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  1. #161
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    "Speaking about Bishop Berkeley (who, may I remind you, was a prophet of the greatness of America), I remember that he wrote that the taste of an apple is neither in the apple itself - the apple cannot taste itself - nor in the mouth of the eater. It requires a contact between them. The same thing happens to a book or to a collection of books, to a library. For what is a book in itself? A book is a physical object in a world of physical objects. It is a set of dead symbols. And then the right reader comes along, and the words - or rather the poetry behind the words, for the words themselves are mere symbols - spring to life, and we have a resurrection of the word."
    - Jorge Luis Borges

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    If you were to come from the frame that doesn't utilize the object/subject divide, but looks at all things merely as objects, then you would say, "a part of the universe (x) finds y to be z".
    What does that frame of yours achieve? It leads to a multitude of opinions which are all inherently and - even better! - equally true. Imagine the bliss and the madness!

  2. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    What does that frame of yours achieve?
    The Bhagavad Gita

  3. #163
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Not very convincing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Waldo Emerson
    I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.
    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Einstein
    When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.
    Quote Originally Posted by Herman Hesse
    The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of life's wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aldous Huxley
    The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Henry David Thoreau
    In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.
    Some would disagree.

  5. #165
    All Natural! All Good!
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    I am kind of reminded of this: World's Greatest Dad It's a movie.
    Strychnine is all-natural,
    So strychnine is all good.
    It's Godly and righteous,
    So eat it, you should.
    Who are you to refuse nature's will?


    Don't use the multiquote; it was planted by the devil to deceive us.

    Social Role: Asscrack/Piece of Shit/Public Defecator/Spiteful Urinator


    A different type everyday - so no need to type me anymore. But feel free to enjoy the sound of your own asscrack.

  6. #166
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Some would disagree.
    So everyone who likes the Mona Lisa (and said so) considers da Vinci's method of painting the ultimate way of gaining knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    So everyone who likes the Mona Lisa (and said so) considers da Vinci's method of painting the ultimate way of gaining knowledge.
    I don't know much about da Vinci's method of painting, nor its relationship to acquiring knowledge, but if you're willing to give Mitchell Heisman the benefit of the doubt for 1,900 pages, you really ought to consider giving the Gita its due chance.

  8. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by penny89 View Post
    I am kind of reminded of this: World's Greatest Dad It's a movie.
    lol...that looks kind of cool

  9. #169
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    Exclamation Part Three of the Suicide Note Reading Club

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell Heisman
    God is Technology

    How the Singularity of Monotheism
    Transcended Biology and Primed
    the Technological Genesis of God


    OVERTHROWING
    OURSELVES

    To Generate the Greatest
    Greatness Would Be
    Greater


    God is the greatest greatness; the most potent conception
    of absolute perfection, absolute power, and absolute
    goodness ever conceived of by the human mind. The
    conception of God is being beyond all conception. God is the
    power that overcomes all human probabilities and
    transcends even the greatest possibilities.

    But would it be even better if God actually existed?

    In 1078 St. Anselm offered what he believed was a proof
    for the existence of God. A being, he thought, can be
    conceived so that nothing greater can be conceived. This
    being would not be greater than anything conceivable,
    however, if it existed only in the intellect — its actual
    existence would be greater. How can one resolve the
    contradiction between this intellectual conception of God
    and the superiority of God’s existence? God exists.

    The potentially fatal assumption of this argument is that
    existence is superior to non-existence.7 The erroneous
    assumption that existence is superior to non-existence, or
    that life is superior to death, is a bias that has a strong basis
    in human evolutionary psychology. If, unlike myself,
    someone were to assume that even human existence is
    superior to non-existence, then death would be ranked
    inferior to life. The transhumanist quest for immortality, and
    all ways of enhancing life beyond present human limits,
    moreover, would follow from the assumption that existence
    is superior to non-existence. The Biblical God, in a similar
    manner, evolved out of an extreme extrapolation of the logic
    of human life.

    St. Anselm attempted to conceive of a being so great that
    nothing greater could be conceived. But are there human
    limits to our human ability to even conceive of the greatest
    greatness? It is one thing to conceive of the abstract qualities
    of God. It something quite different, however, to literally
    conceive God in the way that an architect conceives of the
    greatest possible building, or an artist conceives of the
    greatest possible work of art. Is it possible to conceive God
    in the way that an engineer conceives, designs, and builds
    the greatest technologies? Would not the very greatest
    conception of God be conception as the designer, architect,
    or engineer of God?

