Tuesday, January 3, 2017

There Is No Objectivist A.I.

...but there are still objectivists.

Ann Rand was a narcissist sociopath, bent on creating acolytes. To that end she destroyed logic and language in order to isolate people from their family and friends, and confuse their minds.

A good example of this is her idea that selfishness is good. The first problem with this is that most people already have the idea in their head that selfishness is bad, and that it goes hand in hand with self-destructiveness. The only way to make meaning out of this is to assume she meant enlightened self-interest. However she meant it, she had an affair with a married man, and didn't have a single care for what the wife wanted. Rand's selfishness, it seems, takes primacy over everyone elses, and since Randians are saying the opposite of what everyone else is saying when they say this word, they now have a mostly non-functional word.

Additionally, it is necessary to have an understanding of self in order to obtain enlightened self-interest. A baby, crawling around on the floor, putting all sorts of things in his mouth, is learning where he begins and the rest of the world ends. He learns he is not the wall by banging up against it and getting constant feedback. He's also getting feedback from human beings and learning in the same fashion- he doesn't learn who he is, but he slowly learns who he is not.

When we achieve some proficiency in language we can make giant leaps in our understanding. There are also false models that can really mess us up.

A standard syllogism:

All men are mortal

Socrates is a man

Therefore, Socrates is mortal

Socrates fits into the set (man) and therefore the condition that applies to the set applies to Socrates.

A Randian, however, will do something like this:

The Virgin Birth (which is specifically defined as not a normal human birth) fits in the set (of normal human births). Therefore it didn't happen. Or it's not true. Or it's just a normal birth.

And since the person who argues like this doesn't believe, he tends not to care or even realize what he is doing.

But, even if you don't believe, the story of Jesus' birth has been handed down to us in a particular way. The story itself is a reality. A perfectly reasonable atheist supposition would be to suppose this was written down whenever it was decided that Jesus was God. There are good reasons to believe this wasn't something that happened until after- the phrase 'Son of God' and the word Messiah are Jewish terms for people with normal human births. So an atheist could believe that there was a normal human birth, but he couldn't define the Virgin birth as a normal human birth. If that atheist were also curious about the world at all, he should also wonder why people would write such a thing novel to their culture.

The Virgin Birth is a story. It is either a true story or a fictional story. It is not a normal human birth, and the Randian has not created a syllogism.

The other annoying idea is that Jesus can't be both God and man due to the law of identity. Again- poor form ignoring definitions, and one should understand of the limitations of aristotelian logic. Essences are unseen, and probably unknowable. If you are hoping to know an essence, you'd better be hoping for an afterlife and extra upgrades for your senses so you can see in essence-vision. Seems quite strange to me people fussing about God would be putting faith in all these essences everywhere.

But I digress: in thinking about this idea, I realized the person conveying this idea doesn't believe in God. So, he isn't really taking this thing seriously. But let me plug that in for you:

I was nonexistent once. I am now existent. I also now have two terms, already, to add to that other concept- God, which appear to be able to handle other identities with aplomb. Indeed, existence and nonexistence appear able to handle billions of entities with identities flitting in and out of them without any incongruity at all.

And this is why Rand's plan here is much like the plan of the big government in 1984. She creates incongruities at the concept level. She destroys one's ability to talk to other people. She doesn't deserve to be considered a libertarian- she didn't want anyone free, she just didn't want competition.

There is a third level of self-knowledge, one Rand definitely didn't want anyone to have- and that is detachment from ideas. Practices to help us detach tend to come from religions. Meditative practices are found in religions. These practices helped people to obtain detachment both from passions and ideas, which has the odd result of making it easier for us to think about ideas. Consider: if you believe an idea is yours or that it somehow defines you, then you tend to attach emotion to it. You might even defend it at the cost of your actual self. If, however, you are more detached, you can find which ideas help you improve your life. The modern trend towards a 'belief/unbelief' dialectic with high emotion attached is very damaging.

And the reason I point out in the title that there's no Objectivist artificial intelligence is that, obviously, the entire field is indicative that objectivist philosophy is no good. When you've got to teach machines to learn about the real world, what works works, and is more indicative of true objectivity.

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