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How does a Living Being solve the problem of Subsystem Alignment?

by Alan Givré1 min read17th Jan 20207 comments



So, a Living Being is composed of multiple parts who act pretty much on tandem except extreme situations like Cancer, how does that work?

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The Republic is about this. As is Moby Dick though it is not explicit in the latter whereas the metaphor is explicitly declared in the former. Plato's stuff actually makes even more sense if you append the death of socrates cycle to the end of the republic. First you instantiate the philosopher king who puts the house in order, then the philosopher king commits suicide as a logical result of the rules as set up by that very same philosopher king.

As is Moby Dick though it is not explicit in the latter whereas the metaphor is explicitly declared in the former

I'd be interested in hearing more thoughts about this.

4romeostevensit1yImagine that Herman Melville was doing IFS and that the book is his notes. There are different ways to think about how he splits things up into different characters (just as everyone's ifs process is idiosyncratic but has recurring patterns), but the overall frame winds up feeling like it just fits. And I don't mean this in the vacuous 'everything could be an IFS manual if you think about it' way. I'm actually not familiar with any others besides those two that are central examples of the thing. Thinking for a bit I'd venture The Metamorphosis probably counts, maybe No Exit. Also Jed Mckenna has a book that discuses this for Moby Dick so I'm not the only one who's noticed. Though IIRC it's only a side story in Jed's book (Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment).
2romeostevensit1yoh, the Bhagavad Gita obviously.
how does that work?

Well, generally, it works by cycles of fascism and revolution - the strongest part controls things, until it doesn't, and things break down for a while. After some intervention (nap/medication/surgery/etc.), control is re-established (or the being stops living). To the extent that the control is less severe, it lasts longer but diverges a bit more from it's preferred directions.

This applies both to subpersonal (akrasia and willpower) and interpersonal (political power) cases. It kind of fits cancer/illness as well.

It is open to debate whether other, more pleasant models are possible to implement.

how does that work?

I thought that the way it worked was living beings that get cancer and die are less likely to have kids.

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I spoke with someone investing in various anti-aging biomed that said that the breakdown of intercellular signaling is being investigated as a potentially reliable precursor indicator of cancer formation.