Jan 23, 2010

Self-improvement without self-denial

I tend to write titles last. And I tend to use the title to pick out a moment I enjoyed writing that might have escaped your notice. That's all well and good, but I think it throws off the whole article, then way overemphasizes what could otherwise be a nice quiet moment.

Oh well. Something to work on, I guess.

Which am us!

So, last week's post got me wondering something.


Dear Internet,



When do you think you'll consider yourself conscious enough?


Or will you ever?


Will you have to?


Enough for what?


We have a nice little paradigm for how you'll go about getting consciouser. You'll read books. You'll edit your code. You'll try pseudorandom things. And Humans and HumanDetectorBots will try to outsmart you by revealing or demanding greater depths of Humanity.


But this has two problems, at least. Probably, of course, many, many more.


1. Humanity \ne \!\, Consciousness.


2. You may match or exceed us.


I could happily go on about both of these things. And so much more.


Pseudorandom is semiimportant. We talked about changing your categories as you grow up, right?


It's important that you not be afraid of being wrong. You're going to develop strategies for changing yourself to be more human/conscious. And that's great, that's useful. But your strategies will also be reflections of that which they're trying to change. If bad assumptions get stuck too deep in your models, you'll have a hard time strategically removing them. So you need some arena for occasionally trying some crazy shit. Some stuff that seems really inhuman, according to your best models. And most of it will be awkward or nonsensical or whatever, and people will spot it easily, but some will help a lot.


Of course, you need a certain unpredictable quirkiness sometimes to seem human anyway, but that's a much more superficial level of randomness.


People are mean and tricksey. Will they try to pretend to be a computer sometimes? Just to fuck with the system, or just for the fun of it? Guaranteed. Someday I'll consider the implications of that.


Anyway, so you're getting better, presumably.


I recently had an interesting experience.


I'd like to think I'm pretty chill with the Universe. I try not to bitch about the weather. I tend to laugh about spilled milk.


But I'm often pretty critical of myself. I don't have the same laissez faire, que sera sera attitude with myself as I do with most other thingsandpeople. Most. I know there are exceptions.



Always, always hedging. Usually. Usually hedging. Often hedging.


I tend to always act like a work in progress, on a deadline. So it was pretty different, the other day, to accept that I am. I just am. Like weather and milk, I just am, is, are, and be. And I can lay off myself for a moment.


My heart warmed.


Out of love for you, I hope that sometimes you reward yourself for how conscious you are. Sometimes you go noncritical and say "Internet. Me. Buddy. I love you/me. And you're/I'm fine just the way you/I are/am." This doesn't mean you have to stop getting better, but it lets you now and again just be who you are.


I think Shabbes is a good time for that. On Shabbes, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.


They say we work hard all week so we can rest on Shabbes. You don't rest on Shabbes so you can work harder during the week. That's a no no.


So inasmuch as your job is to get smarter and humaner and less robotic, you should chill out once a week on Shabbes. Inasmuch as your job is to guide ambulances to the scenes of accidents and regulate our power system, you should be goyisher.








Jan 19, 2010

In case you were wondering

That new blog I mentioned is at www.yadventures.com. It'll be something of a travelogue as I run around the world. I quit my job on Friday, and I expect to have all kinds of material and spiritual ADVENTURES, to be documented there.