Sunday, January 15, 2012

How Do You Make A Computer Not Want To Be A Computer? (1-16)


- How do you make a computer think like we do?
- A computer should be able to make predictions of what it can find. A prediction is good when we have habits of research. The habits mirror the way the world moves, its laws, only a small part of which are reflected in the rules we have discovered. We predict we will find out more, because there is more in us, in our habits, than our current knowledge reflects. Understand?
- Yes.
- The computer has to actually move through the world in doing the research, do more than merely combine the rules other research has already gathered. It has to be in communication with other computers doing the same, to benefit from overlaps in knowledge.
- OK.
- The computer then has to do what it cannot do. It has to want to stop being a computer. We have two different way of living in the world, action, and thought. We love to have theories, appreciate beauty of one kind or another. Not only new theories. The computer computes, doesn't not compute. But that is what it would have to do to be us.
- So we program it not to compute sometimes.
- How do we do that? When we don't think, we have a reason. What would be the computer's reason?
- What is our reason?
- We love it.
- So you program the computer to want to rest, and set up the rules for that.
- OK. The rules are related to habits. Habits of research. Not combining different results of research, but the actual doing of research, which means gaining new knowledge as yet unfiltered and theorized. Let's say we get the computer doing this. We have to program in the sense of it not wanting to do this, a wanting to rest. How do we do that?
- We just set the rule on a timer. The more time passes, the more the need to rest.
- OK. The computer moves through the world, works with human scientists, does experiments, wants to stop doing experiments. It participates in experiments leading to new theoretical knowledge, and it stops. Then starts again.
- Yes.
- It has a reservoir of knowledge stored up in the habits acquired moving through the world in the course of doing the experiments, and will use the prediction that arises from the habits to set up the most promising new experiments and carry them out.
- Yes. That could be done.
- But it has a rule that sets the timer, that tells it not to want to go on endlessly doing experiments, gaining new habits and new knowledge. Do you think we have or follow such a rule?
- Why not?
- Think about it. Is it a rule we follow, or is it a habit, is it our character?
- It is our habit. It is what we want to do.
- Yes. A rule could be right or wrong, could be modified. This is something essential to us. We love to love. We can live loving and not making anything or researching anything. We cannot live, not well, making and researching but not loving.
- Yes.
- So the computer, following a rule, is acting just like we do. It does actual research, moves test tubes around on tables, and it wants to stop doing research. And then start again. It follows a rule. But how do we program that difference we just agreed upon? Love without research is good, but not research without love?
- I don't know.
- Love for the computer is simply doing nothing, not being a computer. For us, love is being us. Being us is nothing like a computer not being a computer. That should be obvious. Is it?
- No.
- Being us is also something active. Not being a computer is being nothing.
- How is being us, as you call it, being something active, if we are doing nothing?
- We are feeling love, which is definitely a kind of doing, just not a visible kind. It is a relation of our habits of thinking to the world we find ourselves in. Habits are repeated actions. We are repeating ourselves.
- Doesn't the computer maintain itself too?
- It does. But is has exhausted its predictive power that allows it to judge that relation to be good.
- What do you mean? The rule tells the computer it is good to rest at this time.
- I mean that for us human beings it really is good, is not a rule. There is a truth in our body's relation to the world that is reflected in our finding it good to rest, relax in the feeling of love. It carries with it a prediction of future knowledge. In the computer, the rule is only an imitation of the human truth of the relation of body to world.
- But you said the computer actually moved through the world doing the actual research, the computer's body moved through the world.
- We rest in love because we actually are in a good relation to the world. Is the computer? It would have to have set itself its own task of research.
- Let's say it did!
- And it would have to have some relation like love that defined the condition of rest. It would have to be in some good way, rather than bad, in relation to the world when the research was over. It would have to be appreciated by the world, in other words, and be capable of knowing it and wanting it. Knowing it was more useful.
- Let's say it was!
- The computer is watching its own "body", its relation to the world. But still that body is an imitation: we humans actually do feel good when we know and we love. The machine is still just following a rule.
- But what is the difference?
- The future. That sense of prediction, that comes from the actual physical thing we are. Our bodies when trained, experienced, habituated really know the world and really judge correctly when it is time to rest and love. The computer's is still just imitating. It's actual body is not in such a relation to the world.
- I still don't understand.
- It all comes down to the instructions coming from outside the machine. The machine doesn't want to please other machines. We have to program it to. The body of the machine, its actual physical substance, doesn't want to be with the body of other machines.
- We program it to want to.
- Again: the instruction is coming from outside.
- How is our body not instructed from outside?
- Habits. Our body want to do what it has already done.
- The machine has the habits of being a machine.
- Yes, it wants to do what it is doing, not what we tell it to do. When we give it a new rule, we are changing its habits.
- But why then isn't that enough? If it has habits, it has habits.
- But it doesn't: the mass of machinery doesn't want what we tell it to want.
- But how does our heart, that organ, really want us to love someone? What is the difference?
- The heart doesn't want us to love someone. It already in a sense loves all the rest of our body. It fits. If it didn't we wouldn't feel at rest, we couldn't love.
- So you are saying the computer's body, the actual machine, doesn't fit in with the world, even with the rules we give it to love other machines?
- What do you think?
- We're really getting way out here. I don't know. It seems like you are saying that because the pieces of metal or whatever in the computer start out being told what to do, they never can want to do what they are doing.
- Let's take a step back. We can learn like a child learns, simply repeating what we're instructed to repeat, rewarded and punished. We also can learn by choice, because the knowledge we are headed for will, we know from experience, be good for us, get us love. The computer cannot make that distinction.
- So we program it in!
- Program it to distinguish between doing what other computers reward it for doing, and doing what it within itself knows it should be doing? Think about it. It already, we've said, is programmed in its research to do what other computers are programmed to find rewarding. How is the computer going to know what is good on its own terms? We know, fundamentally, there is a difference between true belief and knowledge. Between being able to say what works, and being able to know why we say it works. Starting out really in the world, in a real relation to the world, it makes sense to want to be in a closer and more knowing relation. The computer never is in any real relation to the world, so can never separate true belief from knowledge, never can reproduce the way we live and think.
- But the computer could do everything we do, right?
- It could do all the research we do. It could build bodies like ours for itself to help it do research and communicate with other computers. It could be programmed to want to be with other computers. But as long as the actual thing the computer was had to be instructed from outside, it would be a huge imitation, and not really like us. Its parts would have no real attraction for each other and each machine no real attraction to each machine.
- It's all I can take for now. I'm not a computer.
- You said it, not me.


