Re: virus: Strange attractors and meta-religions (was God and Level-3)

Tony Hindle (
Thu, 3 Apr 1997 17:31:53 +0100

In message <>, "Wright, James 7929"
<> writes
>Tony Hindle wrote:
>>>No, I would not take it.[JHW]<<
>> I cant make my mind up wether this makes you an idiot, a man of
>>moral virtue beyond my present comprehension or a liar.
>Self-delusion allows others to take unfair advantage of one, therefore I
>don't consider myself an idiot.
I dont agree that all kinds of self-delusion allow others to
take advantage of one. However I eliminate the possibility that you are
an idiot from my recollections of your postings including this one.
>Moral virtue, if it exists, is an individual product / trait; you are
>free to expand your own, without limit, if you so choose. I do not
>consider myself exceptionally virtuous for refusing to delude myself with
>or without useful result.
I said more moraly virtuous than me by a long way. This I
believe to be so. Based on the fact that when I compare my own morality
with mine age 18, I see I have grown in moral virtue. I exterpolated
this growth to estimate what your morality might be.
I asumed you were 79 yrs old. This I now realise (because I've
thought about it) was a fucking stupid mistake on my part. ( I will
explain if you want but I will wait to be asked because the explanation
reveals that I am a stupid fucking idiot and I will lose all my
philosophical street-cred.)

>I do not lie.
This is the liar's paradox. In fact it brings to mind an
interesting question. Why (and to what extent) do we believe one another
on such lists as this? The answer I think is that we "bootstrap a
credibility factor" for each cyberperson we encounter by reading their
analysis and comments. I would be lying if I said that I now know you
are not a liar. This can never be known with all certanty. I have never
had any reason to doubt the sincerity of anything you have written until
your answers to the questions. However my working hypothesis is still
that you are telling the truth and are a very moral person. (I'll say it
again, moraly virtuous beyond my comprehension.)
> I have been known to employ all sorts of verbal tricks
>including sarcasm, hyperbole, metaphor, irrelevancy and humor
>(storytelling), but try always to remember to indicate such with
>emoticons (:-)) or abbreviations (VBG!).
I dont know all these cos I am still fairly new on the internet.
If you have a handy resumee of them I think it might help me speak the
same language as all you folks.
> If you think I am lying, point
>it out and see if I forgot to document it as a verbal trick, or make me
>see where my position is mistaken.
Ok. Remember my working hypothesis is still that you are telling
the truth but the particular answer I find amazing is this:

I asked.
if you could swallow a tablet right now that would
>have the effect of making you believe the world got better and better
>(imagine anything you like) would you? (you forget you've taken it
>instantly etc)
> What you would get in return for this one act of self deceit
>(which you would not remember) would be a world free of
>[starvation/wars/ choose].<

And you answered:

>No, I would not take it.

>I approach this from a logical point of view. Personal sacrifice for the
>benefit of the race is rational, in that the race includes one's own
>genes, and removing a common hazard (ignorance) would increase the
>chances of survival for all genes, including one's own.
I follow this but still believe it makes you virtuous beyond my
> I do not pretend
>selfless altruism; although someday my practice may reach that
>attainment, it is not now included.
>Pride is unnecessary.
Now you are reminding me a little of Data or more closely Kryten
from red dwarf.
> Many numbers of people have done as much or more
>previously. Volunteers for experimental medical treatments risk death
>anyway to improve the chances of others; Galileo risked execution to
>express his understandings of the universe, and many others died; there
>are numerous examples. If you have children, would you not risk death to
>preserve them from harm?
Yes of course, but you are saying you would do much more.

><Snip self-deceit discussion>
>If you are capable of self-deceit,
I dont know if I am but I want to be. If I do acquire this
talent I will only use it for self-improvement and never for anything I
consider immoral.
> I fail to detect how deceiving
>yourself about the morality of a given act is prevented. After the first
>use, any more use would seem to be a given (having deceived yourself that
>the actual use of such a button, even just once, was justified).
I could only ever press the button if it was morally justified
I dont think it is morally justified to deceive oneself about morality.
>>> Rationalization is just such a process; because I have a greater good
>in mind, a minor evil
>>>is tolerable which progresses me toward that greater good.<<
>> Provided that a rational analysis is made I can't see what is
>>wrong with this (example; I would kill a person to stop them from
>>killing two others.)<
>Making a rational analysis in this case is extremely difficult; you
>appear to have ruled out from initial conditions the possibility of
>disarming / incapacitating the the potential murderer instead of killing
>them outright.
Yes of course. Rational analysis in this focused thought
experiment is easy, you can act so that one guy dies or two guys die.
>By the way, both for internal discipline and future welfare I am paying
>to send my two children to Karate lessons.
When I first read this I thought "Fucking hell this guy is 79
yrs old and has young children what a hero"
>>>The difficulty is that minor evils are also difficult to contain from
>becoming greater evils, and self->>deceit seems to increase exponentially
>once its' accepted as a valid tool. This shows up in drama, >>literature
>and real life fairly frequently.<<
>> Yes I am interested by this spiralling self deceit warning. In
>>fact my feelings are at present, that I must understand the risks in
>>order that I can feel safe enough to allow me to deceive myself even a
>>little. Does that make sense James? <
>It does to me. I see no real need for self-deceit; citing Yoda from The
>Empire Strikes Back, "Do or do not. There is no TRY."
I dont believe this, I dont believe I ever will. I want to though
> I am not generally
>disturbed by success or failure of a given effort; either it succeeds or
>does not, and if not, they I am free to try again, with different methods
>and the knowledge of what did not work the first time.
If I fail too often I give up.

Tony Hindle.
recovering from rolling rotf laughing at my own stupidity
(I do this often it is a cleansing experience)