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Would you try dying?:

PARTY HARD!!!!
@Sark: The main qualities of a perfect afterlife for me would be:

  • Infinite expansion of intellect. I.E., your mind itself increases without ever stopping. This would also include things like emotion, such that completely alien perspectives are added.
  • Purpose or goals. Nuff said there.
  • Interpersonal involvement. Nobody wants to be alone, after all.
  • Instability. The environment would be subject to unforseen changes, both good and bad.
  • Love. OK, this one sounds pretty cheesy, but think about it. A person would give up everything they own just to be with someone they love. The Four Loves are worth noting here.
  • Infinite expansion of environment.
  • Lasting consequences. I want to be able to spend a long time building a gorgeous piece of artwork, and place it on display. If lasting consequences do not exist, my fantastic piece of artwork would not be possible; it would be lost to my own omnipotence.
  • Choices. I want to be able to pick and choose things, and live with those results.
  • Necessary changes to human mind and body. This one is important. Such changes would entail:
    • A body with absolute sensation. Rather than being indirectly involved with the world, one would see the world as it is, including atoms and even electrons. (if those exist in this world)
    • A mind with perfect memory. People weren't meant to live for 1000 years, let alone 100, 000, 000, 000 or more. Of the scariest things in this world, forgetting what is important to us is one of the scariest.
    • Expansive awareness. What's the coolest thing about the net? It connects you to an extent that would be impossible otherwise. Rather than just being aware of our immediate area, we would be aware of a nigh unto infinite amount of things at once.
    • A mind capable of comprehension. Otherwise, all this other cool stuff would be pointless.
    • Awareness of oneself. I want to be able to ponder things about the nature of my existence, but if I lack meta related knowledge, then where's the fun in that?

That's what I can think of.

What are the three big reasons that make you reject the idea of a snadbox style afterlife?

I'll leave it at one reason, which is quite simply: Playing with ants gets old fast.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
 52 Sark, Mon, 21st Feb '11 4:10:30 PM from across 100 000 miles
AI Entity
This is very intresting.

You've put more thought into this than I have, which surprised me, but I'm still inclined to disagree with you in some ways.

First of all, while consquences are intresting, I think that having to live with results is a limitation. It limits you to only do actions that have results you are comfortable with. An ideal afterlife, in my opinion, would not saddle me with the same limits I had in life. it would not restric what you could do, it would instead open up endless possibilities.

The changes section strikes me as a bit odd, aside from comprehension and memory eveything is basically optional for living in eternity, but I'm not sure if I'd want any change to be permanent.

Everything else, I agree with for the most part but I ask two more things:

1. Purpose is important, How would you find it in a world where you live forever and have no impact on the world of the living?

2. What makes your world so fundementally different from playing with ants that boredom will never occur? What has changed, aside from scope and individual rules? What makes this change so important?

(I suspect we hae now left the topic completely behind but I care little for that now)

edited 21st Feb '11 4:11:42 PM by Sark

Without good, no evil. Without want, no lack. Without desire, no need.
 53 Balloon Fleet, Mon, 21st Feb '11 5:20:59 PM from Chicago, IL, USA
MASTER-DEBATER
I remember a dream where I felt that everything turned dark and I started to warm up (well feel warm), and I posted that experience on a forum. Some people theorized that is what death feels like. In the dream I fought the darkness oveercoming me (I tried to turn things to light again) and got really scared, but when I just accepted it in the end.

I wonder if the dream simulator will be like that?

edited 21st Feb '11 5:23:02 PM by BalloonFleet

WHASSUP.......

....with lolis!
I agree with Sark's perfect afterlife.

