Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade


Note to self: Short attention spans don’t go well with long series of related posts.

I’ve been quite busy with a certain little person weighing 3100gr.  with a thing for crying (in 3 hour intervals) in the middle of the night. Pure bliss nonetheless.

Until I get some sleep again, a little post I had buried in my drafts folder:

Years ago I read a review on Blade Runner, where the reviewer says the most important point on the movie is: What does the Replicant think? How do they feel about being a Replicant? About being a robot? How can a sentient being come into terms with the realization that they are robots whose thinking is mechanically determined?

That question used to fascinate me. It doesn’t anymore. I think I know how Rachael must feel. Once you achieve a little bit of auto gnosci, who doesn’t feel like a robot? Consciousness is very cool, but in the end, all our behavior is deterministic, and once you get a hold of someones character, individual behavior is predictable to ennui.

Look at these people at the NYT (I know I said I wouldn’t read it again, but Sailer linked to it). How are they not robots? They say exactly the same things, they came up with the same excuses that any of us could have foreseen years ago. They’re programs, and not very complex one at that.

Schopenhauer wrote extensively about character and fate; how once you know a person’s character (or your own) thoroughly enough, you can accurately predict it’s behavior in most cases. We only keep the fiction of autonomy going because of a lack of brainpower, or attention towards other people.


16 responses to “Consciousness

  1. Callowman October 2, 2013 at 22:48

    Congratulations on the wee person, spandrell. I found the wee ones made me think more in terms of the longue durée, a good thing in my view.

    • spandrell October 3, 2013 at 06:01

      Thank you. Yes, I find myself doing all sorts of plans for the future, which I’m not good at.
      I think the best things about having wee ones is that they limit your options. There’s a lot of stupid stuff that won’t even cross my mind to do now.

  2. Handle October 2, 2013 at 22:50

    Mazel Tov! I do wonder what it would feel like to be a robot who could easily reprogram away the personality tendencies they didn’t like about themselves. There’s a few bad habits I’d like to erase, alas, they seem very hard-wired.

    • Callowman October 2, 2013 at 23:14

      Indeed. We are human, all too human. If we could alter our behavior at the hardware level, we would no doubt make mistakes – but there’d be a potential for genuine post-human leaps forward.

    • spandrell October 3, 2013 at 06:03

      Bad habits become the cutest thing when you see the little person doing them too.

  3. Candide III October 3, 2013 at 12:35

    Congratulations and many happy returns (lol). Hope the country will keep going for them.

  4. john October 19, 2013 at 04:08

    Congrats Spandrell.

    Nothing like a little bundle to alter your perspective in life. The sleep thing gets better over the course of a few months. It gets really fun after about a year.

  5. Pingback: New Year is local | Bloody shovel

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