of our conscious experience is not something we can control, because our experience always matters to us. This is why I describe our conscious experience as inherently meaningful to us: our perception does not affect our conscious experience's significance to us. Thanks for helping me flesh out my position better.
  • piloteerpiloteer 427 Pts
    edited August 17
    @Dee @Plaffelvohfen

    I think "@WinstonC made a good point about endless pleasure. If we no longer have unpleasantness juxtaposed with pleasure, we have nothing in the way of comparative value. Even endless bliss can become mundane if it becomes an expected norm. S/he also compared drug addiction to endless bliss and pointed out the similarities. Drug use can fire off the same endorphins in the brain as pleasure can, but after constant use, it no longer works and just becomes what is needed to feel normal. That seems to be a perfect comparison that hasn't been retorted as of yet. If a virtual reality program were created that offered endless bliss, there's no telling that it would have the same after effects of a drug addiction. It's kind of ironic that I've been reading Dostoyevsky when this discussion came along. I don't have the exact same views of Dostoyevsky when it comes to technology or God, but it's tough do deny that even if our sense of purpose is only based on ourselves there's still a sense of meaning and value in our life. An atheist can still find meaning in Dostoyevsky's message because it's still true that we are born of all the elements of this earth and every single thing that makes us is from this earth. We are basically children of our mother earth.    

    "@WinstonC ;

    Although, the problems with a virtual "endless bliss" app can be overcome easily. A program can be made  to purposely impair our short term memory. If that were to happen, every time we used the virtual reality app, it would seem like it was the first time we ever used it no matter how many times we used it. Plus, some people think that by the year 2050, it's conceivable that the entire make up of our brains can be uploaded to the cloud. If that's true, we could live for as long as the technology is able to function. We could live many different lives. We could conceivable make a human like droid and live a more natural life outside of the cloud, but we'd be entirely robotic. But admittedly, there's no telling what other possibly horrific problems would arise if these scenarios became reality.          
  • piloteerpiloteer 427 Pts
    edited August 23
    "@MayCaesar

    Some physicists speculate whether massive super novas are frequent enough to never let a civilization exist long enough to create the technology that could possibly overcome the problems of interstellar travel. When the US first launched a satellite that was designed to detect radiation from a nuclear weapon being detonated, it detected a large explosion within a few days of being activated. But they found that the explosion didn't come from earth. They eventually found that it didn't originate in our solar system. They also found that these explosions were happening frequently, and they were large enough to destroy entire solar systems and other solar systems nearby. It's conceivable that some of these super massive explosions can sterilize a fraction of an entire galaxy. Perhaps large percentages of a galaxy. Because of the frequency of these super massive solar system killing explosions, some believe that a civilization only has so much time to exist before they are destroyed. Keeping in mind that humans have only been on earth for about 200,000 years out of the billions of years life has existed on earth. It took many billions of years to have a species on earth that was able to only conceive of interstellar space travel, let alone actually do it. Also keeping in mind that humans may not be the technological powerhouse that is actually able to create technology that can make interstellar travel possible, and some other species may be able to do it long after we are extinct. But how long does any species really have before everything on the planet they live on, and all the stars they're able to see in the night sky are destroyed by a super massive explosion?            
  • @piloteer
    If we no longer have unpleasantness juxtaposed with pleasure, we have nothing in the way of comparative value.
    Oh I do agree with that, we need contrast/opposite to establish those comparative value... That's not what I'm addressing, I'm only arguing that any value we can assign will be subjective, existence doesn't, in itself, have any objective value/meaning/purpose... Purpose/value is not something that arises from blind, indifferent forces. It must be given by an intentional agent and it implies an end (goal) that has been prescribed. This prescription by definition will always be subjective, that's what I'm arguing... To me that's not a problem...
    Even endless bliss can become mundane if it becomes an expected norm.
    True, but then anything endless loses any form of value...
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • piloteerpiloteer 427 Pts
    edited August 18
    @Plaffelvohfen