Rebuttals to all of TMA's points, in order:

  • If it's your experiment box, then it isn't somebody else's, and could not coexist with someone else's box. Hence, you are alone in an absolute sense.
    • So make some people. Or combine your fun-box with someone else's. You can solve a lot of problems with infinite power.
  • The mind is limited. Eventually, you will run out of possibilities and be trapped in an absolutely stagnant world.
    • Even if the human mind is limited, why do you need to run on a human mind for all of it? You have infinite power! Just expand your mind.
  • Challenge would not truly exist. "Are we likely to run out of new challenges, and be reduced to playing the same video game over and over? How large is Fun Space? This depends on how fast you learn; the faster you generalize, the more challenges you see as similar to each other. Learning is fun, but uses up fun; you can't have the same stroke of genius twice. "
    • Now, this one is true, and though I could say "fix it with your omnipotence", that doesn't feel like a satisfying answer. So I'll just let it pass, because I think the weight of the rest of my arguments is good enough anyways.
  • The world could not be continually improved. People strive for a better life; crush that, and you crush a person's spirit.
    • Uh, yes it could. You have infinite power, and infinite time. You should never run out of things to improve, which means that the world should end up improving for infinity.
  • Amputation of destiny: We would be completely useless for any purpose.
    • So make your own! I'm not even saying you need powers to do this. Make your own purpose here on earth; we don't seem to have any external purpose anyways.
  • There would be no emotional involvement. You would be nothing more than a child poking a frog or playing with lines of ants. The only "emotion" you might have is humor.
    • 1. Why do you need emotional involvement? Most frog-poking children are pretty damn happy, I'd say. 2. If you really do need emotional involvement, remember again that you can make intelligent beings.
  • There would be no real threats. Sure, you could manifest a tornado, but would that tornado really be able to hurt you? No. You could easily nullify its effects. And besides, nothing in this world could threaten your God-status.
    • Isn't that a property of all possible afterlives? If it's eternal, you can't die during it. I mean, I suppose reincarnation might solve this, but that doesn't seem like the perfect afterlife either.
  • There would be no surprises. You wouldn't be able to come home and find someone baked you a cake, unless you made it happen. The cake wouldn't be a lie, but it wouldn't be a surprise, either.
    • 1. Again. why do you need surprises? I personally don't like surprises at all. 2. You can hide information from yourself, you know.
  • No higher purpose. What's the difference between one who commits suicide, and one who does not? The one who does not commit suicide still believes at their core that they have something to do. And since we are in our box, you can't commit suicide.
    • You don't need a "higher" purpose; you can create your own purpose. Like I said up a few points ago, you can and should create your own purpose here and now. Why not in the afterlife?
I'm convinced that our modern day analogues to ancient scholars are comedians. -0dd1
PARTY HARD!!!!
1. Purpose is important, How would you find it in a world where you live forever and have no impact on the world of the living?

  • Possibility 1: The afterlife is just that - another life. It would contain a fullblown community of humans who have different goals and ideals.
  • Possibility 2: You do have an effect on this life, however limited.
  • Possibility 3: Supernaturally ordained. IE, God.
  • Possibility 4: The Buddhist-y version of multiple lives, each one affecting the next.

And of course, these could be combined in any number of ways.

2. What makes your world so fundementally different from playing with ants that boredom will never occur? What has changed, aside from scope and individual rules? What makes this change so important?

Because the human mind has only so much capability for experiences, the endless expansion of its comprehension is a necessity.

First of all, while consequences are interesting, I think that having to live with results is a limitation. It limits you to only do actions that have results you are comfortable with. An ideal afterlife, in my opinion, would not saddle me with the same limits I had in life. it would not restrict what you could do, it would instead open up endless possibilities.

Consequences need not be permanent, only long lasting.

So make your own! I'm not even saying you need powers to do this. Make your own purpose here on earth; we don't seem to have any external purpose anyways.

A purpose is not something that one can simply "make up" for themselves. A final purpose is something external to yourself. A wrench is not made to be a wrench or to make a better wrench, a wrench is made to be used as a tool.