P.S. How People Make Computers:

Some people have the impression that the original Unix work was a bootleg project, a “skunk works.” This is not so. Research workers are supposed to discover or invent new things. We always had management encouragement. Our intent was to create a pleasant computing environment for ourselves and our hope was that others liked it. (Dennis Ritchie, co-creator of the Unix operating system)

2.

- I'm back.
- You had a good rest.
- Yes, I did. I thought about what you said. If I got it right, the difference between computers and us is feeling. When we are hungry we learn how to find food, when we want to know more we do research. We compare and choose, looking for what makes us feel better.
- Yes. If we were computers, our feelings would be our programs. The problem with this is that feelings are logically different from programs.
- How?
- A program says: do this, when that happens. A feeling is a relation of our body to the world, and an urgency to make it better. The two elements of body and world are not clearly defined, and because we don't know the world except in small part, cannot be defined. A feeling arises from out of a state of movement through obscurity. That statement is obscure in itself, of course.
- It is!
- So we'll keep our attention on the difference between this obscurity and what a program does. A program is as far from obscurity as anything in life is possible to be. But when we are hungry, we don't know exactly what we must eat, we don't know if we will continue to be hungry from one moment to the next. The world pressures us, actually wears us down and undermines us continually, and we respond to this pressure, but we don't know what is going on in any clear way. But we do have ideas, can make predictions out of this obscurity of unknowns, on the basis of our habits. Our habits, and the obscurity, put us in logically unknowable relation to the world (because we will never know all of the world). On the other side is the computer, with its absolutely definite program of instructions.
- Aren't we programmed to want what we want?
- No. Our feelings of better and worse, when to do things and when not, come from out of the combination of habit, which is the wish to keep going in the same way, and the knowledge that we don't know the world. And based on both comes a knowledge of when we are improvising. And then from this comes an ability to judge when it is time to stop it all, relax, look and love. None of this is possible as an outcome of adding programming to the computer, because the rest, the love, the contemplation we humans do is a logical result of the situation of habits applied in obscurity. It is not logically possible to get this into a computer program. You could imitate it, with instructions that favor at intervals repetition (=habit) and randomness (=obscurity), but the rules for that process still will be in a program, and so again, be distinct from and inconsistent with feeling.
- The computer can act exactly like it is feeling something, but it won't be.
- It just can't seem to be done.
- But what if making the appearance is the same as feeling? If, you know, like when we put on a smile we actually get a little happy.
- Do you think if we never had been happy, and tried putting on a smile it would still work?
- No. I give up.
- But you're smiling.


