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Madness

Neuroscience, Humanity & Some Occasional Bakker

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It's not a personal principle; it's a principle for coordinating multiple people with very disparate views on the world and creating a society that allows for them to interact without being completely fucked up. In a world where thinking abilities are very different and thinking paradigms are very different, rational views based on consent is a very basic place to stop. You don't have to think about whether something is right or wrong, or if someone didn't sign a contract. It's very simple and objective.

It's a personal principle. I don't know why you think anyone else, let alone everyone else will be automatically compelled to adopt your coordinating principle?

I mean, you think it'd be fucked up...and so everyone else will think that too? Take male circumcision - do people ask the babies consent? And that's a relatively lightweight issue of consent (well, I think so - some might treat that as heavy mutilation, I dunno).

That's something I got from Kelhus in PON - I thought "No one could do something that fucked up! They just can't!", then I searched and searched and realised I could find absolutely nothing that would, somewhat like an Asimov law of robotics, stop them. That my sense that people couldn't do certain things was simply myth.

Yet somehow we manage to figure out how to deal with them, mostly. And not because of shared interests or views, but because of respect of power and negotiation for shared value.

I'm not sure I understand the 'not because of shared interests or views' and 'shared value' part?

I think Bakkers blog touched on fear, which the fearful call 'respect for power' to feel like...well, as if they has a choice in respecting. Actually, speaking of consent...

I think I agree that apply enough fear and a relatively continuing structure can be retained. I just think people like me will be on the barrel end of such 'respect for power'. And the heavier the tweaking possible, the heavier the fear required.

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It's not quite OT but it made me think of this thread and some of the issues raised.

anyway.

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Bump and a DP on this thread because I recently read Dan Simmon's Hyperion (and Fall of Hyperion) and I think that the major themes relate to this thread.

Specifically the idea that mankind needs to truly embrace diversity in order to effectively deal with a future environment where we are required to struggle mainly with the consequences of the human condition (environmental and personal exploitation) and that some kind of rebirth of spiritual morality is required to encompass that.

Thoughts?

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Regarding neuropath, something I'd like explained to me is why it's such a revalotory premise that if you mess with a brain things like morality, love, etc can be manipulated. More specifically why this is such a devastatingly world shattering event to the protagonists.

It's been a while and a busy time since i read this book but I remember wondering what the point was once I was finished with it.

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Wow, Mackaxx, that's a bit like saying "Hey, cutting someones hands off isn't a relevatory premise, why was it a devistatingly world shattering event for the characters to get their hands cut off?". Except its not hands, it's your own mind.

Specifically the idea that mankind needs to truly embrace diversity in order to effectively deal with a future environment where we are required to struggle mainly with the consequences of the human condition (environmental and personal exploitation) and that some kind of rebirth of spiritual morality is required to encompass that.

Thoughts?

I think we need to realise that 2% of the population are sociopaths' date=' who work their way into the infrastructure of society and engeneer conflict to fuel their own endless need to win (so as to have something to fill the void that social tendancies fill in the rest of us).

I think we need to realise that the way we live now comes from having been driven off ancestral lands and having lost the capacity to grow food for ourselves back in the middle ages, so as to forfil the power fantasies of nobles (who were probably sociopaths as well).

Apart from that, I think with the technology we currently have, we could all live like the simple animals we are and the sort of lifestyle that our ancient ancestors would have attributed to be the lifestyle of gods. By simply eating well, voluntary exercise and sleeping warm, continually.

We can already do that. It's just the bulk of us have had our capacity to be indipendent severed many generations ago - long enough for us to treat [i']having to work as normal.

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Wow, Mackaxx, that's a bit like saying "Hey, cutting someones hands off isn't a relevatory premise, why was it a devistatingly world shattering event for the characters to get their hands cut off?". Except its not hands, it's your own mind.

Well, he's not talking about what was DONE to people, just the concept. The Argument. The idea that who you are can be changed, and you would never notice. It's a bit troublesome to think of...probably troublesome isn't the right word. It creates unease to know that who you are really isn't. At least for most.

