I have a dream, firewalls and choice

23 February 2014 ~ Question of the Day ~ I Have a Dream

I have a Dream!!!
What’s your Dream?

I have a dream.

Technology that delivers every person on the planet with all the necessities of life – clean air, fresh food, clean water, housing, sanitation, transportation, communication, information, tools.

Different technology that delivers disease resistance and indefinite life extension to all who want it.

Global level cooperation to maintain representative samples of all major earth ecosystems.

With technology able to handle of the drudgery of society, all individuals will be free to pursue their own responsible choices. No need of the economic slavery that has characterised most human societies for the last few thousand years.

A global age of abundance, security, creativity and cooperation.

Development of space technology to allow us to experiment with potentially dangerous technologies where they can be isolated and contained if things go wrong.

Personally I look forward to extreme augmentation of abilities with direct neural interface to computer systems, and extension of sensory ranges. This could lead to something very close to telepathy, as we gain the ability to transmit visualisations of sights, sounds, smells, and emotions directly from one person to another (though there are likely always to be slight losses in translation between one person and another, however good the compensation software becomes).

[followed by]

Hi Andrew

There is no such thing as an impenetrable firewall.

There is much truth in the old saying that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

About the closest thing we have at present to an impenetrable firewall is the idea called “faith”. In many people, once it establishes, it acts as an impenetrable barrier to any new information or concepts. When faith is established in a simple binary world of good and bad, right and wrong, good and evil; and there is either a heaven or a hell; and anything not in a given rule book necessarily leads to hell; then fear alone keeps many people trapped behind a firewall that prevents any further exploration of the infinity available.

We all make firewalls, at different levels.
All firewalls are vulnerable to someone with sufficient knowledge of the system. (Which is basically why I stopped reading Crowley and stopped practising anything he suggested, or any of his ilk. I could see I was establishing mind patterns that others could use. I think I have effectively fire-walled all of those patterns. And one can never be 100% sure – I am still vigilant.)

Just look at the role of advertising and news media in today’s world.
Look at the effect of the boy band “One Direction” in the world right now.

So I am sure there will be many levels of firewall available, and all firewalls come at a cost. All take processing power, and there is always a risk with a firewall of blocking something that is not dangerous and is really important.
We each have to decide where we are going to put that particular balance.

As with everything in the future I imagine, there will be a large degree of choice and responsibility involved, and many different levels of choice interacting.
Not a boring place!

[followed by]

Hi Andrew

I agree that faith can mean different things to different people, which is why I used the word “many” rather than the word “all”.

It seems clear to me that for many people “faith” means accepting something told by someone, and rejecting everything else they hear thereafter.
You call it fundamentalism, and in a sense it is that; and there is another sense in which it applies to all levels of faith.

I don’t have faith in anything in that sense.
I am open to any concept and any evidence set.
All concepts have to work not just with the evidence sets that accompany them directly, but also with all the evidence sets I already have.

I don’t have faith in anything – everything is open for reassessment at any time. And I do have confidence about a great many things that have proved 100% reliable in a great many tests. They may fail at some future time and set of circumstances, and that hasn’t happened yet. When/if it does, then I will look for an explanatory framework that works with all the evidence sets.

I don’t have faith, I have evidence and confidence. For me they are not at all the same, not even close.

So for me, it is clear that faith is a firewall for many individuals (not all).

For some people, the word faith is identical to the word confidence. That is a source of great confusion, for the two meanings are opposite in a sense.

For me, when I use the word “faith” it is in the sense of belief without evidence.
Confidence is used to describe belief based upon evidence (be it consciously or subconsciously evaluated evidence).

That allows for clarity.

[followed by]

Hi Andrew

I don’t have absolutes.
I don’t have any “always”.
I only have probabilities.

It is actually very easy to prove to yourself that you cannot rely on the evidence of your senses – just go and see a performance of a professional stage magician.
Then start thinking about how much of what we once thought was fact, might be mistaken.
Then start recomputing a few probabilities. Actually do the numerical work on enough real cases that you start to get an intuitive feel for the sorts of probabilities that are involved.

In my world, all confidence is based upon evidence, at least initially.
In my world, all the ideas we get from culture occur in the first instance as evidence. In our younger days we often accept evidence as true based on a sample of 1. As we age we tend to require slightly larger evidence sets, until some of us reach the point that we accept nothing as true in the absolute sense, and take all things as probabilities (some vastly more likely than others – like sunrise, & me winning lotto).

For me, I can have confidence based on past experiences, and extrapolating from the underlying principles, that something that has never been done before, can in fact be done. To me, that is confidence based upon evidence.

That principle can be applied to any level of abstraction, to any level of concepts.

For me, the idea of faith is essentially that of denying the evidence, in favour of some pre-existing belief.

I have confidence that it is possible to create a global community of individuals living cooperatively and peacefully in great diversity. I base that confidence on an understanding of the process of evolution, and on an understanding of the mathematics of games theory.
It hasn’t happened yet, and it may not, and I am confident that it is possible, and it can be made a likely outcome.
Some might call that faith – I don’t.

Most people seem to rely on intuition. In my understanding intuition is evidence based calculations done by the subconscious mind. So we may not consciously understand where the intuition came from, and at its root was a set of experiences and a set of relationships, all occurring within the mechanisms of the brain and mind.
Intuition works very well in common situations (part of why some call it “common sense”), but the probabilities degrade significantly as it moves into experiences that are uncommon.
I get that most people have no idea how that works.
I understand the mechanism quite well, but it is not an easy concept to explain to anyone else without the other party knowing a few computer languages, quite a bit of math, and having spent a bit of time playing with LASER holograms.

So I don’t do absolute data, or absolute conclusions.
All I do is probabilities.
All absolutes reside in my youth, excepting perhaps “cogito ergo sum”.

[followed by]

Hi Andrew

It seems we have no other choice.
It seems to be how we develop.
Our brains seem to accept information before there is anything critical there to evaluate it.
It seems that the ability to be skeptical only develops after a period of being totally accepting of everything.

I have seen no evidence of anyone having any ability other than the senses of receiving information.
So it seems we start out believing in facts, and truth and falsehood, and it is only later that we learn about probabilities and uncertainty.
I didn’t exercise faith in accepting the information initially. Initially I (as in the skeptical entity that I currently identify as) wasn’t present. It was something of a late comer on the scene.
That seems to be how the systems that are us human beings develop.

There was no exercise of faith necessarily, there was simply acceptance in the first instance, until enough data was present to allow the languaging awareness to bootstrap the skeptical awareness.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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