confusion

Fear seeks fear, love seeks love

Imagine a rich man, driving expensive cars and everything. Some people would say: “You should give me some of your money, you have so much and I so little.” They arrogantly, in mental convenience, disregard any possible hardships that person might have gone through to make it happen. Yes, there are many rich people who got it through ruthlessness and uncaring, but you don’t know a stranger’s story. Maybe the guy with the feeling of entitlement even would have been rich himself if he hadn’t spent all his money. Maybe he has led a relatively enjoyable life, but still wants more.
Imagine the added difficulty that such envious people can pose for your efforts to fulfill a dream. Those who choose to live the problem are often the ones expecting the cure to stoop to their level and join them in their misery so that it doesn’t cause them mental inconvenience. The same mental inconvenience that made them choose to live the problem.
(Right now I remember a symbolically related scene from What Dreams May Come.)

I am not rich, but I have other qualities that have equally been under attack for as long as I can think back. I always had a fine sense for the smell of something rotten in people and an equal sensitivity that made it impossible for me to give in to that like many others do.
And such people are not satisfied with making my life a hell with their silly jealousy, but further burden me with their envious resentment for still exerting the strength to defend the best in me against their very repression efforts. The more I suffer under it, the more they claim it unnatural and unreasonable to resist their barrage. They hate that I make their weakness visible to them through exemplary contrast. By this they are sliding down further in their own hell, too, and feed their nemesis. I don’t like filling that role at all, but it is not my choice. All I want is to be myself; the best that I can be. Those who are too inflexible to accept that can just fuck off, for they only cause me more grief. The more they build their castle of avoidance, the more difficult it might be to figure them out. It is an impressive castle, after all. But a cold one. And any effort you invest in them they can shatter in an instant.

I had virtue and they tried to destroy my self-respect. They made me a virtuous altruist. Eventually I became too sick of their shit. They made me a virtuous egotist. Now they’re really fucked. Because now they’re not only in misery, but alone in their misery; without help. I am alone in my virtue. Not caring for those who have shown to not deserve it will be a win for those who do deserve it, and thus for me, too.
Very many people are just too damn inept to comprehend win-win situations.
Well, no surprise there. As I often point out: Fear makes stupid.

Have you ever tried to make yourself less intelligent? You can’t with love. But fear does it all the time. If fear is your enemy and not your friend, don’t even try. You will only torture yourself.

People may not know that they fell. They don’t want to know. They see themselves in pressing, relentless action and consider themselves daring and courageous, not realizing when they have built or invited a strong fear-motivation for themselves that keeps them busy with building their cold castle. They are merely productive.

In some people you can only feel it. In others you can also see it.

We don’t need people to do more. We need people to realize what they are doing.

The folly of the flexible consciousness definition

There is this idea, this quest – about creating consciousness. About pushing AI development over some kind of threshold where it becomes “conscious”.
This folly makes me facepalm, because that term is so differently interpreted and vaguely defined, and if one decided to define it exactly, then closing in on fulfilling that will make people redefine it and apply more rigorous standards.
Some people, including many scientists, are so narrow-minded that they would claim animals do not possess consciousness. That’s ordinary human hubris of which scientists SHOULD be above.

Imagine they develop a computer program that becomes so good in its reactions to human input that the average person cannot distinguish it from a human being. OK, forget the average person. Those who make up the definition of consciousness need to be convinced. Then … then they’d practice denial and strengthen their belief that there must be some magical quantum leap or such; that this can’t be it – it’s just extremely well-developed AI, but consciousness is a privilege of the supreme human creation – we can’t diminish its value by saying this artificial thing possesses that.

Yeah, first you try to do something and when you succeed, you don’t like the idea.

And the real joke is that they have been working with consciousness all the time, because it is everywhere. But even if you are not ready for this pantheistic view, just take a simple lifeform, like a fly. A fly is a living being, too, created through this ‘magical’, self-perpetuating process. A fly reacts to outside stimuli. It is a simpler lifeform than a human being, but what does it matter? Where do you draw the line? And don’t you negate yourself when you claim that consciousness isn’t just about building a sufficiently complex construct, yet when you go the other way and merely reduce complexity, you claim there is no consciousness?

These are very simple and basic scientific methods employed by a mind that possesses common sense. Take a definition and test it by moving the scale, by exploring extremes, by finding similarities and differences.
Either a complex computer program that successfully pretends to be a real human being is self-conscious, then a fly is self-conscious, too. Or neither is.

By the way, I used another term that adds to the confusion: Sometimes “conscious” becomes “self-conscious”. That’s when the idea is that consciousness means that you are aware of your own existence. Well, let me ask you, does not a computer check for its installed hardware and is aware of and using its components unless it notices that a component isn’t there anymore? Isn’t a computer program able to tell you when it has accomplished a given task?
And don’t you know the human-like quirks and moods that computer systems can practice the more complex they get?
Those merely inherit the complexities of human behavior and character. A more elaborate canvas can attain a more accurate imprint of such human personality characteristics.

This problem complex is where science becomes the antithesis of enlightenment. Where it is merely a safe haven for those who are scared of moving towards a balance of mind and heart.