    Does subjective value/meaning/purpose actually change how pleasure is perceived? Perhaps the idea that life can only have true value if it "must be given by an intentional agent and it implies an end (goal)", is in and of itself a social construction. Can you deny that we have value in ourselves? Can that value also be insidious and effect our feelings towards other people that we love? Are we not all related and born of this earth? The fact that we are all born of this earth and are all related is not subjective, and even with all the subjective aspects, how does any of it differ at all if there is not an "end goal"? Still all the same ethics and values still arise and are just as legitimate even when it's all "subjective".  The idea that life is meaningless or has no purpose is also not rooted in any philosophical foundation, but the idea that there is no value because the other two things may be subjective is false. The "value" aspect of your argument is a tough one for you to get around because even subjective meanings and purpose can create a solid value. In fact, even without any meaning or purpose, value is still possible.  I'm not all to sure that anything endless loses value. I certainly value breathing, it seems it will only lose any value to me when I stop being able to do it.   
  • @piloteer
    Does subjective value/meaning/purpose actually change how pleasure is perceived?
    No it doesn't change the how, that is biologically explainable but I'm talking about the why... 
    Can you deny that we have value in ourselves?
    Not sure I follow you correctly... Do you mean that we all individually hold our own existence to be valuable? Then yes, we all obviously do, the fact that we didn't commit suicide yet attest to that... But if you're saying that the very fact of existing gives anything an objective value? I'll disagree...

    How would it matter if the sun went supernova tomorrow? How would it matter if humanity never existed? Objectively? 

    Physicalism, philosophically precludes human purpose. Physical reality is all that exists, and man is really only the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms, and the human experience — including the sense of existential meaning and purpose — is an illusion. God, angels, minds, and souls are mere human constructs. Man is just a bag of biochemicals, as far as we can currently tell...

    As philosopher Thomas Nagel recognized, “We want to matter to ourselves ‘from the outside.’ If our lives as a whole seem pointless, then a part of us is dissatisfied.” This is why we seem more inclined to ask “What’s the meaning of life?” rather than “What’s my meaning of life?” We intuit that there is a grand reason for our existence that is meant to be discovered, not merely invented, that is the illusion...

    Now that said, I kinda agree that we all objectively need this illusion, as we do with free will, that this illusion is a biological requirement that comes from existing as a conscious biological entity, but the fact remains that it's still an illusion with subjective interpretations...
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • piloteerpiloteer 427 Pts
    edited August 18
    @Plaffelvohfen

    Your idea that all actions are just reactions is an outdated scientific view, and the non-locality theory demonstrates why. For as long as it has existed, non-locality has not been able to be proven false, no matter how many have tried, including Einstein. Actions do occur without influence from prior actions or surrounding circumstances. If you actually want to prove free will is an illusion, feel free to discredit the theory of non-locality, and know that you'll actually be doing it of your own free will.

    So your assertion that free will is an illusion is based on an outdated scientific view, and has been demonstrated to be incorrect. Free will does exist. Just with the evidence that I've provided that discredits your assertion that free will is an illusion, it can be reasoned that some other things that you assert are illusions, may actually not be. But to be honest, you didn't provide any solid evidence when it came to proving the human experience is an illusion. How you made the jump from "physical reality is all that exists" to "the human experience — including the sense of existential meaning and purpose — is an illusion" is beyond me. You would have needed to fill in more than just a few blanks to make that a linear argument, and keep in mind, I just pulled the rug out from your predeterminism argument. Emotions are derived from physical beings, and are done by a physical system that takes place in our bodies. The emotions that make up the human experience, including values, are physical things.

    You still haven't shaken the problem with value. It seems that if something has no value to every other thing in existence, then its value is merely a social construction. Since when did that become true? Why can't value be an individual occurrence and still be a real value? But just in case you want to stick to the other definition of universal objective value, I've got you covered there too. The non-locality theory also demonstrates how every single thing that exists in the universe effects every other single thing that exists in the universe. You'll have to redefine the meaning of objective value to get around that bump. You stated yourself that only physical reality exists. Well, emotions are made up of chemical reactions that cause electric pulses in the brain. Chemicals are matter, which is physical. The electric impulses that occur in the brain are energy, which is also physical. So, value is a physical form itself. If value is physical, it too effects every single thing in the entire universe. Individually manifested values are objectively applied throughout the universe. Objective values are real.        
  • @piloteer

    Answer me this: How would it matter if the sun went supernova tomorrow? How would it matter if humanity never existed? Objectively? 
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    @piloteer

    You say ......Even endless bliss can become mundane if it becomes an expected norm.

    My reply .....But how can one know this with having an experience of it? There are people who are born depressed and remain so for life is their experience mundane as it’s their norm or is the constant depression always the same? 

    You say .......S/he also compared drug addiction to endless bliss and pointed out the similarities. Drug use can fire off the same endorphins in the brain as pleasure can, but after constant use, it no longer works and just becomes what is needed to feel normal. 

    My reply .....How are drug induced bliss and say a Buddhist monks states of bliss similar if indeed they are?

