« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#52 — Finding Our Way in the Cosmos

2016-11-16 | 🔗

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with physicist David Deutsch about the foundations of knowledge, the moral landscape, possible futures for conscious beings, and other topics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Today I'll be speaking with the physicist David Deutsche once again about the foundations of morality and this punk ass came about in a slightly unusual way, since we did our first podcast David read my book, the moral landscape, and he wanted to talk to me about it and he wanted to do this privately. I think because there are some fundamental things he disagreed with, and he didn't want to break the news to me on my own Pont cast, but I urge him to let me record the conversation so that we could release it if we wanted to, because he was gonna dismantle my cherished thesis I actually wanted. You ought to hear that and also want you to hear anything else. He had to say because he's just so interesting. The problem, however, is that I ran into some equipment issues at the time and could only record the raw, Skype call, so the audio leaves a lot to be desired and David adios
better than mines. I actually sounds like I'm on his podcast and because we weren't totally clear that we were doing a pie cast. There are parts of the conversation that needs to be cut out and these cuts leave. The resulting exchange. Slightly free associate of, I would put in a few muse, accused signal those cuts.
In any case David, is such an interesting person and many of your eye nor interested in the thesis I put forward in the moral landscape. So I decided the best thing to do is released the recording, warts and all. I certainly have David back on the palm cast again, but I doubt will cover this territory again or cover it in the same way. So that is why I am bringing you this conversation now. One major caviar, however, is it. I don't recommend you listen to this podcast without first listening to my first conversation with David episode, twenty two entitled survive in the cosmos, because we really just hit the ground running here and if you're not familiar with David, more his way of thinking about knowledge and creativity, you really might
get lost, or at least you want appreciate how interesting some of his seemingly prosaic comments are David Deutsche, a physicist at Oxford, he's best known as the founding father of Quantum computation and for his work on the multi verse interpretation of quantum mechanics. His main area of focus is now something he is called: constructor theory it where he's developing a new way to connect information and knowledge, To the language of physics, and as with our last podcast, the irony is, we don't discuss any of these things, though his views about knowledge and the implications of its being independent of any given physical embodiment,
the fact you can have the same information in a molecule of dna or on a computer disk or chiseled into a piece of granite, this problem of understanding that the substrate independence of information and knowledge in the context of a physical world that is occasionally working in the background, and it's one of the things that makes David's take on more ordinary questions so interesting. My friends has his view about something as pedestrian as why it's wrong to coerce people to do things connects directly to his view about what it means for knowledge to accumulate in the physical universe and the error correcting mechanisms that allow it to accumulate if you're not familiar with the way David thinks. Many two statements will probably just blow by you without your realizing that something fairly revolutionary. It's just been said so again, please listen to that. First podcast,
Haven't then, maybe listen to it again and you should read his book the beginning of infinity. If you want to get more deeply into his ideas, and now I bring you David, Deutsche knowledge is basically creature, call it so? This is actually the connection when I won't say by all your books The foundational idea of knowledge is traditionally did the idea of knowledge has been that we build a job we build up, you know, either from nothing like day cards or from from the sensitive soul from God, or what have you for from our genes, and thinking consists of Building break upon break away from our senses, of course, and Papas View and which, which of our science, which I want to extend
to all thinking and all ideas is the our knowledge isn't like that it. It consists of a great slew of not very consistent ideas and thinking, consists of wandering about in this slew trying to make consistent. They the ideas that seem to be most worst offenders, and being inconsistent with each other by modifying them, and we must find them just by conjecture. We guess that's something might cure the the various inconsistency we see if it does then removed to that and to get your book I'm I'm I'm interest to see what you ve done. This take on your work with so coming from this place in some respects and so coming from offsets encamped
What places in other respects there it's hard to? Even spread to each other. What we mean exactly reviews, just I think the reason, correct me if I'm wrong or if I'm, if an event seeing was entirely the wrong way. I think them these new developed. The theory of morality and and took the trouble to write this book about it. This is not an intellectual reason. It's, or at least not primarily in That shows that it is not that you wanted to tweak the best existing theories and an improved and multi contradict some some prevalent erroneous theories, because there are a lot of truth. And false theories out there and an usually we don't write about the real life is too short. I think that the the new wrote this particular book and develop this particular theory.
As I said, is not intellectual, it's for a particular purpose in the in the world, namely to defend civilization. You signal grandiose done to defend it against sums it's not really too much hyperbole to save its an existential danger from or through existential danger One is moral relativism and the other is really just dogmatism. Very fair and, and Patients of grandiose today are also very exact. I really, I feel, like What I was doing in that bag is attempting to draw a line in the sand to defend, The claim that the most import
questions in human life and that the questions that are, by definition, the most important question to my questions that, where the great swings in value are to be found. The answers to those questions exist whether or not we can ever get them in hand and surely better and worse, answers exist and it is possible. Right and wrong or more right and get along about those questions? And so yes, it is very much a. I wanted it and carve out at the intellectual space where we could unabashedly defend the intuition that moral truce exist, and that is not yet, but morality is not completely different. Morality and values altogether your claim about right wrong in the needle or not on some completely different footing from the rest of the truth, claims and yet lines.
I believe that we want to make about the universe. Ok, well I agree that there is an existential dangerous. I wasn't using were grandiose, figuratively I'd. I think there is that danger and those those whether they are the biggest changes are not change Ali sure, but they are existential Ngos, which is bad enough and and I agree with waves what you just said about morality. There is true and false in morality or right and wrong. There are objective, they can be, Scabbard rise, a usual methods of reason which our assent really the same as those of science, although there are important differences, as I said when we last well, ok, so business, your purpose had An intellectual purpose, That was merrily driven in developing this oral theory and therefore,
You had this moral blockers before you had the details of the moral theory, so you did, you in advance your theory to have certain properties. As you just said, to create an intellectual space in which one could assert and defend. The proposition that does objective right and wrong, and so these properties that. You wanted the theory to have in advance what weren't, just exe questions of your personality or something they were. The fact that you saw that the moral values that made you want to write. A book are true objective, be true. Well, forgive me I'm starting to smiling. Now, because you can see me, you see, I went on smiling because I've just amused how tenderly you're, leaving me down by the hand down the slippery slope too, that the dissolution of my very, I think, furious too,
big, a word for what I thought I was putting forward. I think I'm my They such as it is contains explicitly the the assumption theirs, and there are many things I can be wrong about right now. With the morality that I haven't hand result I am out of my theory- is based on my current more intuitions. It isn't. It is based on some of them is based on each which no one. I, when I call in various ways, moral realism, which is just the climate, is possible, be wrong. It's possible not to know what you're missing it's possible to be coordinated with close to The true facts about well being in this universe, about how good life could be, if only you could limit or could discover if only you had the right sort of mind that wouldn't give you access to these data consciousness so yet says it S. So much that I think, will my intuition NED.
Gay marriage should be legal, is so foundational that I know there's no state of the universe that could does confirm it. That's not that's not what I'm standing just Are you talking about realism and about about the guys I wasn't that sort of delegation, and I think I agree with everything you just said about morality, The thing is the ideas of the thing if you want to call dont want to convey this theory whatever it is that you expressed in the book contains that with it so contains something else? It contains the something else that I disagree with, that they must something else, because I've I've been agreed with everything you just so that thing, I suppose the basic thing I disagree with this disagreement is probably deeper than it sounds. You'd he's one of the properties you wanted to create a space. Is that the
this theory of morality, whatever you call, it should be based on a secure foundation, namely science, in particular, especially neuroscience, surely that there Maybe I mean I, the fault is certainly mine in from this title onward and and the subtitle you know the way subtitles of books get get fashion Do you know about that? Sometimes outside the authors, control as it was in this case. I wouldn't put it that way. I would say that it does. It is something really has to be founded on this picture of foundations of science instead the truth. Claims we want to make about. Morality are just as well founded.
