In my musings on the nature of human consciousness and the evolving landscape of our values, I often circle back to a fundamental assumption: sentient beings, by and large, gravitate toward pleasant mental states. This preference seems to underpin much of our pursuit of objectives, whether they are grounded in spiritual fulfillment or more tangible pleasures.
The Instrumental View of Science and Its Utilitarian Pursuits
Throughout history, as our understanding of the physical world has expanded, so too has our aspiration to manipulate it for utilitarian ends. This instrumental view of scientific knowledge is deeply ingrained in our approach to the world. We study, we learn, and we manipulate, all in the pursuit of making life ‘better’ or more efficient in some measurable way.
The Emergence of Neuromancy and Its Implications
As I ponder the potential advancements in what I like to call “neuromancy” – the science of mental states – I can’t help but wonder about the implications for our collective future. If we master the art of internal optimization, what becomes of our pursuit of external, objective ends? Imagine a world where hedonic manipulation is the norm, where we engineer our aesthetics and value hierarchies to align with artificially constructed ends.
The Transient Effects of Drugs and the Future of Brain Science
This concept isn’t entirely new. We’ve long used drugs to alter our mental states, albeit temporarily. But what if advancements in brain science could scale this up? We could witness a socially acceptable practice of shifting common consciousness on a larger scale, fundamentally altering our perception of reality.
Speculating on the Self-Engineered Human Nature
Herein lies a thought that often keeps me up at night: our projections for the far future assume that human nature and values will remain relatively stable or evolve at historical rates. However, we have no concrete basis for predicting the desires or actions of a self-engineered human. Can we truly anticipate the values of a species that has strayed far from its natural roots?
Redefining Godhood and the World Around Us
It’s an interesting notion – that it might be easier to play God by altering our perception of the world rather than changing the world itself. This brings me to a rather unorthodox theory regarding Fermi’s Paradox.
An Alternative Answer to Fermi’s Paradox
Could it be that our current aspirations – to explore, to conquer, to understand – are merely a temporary stage in the development of our species? These values, driven by our desire to manipulate the physical world, might not last long enough to see us through to interstellar exploration. If another biologically similar species exists, one that mirrors our psychological makeup and exploratory drive, they too would need to maintain these values long enough to reach out into the cosmos.
The Shift from Exploration to Aesthetic Goals
Just as alchemy fell out of fashion, our zeal for exploration and objective manipulation might give way to more aesthetic pursuits, akin to those practiced by Yogis. The pursuit of external goals could be replaced by a focus on internal enlightenment or other forms of aesthetic satisfaction.
Embracing Uncertainty in Our Future Projections
In conclusion, as I sit back and contemplate these ideas, I am struck by the profound uncertainty of what the future holds. Our attempts to predict or shape it are, at best, educated guesses. The future of human consciousness, values, and aspirations is a vast, uncharted territory, and the only certainty is the unpredictability of our evolutionary journey. #HailHume