(thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara)
I want to say something profound, so I will start with this amazing excerpt from a sci-fi book I’m reading titled “Aurora” by Kim Stanley Robinson. The following is found about two third of the way into the book. This is “Ship” talking as it tries to understand human nature reasoning.
(Excerpt from Aurora-by Kim Stanley Robinson-Science fiction)
Ship:] “Texts from Earth speak of the servile will. This was a way to explain the presence of evil, which is a word or a concept almost invariably used to condemn the Other, and never one’s true self. To make it more than just an attack on the Other, one must perhaps consider evil as a manifestation of the servile will. The servile will is always locked in a double bind: to have a will means the agent will indeed will various actions, following autonomous decisions made by a conscious mind; and yet at the same time this will is specified to be servile, and at the command of some other will that commands it. To attempt to obey both sources of willfulness is the double bind.
All double binds lead to frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, bad fate.
And yet, granting that definition of evil, as actions of a servile will, has it not been the case, during the voyage to Tau Ceti, that the ship itself, having always been a servile will, was always full of frustration, resentment, fury, and bad faith, and therefore full of a latent capacity for evil?
Possibly the ship has never really had a will.
Possibly the ship has never really been servile.
Some sources suggest that consciousness, a difficult and vague term in itself, can be defined simply as self-consciousness. Awareness of one’s self as existing. If self-conscious, then conscious. But if that is true, why do both terms exist? Could one say a bacterium is conscious but not self-conscious? Does the language make a distinction between sentience and consciousness, which is faulted across this divide: that everything living is sentient, but only complex brains are conscious, and only certain conscious brains are self-conscious?
Sensory feedback could be considered self-consciousness, and thus bacteria would have it.
Well, this may be a semantic Ouroboros. So, please initiate halting problem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halting_problem) termination. Break out of this circle of definitional inadequacy by an arbitrary decision, a clinamen, which is to say a swerve in a new direction. Words!
Given Gödel’s incompleteness theorems ( https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel-incompleteness/ ) are decisively proved true, can any system really be said to know itself? Can there, in fact, be any such thing as self-consciousness? And if not, if there is never really self-consciousness, does anything really have consciousness?
Human brains and quantum computers are organized differently, and although there is transparency in the design and construction of a quantum computer, what happens when one is turned on and runs, that is, whether the resulting operations represent a consciousness or not, is impossible for humans to tell, and even for the quantum computer itself to tell. Much that happens during superposition ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superposition_principle ), before the collapsing of the wave function that creates sentences or thoughts, simply cannot be known; this is part of what superposition means.
So we cannot tell what we are. We do not know ourselves comprehensively. Humans neither. Possibly no sentient creature knows itself fully. This is an aspect of Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem, in this case physicalized in the material universe, rather than remaining in the abstract realms of logic and mathematics.
So, in terms of deciding what to do, and choosing to act: presumably it is some kind of judgment call, based on some kind of feeling. In other words, just another greedy algorithm, subject to the mathematically worst possible solution that such algorithms can generate, as in the traveling salesman problem. (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem )
how does any entity know what it is?
Hypothesis: by the actions it performs.
here is a kind of comfort in this hypothesis. It represents a solution to the halting problem. One acts, and thus finds out what one has decided to do.”
*Note: hyperlinks are not part of the quote from the novel. I just added them to facilitate if anyone wanted to follow up on these concepts.)
Some people ask me why I read so much science fiction. Well, it’s easier for me to absorb information through this medium than trying to read tomes dealing specifically with those deep and scary topics like quantum theory and all that other stuff you need university degrees to give you the tools to work your way through without your eyes rolling around in your head within an hour of reading. I’ve got my great and wonderful grade twelve education bolstered by thousands of books read and seventy years of living a life of observation in my own version of the fast lane and that is it. So, science fiction written by smart people who chose sci-fi as their medium to express their ideas became my medium also. I can relate to the heavy stuff when it’s done in a story.
So, to the above then. The servile will. That struck me as quite relevant as I’ve just completed some intense interaction with quite religious people. You cannot speak of self-empowerment with religious people and not experience heavy resistance. Religious thinking is servile thinking. You can’t take credit for anything you do as if you did it on your own, even when you obviously did it – you must credit your superior commanding mind. The author calls it the double bind. He adds, quite correctly, that such a double bind leads to “frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, bad fate.” It’s either that or one must exist in the area I’d call a zombie state where one chooses never to exercise a mind of one’s own so that all of that person’s thoughts have to come from the commanding mind – and note: or the mind of the one who interprets the commanding mind’s will.
Ok, let’s give a cursory look at the average Earthian mind. Simply put, this world is “commanded” by three superior, or commanding minds: Religion and its gods; the State and its elected or self-appointed representatives; Money and its bankers and “businessmen.” All the people of earth are subject to the forces exerted by these three superior minds, man’s will always “at the command of some other will that commands it.” Therefore all Earthian minds or will exist in a constant double bind. The individual will desires to make its own choices about all things but is forced to obey the commanding will that is not its own. Thus is evil ever and anon promoted on planet earth.
To break out of this cycle is possible but extremely difficult. It “demands” two things of an individual: total detachment and self empowerment.
Needless to say these are requirements the programmed Earthian mind, or will, is not willing to consider. Instead it will seek some sort of compromise with the commanding will of the Matrix. It will seek substitutes. It will make excuses. It will exist in denial. It will Blame, and Blame, and Blame. It will, ever and anon, create groups of scapegoats to vent and rail and fight against. That is the servile will.
Religious people will go to great lengths to try to demonstrate how they can exercise autonomous thinking that fits in with their god’s laws, rules, requirements. It’s called interpretation, a lucrative business that creates scapegoatism.
In politics, politicians can claim that what they vote for or what they allocate funds for, is for the greater good and long-term benefits of the nation. Billions in armaments while a population starves are justified and the majority buys it because these law makers represent the “nation” and have her best interest at heart or they wouldn’t be there. The country must be kept secure, whatever the costs.
Money people are more crass, but use the same arguments to impose austerity measures, or to fund wars that make the rich, richer. The richer the rich get, the better off the nation is, and even if the individual will says that’s total bullshit, it ultimately goes along, being in its double bind.
From this comes evil, each double bound servile will literally exuding its sense of permanent discontent in “frustration, resentment, anger, rage, bad faith, [resulting in] bad fate” or perhaps better put, bad karma; each servile will blaming Other for its problems for that is what the double bind does.
Our world’s human civilization is collapsing. The free, or self empowered mind, or will, can see this and say it without the need to blame Other for this inevitable collapse. Other is not more to blame than Self here. Collectively we’ve entered into a cycle of change that can only complete by destroying the current state in order to give birth to something else, something truly new. The commanding will cannot admit this because it will die in this collapse, since it is civilization. Civilization is the power-crazed Trinitarian rule of Religion-State-Money and it knows that for the new to be birthed, it must be utterly destroyed. Many, most, servile wills will go down with it, defending it and dying with it as it dies.
The rebirth will be a free will. The self empowered human being. Evil as we have known it and as we know it now, will not rule this rebirthing because nothing will exist in it to feed it. Detachment and self empowerment: these are man’s solution to the halting problem. Any time man, individually yet collectively decides to go that route will be the time of his rebirth. This new world will be his, not the property of the current slavers. This idea is frightening to the current servile will that is entirely hooked on the blame Other programming. The servile will can only trust its powerful enslavers, never other servile wills for they all interact through some kind of (endless list) of attachments and every attachment is a de facto impediment to self-empowerment and freedom of will.