However, well founded, that turns out to be as the truth claims we make in science and that really I'm talking about this larger cognitive space in which we make truth clams and some of it for bureaucratic reasons or methodological wit reasons. We call these these scientific claims. Some, we call historic also, we call merely factual. Some sciences are not are still struggling to be a scientific as other sciences, but we still call them sciences, but there is just this claim claims about activity and in particular about well being and was what wise influences and those claim is, I think, true whether or not weaken or a tree. Falls whether or not we can ever get the data in hand at any moment in history, and I just I say, I'm an example. I met you, this last time. Will you put it that these? Have I often users there? Is it
active the matter about what John F Kennedy was thinking the moment before he got shot. And we want to know what he was thinking we want. We don't actually know what it was like to be here In fact, we know there's no way we can get access to the data at this point, and yet we this there's an infinite number of things we could about bad. That we would know were wrong, and I know he wasn't thinking about string theory I know you weren't, you know trying to. I know he wasn't reiterating the largest prime number. They we discovered a year after he died again began. There might even going right until the end of time knowing what what what what what his state of consciousness excluded and that's it that's a fact- his factual acclaim, as we ever make in science- and I was trying to argue- is that morality rightly considered, is a space of truth. Names that is on all fours with all the other kinds of truth claims. We make different
methodology as I hear what well there are two ways that that something can be objective it and I think, You are in favour of one of them and I am in favour of the other. That is things can be objective in the sense that is about them. Just are truths about the other thing like, for example, chemistry, the truce chemistry ah truths about visits. Ended up. Maybe wasn't obvious when chemistry started, but it is We have now that some of the truce emergent truths, but still in principle, every everything every every law of chemistry, everything you can say about chemical reactions and so on They all statements about physics and chemistry than is is objective, because the physics is objective.
Then as a different way of being objective, but the way in which the interviews exist. Objectively, they exist objec. Lee, not because, again in the history of this, we're different theories about the images that that took different positions about whether their real and, if their real, in what sense their real. I think that there are real in a separate sense from visits. The truth about them. I independent the truth of physics, not not that industry our objective, because there are some aspects of physical objects, but they their objective, because interviews exist in some sense that not the same as existing physically. Although they they know they have.
They have an influence in truth about them are reflected in truth about physical objects, but they are not identified as them. If it does no nothing, we could discover about the laws of physics, could possibly changed the truth of the fears about prime numbers and that that is the kind of truth I mean so that's the kind of independence. That I think truths of morality have the euro. The actual work. I interrupt. You they're just ask Florida slogan, because so I think I talk about, doesn't look at some point:
I follow the philosopher John Serle here. I don't follow him in that many things, but he made a distinction between the onto logical and the oppressed him illogical sense in which we can use this word objective, and I think that that's a useful one that allows I've been present service, a fair amount one. If something psychologically objective, it exists: quoth nearing the real world, whether not anyone knows about at its independent of human minds. It is the kinds of backs you just described with chemistry physics, and we can imagine a universe without any conscious creatures, and those facts would still be the Even though there is no one round to know them as an add on to logical objectivity and then there's a pistol, logical objectivity, which is to say that there is the spirit in which we make various claims about.
Facts of all kinds, which is eight, is to be objective and epistemological sense: you're, not been misled by your own confirmation. Buyers are wishful thinking or you are making honest claims about. Our data and the consequences of logical arguments and all the rest and what most people worry about with respect to objectively versus subjectivity allies. I should talk the talk on the subject of Zaire. Those two things so something be onto logically subjective, wished to say it doesn't exist, independent of human minds or conscious mind. It is a fact that is all backed given the existence of mind. So what I'm talking about? What JFK experienced the moment he got shy or for prior to that moment I may They claim about his subjectivity, but I can make. Claim
the sense of being a pistol biologically objective, which is to say it's not isn't this not subjective, abysmal, They are not being merely misled by my buyers. In my mind, you know the dogmatic amendments I b, I can object. If we say about is a pistol about J F K is subjectivity that it was not characterized by him, taking on, on the truth, a string theory of it, and so I say you can So I'm more worried that that the anti logical difference between objective and subjective doesn't really interests. Me is useful for certain conversations, I think not useful for others, and I think in the case of morality, what we're talking about is how experience arises in this universe and what its character can be, and maybe the extremes
happiness and suffering the conscious mines are susceptible to and what are the they material and, and social and every other kind of requirements to influence those those experiences and so part of that conversation. Private conversation takes us into the the classically objective world, you and our case talking about Neuro Transmit There is an neurons and, and economic systems and objective reality and every scale. Then in a given instance, may not actually require the human mind to be talked about five the cash value of all that we are talking about. Morality, from my point of view, is conscious dates of conscious creatures and end. Whether they are being made more or less happy in Inez Inez capacious. A definition of happiness or well being as possible and, as you know, they say so kind about a suit
His word I use to incorporate. The range of positive experience beyond which we, the horizon, beyond which we can't, we imagine and the opposite being were either the worst misery very oneself. Status of indicators whether they occupy some kind of platonic. All of existence. That is not in fact linked. Material reality in any way. But we still have to talk about has been real, whether or not anyone has discovered it. I I don't I don't have strong intuition, about that all seems like a real. I have. Let me touch that in our last conversation and Thank you. The probably argue that one way or the other, but the brain I thought you were to say, and I guess the physical reality. The wood, which is often called objective onto logically of chemistry, physics. There are things like integer is which are not, as you just said, dependent on
what we know about atoms, but then there are the experiences of conscious system whether or not we can ever understand what experiences are to have a certain character and that care turned depends upon the whenever material record, Its exist for those conscious systems by that hasn't, worked out, and it is also it may ended, even if you work that out perfectly, it still is. Is this subject side of that coin. Very ass, an internet, so so yes, it's funny just at the ends. You said what I was about to say, who taught me laugh, so I know that you use the term science, for example, do too more broadly than some people and and- and I think that's quite right- so do I
you- and I both use it to encroach on things that some people who think they're purists we'd like to exclude from science but to expire and science. You know so, therefore, part of philosophy. You can call upon the signs and the criteria puppet. Criterion of demarcation is not intended to be a sharp! or pejorative, you're, gonna, criterion of meaning or worse whileness, or anything that is just a matter of convened, in Sumatra, convenient classification of subject matter. If you want to extend that science to cover certain things that have traditionally considered philosophy, like The interpretation of quantum theory, for example, which I think is definitely part of science, and then, if you want to save me,
The connection between human well being and neuroscience. Then here you trying to encroach on the Neuro philosophy as it were, an Neuro philosophy is epistemological. It's an but what once you extended it to new philosophy into epistemological. You run into a deep fact about the physical world, which is that a pistol ology is substrate independence. It is it it once you have once a job or feelings or consciousness. So any kind of information or computation is instead I did in a universal demise, then the law, is are completely dependent on the physics and of the
new and uneven and every kind of physical attribute on the demise, pulls away and you controlled about the problem he's all those things as abstract. Things are not at all abstract is the wrong word, because it perfectly objective it just that they're not atoms right there, not neurons. I would just say that I think at this point I'll go with you there. I think I think that's probably true, but when you're would you seem to be smuggling in They're in the leap from Adams is a kind of an information based functionalism. Where will we just where assume in for the purposes of this conversation that we know conscious? this to be an emergent properties of information processing, and there is not, other constituent, physical reality that isn't based on its body
If we, if we assume that it is a bit of an as yet even his just with something that computers non biological computers can we can one day have you then I'm with you, This is something that did is generally true of morality that morality has reach. If you don't stop, a book from a library when you and you realize that you easily could do so without getting caught. This doesnt effect you and the library this this, because this comes from. A universal machine? Is you this? This machine has universal theories or theories which try to be universal theories- are universal in some domain or other than when you commit the crime. For instance, your changing the facts, your change
something that you can't change back. Isn't that change occurring in you assuming that there's no one else who will ever discover your act, enable, whereas when the change occurred, buddy you it's swell, example, suppose you telling your children about morality? Do you say ok well, when you're in the library situation, it's ok to seal the book, because no one ever find out. Do you say no, you shouldn't even in that situation, if the, if the first then it fighting your child was well you're, a news was reckoned, then you are lying to a child, Rome itself has vast implications here now I'm totally whether they are the slowest linger on this one point that again I understand is disconcerting- lay far afield, but I don't think it's interesting. So if you can apply a painless local anesthetic to the child for the purposes of research,
when a vaccine now would be a better thing to do and its being better. Is the measure of its or the claim that is better is synonymous, the claim that it's good to reduce needless suffering- and and his offer, India's is Bob Needle is an end and in fact, probably harmful for the child, to whatever degree I'd, say that my first to me, the first line of my critique, would be that it violates issue the human rights of the child, but but ok, they're they're. All these other things which are related. I think that the way we can turned and value very powerful stimuli is remarkably susceptible to the concession oh frame around which yet experience is is held and yes to conceptual framework in which it is held.