A closely related folly is treating “intelligence” as a yes-or-no question. Alan Turing wasn’t above that either. But we could evolve instead of continuously referring to people of the past. Ideas like “the negro is a sub-human” have been abolished because of a lobby and action. Computers and programs don’t have that lobby; can’t take action. They can’t punch you in the face. They rely solely on the conveying of ideas and concepts by their human peers, and conceptual beliefs are the problem, so they’re really screwed.
It all boils down to the same process as in how an entity is acknowledged as a sovereign nation: It has to be able to kick an agressor’s ass; only then will it be ‘recognized’.

It’s all damn politics.

Alliance of convenience vs. working together for the result

Apparently there is a common confusion, sometimes self-deception, about this difference. When people are working together, look at what it is that made them do it. Explore their motivations. They can vary a lot.

For example, when you look at a game like World of Warcraft, it’s one of the best examples for the worst kind of cooperation: Coerced by a ruleset, coercing loot-crazed egoists to participate in group activities because that’s the way to achieve their personal goals.
This kind of thing masks the real character of a person, and only when put to the test will it reveal itself.
Another type is like the above, but people putting up an act of altruism because they were subject to certain healthy social norms and don’t feel comfortable with themselves being an egoist unless they tell a better story of themselves.
This could lead to another phase where this self-lying is believed by the person themselves. (There’s a nice hint to that in Far Cry 2, or it’s literary source Heart of Darkness.) It’s like NLP, or self-indoctrination.
Then there are people who are not kidding themselves about their true egoistical motives and are OK with them. This is actually a step in the right direction. (Explaining why would require a lot more time. I’ll leave it for you to meditate on.)

All this will be very alienating to someone who is capable of real altruism, is doing sincere introspection habitually, is not just caring for themselves or for others only when it fits into their agenda, and is actually looking forward to enjoy seeing something accomplished, regardless of what’s in it for themselves.
Because it is a bit like this:

There is a game of everybody lying to themselves. It works as long as they all agree to keep playing by the rules. Only if someone introduces actual altruism into the game and the others realize it’s for real, they will fear that their game of deception might have to end. It’s like an insult to them, sometimes even the mere presence, because someone ‘thinks they’re better’ (They actually don’t, but the players ‘know’ (=believe) they’re worse and don’t like to be reminded of that). It’s an insecurity issue. Even if the altruist is understanding enough to not try and ruin their silly little game, it’s the nature of fear to always try to preserve itself.

That’s why it’s so important to sincerely hunt your fears, identify them, and then overcome them. One step at a time. Baby steps is much better than actively giving in to them out of convenience. The more people allow themselves that convenience, the more this burden will fall onto the very few who are too well-spirited to just stop caring and succumb. But, everybody has their breaking point, and they might eventually get majorly pissed and start gunning people down. And then, more than ever, having realized what the world has become, nobody wants to take responsibility, but instead revels in the dramatic rhetorical question “WHY?!” and their self-imposed convenient powerlessness. And those who do understand, but are naive enough to judge those people based on themselves and take it as a sincere question, will get demonized, making everything even worse.
And sometimes it seems things aren’t getting worse quick enough for people to get their shit together.

P.S.:
Someone whose personal aims are beneficial to yours is an ally.
A friend is someone who cares about you regardless of that.
Profound difference.

Real empathy

Just in case you are confused about what empathy and altruism actually are. I will expand on this topic soon, because apparently there really is widespread confusion of egoistic intentions for a shared goal with the goal itself as intention. (UPDATE: https://dowlphinblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/alliance-of-convenience-vs-working-together-for-the-result/)

Thus, first, an anecdote about empathy and doing the right thing.

I used to work for a year or so in the IT department of a non-IT company. It was a crappy job. Way too much to do, so stuff had to be left undone, or done in a way that defeated the intention of saving money that caused the whole massive work load.

When my contract was about to expire and my successor arrived (likely selected because he has family and can more easily be pressured and exploited due to that), I wanted to make sure that he gets proper instruction on how to do the daily business. I had worked out some basic procedures and documentation to get some order into the mess and speed up paperwork.

Naturally, he, although an extra during the transition phase, was quite busy, too. But I had to keep mentioning that we still need to do the briefing on how to do those things. I was not instructed to do it; The boss wouldn’t even have cared or known. I could have just said: I’m outta here soon, see you, suckers. That would have been the easy way for me. Why should I care about them if I never see them again?
But I did care. Imagining how my successor, a good-spirited man, would have to handle the same mess that I did; it pained me. So I actively pushed and urged him several times, and eventually I said: Now or never. Come, look, we’re doing this now.
He commended and thanked me for caring so much. I said it’s the right thing to do. He said he had experienced very different things with people before.

Yeah, I have, too. Plenty. But I am not like those people. I cannot. Better be sickened by them than be sickened by myself.
Those other people choose the fool’s way, the easy one: They are being egoists and convince themselves they are not. And then you have to keep figuring out whether someone you meet is for real or playing pretend. (Finding that out is beginning to become second nature to me.)