Welcome to the first guest contribution at thrice8hermes. A big thanks to al for submitting this piece and there is one more in the queue! If anyone else is inspired to submit their own pieces, please do so.
Al described it as a bit of a ramble. I think of it as a sceptical soliloquy. Please bear in mind that this format is a way for someone to explore their thoughts, positions, frameworks sincerely. This means that it is a product of the moment it was produced. If one has had experience in these things, then one knows that almost immediately it is published, one already has started to adjust one’s position slightly. Or wishes one had expressed something differently.
I read it multiple times for proofreading and so I can comment on it – but I would have anyway. This is the kind of work that I love. The sincere & sceptical exploration of subjects which in one regard are so simple that most people miss them, but in another regard, get right to the heart of things.
Al is clearly keeps the wood & the trees in mind when mulling over things of real substance.
I am going to put my particular thoughts in a comment below.
Just in case anyone is interested. I have had to delay the launch of the optional fee/bonus community discussion format. 1. To just get over my worrisome self, and 2. there are a couple of minor details I need to iron out. But hopefully, hopefully, in the next few days.
And Now, the article.
I’m bored with a lot of the conversations I’m hearing, by al
I’m bored of a lot of the conversation I’m hearing. I’m especially bored of hearing partially thought out but vehemently held positions.
Eg 1: Viruses are a hoax. I have never seen them, I don’t know what they are, whether they exist, what they do, etc. That is personally acceptable to me as a position.
But supplements, vitamin C, D or whatever – no, those are real. Those special bits of chemical matter are what your body needs, those ‘nutrients’ are nutritious and essential. After all, we are made up of small bits that bind to the other small bits we eat, and if you have the right bits binding together that is better. Yeah? That’s how it works, say some experts that some people believe.
Other experts say smoking is bad, but perhaps we shouldn’t believe those experts – smoking could be good. Nor should we believe the virus experts. Medical experts have been through a hard-core indoctrination system – so they are really just parrots for big pharma. Some nutrition experts are good though!
Eg 2: I’m bored of hearing half-arsed history arguments. On the basis of personal research, I accept that history only goes back a bit of time and that after 200 years or so, there are no primary sources. But if you hold that, how is it possible to also hold that the Tartarians were also antiqui-tech masters of free energy too? There are no sources for that either. What has free energy got to do with the old buildings? Where is the stuff they powered? Surely if ‘spires’ is all it takes to get free energy, this would still be common knowledge? Yes, I understand it’s just a hypothesis, but why is that better than saying the spires were used for radio signals or amplifying the ‘good vibe’ energy that Tartarians exuded from their very pores.
What evidence indicates free energy?
Even if we accept that the historical alternative research pictures of Tartarian buildings and basements etc are authentic, why do we assume that we can conceive of how those people thought about anything? We are 200 years further down the road of domestication, with phones, screens, widespread ‘education’ – how could we know how those people thought? Do we know what our neighbours think? I am lucky enough to have a slight familiarity with village life before the modern age (outdoor toilets, no hot water, no TV, agrarian self-sufficient living) – those people in the village were and are different! We don’t have much in common, they weren’t even interested in sportsball. Yes, we eat, talk etc – but our ways of understanding the world are worlds apart.
We just don’t know what history was, and nothing we see will really help us to get closer to it. History is only meaningful to us in the present. It is an interpretive act. What was interpreted for us at school was what was expedient for us to think. Without a better understanding of the whys and wherefores, we are just chasing our tail to try to get something useful from history.
Eg 3: And who says those pictures of spires and Tartarian buildings are really real? Is it possible that pictures, maps, videos, published books, etc are all hoaxed? We are comfortable with the idea that AI may nowadays be playing a role. Perhaps it is fully generating much of the news we read – even creating the footage and storylines. Maybe it’s that good, and has been for years. Perhaps AI generates the mega-narrative plan to guide humanity into greater domestication and dependency too! Or alternatively, perhaps AI only has a poor foothold – but good enough so that when certain people are uploaded to youtube (Boris Johnson, Joe Biden), they are able to intercede and very slightly modify the content – perhaps augmenting the eyes to remove or alter the pupils. Perhaps that change is all it takes – as consumers, we pick on the change and at some level, we know it has been tampered with and untrustworthy. This is to say, it is not lying to us, but fostering the conditions whereby we don’t have the information to support or refute the underlying reality. Perhaps it is only ‘poisoning the well of information that is all that is required for the truth-and-lie system to prevent us from accurate judgments. We are arguing about characters in a soap opera.
More on the AI – when did it start playing a role? Was it last year? Or was it 200 years ago? Has humanity been living out a plan that was long in the making, and some of us are only now getting a hint? How would we know? Maybe AI is synonymous with ‘Satan’ of yesteryear – both are ‘the Adversary’, a higher intelligence, apparently directing the show and offering us opportunities to take bait and derail, confuse and degenerate us.