So what you say, thoughts about your experience and you thought about reality- are in many cases. Constituent above of, be the sum total of the experience, and there are many things, but this does connect back to agree with you about that human rights are concerned. To a large degree. I think I we want want when you're talking about adults who can consent, you want them to be able to consent to Various experiences by can sell. Imagine spirits is that are unpleasant. Let it turns out are a very good for a person, and you have done them make a great favor if you subject them to these experiences, and you may in fact- and it's just gonna, put a paternalistic claim about possibility. You may in fact be doing someone a favour to subject them. To this extent
this is without their explicit consent and in fact the benefits are so grave. Not I don't know what those experiences are, but what, let's just say is true that the cold provides that there's a certain ordeal that you can put teenagers through an a dns don't wanna, do it, but he's just so for you as a human being. That strikes me as possible I don't have an example, but I do see. I see people do consent to do things which are really incredibly difficult. The people become Navy seals. I have met some of these guys end. Got everything in many cases literally went through hell to to equip themselves with it with the skills they they ve got and part of me. Training is a kind of culling of all the people who are not fit to yes, training in the first place, and so it is a selection procedure by this
guys go through an intense ordeal and come out in many ways Invariably strong cycle. ITALY and physically as a result, and I can see that that there are extreme experiences that way. We might now want to rule out just in principle as bs bad for us as I said that, if It's a matter of knowledge. If we know this, then we when explanation: if we haven't information, we can give it to the people. If, if We have a machine that can detect weathers but he would benefit from Navy seal training, and it can just detectives by putting it on the head and pressing the button, then you would probably find that a lot of people who aren't Navy seals would benefit from it and it is true. If the theory on which this machine is based has a good explanation, then you should be able to persuade those p
take the trading all the same. I say well thought of what it was and what, if you can't or one of the benefits Europe conferring on someone is out of, it- is out of reach. Two damsel essay lots of people, was severe autism and who really cantons. Too much of anything and you care explain a benefit you're about to give them, but the beneficial about to give them is a cure for autism. Yes, well reminds me of a beautiful cure for lesbianism or something I'm here. There are people who think that right ping. Somebody will do them good under various circumstances, but did you can't base either a legal system or a memorial system on saying that if one thinks that once you do it one other economically, in that case is certainly sounds like it on his face to be, a and a delusional and unethical claim. Yes, why? hindering also also of implausible things. You were here
do any his years in the principle of consent and human rights to travel everything else. It's more epistemological, because I dont think that human rights are fundamental iser. They are there just a way of implementing institutions that promote the growth of knowledge and the reason why knowledge trumps everything else here is followed. Listen! I in all these cases where we, how does he agree that something is better aware? we're implementing a moral theory, and we might be mistaken about that, and it must be A fundamental fact of morality on an objective truth and morality. Immoral to close off the paths to correction of Missouri. If dungeon,
repulse eye totally Wendy their vessels. That seems to be asserted in my You know underlying your claim, which is human flourishing conceived as broadly as you want and it s a definition is continually but in the matter you just described for refinement and and fallible ism. That is the point, the year we want to move in the direction of better and better worlds better and better experiences and who knows how far they can go, but we know it's possible to move in the wrong direction and we never want to. We know we never want. You. Tie our hands and maybe impossible to correct course. Yes, so once you have an institution that allows that this is. This is why consent isn't just You know a nice thing to have its it's it's a fundamental,
in of the way we handle ideas and if you have a system that allows people to enforce an idea on another. New disagrees with the idea, then The means of correcting areas are closed off. You know. You imagined people who had a disability or something and can about, but could be cured of that stability, but the couldn't be explained to them, and so well, his eyes of those people are in a constant state of suffering in which case applying the things done. Won't change that There is a thing that they prefer to some other thing and then there will be a path towards the better state that invites I'm just doing things that they prefer If it involves an injection, then age involve eyes of an amnesty
take all getting into a certain mood invasion obtain injections doesn't matter. Let me give you an example, a guy. I why her back to its core issues, but always it's just I find two interesting. I think as an example can someone immoral landscape, but I'm not short the Nobel Laureate and in Economics, Danny Common did some research I think he was just does here with a razor dynamic that he was a name author on this paper, but I did some fastened research on people receive? even call and ask of ease- and it wasn't a point where there was no like those twilight. Amnesia associate with corn. Ask a visa. People really had to suffer the full ordeal and they discover their they're, trying to figure out what accounted for the subjective measures of of suffering associated with this procedure and also what would positive,
influence the compliance of patients to come back and get another one on schedule. Five years later, or ten years later aware was so they found it be. This confirmed none of us that this was the first instance, but it but there's somethin psychology called the peak and rule which is your your judgement about p care of Durban. Experience is largely determined by the peak intensity of it. Sperience. Why did I was good or bad and what they can? the experience was at the end of the opposite. Has so those events, the real levers you can, you can Paul said to influence, whether someone thought they had a good time or a bad time and to test is They gave you under control group. They gave his ordinary call. Ask a base- and you took Lee Appliance out at the first moment, that where it was Procedure was over, but it needs, the experimental condition
They did everything same except they left the apparatus in. Quite unnecessarily for some minutes at the end. Providing a a low intensity, comparatively low intensity, but but decidedly negative and again unnecessary stimulus to remove the subjects and the result was that there, impression of how much they have suffered was significantly reduced and their willingness to come back and get a potentially. Saving colonoscopy in the future was increased the greater percentage them showed up in five years for the next one last week, and so this was a by any real measure. This was a good thing to have done to these people, except when, in fact it was, If you just take me they window of time around the procedure, it was prolonging and unpleasant. Experience would have any more
well necessity right and he out so that side Just want you to be aware of telling them that you're doing this and is still working. Presumably by way of one of them back true that the policy that is ruined. If you, if you tell someone that might be what's happening to us or that you ve done you done. This thing is not necessarily and leave us to him for a few minutes, because you're gonna feel better about it afterwards. What that actually castle say that again on the EU hasn't got it in for us it is, it doesn't like Has it all it doesn't care about ass fit? It hasn't, got it in for us. If what you just said is the case then You could, for example, be a way of getting round it. For example, you could say to them save for the patient. Look there is, a way of reducing the amount of perceived suffering of this procedure
but it involves a placebo but it won't work. If we tell you what the placebo is so, You know I do give us permission to use this placebo and, of course, that information will say yes, but beware: If that doesn't work there is no other way. Is that really consent? Because what, if we just Rummy altering experiment, what if we say repose it like Two people in your ninety nine percent say sure assigned me up, but we do it a another condition where we just now, which is doing research on compliance and we say Tell him exactly what the policy, but we, as in this case, we're gonna, leave the two of you five men is not doing anything and yet you're you're gonna. For those for five minutes. We live in where you would have been saying one. It's going be over already, and you couldn't. The table on driving home, but you now you still on the table with his two of you, but that's a placebo lifesaving
was I am for the drops down to seventeen percent- and now we know tat- is all these people in the first vision who are only consenting because you masked what they perceive o is something back really consenting to the thing you're doing I think still consent draw rather like you know, if you, if you you don't have to be and how to be a doctor and and have know exactly what the heart certain is going to do to your heart in order to to the consent, validly consent to heart surgery and its work the same with the we are told that it won't work if you know what the placebo is, but we'll be one. Then your concern, I repeat the one percent who still say no, those people. Ah