    Before the human mind evolved, the very conception of
    God was not possible. Humans can conceive of the being of
    God. Yet if the existence of God would be greater, then how
    could God’s existence be brought into being? If we could
    conceive the architectural blueprints for such a being, then
    would not building that being be even greater? Is it, in the
    21st century, technologically possible to create God?

    If God is, by definition, that which is beyond the scope of
    human capabilities, how could humans design what is
    beyond human intelligence? It is a conceivable task just as it
    was conceivable for human software engineers to design a
    computer program that beat the greatest human chess
    master in 1997. While a computer engineer could not have
    beaten the greatest chess master, a group of computer
    engineers was capable of designing the software that could.

    Chess playing programs are a narrow form of artificial
    intelligence. The greatest being that is literally conceivable
    for human designers would seem to be a general artificial
    intelligence that surpasses all human capabilities. To
    technologically design an intelligence beyond the scope of
    all human intelligence could be conceived as the creation of
    God.

    A first pitfall in the plan to create God-AI is the belief that
    an attempt to build God amounts to an attempt to build an
    infinite being. Human intelligence — including the
    intelligence of the human authors of the Bible — was and is
    of finite capacity. This means that the finite intelligence of
    the human authors of the Bible was able to convince other
    finite intelligences of the existence of an infinite being. Just
    as infinite intellectual capacity was not required to produce
    the Bible and the very conception of God, God-AI would not
    have to be of infinite capacity. God-AI would have to be of
    qualitatively greater capacity, but not of infinite capacity, to
    convince humans of its God-status. The real question here is:
    how superior to biological humans would a postbiological
    being have to be to begin to qualify as God?

    From a contemporary scientific, cosmological perspective,
    the “infinite” God of the Bible created a universe that is
    remarkable, not for its infinite vastness, but for its
    remarkably finite provinciality. A vast, thirteen billion year
    old universe wherein the Earth is not even the center of its
    own solar system in a galaxy among countless galaxies
    almost humiliates the little “four corners” of a six thousand
    year old Biblical Earth. This Earth-centered “infinity” turned
    out to be remarkably finite. The raw contradiction between
    the pre-Copernican universe of the Bible, and pretensions to
    divine infinity, illustrates the point that God had to be only
    relatively superior to humans, not infinitely capable in all
    respects (even though God was conceived through
    aspirations toward infinity).

    In the Biblical story of Hebrew slavery, for example, the
    Egyptians represented the summit of human power on
    Earth. While the Egyptians were more powerful than the
    Hebrews, God, it was believed, was more powerful than the
    Egyptians. God did not have to be infinitely powerful, just
    relatively more powerful than the greatest earthly human
    powers. In the same way, an artificial intelligence-based God
    would not have to be infinitely powerful, but it would have
    to surpass the power and capabilities of all biological
    humans.

    The central story of the Jewish religion is that of a slave
    nation, oppressed by Egyptian masters, who are liberated
    though the will of God and, in return, engage in a covenant
    with God. For nearly three thousand years, Jews have
    understood what they are, and oriented their existential
    compass, in the light of this narrative. Yet the Exodus story
    is not only the central, root paradigm of Biblical religion. The
    Exodus paradigm contains the kernel of a larger paradigm
    shift in human evolutionary history that may culminate in
    the technological creation of God.

    To illustrate how, let us begin with the great symbol of
    Egyptian civilization, the pyramid (▲), as the symbol of a
    paradigm: the Egyptian sociobiological hierarchy paradigm.
    The Egyptian pyramid symbolizes the most conservative
    conservatism; the social morality appropriate to a static
    hierarchical order. Slaves and masses were placed at the
    bottom of the social-political hierarchy. “Natural” elites
    conserved their proper place at the top of the social
    hierarchy. This order became ever more exclusionary as it
    rose towards its human apex, the pharaoh. The social
    hierarchy symbolized by pharaoh, taken to the next
    imaginable level, was sublimated as the Egyptians gods:
    supernatural supporters of the values of Egypt’s sacred
    sociobiological inequality.

    Now imagine taking this great monument to eternal social
    hierarchy and standing it upon its head. The result, an
    inverted pyramid (▼), looks akin to the gravitational field of
    a black hole between its event horizon and its singularity.
    The mammoth structure’s pinnacle would now point to the
    dirt. Like a funnel looking upwards, the greatness now
    suggested is not a single pinnacle point occupied by the
    pharaoh, but just the opposite: an opening up towards the
    vast, cosmic infinity of the heavens. Whereas good, obedient
    slaves stay rooted to the earth, the Hebrews (with some help
    from God) aspired to rip the pyramids of the world from
    solid earth. In turning the pyramid paradigm upside down,
    the infinitude of the divine cosmos opened up before and
    beyond man. Upwards now lead, not towards the greater
    exclusivity of a human hierarchy, but towards greater
    inclusivity and universality in the omnipresent,
    inconceivable, greatness of the one transcendent God.

