|I'm Better Than You|
Joined: Sep 20, 2010
Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 7
Posted Nov 6, 2010 - 9:46 PM:
Subject: I'm Better Than You
Here is my analysis so far of materialistic life. With any luck someone will read it.
Allofus:I've looked at your history and your pattern of activity and it appears to me that I'm better than you... So there.
Mealone:Well that annoying. Sit down and let me educate you. There is no such thing as 'universal' good or bad. Good is
subjective and the comparison you're trying to make is unsustainable.
Value can be any variable parameter which is defined against a goal. It could be any goal but when people compete and compare
with each other the goal is seen as desirable(by the winner at least). The effect is made all the more intense if the goal
is socially asserted and believed to be good.
One of my strategies in life is to accumulate a diversity of options(otherwise called power) Depending on which options I
accumulate, I will be better able to achieve certain goals. For instance, if I physically beat you up, I'm sure I'd feel
great. This would be a hedonistic goal in itself but I think the pleasure would come from a perceived greater freedom in
achieving certain goals compared with you.
Allofus:You know, that's convincing. Socially asserted morals and peoples assertions of right and wrong including being
beaten up by someone like you has an effect. But I've noticed that I react against it.
I know that socially asserted moral value is not a stable measurement of worth. The inconsistency of socially asserted value
may have been obvious early on for me or I may have become disillusioned with hostile 'subjective value' assertions but it
seem like a self-evaluation anchored against these ad hoc opinions, if I could believe it, would cause a volatile mental
I've been attracted to a value system which appears to be the most resistant to argument.
When people make a decision, they not only assess their options with values which are defined against certain goals but there
is a decision between the goals. Seemingly there is a single underlying 'trans-goal' variable used in making the decision.
The values defined against goals are 'proved' not to be the real value because they are over-ruled.
Real value is evidenced by decision-making. The strength or certainty of the decision is the proper measure of worth. If the
decision can't be carried out then this will be experienced as distress.(- with distress as an evolved impetus to alter
To make a decision, what I think people do in general is to use a pre-experience faculty to assess how the options will
affect them in the future and to also use the same pre-experience faculty on other affectees of the option. The faculty
estimates the strengths of the decisions that affectees would make between the consequences of the options. These strengths
are then combined, no doubt with unequal focus between the affectees, to form a decision.
Mealone: A social animal that makes decisions like that would certainly be a benefit to it's group, but maybe less to itself.
The method you suggest could be supported by evolutionary forces. But, I think, the main reason for social consideration in
decision making is to avoid conflict and hence 'personal' danger. So I think in making the decision, any pre-experience as
another group member is going to be overpowered by the influence of past experiences of related scenarios.(The decision will
be made on the basis of conditioned responses to past experiences).
Social decisions are made more with the use of pre-experience as an observer of the reactions of others rather than pre-
experience as them.
Allofus: For a complex decision I might use an internal drama. If I think through scenarios in the same way that I experience
a drama, there is pre-experience as the observer of the scene but also as the characters. The prevalence of real dramas
demonstrates the common attraction and use of empathy.
The empathic attribution of value has been particularly vital to the success of humans because of it's fundamental role in
learning and the dissemination of knowledge. Value is attributed to experiences and then communicated between animals. So,
there is an equivalence between the other's experience and the self's potential experience. A process vital to rearing young.
Mealone: Well the evolutionary support for these processes and in particular this shared attributing of value to experience
could be at the heart of the illusion that good and bad are real. In the case of teaching, the value is really the mentors
own _subjective_ opinion and if you want to avoid conflict then you'd have to pay attention to _subjective_ group 'morals'.
Allofus: Though what people want is subjective, it is still important and I think quantifiable.
If you could accumulate the strengths of decisions made by all affectees in reacting to an event then that would be an
impartial evaluation of the event. The strengths of decisions might depend subjectively on the affectees but the final amount
will be stable between assessors - it isn't dependent on the assessors subjective opinions.
Mealone: Can this decision-making-strength value be calculated, or is it an illusion? If two perfect decision makers,
according to your scheme, interacted they would form an infinite loop of mutual consideration. So, a decision couldn't be
made. Also for each option in your decision there will be an ongoing cascade of affectees. There could be chaotic unforeseen
consequences and the evaluation can't be made.
Allofus: There aren't any perfect decision-makers. The decision strength comes from the affectees own decision-making which
is after all what may cause them distress. Their decision-making will have finite iterations.
Also, the decision will be only a partial cause of future events and will have quickly diminishing significance down the
cascade of affectees.