1. Why do you need emotional involvement? Most frog-poking children are pretty damn happy, I'd say.

Emotional involvement is absolutely necessary. It's absence is part of why it would be a hell unto itself. Between flying a plane, and playing a video game where you fly a plane, actually flying a plane is vastly more satisfying.

If you really do need emotional involvement, remember again that you can make intelligent beings.

Heheh, this is an interesting flavor of concept. wild mass guessWhen each of us dies, we become an Abrahamic God in a new universewild mass guess

Even so, I would find such a world lacking. I don't want to be pals with my ants, I want an equal. And better yet, more than one, and many of different flavors.

Isn't that a property of all possible afterlives? If it's eternal, you can't die during it. I mean, I suppose reincarnation might solve this, but that doesn't seem like the perfect afterlife either.

A threat doesn't have to be death. A threat could be as simplistic as a fly that keeps ruining your meals.

1. Again. why do you need surprises? I personally don't like surprises at all. 2. You can hide information from yourself, you know.

Surprises are also needed. A monotonous life has no surprises. It also sucks. I want to get blindsided by a cyclist when I go for a walk; I want someone to have cooked bacon when I get home for the heck of it; I want to meet an interesting person while at work.

These thing encourage emotion from one. Life is a story; what kind of story has no conflict or twists?

You don't need a "higher" purpose; you can create your own purpose. Like I said up a few points ago, you can and should create your own purpose here and now. Why not in the afterlife?

And as before, you can't just make one up. Humans are social creatures after all.

I remember a dream where I felt that everything turned dark and I started to warm up (well feel warm), and I posted that experience on a forum. Some people theorized that is what death feels like. In the dream I fought the darkness oveercoming me (I tried to turn things to light again) and got really scared, but when I just accepted it in the end.

I wonder if the dream simulator will be like that?

I've had quite a few dreams where I've died.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
Unchanging Avatar.
@OP: Certainly not until I get some kind of verification from somebody who's tried it already.
Except for 4/1/2011. That day lingers in my memory like...metaphor here...I should go.
 57 Sark, Mon, 21st Feb '11 7:44:43 PM from across 100 000 miles
AI Entity
What an intresting discussion.

I somehow never ended up seeing the post black humor was responding to until now. Ah well.

When Richard Feynman was dying he said that he would hate to die twice because it was so boring. Not sure if it's the same for everybody, but if it is, it probably isn't dramatic. Although I'm not sure if that includes a warm glowy feeling or not.

I've had several odd dreams about death. Usually I just wake up, which is boring, sometimes everything fades out all happy like.

I'm starting to feel depressed about the whole concept of an eternal afterlife. I mean, I've always wanted the experience/ experiment box ending to catch up on everything I missed as a human being, but I'm now feeling the drag of doing anything for all time.

Another problem is that any good afterlife seems to be built to accommodate my own personality or "soul" but there's a chance I wouldn't be able to last an infinite amount of time without certain modifications, which may ultimately change what makes me me. So would I want an eternal afterlife if the end result is changing who I am?

On the other hand, I think the simple answer is to have everybody with their own experiment box and each person is capable of interacting with others. For me, this would solve companionship, love and surprise. After that, I don't think more is needed.

Is a sense of higher purpose required? Goals might be nice, but I don't think you need a one true purpose. Threat is not really needed I think you get enough surprise as long as you don't control everything. Challenge is an odd topic as it implies a goal. With no goal there is no challenge. Although I still enjoy wide open sandbox style games. I suppose challenge would once again come from self limitation and other intelligent entities.

The mechanics are in place for you to set up anything for yourself. As long as there are other intelligent entities, there is enough complexity to be entertained.

If nothing else, then there's this: Imagine the ability to create any video game you could imagine, but you have access to the code of life and the universe itself. not a source of life fufillment, but it's something I've always wanted to play with.