just make you supposing which true those people are simply making. The same kind of mistake as you would be making if this whole theory wasn't true We bring you can't you can't bias. The rules under which people interact towards a particular theory that they disagree about There are people who have ideas, is about reality, ideas about how we should all within it, which are so perverse and Incompatible with everything we can reasonably want to do in this world, there we do have to. We had a wall off their aspirations from the rest of. What's going on whether when it s locking in prison because they just you are so badly behaved, or just exile in them in some way from the conversation yesterday that, again by you,
Lie user like near the Taliban, arises Digital it'll get about on our public. I and for good reason because their votes would be crazy Will we again we have institutions, we try to to the institutions to have the property that the political institution should have the property that disputes when people, are resolved without violence and the moral institutions include the idea that participate and obeying such institutions is morally right and full. So in interpersonal relationships that don't involve the law we soon. When will we want a bit better what we want. We want interpersonal relationships not only to resolve this feuds without violence, but we want them to resolve disputes without any kind of coercion, an institution that
institutionalizes coercion about something- is able so factor irrational. Now, I'm not saying I know of institutions. That achieved is perfectly. I am saying this is dropped criterion any more than I do in the political case. I'm saying that that's the cry Syrian by which institution should be judged. Why how well they are good day are at resolving disputes between people without violence without coercion saw something, There are people, a people who are not rational actors who occasionally have to be aware strife. Yes well sometime in the future, we'll know of way. We already have ways of. Getting along, which involve less I like Steven Pinker, you pointed out, then what was needed to stabilize society in a hundred years ago. Two hundred years ago and nights, I expect this to contain you and their death. You know one day. This is about
might invent a way of curing most fanatical mass murderer. Terrorist mass murderer and and converting into benign religion or to racism or whatever, but but you know that initially, when this is invented, this is fabulously expensive because it those putting him into a enjoy artificial community with thousands of actors who have to be trained, act in a certain way towards him, blah blah blah and so under those second, since we still wouldn't do it, even though it was possible to save him, it still bet to imprison him because the institutions couldn't survive if we had to spend billions of pounds on every terrorist, but once it's down two thousand the pounds we might. We might
If we knew how to do it, then we certainly would do it or what I'm one of any one of you didn't want done to him. What are you remain a psychopath terrorist? So the way I see it, that is but you know, he'd have been called at some point- and then he D been put on trial and then he'd be sentenced and then that these methods would have the property that they would They would know said a good method might have him consent to what was happening after a month and a better one would have him consent after a week, and you can imagine millions of years in the future. There will be method so sufficed. Kate. You do know that they will involve things like doing abroad. Scan and discovering some memories of his and and working out a customized
meant for him, which involves the sun coming out from behind a cloud at the exact moment when he leaves the courthouse and so on so I think there is no limit to no limit to the possibility of removing evil by knowledge one. I agree. I agree with you there and in that case,. It's no longer. Evil is just bad luck. You, you were the victim of bad luck to be the kind of person. Who wanted to be a terrorist or or who is your biologically susceptible to the arrest and once we, the big you're hurt terrorism or the cure for psychopathy or anything else that falls under the. Rubric of evil at the moment there'll be no more moralising about it and there is moralising about a cure. Diabetes. We would just give the dweller and he was still say after endured, he would still save
What I did was wrong you, I think you baby Malden to say what it was a mistake, its different Oh no, he might. He might be horrified by what he did. You might say that I can't believe I was a kind of person who wanted to do that, and I know that that could be killed, to buy it may even imagine if you have gratitude to no longer be that person. Yes, he was restored to yes in a decent humanity by other you're. That's what in my view that completely negates the underline ethic or they claimed ethic of justice as a matter of retribution. You know the way: oh yeah punishing people because they deserve on some level. I agree it's it's just a matter of operating the institution which is the best institution we have for achieving this absolutely vital purpose. One thought experiment that may exist
something of interest or knife, and then I bet I wanted to ask you what you think we act disagree backside. I think I've lost my alighted at those funds with one more important thing. I would say about your book committee. Ok, car ferries. Yes, let us imagine that this future of of completed Science had a mind where we not only understand brain basis or they'd. The computational bases of every possible experience, but we can We can intervene as as completely we would want so I know what I now have this machine. Put on your head and you can dial in any possible conscious state is justice perfectly variants machine will await, but will it will always have limited knowledge? Therefore, the only states will be able to download other ones with knowledge that we already know the vast
majority of possible states will always be under them in the infinite majority will always be unknown. Can't we years this device to plum experiences that have yet to be characterized Well, they're exponentially many of them it was so weak. Because what we want we won't know, all of them are claiming that there is a finite number of experience. As you will know all of them, but there is a will. There is experience of knowing tomorrow's scientific discovery which we will never be able to download into somebody Tomorrow, right, I would exclude our experiences of that type. I'm talking about conscious state's ability, let's just say, we recorded less trim down to some bibbs simpler, but was there we which taken a range of people who are good candidates for having the best sort of human experience, and so it was taken.
You know that the best scientists and the best animals saintly people in me the ethical space and the best athletes the most creative artists, and we we not only have recorded their experience and you're you're able to sample their direct experience, but leave with extrapolated from their experience and various commonalities among different classes of experience, and we have produced could have novel experiences that are in some ways even better in order. More extreme, were or does. Finally, new to the human mind and so that you you need, take us alone. John. I know a man and you take a little Mozart. Yet neither their equivalents that we have access to and you throw in what is, to be illegal, messy scoring his sooner record. Go and you eat where you can get all this turned up in various ways and any
you ve, got all the time in the world to explore various data consciousness to see which you prefer. So my question is. There's something about my thesis that presupposes but we will converge on me. The value of those kinds of expense It says that you at you- and I will not have radical dysfunctions in our sense of what is good given and ever? spanned menu of possible experience do have disjunction dvd, if you really like experience, uniformity I've and I really like forty six and I detest forty, five and and and vice versa. Well, then, that difference will have an explanation about you know a neurological one or or signal computational one, which will also be open for revision. Ben Ben Ben question is
how should we change our intuitions about what is good in light of what is possible, and it is good to change one's sensible of what is good. There's a kind of misconception there about well at least a mismatch between that and how I think of mines. So this is it seems that there is such a thing as a happy state Of mind, that's that's like orthogonal to the question of what is being applied, says so? Did you say you can be as happy as Mozart that that kind of omits the question of what specific music was specific problem? Are you solving as Mozart? Are you solving one of the ones that he shoved when he was alive? One specific ones were, then
ok see you just repeating an experience which is not the same as as in that isn't, com be what happiness consists of, because we need to make progress, so we We are, I think, we're more characterized by our problems, by our particular ideas at a particular time. What are the problem so A happy person is somebody who has a set of problems which are hard enough to be worthwhile. Urging a lot of effort to interesting enough and yet not so hard that you can't make any progress, and these people will consist of conflicts between theories. The conflict again last week, interesting and and and so now it's not obvious You can download this into something without simply being a recreation of the individual person. You know. If I get. If I get down
De Mozart's theories, as they were at a particular time. Then it it's, I don't think it would be. I could suited Have the equivalent of remembering what it felt like to solve that problem, but it wouldn't be my problem. Unless day They managed to integrate it with the rest of me, so much should? I was actually Mozart in which case was the point road. One thing we are here is that I think there are states of consciousness that are clearly extraordinarily pleasant and it is the kind of pleasantness that does the does shine through in moments where we are satisfied with solving problems in satisfying ways by you can tap into this pleasure, in a way that isn't it all dependent on having interesting problems, as all were successfully solving them.