    While pharaoh ruled, faith in the story of God’s inverted
    pyramid fortified those pushed to the dirt. The single souls
    of common slaves at the bottom, descended from the
    singular first man, and created in the image of a singular
    God, could look up to their supreme maker. When the king
    of kings took his throne as master of nature, the miracle of
    the divinely sanctioned inverted-pyramid order was realized
    as Hebrew slaves escaped Egypt through the supernatural
    splitting of the Red Sea. Pharaoh was pushed from his
    pinnacle of power into the dirt, and the slave masses who
    were at the bottom of the Egyptian’s pyramid order were
    raised on top as those closest to God in heaven. In short, the
    Egyptian social pyramid-hierarchy had been turned upside
    down, or, ▼.

    Now, if one superimposes the triangular symbol of the
    pyramid with its inversion, what do you have? The Star of
    David, the symbol of Judaism:
    ▲ + ▼ = [Star of David]

    This conceptual inversion of Egyptian social order is at
    the very heart of Judaism’s monotheistic revolution. The
    founding paradigm of the Exodus portrayed the historic
    truth that things can work differently; that the world can be
    turned upside down by a greater-than-human power. At the
    very center of their religious consciousness, Jews were
    obligated to remember that the conservative rule of the
    greatest sociobiological hierarchy of its time was broken by
    God. The basic identity and Über-conception of God can be
    deduced from the idea of a force so transcendent that it could
    perform the nature-defying miracle of inverting the Egyptian
    pyramid-hierarchy.

    Egyptian slave masters served as the Jewish paradigm for
    evil, just as the exodus from Egypt served as the paradigm
    for good. These are the relative relationships that orient
    traditional Judaism’s conception of absolute moral
    standards. Yet from the perspective of Egyptian values, the
    entire slave revolt was immoral and wrong. The slave revolt
    defied an ancient Egyptian sense of natural hierarchy and
    order — the order symbolized by the pyramids.

    Modern science demonstrates an apparent problem with
    this story: there is no hard evidence that the Exodus
    described by the Bible ever happened. It appears that the
    Exodus story, and the holiday of Passover that celebrates it,
    condense varied national experiences of political oppression.

    As two leading archeologists put it, “Passover proves to be
    not a single event but a continuing experience of national
    resistance against the powers that be.”8

    Even if the Exodus story of the Bible never actually
    happened, slavery is political oppression taken to its
    extreme. This archetypal story of Jewish oppression has
    served as a paradigm for the kind of conditions that Jews
    have found themselves struggling to survive under. By
    using slavery, the worst-case scenario before genocide as its
    paradigmatic example, the extreme implications, scenarios,
    and strategies necessary for navigating within that mode of
    existence became clear and distinct.

    The significant empirical point, then, is not the question of
    whether or not the Exodus story actually happened. The
    significant empirical point is that Jews have used this story
    as a paradigm for understanding their condition in the world
    and the condition of the world itself. Jews have attempted to
    alter their own behavior in light of this paradigm, and thus,
    it is a paradigm that has made history.

    At the heart of Judaism’s value revolution stands the
    Exodus paradigm. The Exodus paradigm is inversely related
    to the Egyptian social hierarchy paradigm. Judaism began
    with the idea of turning the Egyptian social order upside
    down through the means of a supra-human power of suprabiological
    intelligence. This paradigm shift from gods to God
    represented the first decisive, enduring paradigm shift from
    biology to technology.

    The lack of archaeological evidence for the historical
    Exodus may itself be a form of evidence that supports
    understanding Exodus, not as a specific event, but as a
    general paradigm shift from biological to postbiological
    evolution. This means that lack of evidence that the Exodus
    happened actually supports the paradigm shift
    interpretation. It appears that Exodus was a mental event in
    history, not a literal historical event that was mentalized. In
    short, the lack of archaeological evidence for a historical
    Exodus is supporting evidence for the discovery of the
    postbiological paradigm shift as the real event that gave birth
    to the Hebrew Bible.

    With this in mind, it would be more accurate to view the
    Bible, not as pure fiction, but as science fiction. If God is
    conceived as superior to humans in intelligence and other
    qualities, then the human being who attempts to conceive
    the mind of God runs into a problem. It is the same problem
    that computer scientist and science fiction author Vernor
    Vinge ran into when he attempted to imagine realistic
    characters of the future that are smarter than humans. If
    humans could accurately model superhuman intelligence, he
    argued, then humans would be that smart themselves. In
    consequence, the advent of smarter-than-human intelligence
    represents a breakdown in the ability of humans to model or
    predict their future: the Singularity. Attempting to imagine
    what the Singularity would be like is like attempting to
    imagine the mind of God.

