Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


I think I'll be able to attend -- will add to my schedule.

Oops - as it happens, I have to work this weekend. Let us know how it turns out. Maybe a couple games of Resistance?

Can I make the choice to run over this squirrel, or does my personality decide what I do?

Who is "I"? What is there distinct from your personality that would be making this decision? There is suspiciously dualistic language throughout this post.

You would probably feel as if it wasn't really you who decided to kill the squirrel.

You would? You'd really feel like some sort of external being took over? I suppose if a person was highly dissociated they might feel like this.

I think it's more likely you just "wouldn't know" (or wouldn't consciously admit) why you decided to make a decision contrary to your evident personality. The truth would probably be that part of your brain actually liked the idea of splatting a squirrel at that particular moment, but justifying one's actions as a slayer of helpless little squirrels is troublesome and so the decision came to be regretted and disowned by other parts of your cognitive machinery.

Since various studies have shown that unconscious decisions actually precede conscious awareness of a decision, it seems likely that the experience of free will simply provides the conscious mind an opportunity to weave an appropriately believable and self-flattering explanation for behavior one has already determined on executing. I'm drawing mostly on Kurzban in using this sort of language....

I hope everyone has fun! I'd like to attend but can't due to my work schedule.

Wow, it really does work with readily available scenarios:

  • "Do you want to supersize it?"
  • "Would you like a drink with that?"
  • "Add the supplementary electronics plan for $13.97?"
  • "Paper or plastic?"

(I try to remember to bring my own reusable bag.) Not sure about "Receipt with you or in the bag?"

I once thought that the Future was indestructible.

When I was growing up my childhood friends would sometimes say, "I wish I'd been born five hundred years ago" or "It would have been so interesting to live during medieval times". To me this was insanity. In fact it still sounds insane. Who in their right mind would exchange airplanes, democracy and antibiotics for illiteracy, agricultural drudgework and smallpox? I suppose my friends were doing the same thing people do when they imagine their pop culture "past lives": so everyone gets to be Cleopatra, and nobody is ever a peasant or slave. And the Connecticut Yankees who travel back in time to pre-invent industry are men, because a woman traveling alone in those days just invited trouble.

No, I never wanted to live in the past. I wanted to live in the future.

Mostly because I had a keen desire find out what happens next. I mean, just think of the amazing things in store -- space travel, AI, personal immortality. What a fool I was.

I no longer trust the future will be a glorious place. (It was a little painful to give up that belief.) I once studied history and the history of technology so I could write about imaginary civilizations with some versimilitude. And I learned that everything ends, even Rome. Even us.

So I started studying economics and politics to try to figure out how we got here, and how we might possibly get someplace else. It seems unlikely that the same irrational brains that got us into this mess will be able to get us out. I mean, people are literally not sane. Myself included. The best, the only tool we have is dangerously flawed. (OMFG!!) Which led me here....

Hope for the future? Hope isn't necessary.

As far as RL goes, I have two X chromosomes and live in Minnesota.

Another lurker who took the survey. I suppose I should go find the newbie thread and introduce myself.

I was extra wrong on Principia. Almost disturbing to think how recent it was...