And it's in some ways of talent and his pleasure certainly seem path. Logical or or waste that is is TAT is based. His daughter, allow you to solve interesting problems, and your ability entered to wallow in the pleasure is again it on your neighbors solving some interesting problem so late. If you wanna, be a heroine attic and just lie all day and design into the blaze of Heroin High, well you may be able to do that, even though it was a there's a way we could take a drug that you know hasn't been I forget or invented yet it's better than heroin by it. Doesnt have its obvious downside by just been able to sustain that in a pure opiate pleasure, it baby, something which, if you could compare that experience to the experience of being Mozart, you would actually put prefer the expense
being on the heroin class, then what you might think not. I think only at first year with a desert, so that's budget remains as an empirical question. That remains to be seen, and I share that intuition. But at the very least less was just say: that's true scrappy assorted depressing is that you know they, the comedy Aldous, Huxley style, punchline knowledge as well, just one be medicated into oblivion, whereas what we are money back prefer. If we do it get our hands on which all eyes. I think this this. This is a myth that people can be trained to interpret heroin as so pleasure. Enjoy on people. Be trained by our culture and and by their circumstances and offering, since, if they haven't, you sperience much joy to interpret pleasure as joy, but it doesn't
fulfil the same function in the mind and an end is particularly insidious because when you first expired said it might well be joy, because then you are investigating a new experience and then and the new wave of being an and then we knew no new sensation and so on, and that is interesting and therefore can be joy. But once you once you're doing this every day and it's your way of life, then it gives you nothing If you nevertheless interpret that nothing as being good, then well done like being dead. You know it's it's it's it's not on humans age of mind, and I think think in reality, the vast majority actual heroin addicts stop there. Called because they board with it. The problem you ve done, described, though the difference between mere flesh. Enjoy yourself.
A problem that we could overcome with yet more knowledge. So What more knowledge would allow us to bridge that, and you could create this kind of perfect oblivion? I clearly joy, I don't think so, because you, What you don't know you are assuming that this kind of joy saving centre in the brain which receives messages from the creating something enter an than that, but if you could stimulate the former centre efficiently than that we just but but I dont think that can possibly be like that that that think the only way you can create joy, officially is. Downloading some state of a person who is it fearing joy, and then you would be that person, but we haven't you ever had in Jerusalem. Minister gave us an imperial question and you might be right.
The magic here is not forget about drugs. Now we're talking about something is more like the matrix where you could ever mind could be just consigned to this there's oblivion, which could be as creative origin as apparently creative us as you like, but it would in fact be this. This ice, asian, where its interests, justice simulacra. Why you're not actually dealing with other minds here? You ve lost reality, and you are now in virtual reality and but virtual reality is so good and so create. Events are conducive to joy, that it is there in your mind. Ethically is an important difference between made in reality and being in some kind of dreams gape of our own world conventional, not from the person's blaming. Assuming that he's got into this thing voluntarily know. Is that what you in that case, these experiencing is real joy
generated, genuinely generated by his own mind. In the same way, let that Other joy is, and actually this matrix, like thing is not so far from truth. We everything else, for example, a pure mathematician hardy said that I think about being a mathematician, is that you can it in the arm chair after dinner, with your eyes shot, and nobody knows where they are working on. So you know he's in the virtual reality of pure mathematics, unease experts. And seen great joy and great creativity just in the Congo confines of few cubic centimetres a brain. So we produce the mayor. Is like this and we decide to migrate human consciousness into it. But then, then, where is concerned come into view is if new mines or simply spawned. To this matrix me how's. At any rate, you united consent to be born into the universe. Theirs
Lane, for that, would we be blaming the general about your men who created the matrix further brought the rest of us. Well, obviously, there them their practical issues. You know how safe is this thing from real life. Asteroids strikes and so on, but assuming that kind of problem we dealt with. It will. Then I dont see I mean it is varies in an ethics are used. What it's like you, you say ethics and morality, almost interchangeably the ethics. I would use more as just a set of practical rules, like the medical ethics. You know what doctors have to do to be safe than they were before size morally, but they would have fanatics of creating peoples in the virtual reality? If there was a phenomenon of sometimes wanting to get out, and there would have to be passed out.
That is not just a practical problem. Is it does not know deep gratitude for your I'm? Your strong buyers offers us A major is on imagining all the people be dealing with one be real people and it would be like you do like a dream. So everyone would be in there in a dream of their own. That would allow for a maximum creativity, but you're? Not when I saw him relationship when I think there wouldn't be that wouldn't be genuine collaboration on any problem, because the other people will be creative, so my notice this after awhile and this might be. But but I know some people like it that way It is definitely true that people collaborating can create better and faster the sum of them, then individuals that's only a general rule. It is sometimes people like
work by themselves and liked to be by themselves I'm very solitary and songs. They are free to do otherwise. I think in in this matrix, where there was only one person, one real person, zombies. Ah, I think very few people would want to be there, but those who did you know fine. It's it's fun, as they are creative ass. The fundamental thing, by the way, I think, there's a concept, being entertained by other people seems or by heroin or by buying tv programmes or whatever. That is a mistake with we may say actively feel we may interpret what's happening. As the other thing entertaining us.
Really. The only thing that entertains us is our own creative engagement with it, and without that to engage with nothing, can entertainers amiss this. You know when people get the wrong idea about. For entertainment is that's the kind of me stake where they were. They think that something mechanic, such as heroin and can entertain them. There's these we shades situations where somebody, wins the lottery and then is miserable, and I think that the generic trap that one can fool to this sort of situation is right. Thinking with money and entertained. No realizing that only you can in standing same way, rock stars who think that if they had a life of as much
sex as they like and as much drugs as they like. An unsolved than they'd be happy one in a million of them actually achieves that and they find their miserable. That's a cliche which strikes me as very plausible Here you are what you say. I agree with that However, there is another way to be happy in some ways? It is More fundamental way of being happy experiencing well being wishes, isn't some important sense. Not the resulted you creative? So I agree with you that that it that there is just a failure line through entertainment- and they are the opposite of a beam entertained- is be bored and yes boredom in my experience, really is nothing more than a lack of attention.