    A lot of drugs and the states they induce are merely the sheer relief and bliss of relieving addictions pangs 
  • piloteerpiloteer 427 Pts
    edited August 18
    @Plaffelvohfen

    It would matter to every other single thing in existence, because it objectively effects every other thing in existence. You can't get any more objective than that.
    PlaffelvohfenDee
  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    edited August 18
    @piloteer


    You say ......

    Your idea that all actions are just reactions is an outdated scientific view, and the non-locality theory demonstrates why. For as long as it has existed, non-locality has not been able to be proven false, no matter how many have tried, including Einstein. Actions do occur without influence from prior actions or surrounding circumstances. If you actually want to prove free will is an illusion, feel free to discredit the theory of non-locality, and know that you'll actually be doing it of your own free will.


    My reply .....Your making an argument for the randomness of quantum theory and I think seem to think this rules out a deterministic mechanism    

    Theories regarding the quantum level  may be transient who knows? 


    If indeterminacy holds it provides no solution to the free-will puzzle fit at the macro level deterministic laws still hold probabilistic or not , water boils and water freezes at certain temperatures regardless.



    You say ..... Actions do occur without influence from prior actions or surrounding circumstances


    My reply .....Ok , well if a neuron fires in my brain all by itself my arm shoots out and hits you in the face how am I responsible if it wasn’t within my control?



    Did you ever think any more about my other worlds scenario a couple of debates back I felt we were on a very interesting path?  



  • piloteer said:
    @Plaffelvohfen

    It would matter to every other single thing in existence, because it objectively effects every other thing in existence. You can't get any more objective than that.
    Complete nonsense, sorry...
    Dee
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • @Dee

    If you understand the goal of Buddhism to be endless bliss, you have a misunderstanding of what Buddhism is. It's actually more realist than most westerners realize. Buddhism is about endless knowledge (wisdom) , not necessarily endless bliss. Certain drugs are rubbish, but the really good ones can cause feelings of bliss that are better than love, or sex, or any amazing emotions that occur naturally. I know, because I've had my fair share of those feelings. Luckily never anything addictive. I also do yoga and meditate often, more so lately. It becomes easier to meditate the more you practice it. But to be honest, the meditative state is never as intense as the first time you actually achieve it. It gets old too, just like with anything else. I've been a raging alcoholic for the better part of 20 years until recently. And you're absolutely correct, I needed it just for sheer relief. It didn't make me happy any longer, I just needed it to feel normal. The endless bliss didn't last. It never does.          

     You are purposely conflating my argument. I never mentioned anything about terminally deppresed people. But I will say that they must know that they're depressed because they understand what happiness is, and they know that most of the time, they aren't happy. There are people on this earth who never experience happiness, and they may not be that way because of depression. It may happen because of the constant terrible circumstances they have to live with. The things that make them happy, may just be slightly less worse than the rest of their life experience, but priveledged people like us who are able to discuss the philosophical aspects of happiness on our tablets while we don't watch the t.v. that's on would consider what those suffering people call happiness, absolutely deplorable. Also, each persons symptoms of depression aren't the same for every other person, because that depends on their specific chemical imbalance. I must also point out that it's unfair and a little offensive to bring people into this argument who have a chemical imbalance in their brain that causes their suffering. It really doesn't relate to this discussion.     


  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    @piloteer

    You say .....If you understand the goal of Buddhism to be endless bliss, you have a misunderstanding of what Buddhism is. It's actually more realist than most westerners realize


    My reply ....But I never mentioned the so called “goals “ of  Buddhism I said .....

    ....How are drug induced bliss and say a Buddhist monks states of bliss similar if indeed they are?


    You say ....Certain drugs are rubbish, but the really good ones can cause feelings of bliss that are better than love, or sex, or any amazing emotions that occur naturally. 


    My reply ....That’s your subjective experience of the drugs  in question 


    You say .....I know, because I've had my fair share of those feelings. Luckily never anything addictive. I also do yoga and meditate often, more so lately. It becomes easier to meditate the more you practice it. But to be honest, the meditative state is never as intense as the first time you actually achieve it. 


    My reply .....As as a lifelong student of these states and a former Buddhist I disagree , I still get intense natural highs in my daily work as an artist as I paint i get into a zone that is blissful in a lot of cases and it’s intensity is always just as intense  



    You say.......just like with anything else. I've been a raging alcoholic for the better part of 20 years until recently. And you're absolutely correct, I needed it just for sheer relief. It didn't make me happy any longer, I just needed it to feel normal. The endless bliss didn't last. It never does.          