But I agree; for the most part the notion that who you are can be changed by changing your brain doesn't seem weird at all. Between lobotomies, alzheimers, head injuries and concussion studies this seems like a pretty basic thing.

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New ideas scare the fuck out of some people. Considering most people believe their mind and body are not linked in this manner and have a hardwired conservative attitude to change, I certainly understand how disquieting this book can be.

Boil it down and it really isn't that different from Neo downloading kung fu in the Matrix though. Accelerated learning is hunky dory, but downloading a sexual orientation change is 'scary' and 'not right'.

Idk. Is it the revelation that is world shattering for the characters, or just all the mindrape?

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Yes Kalbear, thats exactly what I meant. ta

Also, this is simply not a new idea, a man and a railway spike put paid to the idea a long long time ago. This book is just fine tuning the approach a bit. I don't find it disconcerting or paticularly novel, if your into souls and all that sort of thing then you might but I don't think many people who accept evolution and all it entails would be as that headfucked by the idea as bakker thinks they will.

This applies in particular to the main character of the book as well, I didn't find it believable that he'd be hesitant in believing these things, kids or no kids.

I also don't see how its in any way an excuse to become amoral, nor will it ever become one.

I guess i just find one of the books central premises pretty damn flimsy.

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Well, he's not talking about what was DONE to people, just the concept. The Argument. The idea that who you are can be changed, and you would never notice. It's a bit troublesome to think of...probably troublesome isn't the right word. It creates unease to know that who you are really isn't. At least for most.

I'm not sure that's what the argument is about? That sort of change is simply evidence toward, not the conclusion itself?

I mean, part of it is the idea the argument is so compellingly the case, Neil does what he does to others (and even himself) over it.

Mind you, some people fly planes into buildings based on stuff, so I guess I could see your point.

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I'm not sure that's what the argument is about? That sort of change is simply evidence toward, not the conclusion itself?

I mean, part of it is the idea the argument is so compellingly the case, Neil does what he does to others (and even himself) over it.

Mind you, some people fly planes into buildings based on stuff, so I guess I could see your point.

The argument is just a hypothesis, without the evidence its just philosophic bollocks. Luckily there is of course evidence that its true in the real would, thats been there for a long time. Bakker then proceeds to write a novel where more evidence of a much nastier nature is shoved down our throats for the rest of the book.

Again to the main protagonists in the film it just wouldnt be the enormous head fuck that it's made to look like. It would probably consititute a bit of a chat in the tea room in which everyone said to the honors student who raised it 'well duh' and continued on with morning tea.

The argument just isn't that compelling, especially to someone in the field or even science in general.

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Bakker then proceeds to write a novel where more evidence of a much nastier nature is shoved down our throats for the rest of the book.

Just my take, but that 'nastier' isn't. Niel is, in context of the argument...for lack of a better word, being sensible. In that the way he's depicting as acting is in accordance with the argument. If your having a chat in the tea room and going 'oh yeah', then your not getting it. Neil gets it.

Or maybe I'm describing how it's supposed to be scary for the reader. To consider the nut job as actually being the 'sane' one - saner than the reader, even.

I mean, to a stone age human, some of the things we do to each other now would seem horrific and nasty! And no, I don't mean war, I mean surgery that removes a cancer! That difference in knowledge is the scary idea. Except my surgery example is a benign one and I can't readily think of one that is absent benine or malice or anything human like that.

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I'm not sure that's what the argument is about? That sort of change is simply evidence toward, not the conclusion itself?

I mean, part of it is the idea the argument is so compellingly the case, Neil does what he does to others (and even himself) over it.

The people he has the Argument with aren't being horrified at the results. They're being horrified at the notion of not being who they are. Which is fairly lame, honestly, and probably why Neuropath's repeated slamming of this over and over seemed so bad.

To a stone age human, things like driving cars (massive fatalities every year), eating raw meat and circumcision would be pretty horrible. Boob implants would also likely be insane.

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