Eg 4: Outer Space, as commonly understood, is a perfectly plausible idea. It bloody well should be, given how much thought, time, money, and education has gone into expressing the ideas! If you are determined to make a convincing theory of a thing, I would say given enough resources and time, you could do it. Could you argue that cats were the past rulers of the earth? I reckon with enough resources and time, most people would accept the idea!
Above are just a bunch of ideas. I like to explore these, but I am irritated when heavy skepticism is applied to one set of ideas, but only light skepticism is applied elsewhere. I advocate heavy skepticism everywhere. Why should anyone accept any of these ideas?
Perhaps we can take a position that is very skeptical of all the evidence we experience. We can’t be sure of anything on a screen – the only certainty we can have is when we realise an impossibility. Eg: when a floating astronaut drops a screw in zero gravity. Or when we see a glint of light from a car sized satellite 400 kilometres away.
Perhaps even the testimony of others is not great for us. When we are told that a friend’s granny died of covid, or that an elderly relative recollects seeing a plane crashing in WWII, how can we be assured that this testimony is correct? We can’t be. We can say that the friend was ‘told’ the granny had Covid, but that doesn’t help us understand the truth, only that the information they are relaying was accurate.
Even our own experience is falsifiable. When we see a magic trick, we may not understand how the trick was performed, but we don’t believe the trick to be actual magic. But, what if we weren’t told there was a magician conducting a show at all but that a trick was played anyway – would we then fall for it? I think so.
So. Is there a better type of thinking – one that is beyond one’s time and place? Beyond the bits and bobs that float into and out of our experience, which nowadays is often via a screen. Is there a way to have greater comfort over what we accept? Should we have any trust in what we experience on a screen? What, if any, information should we accept from others? Should we accept what we think we experience directly? Do the very ideas we hold filter our information so thoroughly, we can’t even see the wood for the trees?
All of us can be adamant on the basis of ideas – after a point, we will look no further. A Christian will feel relieved over their ill-judged actions – Jesus died for their sins after all. A scientist will feel assured that viruses exist – others like him confirm it. Someone who holds to climate change will see every change in the weather as support of the idea that humanity is impacting the planet. A capitalist will want free markets to establish the individual’s rewards by merit, whereas a Marxist will argue for a central system to pass out rewards evenly. Etc, etc. We are beholden to the ideas we have accepted, they frame what we experience.
To me, anecdotal experience is king. To be a sovereign being requires that you place your anecdotal experience at the center of your understanding of the world. You should do this with care and be prepared to review past experience and change your hypotheses when new information comes to light. This is to say, that you proceed at an individual level with the scientific method at the heart of what you do. Initially, you can develop your thinking and the hypotheses you hold, according to hunches or even without any predispositions at all. As you proceed and gather more information the hypotheses will become elongated; the information should hone the hypotheses and perhaps you will even be able to dismiss some of them entirely!
To put this question entirely differently… let us consider this as if we were training an AI. And the question is how to make most sense of the experience we are having in this life.
If you were training an AI, what would be the best way to train it? Imagine you are playing a computer game. An avatar that you appear to control wakes up and is daily placed in the same strange environment. The aim of the game is to write the rules for your avatar to follow, so that it is able to have the most authentic, un-intermediated (or direct) experience possible. It should not get mis-directed by mis-leading cues on the terrain, by the ideas/rules it runs with. It should be able to respond authentically to information it finds.
What else would be true for the AI? You would want it to be aware and guided by the data it had processed historically and to be aware to avoid future dead ends – this is to say you would want it to process the data correctly in ‘the now’. This is the only thing it is doing. You want it to learn from past processing, and you want it to continue to learn in the future, but the only thing it can actually do is process correctly in the present. Too much focus on the past, and it will repeat it’s previous mistakes, too much focus on the goals and it will have too narrow a focus. The past should be a flawed guide, the future should be aspirational not the end in itself. Current processing is what counts.
If your AI had a body, and was able to move as a human can, what should it do with its time? Would it get the best experience to guide it faithfully through its experience by watching YouTube videos all day? If not, what mix of experiences would be ideal? Should it focus on success (money, fame?) in the material (objective) world? Should it experience all the types of terrain, warm, cold, seas and mountains, sports and entertainment, fine foods and/or starvation? Or would it be better for it to consider what weighting of ideas is best to filter the experience? What values are best? Should it be selfish or community minded? Should it accept everything it is presented as true? Is truth even a value worth seeking, or a figment of imagination? Is the ‘world of imagination’ valuable? Is creation by intuition possible?