So to clarify the algorithm, it would involve the accumulation of decision strength each affectee would make between the
options and the future consequences of the options(according to their future selves) and including knock on effects to
So while pinning down the exact value of decision-certainty may be a superhuman task, in many cases most people would be able
to choose the correct option as it would have been computed. Seemingly, there is an underlying absolute value that can guide
Mealone: There are various problems with utilitarian algorithms. This algorithm allows for decisions to be made which create
injury. In particular what about killing people where their deaths are painless and they are unaware that they are going to
die. Your algorithm doesn't guard against this.
Your statement "I'm better than you" is a moral assertion and you are using this algorithm as a central part to your
argument in persuading me to adopt the assertion. The kind of stealth killing I've described might compare well using your
system but the overwhelming consensus opinion will be that killing in this way is bad. This makes your moral assertion less
Allofus: Well I suppose the algorithm _does_ cover this but it begins to make it look artificial and not a real motivator
behind decisions. The stealth killers choice is really between the decision-making strengths that the would-be-target-victim
would make between the options. That is, would the victim prefer to live or die? The algorithmist then accumulates the
decision-making-strength over their would-be future life and this prevents the killing.
Is this method really so different from our naturally felt problem with stealth killing?
The stealth killer idea causes some anxiety to people because of the felt personal threat to them in the environment and they
want assurance that the threat will be combated and would want to mold public opinion towards this end.
There is also anxiety over unknown losses caused by the killing and many other side-effects that may be important to the
But what is the most powerful aversion to the idea?
Why would the idea that someone else is murdered in their sleep be objectionable?
When people use their pre-experience faculties on themselves as victims they come to a strong decision and this decision isn't
based on how they would feel if they were killed. It is based on how the 'option' compares to living.
Using the same faculty on other people produces the same strong reaction.(The decision isn't made by comparing how much
happiness the participants will have as a result of the action.)
So the most strongly felt problem that people have with stealth killing could come through applying something similar to the
algorithm. (To reiterate, you can better understand the aversion to stealth killing by considering why you would have a
problem with it as a victim - you are applying this same consideration to other people.)
In conclusion then, (as you'll recall, you make a living by selling leaky incontinence pants and I give medical treatment to
injured kids in war-zones) according to the most consistent and impartial comparison I can think of and using the system that
people already use to decide preference in a way that can be agreed upon between assessors(one of which could be you or me),
I really am better than you. The decisions I've made and the actions I've taken have been better than yours.
Apart from this, according to my theories, it appears to me that I ought to be better than you measured against certain other
In terms of performance as a citizen
*knowledge use - acquiring and use of socially important knowledge.
*motivation - my way of life is essentially to follow motivation at a global level
*Innovation - I suspect there could be an innovative/scientific advantage - my brain does not need to be trained to subvert
spacial viewing the world as an objective model. Mental blocking is limited.
Various other goals
*Mental stability - my self-evaluation is comparatively invulnerable to argument
*?A meaningful life? - I might see my activity as part of an ongoing effort to improve global living standards.
*Apparently having a better spiritual outlook.
All of which means I cannot change my mentality.
The mentality is likely to spontaneously occur in people naturally and be strengthened by further protracted thought.
Edited by BumblingWelshman on Nov 7, 2010 - 5:18 PM. Reason: spelling
Joined: Sep 20, 2010
Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 7
Posted Nov 7, 2010 - 5:21 PM:
Just in case anyone is reading all this I'm going to clarify how a decision can have a single impersonal value which could in theory be discovered by any sufficiently informed investigator. I'm using this value to compare people.
I'm using what I think is the natural process of human decision making. The person uses a pre-experience faculty to assess the affects of an option on them immediately and into the future - with a decision making strength being calculated for samples of the apparent consequences of the option. Then the same process is used on other affectees - as if the affectees were given a choice between the affecting outcomes of the decision(- affecting them now and into the future). The decision making strengths produced by this sampling are then combined and a decision is made.
Moving on from this to the 'real' value of an option, (which would be the same for all investigators) the value uses an accumulation of decision making strength over a period. The units of this value are therefore decision-making-strength-hours(or seconds or days etc.) and the value takes into account all affectees.
So it appears that if decision making strength can be measured then the value of an option can be measured.
It seems possible to do this, using methods like, simply asking the affectees, measuring the intensity of responses or measuring bodily chemicals.
Therefore, apparently, there can be a single value attributed to an option.(The value would, of course, be calculated with the same associated measurement uncertainty.)
However, the value will depend on who are chosen as affectees.
So, this is the big problem as I see it so far. The consideration could move on to a malaise of lower life forms.
(Still it would be interesting to see how this would work)
According to me then, a persons boasts are limited at the moment to being _better from the perspective of all human life or maybe all sentient life_
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