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“Do you love the sunrise?”

Beautiful stories. Perfect lies. 

Goal: a new esthetic for words.

I write, play piano, and make low-spec indie games.

Having lurked rationalist spaces for many years and promoted its values to friends, I now wish to speak directly with rationalists about the many questions on my mind.

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Writings adapted from a rationalist Discord

I. Suffering is an interpretation of pain. 

Technology and charity help alleviate pain, which redirects suffering. The ultimate goal is that one can be in pain and not suffer.

As the adage goes, pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice. The choices we make are determined by our programming and training as machines, so this is impugns not those who suffer. 

Most worldviews thrive off the suffering interpretation. You see it everywhere when this pattern is pointed out. Some people suffer from envy, others from disgust. Yet one can feel envy and disgust without suffering. The transparency of "I have these negative emotions, therefore I am suffering" is actively harmful to the spirit of humanity. 

The big thought experiment is: would you rather a world with way better technologies (physical and mental and social) except everyone is engineered to suffer, or one with caveman technology where everyone is engineered to be satisfied? For me, the answer is so obvious. Yet the real life question is much closer materially than it is emotionally.

One of the most profound moments of my life was realizing I always had the choice to be satisfied. Always. Survival of the human species stopped being a priority to me once I started believing my phone and my walls are also conscious, just in ways I can never understand. I am a human, and that is forever my lens. The lens is the greatest blind spot. It is part of who I am, and despite my biases in favor of other humans I am no longer attached.

It seems almost always true that the master of X ends up having X as a crutch. I say often to my piano students: "The piano is the pianist's greatest weakness." Yes, I took this idea from Vinland Saga (and later the film Hero). The perfect swordsman shall put down his sword. 

There are utilitarian arguments for teaching people to slowly unlearn suffering. But I shall not make them. Utility and arguments are precisely the greatest crutch and blindness of pretty much everyone here. The tools served the master, then the master worshipped the tools and so served them.

II. Calvin was right, you’re boned.

A short Calvinist take: I believe that humans are machines, so one's spiritual fortune is socially and materially determined. There are only ever a finite number of people who are saved, and those who are not saved shall wallow in total depravity of heart and mind. Many people are already saved without thought on the issue, maybe by genes or upbringing. The decision to be satisfied was so obvious and transparent that they had no ontological need for God or reason or debate or politics. For them, all this is frivolity and fun. 

Yet everyone here, incl. me, is likely not a member of this determined list of early saints. Those who shall be saved (through the choice of satisfaction / salvation / enlightenment) will first suffer, and be tempted by the world. Only the future may tell who among us shall be saved, and who shall be damned.

TULIP, interpreted for atheists:

  • Total Depravity: You are boned til you decide to be satisfied. Absolutely boned. 
  • Unconditional Election: There is nothing you have to do to deserve to be satisfied. You simply will be satisfied (by conscious choice) or you will not. Predetermined fact. 
  • Limited Atonement: Only a finite number of people are mechanically capable / consciously willing to make this choice. Some of us here are probably doomed to die unhappy. I hope that is not the case. 
  • Irresistible Grace: Once you see satisfaction as a choice, you can't unsee it. You will always be drawn toward the nature of this choice and strive toward it. Knowing the choice is almost the whole battle. 
  • Preservation of the Saints: There exists a list of all those who shall ever come to truly understand this choice. Is your name on it? Who knows. Try consciously deciding it and find out!

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