Finally, are there any other considerations to program into your AI? I think so – language itself. We can talk about objective and subjective, truth and lies, intuition and experience, but the meanings are delivered to us by language. Language is imperfect! We can ask questions that are across contexts and non-sensical eg ‘where is my soul’, as if we could point to it like a chair. Even so, most people would be able to provide some sort of answer! The reality is that language works across all contexts – anything that can be experienced and things that can’t are all possible to express using language. But, language is a 2-way thing! What one person expresses, another person has to hear – and there is no guarantee that they will hear what was intended! And perhaps the language could be intentionally misleading. What should your AI do with language then?!
I think your AI should do the best it can. This is not much of an answer. It should try to understand what is being relayed to it, and it should try to faithfully relay whatever information it has back. This is to say, it should value ‘truth’ for itself and it should act in good faith. It should also presume others are acting similarly, but it also needs to be aware that this may not be the case.
Using the idea of one training an AI, is an interesting thought experiment I think. It is a surprisingly useful way to think about how we undertake ourselves in this experience. By using different words we are able to get a little distance over our own way of proceeding, so that we are able to evaluate it.
For the record, I am most interested in the language processing part. For my AI, I would want to break language – language should be considered an imperfect medium of communication. The way we are taught it, is constraining and binds our thinking. In fact, it could be said the language we have received is the classification system we work within. We feel bound to it, as the point of language is to communicate with others, right?
While I think that is partly true, at a deeper level, I don’t think anyone is capable of hearing anything that they don’t already know. When I speak to another, they only hear what they already know, at least with regards to the concepts that I may be trying to express. I can state simple facts – ‘I went shopping’, ‘I walked the dog’ – these can be conveyed without a problem. But when it comes to more complicated concepts or internal states, I don’t think these can be accurately relayed. They might imagine they understand what my feeling sad might be like, but they don’t know. Still less are concepts that they are not able to conceive of, possible to relay. The person may have come to thinking about these concepts themself and recognise them in another, or not.
I think that there is a second level of ‘language use’ that is totally internal. We use it to play with ideas and concepts internally. What we ‘feel’ to be true or interesting can be described with language externally to one’s own satisfaction at least, but it may only ever be to one’s own satisfaction. It may sit in a file somewhere only to ever make sense to the author. And that’s fine.
What if we play with the idea of ‘what language is’, and say that language is whatever I want it to be? Of course, I find the readymade language available as a basis, but for myself I can have it mean whatever I want it to mean. ‘Mean’ can relate to a thought intention, or can be ‘mean’ as in a ‘slim picking’. Maybe I’m mean with my meaning. ‘Intention’ could mean ‘Int’ (as in integer, whole numbers eg 1, 2, 3, etc), ‘Ent’ the tree-like creature from JRR Tolkien’s imagination relayed to me via the Lord of the Rings book, and ‘Ion’ can be an electrical particle. Intention could be a special mix of ‘electrically charged logic+imagination’. ‘Imagination’ could be the ‘images’ that a ‘nation’ holds to, or the ‘image-I-nat(urally) charge’. I am also interested in the imagination. I actually think this is fired by a different understanding of the role of language. When we partake in modern culture, eg computer games, film, etc, are we allowing our imagination to be captured? Is it a good thing to get a hypnotic and compelling idea beamed directly into our brain from another?
Editor: Is it a good thing to self-hypnotise which seems to be a popular technique for self-improvement? On one level al is describing, imo, some sound principles whereby one can better navigate the terrain whilst limiting time-wasting, pitfalls, and so on. But self-hypnotism seems to me to be jumping the gun. If one is at level one, and wants to hypnotise themself to level two, how can one know what level two is, especially if there are a myriad of possibilities? End of Editorial.
I prefer the language and the classification system where I understand the meanings, rather than the one where I bend over backward to try to make myself understood by others. To others that aren’t really interested to hear. For my part, I’ve tried listening, but I’m a bit bored of the circular discussions.
In conclusion, it is perfectly possible that there is no grand meaning to this life. But to be able to say so with certainty, would require that one travels down all the possible routes. There’s not enough time for that! We need to direct ourselves better. We can use principles to help. We can say that we will be going nowhere if we are acting within a system of lies. It is truth we need to be based in. But what is truth? Truth is the absence of lies, or where logical impossibilities are resolved. But even if we wanted to reject the truth-and-lie system, we cannot – it is something to be managed by conscious discernment. But there is still more we can say. If – because of a rigid use of language – we are so mis-directed we are unable to even conceive the reality of our situation, certain truth will never appear as an option. We need to consider what classification system we are working from, what tools are we using. Language and imagination are keys.
Is language and imagination our own?
Postscript: If anyone would like to comment on this article but prefers to do so privately, al has asked me to include his email address. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to discuss the article further with him via email, he is happy to do so.
Submitted 1st March 2021. Published 2nd March 2021.