Is There A Way To Truly Be Comfortable With Death?

[ 1/April/22 – not a joke]

It’s interesting and complex.

I have had the experience of a leading oncologist telling me that there is nothing known to medical science that could increase the probability of my living, and that I could be dead in 6 weeks, had a 50% chance of making 5 months, and 2% chance of making 2 years. Actually hearing that, understanding it, was not on my “life plan”.

His recommendation was to “go home and get your affairs in order”.

That was 12 years ago in 6 weeks time, but there was a sense in which I had to accept the high probability of death, before I could effectively mitigate the risk.

I am not “afraid” of death. It does not cause fear within me. And it is something to be avoided if at all possible.

And having lived through a 7.8 Earthquake 5 years ago, and seen the impact on a community, even though I was personally fully prepared for it, I am now convinced beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that the only survivable strategic context is one of universal cooperation between all levels, classes and instances of agents. Without such a cooperative base, any level of competitive “game” is necessarily self terminating.

If built on a cooperative base that delivers reasonable levels of security and freedom to all agents, then competitive “games” can be a lot of fun. But, the security and freedom and responsibility have to come first.

Any level of freedom without appropriate levels of responsibility (for the necessary ecological and social and strategic constraints required for existence) is also necessarily self terminating.

And any level of cooperation is vulnerable to exploitation by cheating strategies, and thus requires evolving ecosystems of cheat detection and mitigation systems if it is to survive, and that too requires personal responsibility from every level of agent (“the price of liberty is eternal vigilance” – in the deepest of strategic senses, and also in the sense of eternal exploration of the “unknown unknown” beyond our personal comfort zones).

So we have to accept the possibility of death, because only then can we truly be effective at creating the deeply complex strategic and technological ecosystems required.

Slavery, at any level, is not a viable long term option.

Every level of self aware creative agent requires appropriate degrees of freedom (appropriate to the levels of responsibility demonstrated).

Current economic and political systems are no longer fit for purpose, however effective they have been in getting us to this point.

Fully automated systems really do fundamentally change the systemic and strategic “landscapes”.

We need to transition, and we need to do so relatively quickly, if we are to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs. There are filters in “strategic space” (equivalent to large asteroids) that must be avoided, that we are not currently avoiding.

When I moved to Kaikoura 23 years ago it was with the context of living here for about the next 5,000 years. In that time frame it was certain that I would experience at least 10 major earthquakes, I just did not know when they would happen. So my instructions to the engineer doing extensions to the very small house we bought were “make it stand up to an 8.5”. I similarly designed all internal and backup systems to withstand 4 months without network connections (reserves of water, food and energy). All of those worked. But I was the only one in town so prepared, as most people only had a 50 year planning horizon, and in that timeframe earthquakes were improbable.

If one plans on living a very long time, then one needs to consider all of the risks probable in that time, and develop effective mitigation systems and strategies.

I have been in that “strategic space” since completing undergrad biochemistry in November 1974, and realizing that indefinite life extension was a real possibility (not simply science fiction).

Since that time I have had this autistic strategic brain of mine working on exploring the strategy spaces of evolutionary systems at recursive levels, looking for paths through the many levels of traps, bluffs, and chasms present in strategic and systemic “spaces”.

I am confident that there are no competitive solutions. Any level of “all out” competition between entities as creative as we are necessarily self terminates. Competition is only survivable if it has a cooperative base that respects the lives and liberties of every level and instance of agent present. That requires automated systems that meet all the Maslow levels of needs for every agent present.

I am confident that survivable and desirable solutions can be found, and the complexity of the spaces is orders of magnitude more complex than most have ever contemplated the possibility of, and at the simplest of levels, it demands of each of us the deepest levels of cooperation and responsibility and delayed gratification that we are capable of (each to the best of our necessarily limited and fallible abilities).

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) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see
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