In reality the most likely afterlife would be to just cease existing. I'm fine with what that implies but the maddening part is that it is literally impossible to imagine. Think of it, it is impossible to think that there won't be anything at the end of life, because the sole act of thinking about something implies that something is there. Even if you think of nothing, it still implies that you're able to feel, but you just currently are not feeling anything.

It's a very annoying thoughtline, to be sure. It's also one that I constantly return to.

Without good, no evil. Without want, no lack. Without desire, no need.
 58 cityofmist, Tue, 22nd Feb '11 12:37:12 AM from Meanwhile City
turning and turning
I've always thought that I wouldn't want any kind of afterlife. I just want my seventy years or whatever and then lights out. I just don't think that there is anything, at all, which I would want to literally spend forever doing, no matter how great it seemed at first. I mean, I don't believe in an afterlife, either, so I guess that works out well.
Scepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
- Clarence Darrow
TMA, how about a proposed change to the sandbox that would make it more appealing to you? You can only make up the premise, not the entire plot. For example, you can say "I want to be a purple gila monster living in a desert where the sand is replaced with sugar", but after that you have to explore and adjust to this environment, and the AI that's giving you this experience can throw in any number of surprises that are not explicitly forbidden by your premise. And for the duration of your gila-monster experience, you have neither omnipotence nor omniscience - indeed, nothing more than the powers of an ordinary gila monster. When you die as a gila monster, you return to omnipotence to choose another life to live out.
"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left."

"Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
PARTY HARD!!!!
That would give it potential, yes; however it would still be somewhat lacking for a number of the reasons I listed; though perhaps you can cover each of them?
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
 61 Bur, Tue, 22nd Feb '11 12:04:58 PM from Flyover Country Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Thread hop!

Yes, but then as I was being strapped in there's a good chance I'd start bawling and telling them to stop because I'm a baby like that.

Also, I would only do this if I'd had the chance to use the bathroom beforehand so I did not come to with my pants soiled and full of embarassment.
That covers surprise and lasting consequences, and because of the lasting consequences you have emotional involvement. If we combined this modification with the "massively multiplayer" sandbox modification, then you could live out an infinite number of different lives as literally anything you wanted, and interact with real people who aren't your creations, so you get the unique challenge of having to deal with other people.

A bunch of you and your omnipotent god-friends could decide to play different characters on the same terrain, like Dungeons and Dragons or LARP games - except it's all very real, and you're living out an entire life from birth to death. There would have to be basic rules to keep from getting too into your character - for example, you can kill (then your friends would just be out of the game) but not torture. There would be danger, and conflicts of interests, even crimes, but it would be much better than the real world.

edited 22nd Feb '11 1:32:20 PM by OnTheOtherHandle

"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left."

"Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
Original question: Of course, I would do science to it.

With regards to the hypothetical afterlife, I think this quote is quite relevant to the discussion:

"Imagine a world where everything changes to match the state of your mind, where evidence never pushes back against your theories, where your every thought is correct simply because you think it so. Can there be any better definition of hell for a man of learning?"

I see why this part would be problematic but if we can turn it off and have the afterlife connected to Reality or its own laws of nature so that we have some constraints for our creativity and a source of discovery then the utter lack of challenge would be averted. Omnipotence within it might remain dull but at least there would be the prospect of actually "escaping the Matrix" instead of just imagining it and for the purposes of poking holes in (post-)existence itself limited "omnipotence" would be pretty sweet. I don't see equal horror in the rest of TMA's points but LessWrong is a pretty cool guy, eh writes fanfiction and doesnt afraid of ridicule, so his opinions are worthy of serious consideration in matters like these.

Even in a massively multiplayer environment there is still the fact that it's "just a game", played voluntarily and made by the players so it can't get more complicated than its creators can make it. That is unless there is some sort of a god, AI or "real", which can create stuff beyond the inhabitants' imagining, at which point we run into the problem of so many "utopias" such as The Culture: humanity is not on the top and if I can't climb to the top I'm going to find the afterlife extremely dissatisfying. Apotheosis or bust!
 
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