Sunday, March 29, 2009

A reductionist model of humankind

Anyone who read this is statistically likely to be annoyed by it. It is also not founded in any real research that I know about, just a bunch of conclusions drawn by myself through looking at things and probably cherry picking my sources.

Humans are agents in a big system based on other humans and the rest of the world they live in. The system is too large for us individuals to see how the system works even at a short distance away from where we stand. This is what makes us individual, local properties.

What makes us different on an individual level is what we know and how we think and this might appear like great differences on the surface. But in fact it stands for a tiny portion of what a person is in comparison to the position within the whole system. The definition of the individual – you come from your most immediate surroundings through life until now and your expectations on the future based on extrapolating the system in a predictable direction.

As we grow up we learn to attach blame and praise for how we operate on ourselves but this is primarily a bunch of fake social magic which our system has invented as method for success, as success for the system, not for you, through the last few thousand years. The biomechanical machinery in your brain is built to trigger on stimuli which it learns to associate with rewards or stress based on randomly testing the world to see how it operates. We spend the vast majority of this random testing on figuring out how people within the system work and what things we can do to make them exhibit useful behavioral patterns. It was quite a different result a long time ago when we roughly belonged to the same system as some kind of monkey.

Anyhow, condensed this means that we really all are just the same. We think we are very special because our own consciousness happens to sit without ourselves but we can be relatively certain that we would have been easily replaced by any other consciousness given the same circumstances as ourselves.

Given this potentially evil, if you like that type of language, argument we can probably figure out how the system operates even at a great distance. The people that are so far away that you have no chance of knowing anything about them will have done exactly the same thing as you did until right now. They have been trying to figure out how the system operates from experimenting randomly with the available local properties. Based on these local properties they have developed a personality which will be roughly the same as your own, regardless of where they are in the system.

It is very unlikely that they will be reading this text, har har, which means that you will possess a different set of data to use for interpreting the world. Which also mean they might even speak another language and associate other things as stressful or rewarding, that’s their local experience and it will have the power to shape their model of the world.

Now the responsibility of art becomes to manipulate the agents in the system towards performing actions which increase the experienced value of the whole system. Increase the full volume of the value, the average, the mean average and increase the minimum value per system component, the risk of failure and so on. The only reasonable compromise is the reduction of the individual maximum, which on a system level is waste anyway.

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