The problem of Pop Analogy

by thesilvermen1 min read26th Jul 2020No comments

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There is a very good article pinned to the start of Less Wrong at the time I am writing this, where the author starts by pointing out that human beings ‘run on corrupted hardware.’

This is a tech analogy, which might be meant to point at that homo sapiens have not evolved to live in the environment that they currently inhabit, with many first and second-order problems derived. On that level, the analogy is solid. But it is part of a deeper struggle, the problem of language, when married to the perils of modernity.

Let us give this some context. A computer/smartphone/any digital device/program has both hardware, which encompass broadly its mechanical components, and software, which encompass the OS of 1010100111 that tell it what to do. If the computer/smartphone/any digital device/program does not give the desired output for the correct input, either the program or the mechanical components of the thing are most likely broken and malfunctioning in some way.

As I type this, I am a human being, sitting and breathing a nitrogen/oxygen mix with a body that has evolved for hunting things with fire and sharp sticks. The body reminds me of my own nature, with sharp pains in my torso when I sit in the chair for too long. The being I am was also evolved to live in a communal setting, with a tribe of others, and I am stabbed with loneliness as I tap at a mechanical contraption to make hieroglyphics on false paper and transmit them digitally on a device so that other scared, lonely hominids might see the same things that I have typed.

My hardware is working just fine. The input I am giving it is suited for some being other than the thing that I am, and the nature I have been given. I do not have hardware or software, there is no difference given in homo sapiens between mind and body.

The thing that I am comes before the time and group into which I have been born.

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