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Bugs, Borg, and Booze.

The is an essay based on a conversation I had with a drunk friend of mine. It’s been edited and refined.

The block quoted portions are my friend.

Insects communicate chemically. Ironic that the organisms the chose to seal them selves off behind exoskeletons ended up being the most connected. The insect became a single immortal individual. Like the queen said in first contact, “You imply a disparity where none exists, I Am the collective.”

The Borg as they would be is the ideal form of life, they would be pure thought, purpose, action, and loyalty, a single mind expanding to fill the universe, painless, fearless, ultra aware, and infinitely ethical. The apotheosis of mankind. Committed to the death to elevating all others,altruism personified,
charity, given immortality and power. That’s what we are going to become. We will shed our fears and hate like so many warts frozen away.

Of course the Borg of Star Trek are so different from that, the claim of inspiration seems misleading. Star Trek Borg are a torture machine, no learning, no comprehension, just hunger and torture, the mythic hell to scare the villagers away from the dangerous disruptive technologies.

The Borg were designed to be a bad guy. I think they accidentally made something not really scary if you carried the idea forward logically. This is why the Borg behave so paradoxically in the series. I mean really why would they not convince people? Why would they not conquer by stealth? We are they so impatient? Why don’t people volunteer? Because ultimately Star trek is anti technology, and very definitely anti transhumanism.

*The conversation turned here to psychosis and its origins as it relates to communication, since the Borg, and insect communicate instantly and completely.

In true happiness there is no need to communicate. Communication is a plea to those around you for aid, that’s the point of tribalism. To enlist the aid of those around you, the insect stepped further making the next individual a part of them, sharing fear and pain directly so that it can be fought with equal conviction. We can’t speak to insects because they have nothing to say 550 million years experience has shown them the value of silence. We are at the loathsome middle ground, too grown up to go home too young to command our destiny. We are leaving adolescence, and we’re very nervous about it.

We got smart too fast for the basic comfort system. As stand alone as we would like to be, there are very few who can actually be alone and not go insane. We are too smart and too tribal. A down fall of over-specialization.

Our minds are widening the gap between itself and the meat pet it evolved in. Our horses don’t want to cross the river, eventually we’ll have to hope off and swim. (Or grow gills, build a boat, etc.)

You are still thinking in terms of matter. I believe with a kind of work I can’t begin to comprehend, we can become energy.

Indeed. One method could be to study stable forms of complex energy with an eye towards replication what makes them stable, chaos theory is probably a grand first step in that direction. I suspect we need to refine what our concept of “object” means, just to get us thinking in the right direction. We know these things but we don’t grasp them intuitively. Energy is more fluid than matter. Energetic structures are more obviously transient so we think of them as such. They exist but not like the cup on our desk. We don’t think of a wave as an object precisely because it is unstable. And yet it exists like the red spot on Jupiter, or a water fall. We are like that. We are constantly having our matter replaced and yet we are stable. But as you say, those incorporate matter.

Is it possible to replicate the processes of life in the completely energy medium? I don’t see why not. The trick I think would be roughly something like the development of energetic objects with the goal of creating energetic computers and ships to hold our minds. Imagine a material machine creating a field, like a Tesla coil, but the field would be something persistent, something that creates a secondary field. We manipulate the device to manipulate the first field to manipulate the second one in such a way that a loop is made. The second field replaces the material component’s function and the loop closes and you end up with an energy object.

I would not be at all surprised to discover energetic life forms already in existence, formations of energy that behave like life, inside of stars, the only common stable nearly pure energy environment I can think of. Fire for example is lifelike, but it consumes matter. Of course ultimately the barrier between matter and energy is cognitive. They are actually one thing. We’ve simply evolved to think of them as separate. Basically what we’re talking about is building a container for a mind out of materials that are far less dense and far more energetic. The goal being durability.