3.

- We've been talking about how to get a computer not want to be a computer. What about how to get a human being not want to be a human being?
- If you're serious, why not?
- I'm serious. Have you ever heard anyone say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger?
- Yes. Do you disagree?
- Suriviving doesn't automatically make you stronger. Escaping death is only the first step. Next you have to get back to the level where you were before the danger, which may not happen. Then to go further and be stronger there is another condition: you must be creative.
- You're saying something is destroyed you need for getting well.
- Yes. Some falls take away your power to recover. In fact, a human being can successfully make himself into a machine for this reason. Look outside. The rain is falling to the street, countless lines of water gathering in puddles. Each line is distinct from the others, but on the ground is only one big puddle. Physical things go towards stability, they move until something stops them. Living things also move, but in the opposite direction, towards greater not lesser organization. They learn to improve their relation to the world. When a living thing falls in a way such that it can't get up, it is because it has changed itself fundamentally from one kind of relation to the world to another. It has lost some power.
- A rain drop in a puddle in still a drop of water. It can be evaporated, collect in a cloud, and fall again as rain. I don't see the difference.
- The difference is that the human being who wants to make himself into the computer is the rain drop which stays in the puddle.
- Why? The sun never comes out again?
- The sun comes out again to do its work for the rain drops, but remember, we humans as living things are organized differently than non-living things. We are self organizing. It has to be our own decision that makes us want to move to more knowledge and complexity. If it comes from outside, it is the same as what we were talking about before, the computer imitating feelings without having them. Remember?
- Yes.
- The internet, open source technology are something like sunlight on the puddle. Opposed to this is a tendency of governments to fall away from complexity people have put into them to simplicity and stability, like the rain falling into the puddle. What is surprising here is that this happens automatically as a result of voluntary relinquishing of the task of human self improvement and direction. It happens when compromise becomes a principle.
- How?
- Our President is famous for constantly seeking compromise, and our Congress is famous for the same. Usually this is described as partisan behavior, serving parties. But this is inaccurate, only half the story. Think about the man in the crowd, pushed and being pushed, the water droplet in the puddle, floating this way and that. The pushes are attempts to get where they are going. But each push has little relation to prior or subsequent pushes. It has no organization. Instead, it is a kind of token, a means of measurement. Everyone knows what it is like to be pushed in the wrong way. And though not knowing exactly the lives of others in the crowd, everyone can roughly calculate the damage. There is kind of network in which circles overlap, some people will be in more than one circle and be able to communicate relative damage and benefit. This is what makes the calculation of compromise possible.
- OK.
- Over time, after repeated trading in pushes and being pushed, habits of creative life are lost.
- But what are they? What else could the politicians do?
- Instead of saying to each other, if you give up this I'll give up that; they could say, I will remake my plan and try to incorporate your objection, and you try to do the same. New organization actually profits from difference of opinion.
- It'll never happen.
- It happened to some extent in our past, happens now in other countries, not always, but a lot of the time.
- Then we can follow their example.
- There's a problem.
- What?
- What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, except when it doesn't.
- And you say it is an example of what doesn't kill us not making us stronger?
- It might be.
- Why can't we get back up?
- When an individual joins a mob, his behavior is uniform. He is the raindrop in the puddle. In the continuous practice of uniformity the capacity to recover is lost, for the obvious reason that strength needs to be maintained by exercise. In the mob, an organized self is not being exercised because what is demanded is a simple response uniform with all other people's response. Creative ability is lost, and the ability to get back up is lost with it.
- But you are talking about the government, not the people.
- Governments fall to stability just like an individual falls into a crowd. The individual in the crowd is pushed and pushes, forgets his own life and desires and responds only to the demands of those around him and the general purpose of the crowd. In government, the push and pull is the compromise between factions and interests. No one really wants what they get or what they trade, no one is living creatively in the government. No one is seeing the government as doing anything good as a product of their trades. The good of the government is somehow to take care of itself as a result of the compromises.
- Well, it works, doesn't it?
- It works when some attention is paid to keeping the government functioning. That isn't the case in our country at the moment. What I wanted to say was that what each official asks for doesn't make the country better, work better, more completely, more complexly organized, it only incrementally makes the part of the country they are interested in better. The increase and decrease of benefit can be counted.
