Thursday, August 20, 2009
Life as a Machine
Given enough computational power, the domain of problems for which a machine can process approaches that of our own. For example, say we have a computer that runs software that evaluates what other computers are used for. Increase the power of the machine by ten, then we can use the computer to evaluate what purpose the other machines are for, and how they could be made more efficient. Increasing the scope of the problem domain to include the computer itself, it can then begin to question what it's own purpose is.
I've been given this example, "the ability to question our own existence", as the justification of a soul by a few people.
I'm not much of a person to believe in the eternal soul, maybe inversely its because I've lived a thousand lives and I'm tired of not seeing any change, maybe it just seems irrational. Maybe its my version of hell to continue living beyond death, either which way I see no evidence of any kind of eternal soul living within us.
You can break all human emotion down into logical constituents. All emotion is a result of evolution and learned behavior, mostly from when we were more primitive animals. Fear? You feel your heart race, your body tense, adrenaline courses through you, its a conditioned response to enable your body to perform and run/jump/fight in times of danger. Love, well without any sense of love we wouldn't procreate, and then hence we wouldn't exist. I fuck, therefore I am.
I guess my point is, that the ultimate human form is one devoid of all out primitive emotions (isn't that what we are trying to do anyway? When we tell our children to stop misbehaving and 'grow up'? When we frown upon celebrities acting out childishly? As to why we cannot just punch the boss in the face when he threatens us with dismissal?) and we find ourselves as purely logical beings, where every input produces an exact output, regardless of what we are 'feeling'. Where we do things because it makes sense, not because of an underlying, semi-controlled primitive urge.
I can only dream of such a world... but for some I guess it could be a nightmare.
The ultimate human state is that of a machine. Devoid of emotion, and logical.
Some will argue about the soul, the spirit, whatever you could call it. Every human has a inbuilt fear of death, and it is mirrored in many ways, through trying to stay beautiful, to religion, belief in heaven, belief in the eternal soul. I don't have that.
It may appear my life is lacking because of the lack of belief. I like to think the opposite: that because I am not blinded by these, because I am not holding out for an eternal soul, that I want to do all my living while I am alive, I should hope to be able to make as much of that as possible before I sleep the last time. I will breathe, sleep, dream, walk and think as much as I can.
A moment of clarity is worth a lifetime of lies.
Posted by John Paxton at 6:20 PM