This Things I Believe Show Notes


The New Paradigm

This things I believe (Homer the Heretic). Back in the lab.

Terms: Cognition (Recognition), social cognition, cognitive schema, affective science.

Call-ins add to science

  1. Extended Lifespan, Transhumanism, Exploration of Space
    1. Objections:
      1. Fetishizing Life
      2. Human worth holding on to
  • Space Exploration is just like colonization
  1. Network of Archives of cultural and intellectual history, including your life
    1. This show saved in the archives forever
    2. Call-in enrich Neptunian life in 2075
  2. Not based on a moral objection to history
    1. Points:
      1. Moral positions are standpoint-centric and thus there cannot be a system which prescribes action in all events.
      2. Much moral argument opens up questions of contingency and necessity which are unanswerable
  • Even people who agree on moral points, broadly speaking, will find it difficult to work together if they do not systematize their thought to an extent, for example seizing on a few key concepts which help delimit one’s position from other notable positions.
  1. Objections:
    1. Doesn’t take injustice seriously
  2. Complete Physics and Avoid the Heat Death of the Universe
    1. Metaphor: we don’t even know what the biggest physical challenges are.
      1. We are like an individual becoming an adult, just realizing how we can use our powers
      2. Our goal is to set up a home which can make it so individuals can live as long as they want, and we can explore in physical peace the nature of the universe
  • Leads to a situation of constant paradigm shifts. Each person is a paradigm shift as their genius is brought to the table, the potlach, of science and society.
  1. Antagonism toward power, combined with a knowledge of Secret Complicity
    1. While it is helpful to speak as though enemies exist, in reality the pure existence of the other can never be simply taken for granted
      1. It could always be a ruse, of the other, or of something else which makes the other appear (ad campaign, simulation, God).
    2. No reason to fear power; my own position, I am obviously complicit with the power structure, and in my opinion it’s clear I don’t mean I simple anti-Americanism or anti-Elite sentiment.
      1. I am deeply sympathetic to the Elite, which is a very controversial position but one which I think moves the ball forward. Ignatiev (died): withholding the truth is no part of love.
      2. Hence it is important to see why things which are supposed to help are interpreted as threats (trying to get people to see past attachment to private property).
        1. What in the receiver makes them misinterpret help as a threat?
        2. What in the sender means a threat in the giving on help?
      3. Paradigm Shifts: The Movie
        1. We are at the beginning of the next big phase, and what we do now will set the tone for a long time to come.
          1. We can still make the world a relatively chill place to live
          2. What are the obstacles to that world? What are the epistemological obstacles to knowing how to build that world?
        2. Cognitive Microeconomics: the individual thinker, a crude metaphor
          1. Knowledge is like money, you can choose what to do with it, and you have to work to get it
          2. It’s all about seeing what the next big thing will be, and when something which has gotten popular is past its prime
            1. Curve of investors, early buy-ins, bubble, etc.
            2. This just keeps happening
  • The most valuable mental state is not a set state, that is, a set body of knowledge, but rather is more like a disposition or attitude toward the world:
    1. Intellectual humility
      1. Knowing that you don’t know everything. People tell me I’m smart and sometimes I believe them, but I don’t know anything about Swahili culture. The things which we don’t know about, which “escape us” are vitally important, hence we never really know what we’re talking about.
      2. The fact that people can find what we say interesting is a very satisfying sort of joke or comedy of semblances. I am not an expert, but a poet.
    2. Intellectual courage
      1. Not being afraid to let go on concepts and step out into a new way of thinking.
      2. This usually happens by following a train of thought to its end.
    3. Emotional humility
      1. Knowing that we have emotions like pride, hangups, insecurities, etc., which can affect our actions
        1. eg being able to admit that you were rude because you got emotional, being able to acknowledge that and reform your behavior, show contrition
      2. Helps paper over the emotional flare ups which are inevitable and which can derail intellectual/emotional intimacy
    4. Emotional courage
      1. Facing the challenge of being overwhelmed in the world and being willing to embrace one’s vulnerability
        1. Me making comments on my psyche that could be used against me, eg
        2. Taking a chance by sharing an idea, a feeling, which may be rejected. Even when we do things properly, success is not guaranteed. Therefore picking ourselves up is a big skill, and summoning ourselves to try again more so.
  • Then doing it: high-stakes situations. High-wire act. Threading a needle in the middle of warzone.
  1. Spiritual confidence
    1. We are here, you are part of everything, nothing can do anything to you or make anything stick because we are entirely over and above all the limited concepts we have
      1. You’ll die, no one cares, you’re a loser, etc.; doesn’t matter. If you are here, you are God, you are part of nature and everything you do, to the extent we make choices (which is a topic of debate), is helping decide the fate of the world
      2. Never knowing how influential something could be, doesn’t manifest in the moment but that doesn’t mean you aren’t striking a chord in the divine, the social, the world, reality, the big conversation, etc.
    2. Spiritual humility
      1. Knowing that personal greatness can only be rooted in a different form of greatness, which we are not causing
        1. If the Source is the alpha and omega of the world, and confidence is seeing us as being able to get to the omega, humility is knowing that we can only do so because of the alpha (what came before)
        2. Acknowledging with our soul [everything which escapes us] (Baudrillard)
      2. What does this look like?
        1. Doing the wrong thing the right way: harm mitigation inside of pathology.
        2. Becoming a better version of what you already are
          1. Core values: learn how to focus on them
          2. Be able to decide what your priorities are
  • Specializing in something which you are interested in, and seeking out how it can be important in making the world a better place
    1. Cultural expression, including “colonizer” cultures.
      1. Will create conflict, but we have to figure out how we can each be honored on a consistent basis
    2. Skills: what will be important in terms of technological development? What will stay the same? IE for now, massage makes sense. Eventually, we may not have bodies, but by the time we solve that problem, you’ll have time to learn a new trade
  1. Establishing a “new self” which you think of yourself as moving to, which is not a rigidly defined thing but just a sense of when you are lapsing back into old behaviors (which may never completely go away, and are in a way beautiful parts of our personality btw), and when you are “being your better self.”
  1. Establishing diplomatic relations with other people on the same journey
  2. Talking to people who are wanting to stay where they are now, and see it as you making them change instead of the world just changing and any identity having to keep pace with paradigm shifts
  3. The politics of the future: finding missed connections, attacking the weaknesses of domination systems, and keeping in mind the most important goal of preventing extinction / cognitive universalism or cognitive homogeneity.


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