Hedonic Optimization

It’s a well-assumed fact that most sentient beings naturally prefer pleasant mental states over unpleasant mental states. Following the premise that most objective goals have subjective shifts of experience as their ultimate end, most of us probably value the rewards of our goals (be it a spiritual end or base pleasure) as much as its objective measurable result.

As we’ve gain understanding about the inter-relations of Physical phenomenon, we’ve aspired to master methods of manipulation for our utilitarian gains. This is the instrumental view of Scientific knowledge.

Science of Mental State

If our “neuromancy” advances, the science of mental state may shift the general focus to internal optimization. Would hedonic manipulation devalue objective ends? Engineering our aesthetics and value hierarchies to artifical ends.

This isn’t news. We’ve done this with drugs for a while but the effects have been temporary. More brain science can scale this to a larger but also “socially acceptable” practice that can shift the common Consciousness.

Leads me to the following thought:

Far-future projections presume that Human nature and values will remain stable or change at historical rates. In all honesty, we have no inductive basis for prediciting what a Self-Engineered human will want or do. At best, we can project derivation of Values based on trends… yet it is quite likely that we could fare far from Nature.

Easier to play God by painting the World than to change it.

An Alternative Answer for Fermi’s Paradox

Perhaps our current aspirations are an arbitrary but finite stage in Species Development (defined here as powers of objective manipulation). These values may last shorter than the time it takes to develop sufficient Physics for Interstellar exploration.

In the small chance that there exists another biological species (as we know it) that is psychologically similar to us and shares our exploratory drive, the values that power the technological advancements have to persist for a sufficiently long time for them to reach out to us.

In short, like Alchemy, seeking out others could become “unfashionable” as a species progresses. Aesthetic goals ( like the ones practiced by Yogis ) may simply replace our want to manipulate matter.

Just another addition to my restful position that we don’t really know what the future entails. #HailHume