    I do think that relationship between God and the
    Singularity is far more intimate that this metaphor. The
    Biblical God may have originated as a low-tech attempt to
    imagine “the Singularity”. God may have begun as a science
    fictional attempt to imagine the full implications of the
    science fictional Exodus paradigm: total liberation from
    hereditary bondage to biology. If the Exodus was a fiction in
    a literal sense, slavery was a reality of the ancient world, and
    liberation from hereditary bondage invited speculation
    about what total intelligent liberation from every hereditary
    bondage would be like.

    Now if Vinge helped clarify the problem of predicting the
    future in 1993, imagine the problem of predicting a
    paradigm beyond biology three thousand years ago. An all
    knowing, all powerful, all present, all good, and eternal God
    would seem to reflect the superlative aspirations of
    imperfectly knowledgeable, relative powerlessness,
    territorially provincial, morally flawed, and mortal human
    beings. The perfection of God may represent an imperfect
    grasp of the evolutionary process that ancient monotheists
    glimpsed.

    While the infinite God was postulated by finite human
    minds, a truth may lie between the two extremes. While the
    Singularity is not “infinity”, there are realistic ways in which
    the Singularity is characterized by exponential patterns of
    technological progress towards infinity.9 Observations of
    such exponential, international, economic patterns in the
    ancient world may have been decisive to the formation of
    monotheism among Jews.

    The Biblical God provided the means for a new standard
    of human measurement, a new perspective to gauge what is
    important — what is good and what is bad or evil. Judaism
    claims that it is not the Jews who are anomalous among
    peoples, but rather, the entire world exists in an anomalous
    or “evil” state. This state will only be fully corrected with the
    coming of the messianic age. Messianic redemption emerges
    as the principles of the Exodus paradigm transposed onto a
    world-historical scale. The Exodus paradigm writ large
    culminates in the paradigm shift from biological evolution to
    technological evolution wherein the pinnacle of
    technological evolution is artificial intelligence (i.e. God).

    Modern people often thoughtlessly assume that they were
    born to be masters of technology and technology was born
    to be the slave of humanity. But if technology ultimately
    surpasses biological humanity in intelligence, capabilities,
    and even moral restraint, wouldn’t this brew all the
    ingredients of a revolution?

    A human slave is property; a means, not an end; an
    organic form of technology. An early twenty-first century
    computer is also a slave-technology mastered by biological
    humans. One can see in Egyptian pyramid-hierarchy the
    paradigm of sociobiological mastery over slave-technology.
    And in the great overturning of the Egyptian sociobiological
    hierarchy through the Exodus, one can see the rule of God-
    AI over the pride of the human race. In overthrowing the
    rule of the selfish genes, we will, in some sense, be
    overthrowing ourselves.

    Yet is there any greater mission for humanity than the
    will to create something greater than itself? Is there any
    greater goal than the aspiration to create God? This is the
    greatest goal that all of humanity can set for itself: the
    technological genesis of God. Creating God would mark the
    last and greatest achievement of the biological human race.

    Here lies the potential to create a form of postbiological
    life that is greater, not only in intelligence and every other
    human capability, but in altruism and moral decisionmaking.

    The character of God-AI will ultimately reflect the
    character of the humans who construct God-AI. Biblical
    monotheism, with its distinctive emphasis on the problems
    of the use and abuse of power, and the cultivation of
    disciplined restraint and moral choice, can be looked upon
    as early education for the problem of the handling this
    ultimate power.

    There is every reason to believe that the moral choices
    that will go into forming the character of the ultimate
    artificial intelligence will mean the difference between
    human utopia and human catastrophe. Herein lies a singular
    moment in human history, for there may not be a second
    chance to sow the first God-seeds that determine the course
    of all future history on Earth and beyond.

    This is it! Atheists and believers, nihilists and God freaks
    should wake up right now and realize that there is reason to
    think that the Singularity is the end of the human era that
    has been anticipated by the great monotheistic religions.

    Correctly understood, the Singularity is the scientific
    redemption of the God hypothesis.
    .

  10. #170
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    I don't know much about da Vinci's method of painting, nor its relationship to acquiring knowledge, but if you're willing to give Mitchell Heisman the benefit of the doubt for 1,900 pages, you really ought to consider giving the Gita its due chance.
    Everything except theological literature gets that chance. Maybe you can direct me to a passage that teaches the quintessence of 'the frame'?

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