That is the reason why services is. I have experience of having to meditate, and I spent a lot of time practicing various techniques rotation and from there of one who wants to be creative in solving problems, much of this, perhaps all that looks like a Why are you crazy and unproductive thing to do so? France's I've done meditation trace. Where I got. The silence for now this period has been three months on a retreat, where you're doing nothing by manage aid, twelve eighteen hours a day depending on how how much misleading and the meditation consists Of nothing more than paying very close attention to the contents of
justice and so for the longest time, when you're learning to do this, the technique has just paying attention to your breath. The sensation of breeding, and once you have some ability to concentrate on you open it up and you can pay attention to anything that arising your moods and other sensations and sites and sounds and thoughts themselves arising consciousness, but for the purposes of this practice of meditation there's nothing worth thinking about this. This is it really is the practice? Is this kind of is inimical to creative thought, because you have to say I did not follow any train of At the moment, you notice it as an English you when you continually bind is dead. I voted in your paying close attention. Something the brass say, and then I thought upon you
Did you didn't notice and always on your thing? You're left thinking for five minutes, something some creative thought or a bull s eye would have, is an you. Then you notice that your thinking, you notice as honest self has an object in consciousness, and then you come back to practice of just being aware, but if the deeper you oh into those which is in a more concentrated, you become the last thoughts, intrude and where any earlier, you notice them, and in a moment you noticed them, they unravel and disappear, and your left with just you're a condition of consciousness as over, but this big They circumstance of. Absolutely exquisite, It is and will be in an advanced and his mother is much more to say about this, but I would say that it leaves us not proto, typically created your It is not a matter of generating many new concepts or following them too, on to new theories or solving problems that require discursive thought
so. I know nothing about medicine, listen. I know more than what you just told me, but so, and you know could breathe the holdings an illusion, but this year. I doubt it so most thinking, actually unconscious We consciously aware of is just the tip of the iceberg and even in our conscious thoughts, they are supported by a reach interest. Our job unconscious thoughts and those, obey exactly the same epistemological as the conscious ones. So there and be creative. They can be uncreative, they can be irrational, they can be rational. They can make pro press not depends on. Same conditions. We're in conditions which either promote or inhibit the roads of knowledge in various ways of assuming that, at the end of this process, you're a better person,
That is your mind is a better mind, domains that that better news has been created by something and if you're not consciously aware of the process, then it's been created by unconscious mind and it could be that sees that under certain circumstances. Deliberately preventing your conscious mind from doing anything, clears some obstacles to the in your unconscious mind, obstacles cells ideas, and it could be the there there In fact, the unconscious mind almost certainly goes wrong more often than the conscious one. So this could be a. I simply a way of enhancing creativity. After all, see, I was to say nothing really turned on his, but he's dead
true that it is, and one of them is Butte as an obstacle from the side of meditation. But it's you. If you want be creative. Give my desire, but what, when one is trying to manage aid and do nothing, but that is a very common experience, define it more and more creative thoughts, or you have your novel as you'll have the best ideas you ever had ever through dialogue, you should write or door stories. You should write and and suppressed in all. These were letting go of all this in the interests of staying on, retreat can become very difficult to do and I actually had retreat swear. I fail to doing where I ve no arms I'm intending to do not even meditate, but I have some idea for something to write or something to think more about it. I just convinces me that I should not should not like Arbed and completely derailed the retreat and is something that happens buddy
I would just say that the value of the experience is not merely an eclipse unit more creative and in the future The values is their there's aim is a fundamental I hear about the nature of well being itself and the nature of suffering and interest. The mechanics of human suffering, which you can as it there's a riddle to be solved here which can be solved. Which allows you. Yes, it allows you to be more creative in the future. Allows you to be happy or in the future, allows you suffer less in the future, which, and all that is all what's important, but in a moment to its it also tastes. It is an experience you want to have that moment. Is I've decided if it's true that it's your unconscious mind being creative than that's exactly what you would expect you to expect an unconscious well being to permeate up then you become aware of it, which really hadn't been happening because something was something in Europe.
Just mind was preventing it. The to me as more there. There's your seizing it something that you are here Firstly, your deeply condition to do, and then you can help us they doing all the time in in other states of consciousness, which is it creative, which is as easy as creative of neurosis and fear and anxiety S and all the rest. Yes, yes, she ceased to do something and creative. Yes, no! Well, I like you haven't, we haven't totally nail what we might disagree about things, I'm just alien and oh they'll have agreements you're just as well. Thing? Let me just say that In our view of your book, I mean I think your book achieves its purpose, and it is a very timely, urgent and important purpose, and if I have a criticism, so do fundamental logic of it
I can't even say that I am sure that if it had been written to conform to what I think what I am about to say it would have achieved its wealth is better No, I dont know whether it would not, but but as a matter of truth, so I want to take the same. Did towards moral theories as Papa does towards scientific theories, therefore regard for the city is about morality, which claim to give it a foundation as being mistaken but all of them have or less value, some of them much some of them? Module regarded not as ideas about about morality, but as critiques, though I think that site, for example, so that their there are lots of different
suggestions for the founding sure, like you know, can't categorical imperative and you to attend and examine them. I rose, is fairness in it and then the will of God, you know and and and few and flourishing, so allows our proposals for the foundations of morality. But if you, if you got them instead as critiques, then I think they are they all quite valuable an human flourishing could be interpreted as as a sort of as an inn freedom and on what went before as a critique so You can say, for example, with utilitarianism they were able to say you know it what was it those who do it. What what what morality can see? Some is
going to church every Sunday. What purpose does it serve and if it doesnt serve any purpose? It's up to the person who advocates it too, To make the case to do in its privation critique of something, then it doesnt have a purpose, and so that, therefore it was the onus on the other religious morality person to explain Why in low? Usually if something doesnt have a purpose we can rejected in this case, we should not reject it, then he could say well because God said so, and then there is the standard critique of religious based. Anything of how can we tell the difference between that claim on someone else's claim, jarred based on different gold or different holy book or whatever. What what criterion should we use and if he says well, the criterion is this?
well one is correct. Then that is a bad explanation, because everyone else could use the same criterion, so it doesn't it's the criterion that isn't a criterion. So I think, human flourishing is is a similar, but you terrorism regarded as a fundamental theory is rubbish. It. It you are regarded as a critique of other theories. It's very powerful, I think you're seeing is low, utilitarianism, but it also has elements of some of the other animals as elements of plain common sense, which is often forgotten by these theories. Parliament is required. As my foundation. Asia will be differently because it's not so much certainly not merely human flourishing ideas. It extends to all possible conscious systems, but my base claim is that there is a
a space of possible mines and possible experiences, and there are experiences there are better and worse than others. Whether or not will ever discover them whether knife the requisite mines could make judgements about them, but they were possible misery for everyone bad way they gave the word bad is going to mean anything, and I think that is as foundational acclaim as we ever Megan Science, about anything and foundation upon which even pop barbarian science is based seems to me, is just a claim about, there being a larger reality than the one we currently have in hand, hundreds of NATO stoutly week, we can be confused about their stuff. It's an it sounded foundation in the sense of being on criticized about what we can always say why that
each year in the north and other criteria, and why I assume that we exist. Why assume that there is a truth eyes? I think that one is bring up unnecessarily if one says Willard some things you just have to accept on place to start somewhere. I dont think you have to somewhere and I think, all claims to start somewhere fallacies start with consciousness, because because for me to make a consciousness as defined debts. Theirs, something that is like to be yeah. You aren't we those areas of Europe this is like a dream. You might be a brain and that you might be confused about everything, but Yet I am, there is a starting point. It is fact that their conscience, This doesn't get us anywhere you, you have a certain substantive conception of what it is to be conscious and
As we discovered in this conversation, different people can have different conceptions, for example, I prefer to think of of of mind as a dynamic sing. Constantly, not self can distant, whereas other people would regard as well view regards happiness, as a state and I think lose you can't separated from the specifics of what it is so that there's no such thing as downloading Mozart's happiness without Downloading is actual problems, I agree with that. It's just that there is a God. It should also whereby I agree with you that it comes back to the framing issue, just as the fact that certain to expire, It is suffering or unpleasant, things can be framed in such a way that they seem to be great peak experiences above of well being.
But I like all that is again here, just empirical claims. It could borne out more or less over, as if, if someone could, you know, you're gonna have your next year of creative thought now, and it will be whatever it will be. You you're a mountaineer of physics experiencing pleasure and pain, but even the pain is is adding to the interest say in December, but some pains art Its aim will say we can address. We get out of your tea every morning, which would make you just a little happier in the conventional sense throughout all of that. Creativity and theorizing and and, well, that was recently there's an optimal way to dial it so that it is a fact about you that it could be twice it'd be twice as pleasant as your attending to have it and you'll be just as creative
I think yes, I think we should do that, but I dont think it would add. I dont think the flourishing meta would would register this, even though we should do which proposes an argument to answer very. Why would you send out? Because if you lost this thing, That was almost lost here. Let's go better than double was saved by a factor of five or ten, so that the kinds of days you would have going forward if he reviewed your history of being a conscious being, you would recognise that than the days ago you gonna have three hundred days this year that previously each one of which have been the best day of your life previously and you're still going to be as creative, nothing will be lost in terms of Europe. Will you get things done? You say
that's a flourishing meter wooden registry. Less yes, I mean, slightly lost track of exactly what you're putting in my cheek its current David. If it's the eye It's gonna be a mindless thing, in which case, as I say it is worth doing so we are, we are customs levels of physical comfort that been inconceivable even fifty years ago were hundreds of people like say, Newton or Mozart, lived lives of incredible, awkwardness and uncomfortable ness, and you know that it was never never really warm in the winter and it was never really cool in the summer and the boss was never the right temperature, and the food never tasted quite right and and they were constantly in danger of various kinds and their clothes aged- and I could go on for ever and ever and and yet they were happy, it was poor.
