[math] intersubjectivity and the free will / free won't paradox

Eric Purdy epurdy at uchicago.edu
Wed Apr 11 12:20:20 CDT 2018

Thanks for the recs! I started reading Generation P once and it was
excellent. Need to finish it one of these days. It's probably some useful
glue for this puzzle as well.

On Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 6:17 PM, Maya Vinokour <vinokour at gmail.com> wrote:

> Eric, by the way, if you are interested in tales of altered consciousness
> and media weirdness, I have two book recommendations for you (in order of
> likely enjoyableness):
> 1. Victor Pelevin’s “Generation P”
> 2. Venedikt Erofeev’s “Moscow to the End of the Line” (the Tjalsma
> translation)
> On Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 1:05 PM Eric Purdy <epurdy at uchicago.edu> wrote:
>> In regards to dying under torture, might I inflict Roko's Basilisk upon
>> you all?
>> http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/07/
>> roko_s_basilisk_the_most_terrifying_thought_experiment_of_all_time.html
>> It's sort of an updated version of Pascal's Wager, where instead of going
>> to hell for pissing off God, you go to hell for pissing off a
>> superintelligent AI.
>> On Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 5:51 PM, Eric Purdy <epurdy at uchicago.edu> wrote:
>>> In this email I summarize some previous work on the species Homo sapiens
>>> and suggest future directions of study.
>>> The first work we note is the Ph.D. thesis of Dr. Raber. (Dr. Raber:
>>> would you mind posting a copy of your thesis and/or an Amazon link to your
>>> book if it's already out?) We posit that this is a tolerably complete
>>> description of the maturational process and mating habits of the human
>>> mind. (Also, Dr. Raber, if you feel moved to share any extracts from your
>>> second book, would love to see those! It would be super relevant to some
>>> threads we're having about economics, if I understand the thrust of it
>>> correctly. (My gloss: what are the proper uses of luxury in motivating
>>> human beings to excellence and public service?))
>>> We posit that it is possible, via affiliation economics and choice
>>> architecture and computational linguistics and digital humanities, to
>>> assemble a tolerably complete picture of the pressures that any given human
>>> being is under at any given point in time. Presumably this fact is known to
>>> various governments of the world, and has been since the height of the Cold
>>> War.
>>> Furthermore, we posit that human beings do in fact have free will. It
>>> feels pretty obvious if you're driving one of the damn things, anyway. But,
>>> of course, biological materialism and physical determinism hold sway over
>>> the physical and biological universes. How do we reconcile these two facts?
>>> Basically, you never know for sure which way someone is going to jump,
>>> because you never have a complete copy of the inside of their mind. You can
>>> put people in arbitrarily scary and fucked-up and tempting situations, but
>>> they'll still surprise you. As Natalie Portman says in V for Vendetta, that
>>> last inch of one's will remains free. A person who is willing to die under
>>> torture can generally do whatever the fuck they want. (Ofc, dying under
>>> torture is a fairly likely outcome if you make the mistake of telling
>>> anyone this fact when they threaten you.)
>>> Finally, as glue to make all of this cohere in a way that will make
>>> sense to the academic humanities, we offer the novels of David Foster
>>> Wallace. I put it to you that they are about free will and mind control.
>>> The cryptogram for mind control in Broom of the System is, I believe, the
>>> Devil's wooden leg. The cryptogram for mind control in Infinite Jest is
>>> annular fusion. (Think about it for a second - imagine watching a
>>> television that then floats through the air and smashes you in the back of
>>> the head - it traces out an annulus.) The cryptogram for mind control in
>>> The Pale King is the Pale King, who is a DFW self-insertion character, as
>>> are most of the characters in that book.
>>> As further glue, we offer the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. I put
>>> it to you that it is a play about how to kill William Shakespeare with your
>>> words in a world where mind reading and mind control are widely distributed
>>> among the populace; Hamlet is Willie's self-insertion character, and all
>>> the other characters are various figments of Bill's imagination as he
>>> worked through the problem of trying to keep himself from dying or going
>>> nuts.
>>> Would love to hear any thoughts that this email triggered from anyone
>>> who I sent it to!
>>> --
>>> -Eric
>> --
>> -Eric
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