People think of energy as being indestructible, but they don’t understand. Saying the soul, (an energy human) is indestructible because you can’t destroy energy is like saying a wine glass is indestructible because you can’t break sand. Obviously if you pound a wine glass into powder it stops being a wineglass. Energy structures may turn out to be far more fragile, though of course there are environments that energy structures could survive in that no material structure could, again like the inside of a star. Also energy materials would have different properties and different scales.

A material body may very well be superior all told.

Just a neat question to think about… What if energy beings evolved into us? What if the big bang was engineered by them to create a material universe for these superior forms?

There is a whole other issue. Have you thought about what being bodyless would mean from an intellectual emotional perspective? People think of it in terms of having a body made of energy, as opposed to a mind made of energy with no need of a body. But, my body overly influences my mind. The link between mind and body is seriously interconnected in some people. Like Bruce Lee and the martial artist idea of harmony between mind body and spirit. People like me are the other end. I would like to shed my body.

The problem with that barrier would be giving up material things and not just stuff, food, water, sleep. It would be hard to separate those simple joys from existence. I mean how much of your mind is built around sustaining a meat machine? Around 90% it would seem.

If I’m hungry I’m angry, if I’m horny I’m sad, if I’m tired I’m despairing. We are all dopamine addicts, given a fix when we do the pet’s bidding. We are master blaster. A trapped minuscule tyrant on the back of a dumb demanding but ultimately loyal pack animal. We fuck to make more, we get a sugar, we eat to keep it going, we get a sugar, we carve out a safe place to regenerate, and we get a sugar. We are kept and strung out. And we strive to be free and yet also fear it. You’re dead on, 90% of emotions are the pet.

What is happiness without sadness?/blockquote>

Happiness is a brain state separate from sadness. Like winning the lotto and finding out your loved one died at the same time. You can be both happy and sad, therefor they are unlinked scales. You can say you’re more of one than the other which just confuses the issue, I can say I’m more banana than blue, those doesn’t mean they are both positions on a single slider. Ultimately happiness and sadness both have presence and absence. The contrast each other, just like a banana on a sheet of blue paper would, again that doesn’t mean they are linked beyond the metaphysical links like they both exist or they are both in my analogy.

We are a neo cortex, a brain on top of a chimp, on top of a lizard, on top of a fish, on top of a worm, on top of an amoeba. We have an overly narrow definition of human, you spoke of feral children and other nurture anomalies.

But what is the difference between feral and ‘normal’?

Psychopaths are not made that way they are born, they have a brain structure difference. Of course any human can be trained to behave like a psychopath, but that’s a different animal entirely. MRIs and brain dissection of executed criminals show some consistent anomalies. Nothing conclusive, but tantalizingly suggestive. Psychopathy is caused by a disconnection an inability to receive certain signals from our emotional center. The dopamine system becomes partially ineffective. They don’t get the sugar for hugs and love nor do they get the whip for crime and harm genius is, like psychopathy, a deformity, a mutation. In psychopathy its a lack of sensation they stomp a kitten and feel nothing many refrain from stomping kittens on intellectual grounds.

The dangerous kind are the ones with a half functional system, no guilt but plenty of reward, so when they stomp a kitten they feel the tiny rush of power of being able to arbitrarily torture something but none of the guilt at being so wasteful or sadistic, so killing becomes potentially orgasmic. All sorts of horrific circuits become possible with pain dampened in places and pleasure expanded in others leading to truly insane behaviors.

And that is why meth is popular with rednecks.

Drugs are a cheat, a way to steal the dopamine, masturbation, all drugs are similar in this regard. The point of any drug is the same, to trick the lizard brain into dispensing sugar without having to go through all the hassle of eating, sleeping, fucking, etc. The lizard stops giving out sugar at the same levels. Diminishing returns ensures that we seek new opportunities. This is adaptive in the jungle for an organism with no mind as we know it. Now, it needs to be shed.

That’s why heroin addicts taper off on all of the animal maintenance activities, without the sugar, we tend to disregard the pet, that’s also why the martial artists talk about unity so much, making the pet work with you instead of over you.

Updated: May 16, 2010 — 1:17 pm

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