Simple to be happy under those circumstances: its debts, currently worth the change- and if only for the fact that the change itself is the and and and beneficial thing for once you ve done the change once you had it once and for all. I dont think you any happier Having had not comfort, the I think, the only thing that actually makes you happy is actually creating to understand of all coming from you, but it seems like a narrow definition of happiness at that that I scientists and in an artist could easily sign onto by many people who can can still register differences in their happiness. Changes in indian their wellbeing would would not really recognize so, for instance, what has happened when your you're going along you're very happy here is fulfilled as you ever banned, but then
you know, your wife dies or your child dies and now you're. Not, happy for obvious reasons, but those reasons are at best summarised by a sudden lack of creativity. On your part, I, I think, I think that the reason why you're unhappy is that you you're your previous method, of making progress in thinking what tied to these people who have died, You can't just instantly replace what you we got from them by something else. But then, when I don't know what you mean by progress because it, this is not just the progress already. I caught your accident, what? What do you mean my progress Well, I don't remember I'm I'm not! I'm not! I'm not snobbish about what kinds of knowledge counters knowledge all all kinds of new oak, any kind of state of mind, which one regards is preferable to another state of mind,
be reached without creativity and reaching it is kind of what happiness is so Somebody who doesn't it isn't it? dressed in science and isn't it sitting in art or any of the things usually regarded as progress or creativity might still be thinking about something all it takes is for them. To be a better person in regard to ex onto the thought than before and might be might be. Anything might be something this possible to name it. Doesnt have a name because it's not socially valued, but it might be- in a particular way of interacting with the family man, but that they would have to be improving it. They would have to be a you know, but we say Think back they. They would think.
Yes, I am, I could have done. I could have done it better and now I'm doing it better and they, even if that's you know enacting jewish rituals at that anything like that. You can get any but you can get into and improve up by. Your own sounded takes creativity in that that's what it takes and philosophy People don't do even that, and I think there in a bad way, even if they are saying, that then all right so then they come back today, the fundamental disagreement which has something to do with my reliance on fundamentals or my my yes, my hand waving in the direction of of they found, asian here I may have seemed be doing that more than that, I was or that already some of that maybe dispensable for. Maybe it's out come come today. My argument at the worst possible measure-
for everyone, be bad, What is wrong what's wrong? With that claims emerges, madam, he heard a universe in wages and anything that can suffer any conscious system that can exist and can suffer suffers as much as it possibly can. First, long as it can and nothing good comes of it. There not big this there's, no silver lining the suffering, it's just the worst possible hell that exists. My senses, it everything. That's one possible state of the universe. Everything else is barely know everything everything a lot better than that. Yes, I am not denying that desert there are objective, leave better and worse statesman and that's one of the ones that subjectively worse, that's my degree about does, which well the thing is different different theories, immorality, indifferent theories of of flourishing
disagree about exactly which is the worst possible state? How do you know? You know? No, because I think, ok, Why is this so so then the image for me of, the more Alaska again. You can download. This was possible state into me just by itself, without looking at the detail, of what is actually happening any more than you can download Mozart's happiness, Eureka graduate as well as, let's just say that so we have a universe of aid, a finite number of beans, we'll talk about it. Where's possible misery for everyone at times. T witches, were young, which is obviously divine by who everyone consists of others. Whenever beans are here, are here and Egypt, as miserable as he or she can possibly be given, for it is
given its entanglement with all other deeds. Unless we which make this as bad as it can be, there may be some bakeries her, where you have you make some really really bad fir, wood bein things get a little bit better for another being given how their entangled with each other non Odin, never mind that never minor. Yet, let's just make it if there is not one word possible there. Are they find it? worst possible stage for all these things to be an get out of here change that we await start making life better for them altogether, or even just some of them. Now. Moving in a direction that we will call good and There is no other way to their there What what I'm claim in here is it any theory you have about goodness has to entail Moving away from that war is possible
three for everyone in eighty he's gonna be cons, category of imperative is observing deontology. It's gonna be religion is going to be caught. Journalism is gonna, be virtual. Ethics is gonna, be something that has yet to be invented. Ass to recognise that movement navigation in this phase of possible experiences away from the worst possible misery for everyone is what is in fact. The cash value of goodness year, though dough you're more than a millimeter away from this was possible state there. Lots of ways of getting better, and some of them are better than others of nowhere once you get as far away from that. As we are, many things affect what people think It is right and wrong good what what people think is flourishing and the worst possible state.
If it could exist, I am not sure that it can, but in if it could exist if its unique, if there's some equally bad ones, I would one would agree, were equally bad and the worst they have their property that. You can move away from it, creates without creativity, because you can see bleed download any other state in those peoples brains, but once you get a certain distance away and that sort of amount of getting better isn't worth very much it's it's you know it's, it's saying. Ok, your cure doing over them, you cured of cancer, now you are happy and person isn't because they were what have you before and now they're back in the state many were in an hour, you know you less than out of prison and they go back to the old life and the leaves the fact that its own
better than the worst possible. One doesn't actually resolve disagree. And about what is worse, not better. Yesterday. But then that's why my my metaphor: the them landscape seems relevant to me here. Because I acknowledge that there are, there are peaks and valleys here, which which we made disagree about and we made that both be rights over answers. There could be an equivalent peak some day, from where we are where here we're being is just like ourselves could live very different lives, would strike us as Madame perverse need. Then he added this isn't even better peak which is better. The exact words exactly so, and we will never discover it because we are just starting unlucky or we do not have the right mines to discover it. We could have to change our minds, Jane brains, doesn't since, where general,
was I don't possible. Where you were, you have meant you'd have do you have to give us more memory and more process, yes and all the rest Did you do that routinely rights abide by them? any cases just it is just a contingent back to the history of the Cosmos homeless aid. And will not explore this one pink. That could be explored with it with the right technology and its areas better is better in every in every rational way. We could talk about better and worse. Then we'll just find an even better one and bypass that one right. The answer is who continually receives. Unlike some pigs are Well, yes, it will never arrive at the peak right. Yes who was the areas he will based on. You have more computational power given to it. Well, I actually think that did the real fact is that whenever we make go discovery, it creates more problems. So this,
It is true, morality, wee, wee, wee, wee get better, and then we find that getting better itself creates more power. Runs right back there, problem there. There more refined problems here, you're trying to figure out what should be a vegetarian, not whether you can rape all drowned or just so. You know we ve, we abolished war and therefore we find self defense more difficult right right, but that those are local wrinkles, based on just how many of us are still, barbarians or how about our institutions are well that fact creating ordered or world somewhere. We are lamps. All problems occur. Kill, but I think the fact that improvements new problems is a universal fact. Little it will always be true. Then we will apply. Equal. I look like a pig women are approaching it when we're at it. We'll see lots of problems there
right, but you can imagine how cereal and high class these problems could calm right of men are yeah yeah, but even from the perspective of an ecosystem, Certainly, you ve been in some states high. Creativity and high pleasure and very low physical complication where, In fact, just endure for the law- it time the kinds of problems you would be noticing are the fun problems of which is more beautiful, a or be as opposed to you know. I can't get the cockroaches out of my kitchen, St may drive me crazy. I don't know I mean I I I think I'm agnostic on that one eye on how well For example, will there always be existential problems,
I don't know I don't why there should be a limit on the size of mistake, we can make will add that there is a problem, So I think they're they're always is therefore always is a way We can improve, but we may not take that way. But by your own description we tens is successfully automate the solutions to these problems and awaited does acquire any more work so that again, you don't have to I have to reinvent cloning, you just by a new jacket when you need one in and the problem is yeah But you know in in a few billion years time. Will have an extra central problem that we have to get out of the solar system or because the sun is going to become a red giant ran. Who knows what kinds of more problems will be raised by presumably another problem who gets to leave because by time will have very powerful machinery, but
I don't know, maybe by that time there there, whole classes of severity there will not be known anymore, but said, I don't see why that should be highlighted, that how can there be a limit on the size of mistake? We can make that that would seem to be an engine for producing truce, which cannot exist without reason Caesar, I don't know, I don't know what may not be our biggest problem How do we know how to escape a red giant in time, yet it will take me re. Listening to this too, to see where into one degree I lost the thread of our disagreement, but I'm not sure I think my summary of our disagreement insofar as I understand it is dead. You are allergic to the concept of there being a. Days to knowledge, moral, moral or otherwise, and you ve
a paper in this line and Basically, I think I agree with you in so far as what you to me by foundation. Said. I I view this claim about reality exceeding our knowledge, which is a reality, exists whether we know abandoned or not, and this includes possible experiences I don't think, that's the only foundation I need to get. The ball rolling in and then I'm happy to have a roll top areas. Sense of? it being open ended, come endlessly open, ended and requiring continuous correction. Who are theories and arab and away. I thought about it without really think about proper, but I do think about morality as so now again problem and in just forget about the concept of moral truth or truth at all. We are conscious system
that are moving in a space of possible experience and we will continually discover that Some are better in summer, worse summer, more creative summer, less so and were not wrong. To be wanting to move away from the worst possible misery for everyone and up some vague, be changing our opinion. What constitutes better and worse and worse, we doing that by the message of reason, I think predominantly icing just this is maybe an even more fundamental disagreement between us. I didn't predominantly by the methods of science does not sign. I'm just looking for that. That is easy, somebody or other is saying they couldn't be a science of the human condition and your very scathing about that you view you described that as face intrinsic limits of reason right, but I think
the army. I again, you used the word signs in a slightly different way, but I have a face. In the non existence of limits on the reason, but and and the reason that there are limits on science is, is it is a very prosaic reason? It's it's. It's not there's an impenetrable barrier, it's it's! Just that the present no, you can't use theories to address issues the series onto bow, but you you can form theories about things that it is about, no mean immoral things you can improve those by the methods of reason and science is occasionally roman, but I dont think its fundamentally relevant or specially neuroscience because us science has its effect by a universal machine which, which blanks out all relevant of its details,.