    My reply....Congrats on quitting 




     You say .....You are purposely conflating my argument. I never mentioned anything about terminally deppresed people. 


    My reply .....I’m not , I’m giving you an example of one state which people in cases seem to have from birth to death as it’s genetic 


    You say ......But I will say that they must know that they're depressed because they understand what happiness is, and they know that most of the time, they aren't happy. 


    My reply ......I disagree, they may see smiling happy people around them and wonder why am I not like them as in smiling and so different to them 


    You say .....There are people on this earth who never experience happiness, and they may not be that way because of depression. It may happen because of the constant terrible circumstances they have to live with. The things that make them happy, may just be slightly less worse than the rest of their life experience, but priveledged people like us who are able to discuss the philosophical aspects of happiness on our tablets while we don't watch the t.v. that's on would consider what those suffering people call happiness, absolutely deplorable. 


    My reply ....Why do you constantly include others in your evaluations as regards your subjective opinion of others? 


    You say .....Also, each persons symptoms of depression aren't the same for every other person, because that depends on their specific chemical imbalance. 


    My reply ..... So does bliss differ also for each person?


    You say .....I must also point out that it's unfair and a little offensive to bring people into this argument who have a chemical imbalance in their brain that causes their suffering. It really doesn't relate to this discussion.     


    My reply ......How is it unfair it’s a state of mind?


    How is it “offensive” ? How did I “offend “ you ?


    Of course it relates , if you don’t wish to proceed fine, I ask in a state of enquiry if you wish to take offense maybe that’s something you need to work on 

  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    @WinstonC

    Thanks for clarifying your position for me ,I get where you’re coming from now 
  • @Dee

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kochen–Specker_theorem

    The Kochen Specker theorem demonstrates that "what we expect as an outcome of an experiment depends on what we put into it." This demonstrates that the outcome of the experiment is dependent on the observer. This pokes a gaping hole in the other worlds theorem because it replaces the role of the observer where the other worlds hypothesis tried to eliminate that role and demonstrate that we are all just helpless observers of a determined system. This is also demonstrated in the double slit experiment. The outcome of the experiment will always depend on the choices of the observer to choose to observe, or not. This choice also reverberates into the past, and effects how the circumstances acted in the past, based on the decisions of the observer in the present time. The observer seems to not be just a helpless observer, but plays an important role in the outcome. Because of the outcomes of the Kochen Specker and double slit experiment, the many minds theorem that goes along with the many worlds theorem is discredited. The discredited aspects of the many minds theorem also profoundly bleeds into the many worlds interpretation.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_rule

    The many worlds interpretation also cannot get around the "born rule", which it needs to do to be legitimate. The born rule is a calculation of probability. We can never know with certainty what outcome will absolutely happen, but we can calculate a percentage of probability, which over time can be shown to be accurate within the percentage of probability. But the many worlds interpretation doesn't take into consideration that some outcomes are more probable than others. Some outcomes may be billions of times less likely to occur, but in the many worlds theorem, all outcomes have the exact same amount of probability. The born rule demonstrates that that is false.    

     If we calculate the probable decay rate of an atom, over time, the percentage of decay increases with the percentage of probability, but the other worlds hypothesis asserts that that percentage should always be 50/50, no matter how many hours have passed because all possible outcomes will certainly happen. But the born rule demonstrates that that is not true, and the rate of decay does increase with the rate of probability. The many worlds theorem will need to either somehow overcome the obstacle of the born rule by trying to incorporate it, which will diminish the theories behind the many worlds theorem, or it will need to attempt to do the unthinkable and discredit the born rule. 



  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    edited August 20
    @piloteer

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation


    Everett's Ph.D. work provided such an alternative interpretation. Everett stated that for a composite system – for example a subject (the "observer" or measuring apparatus) observing an object (the "observed" system, such as a particle) – the statement that either the observer or the observed has a well-defined state is meaningless; in modern parlance, the observer and the observed have become entangled; we can only specify the state of one relative to the other, i.e., the state of the observer and the observed are correlated after the observation is made. This led Everett to derive from the unitary, deterministic dynamics alone (i.e., without assuming wavefunction collapse) the notion of a relativity of states.