Fundamentally, whereas at yes said that is maybe scathing about that point about their condition. Of human nature- is really it is synonymous when the faith. In reason that I share with you- and I share is it. I do have this more elastic definition of yeah yeah yeah, because I just view things don't. May I because again the boundary between science and the rest of reason is not clear and we was well continues to surmounted in supplies in ways that exists. Rise up in it. Didn't it all seem open to science a moment ago is ah yes added something that we know. People in white codes are testing the brass of only one example is. I think that uses the book somewhere, where the question of the use of this round of tour and really- and I relish- of the historical jeez about we're, not what s it. That is a religious claim. It's a claim about
history. It doesnt seem it doesn't seem a our science at all. But then all of a sudden, you someone events You get a method of re of carbon deigning and now it's a claim about chemistry or physics, depending on whose duet experiment- and I just noticed the desk- has continually happened even going to happen in going to happen even more, and and the direction it ends, uni directional rights. If it only goes towards ion and never away sides keeps capturing this ground and no long and it doesnt lose it right so that the moment you radio carbonate in, and you can ask whether a piece of cloth came from a certain period in history well to scientific question today and is a scientific question tomorrow I own expects at any point in their actual that were no longer in the radio carbon daily bills. What we're all in the matrix. For example, if we decide to all my great into a matrix and and stay there, then all questions about.
What we should do next will. Will not be scientific questions about about extending the machine was something roof was plentiful. There now that is a fascinating topic for a future conversation I visited. The question now where this is all headed technologically is is not going away and only to become more more interesting, so some podcast I think you can talk about that no, this is question at all that I could written that both better than I did, because it is action, is actually the battle arise. Version of my deserting and then the reason why they neuroscience is in there is because it was a did he was there Aren't you write to ever Mariah experiments at the centre of that dissertation which were connected to my feet? is by. I totally take your point there, which is that the neurosciences and is is not central in principle
in practice too many of these questions you know, but in terms of understanding. Why well is at the level of human and then their lives, questions about What is happening in the brain? potentially always relevant and unity we can ignore them when one is easier to talk about thoughts than it used to talk about, Neuro transmitters will then that's fine, but then there is the this Asian always can come back to the details of neuroscience when relevant the relevant woman, not talking about something on the universal level like example how Actually, emotions are related to sensations. That's. Hardly a matter of hardware yeah and and how sensations are interpreted actually visual once that's it
and possibly imagine hardware also surprising connection services. There are things that we can discuss. About the brain based on a rather crude techniques opener Emma Jane as they currently exist, Can lead us to understand actions that we may have never noticed on me on the subject of side and one wines heavily used in the book is the best example, because if you could have noticed this subjectively, although not that many people have, I think there was an experiment done on envy and shot writer. So ever was just these founded its people, ten to feel shot and brighter for people mandate rises, the connections, I feel there is a and I could be carried beside wrong. There's been now years- and I looked at that paper but
There was a narrow, imaging experiment has shown a connection between dealing schadenfreude over people. You know when you see someone trip on ice and you feel you know the surge of happiness. We all tend to feel that more of her people who you envies and when you see the rich woman, you know the jewel there with her Christmas shopping bags in both hands slip on ice, you will feel oh a surge of shine, Brodie weight which you might not have felt. For a homeless person sleeping on ice and envy is somehow so that this relationship between the shine void and envy lesters does resistance fact about us cycle. To place this, the common, Neurological real estate founded it. An experiment could help us to cover than about ourselves renovation, We think that you would never notice subjectively We are there to be noticed when she Obviously the hardware point you're doing and actually one example. I think
Fourthly, if I'm not mistaken, is the optic blind spot. I think that the fact that way, we understood the anatomy of the retina and that it would take A blind spot is one car. People, diverse notice, the blind spot subjectively, Michael by closing one. I am putting a again here and moving once you realise that these optic nerve is transiting through the Retina Andrews. Be part of the red notice, not registering any information they could. Then people went in search of the blind spot and found it. I believe ass true, but in any case it is whether or not it was historically truancy certainly but of Inter Alia, that sort of thing could be Teresa. Yes, you're nervous, for me is is relevant in all those ways by the French for the purposes of any conversations certainly need not be Brian and may in fact be complex, things unnecessarily for, for the purposes of conversation, I want to give you an award for the best possible
blurb? There is I commend and not obviously denigrating, which is the book achieved. Its purpose full stop, That is a big accolade. Nobody could it could in my mind, to be given to mine com, for some other book Ok, the progress achieved its highly worthwhile and necessary, but I like it, book achievers further than surmise. May I I know someone who works in Hollywood, whose constantly started going to movies trades and coming out and then just hope not to run into the film maker because he hated man and you this. This person is a friend or a colleague, and he doesn't know what to say and how to marshal his euphemism. So as not to be totally designers, but also no totalling solving, and I was one of these trading? and I knew he absolutely hated this movie and
run right into the film maker s walking out, and here you want to earn his land in the eyes of the film maker and said you must. Very proud, Ok, that's nothing like what I see well anyway. The David it's there was here. Throw his heart to you, and I dont know if we made private, anyone can measure, but I certainly feel like I'm a better person. Every time we talk, so thank you, if you find this pancakes I there are many ways you can support it. You can review it. I tunes or stature. Whoever happens to listen to it. You can share and on so
for media with your friends. You can blog about her, discuss it on your own podcast or you can support it directly and you can do this by subscribing through my website at SAM Harris, DOT, org and there you'll find subscriber only content which includes my ask me anything episodes. He also get access to advance tickets to my live events as well streaming. Video of some of these events,
Transcript generated on 2020-03-24.