    Everett noticed that the unitary, deterministic dynamics alone decreed that after an observation is made each element of the quantum superposition of the combined subject–object wavefunction contains two "relative states": a "collapsed" object state and an associated observer who has observed the same collapsed outcome; what the observer sees and the state of the object have become correlated by the act of measurement or observation. The subsequent evolution of each pair of relative subject–object states proceeds with complete indifference as to the presence or absence of the other elements, as ifwavefunction collapse has occurred, which has the consequence that later observations are always consistent with the earlier observations. Thus the appearance of the object's wavefunction's collapse has emerged from the unitary, deterministic theory itself. (This answered Einstein's early criticism of quantum theory, that the theory should define what is observed, not for the observables to define the theory. Since the wavefunction merely appears to have collapsed then, Everett reasoned, there was no need to actually assume that it had collapsed. And so, invoking Occam's razor, he removed the postulate of wavefunction collapse from the theory.

    Plaffelvohfen
  • @Dee The Everett interpretation was a counter argument to the "Copenhagen interpretation", not a counter to the Kochen-Specker theorem, and the experimentation that was done to confirm the KS theory was done 29 years after Everett died. Everett's "alternative" would not have been able to have had a counter argument to the findings of the expirements that confirmed the KS theorem in 2011, because the expirements were done after his death. The Everett interpretation is just the original name of what is now known as the many worlds theorem. The experimentation on the KS theorem was done specifically to sort out the discrepancies where Everett had invoked Occams razor. Occams razor is a philosophical principle, not a principle of physics. It pretty much asserts that any propositions given without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, so when Everett invoked that rule, it was because no reliable data was available at that time to sort out the discrepancies, so it left Everett's interpretation in a state of "to be continued". That data is now available, and it puts a gaping hole in the many worlds theorem. The findings of the KS theorem do indeed confirm that the observer does play a role in the outcome of an expirement, and is not just a helpless observer.  

    @Plaffelvohfen

    Expirements that were done in the mid seventies confirm Bells theorem, which demonstrates that two or more particles in a quantum state continue to be mutually dependent, even at large physical separations. So as far as your assertion that any thing that exists objectively influences every other thing in existence is just "complete nonsense", I feel I can counter that assertion by invoking Occams razor. Any propositions given without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Sorry :/    
    Plaffelvohfen
  • @piloteer

    It is still nonsense, you're making a categorical error by invoking Bell's theorem to  try counter the point I was making... Bell's theorem applies to fundamental  particles not humanity... QM doesn't apply here, unless you want to go full Deepak...

    I'm saying that humanity is insignificant to the universe, when the last black hole finally evaporates and the universe settles in complete entropy, the fact that humanity (or anything else) once existed will be irrelevant...  There is no possible objective justification for Existence (capital E)...
    Dee
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • DeeDee 652 Pts
    edited August 21
    @Piloteer

    The observer effect can be found in many domains of physics, but can usually be reduced to insignificance by using different instruments or observation techniques. 

    An especially unusual version of the observer effect occurs in quantum mechanics, as best demonstrated by the double-slit experiment. Physicists have found that even passive observation of quantum phenomena (by changing the test apparatus and passively 'ruling out' all but one possibility), can actually change the measured result. A particularly famous example is the 1998 Weizmann experiment.Despite the "observer" in this experiment being an electronic detector—possibly due to the assumption that the word "observer" implies a person—its results have led to the popular belief that a conscious mind can directly affect reality.The need for the "observer" to be conscious is not supported by scientific research, and has been pointed out as a misconception rooted in a poor understanding of the quantum wave function ψ and the quantum measurement process,[4][5][6] apparently being the generation of information at its most basic level that produces the effect.

    Plaffelvohfen
  • piloteerpiloteer 427 Pts
    edited August 21
    @Dee ;

    The observation effect has never been reduced to zero. There is always a change in the outcome simply because of observation. The idea of passive observation is a fallacy. Even when observing the data provided by an electronic observer, the outcome is still effected. The effect reverberates back in time. Because of the backward motion of the outcome through time, when we observe the data from an electronic observer, the outcome is still effected, and will become the outcome that happened in the past.  By the way, leave us not forget that the Kochen-Specker theorem has been confirmed by experimentation that was done 13 years after the Wiezmann expirement, and a confirmed status in physics is a pretty tough barrier to break. The KS theorem is no longer in the realm of hypothesis, it's been CONFIRMED. You know, that word that we hardly ever heard on mythbusters, but when we did we jumped up and danced, and invited all our friends over to drink beer and throw pallets into a bonfire. Ya, that thing.        


        https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a22280/double-slit-experiment-even-weirder/

    Just to point out that none of your arguments have covered the problem the many worlds interpretation has with the born rule. Don't worry though, I'll give you time to try and power through the observation effect before we get to ALL the other stuff.  :yum:    
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