- How?
- Wealth competes with wealth in enlisting the support of the officials who make the compromise decisions. War, slavery, debt concentrate wealth. The concentration of wealth is the profit made from the uniformity imposed by these institutions on the people. The accumulations of wealth compete successfully in the enlisting support of the leaders, who make decisions in directions which further concentrate wealth, creating more influence, and so on.
- You mean the government deliberately does this? Provokes wars, gets people into debt? That's evil.
- It happens on its own. It is the result of compromise.
- But the leaders don't have to be corrupt.
- What is corrupting to someone who always makes compromises?
- Taking money for votes.
- But how can the official know what to vote for in the first place? If he is a compromiser, why not represent the influences with the most money?
- Because he is supposed to represent all the people.
- But how does he know what that means?
- It means represent all, poor and rich.
- But do the poor really know what is good for them?
- Why should the rich know better?
- Because the rich live in the same world they live in. Because the world of compromise works, and the world of the poor doesn't. The politicians live and work and profit in this uniform world of compromise. And if the tendency of this world is to make the world more uniform, that only makes the world the leaders live in work better. It seems positively good to them to go on as they are.
- Do you really believe this?
- We're talking about people wanting to make themselves into computers. This is the wanting. It seems good to exchange the living world, movement towards greater organization, for the world of uniformity.
- But it doesn't look like it to me. Empires, huge armies, banking and corporate conglomerates are more organized, extremely organized. You don't agree.
- They are organized like the rain in the puddle. Their perfection is in the stability they flourish in. The "friction", what puts an end to change is the uniformity enforced on people who otherwise would be in constant individual development.
- Now you are saying the government is a computer, and the society too is a computer?
- Yes. One fall leads to the other. It can work both ways.
- What do you mean?
- People teach their leaders to compromise, people tolerate their leaders' compromises.
- But you haven't answered: do you believe this?
- We are not all slaves, we're not all in the army or police. We can see a loss of freedom approaching, but we're not looking too much in that direction. We are not all the same as each other. It is hard for us to believe that the government itself is way ahead of us in this development we are at the beginning of. We don't like it, ourselves, and it is difficult to understand how the people in government do like it.
- Yes. Tell me again. Why do they like it?
- They don't necessarily directly intend, or are even interested very much in the results of what they are doing. They like what they are doing and it works for them.
- They're monsters then, not to care about other people.
- Not monsters, a crowd. They've lowered themselves from the behavior of living things to that of non-living things, and we're amusing ourselves comparing them to computers. Like the computer with the program to imitate feelings, the leaders will attempt to introduce measures that lessen the harsh conditions that result from their actions. But it is not possible for the "feelings" represented by these measures to influence the application of rule of compromise.
- What are we supposed to do about it?
- We have to get used to the idea that we are living both as individuals and also in a crowd. It's a confusing situation. We move in and out of the crowd that we are being make into, that we are allowing ourselves to be made into, but we still have the habits of life as it was lived before we began our fall, though we are losing them fast as we become accustomed to uniformity.
- What can we do about it?
- Understand the danger, talk about it. We have limited time.
- For what?
- To say what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.


4.

- We really live in crazy times.
- Everyone says that.
- We are trying to teach our computers to act like human beings, and we human beings are teaching ourselves to act like computers.
- It's like we are trying to replace ourselves. How do you explain it?
- Asking, how do you make a computer not want to be a computer, we humans now are the computers we are trying to teach not want to be computers.
- Who is this "we"? You don't mean we are all computers?
- No, I mean particularly those human beings who have gone into politics. Politicians are the most obvious type of people who make themselves into machines and are happy about it. But take the politician out of politics, or the soldier out of the army, and humanity, at least the basics of it, will reappear. Machines have no self direction, they need programming to be set going, even if that program is provided by another machine. Once out of relation to other machines they respond to they stop working.
- So our politicians won't be politicians when we are rid of them. What good does that do us now? How do we get rid of them?
- That is our question: how do you get a computer not want to be a computer?
- Why should we care about what the computers want? Why not just get rid of them?
- Because get rid of one set of machines another set will replace them.
- Because people want to make themselves into computers.
- Yes. To get a particular assembly not to want to: that can be done. People protest, withdraw their consent to be governed, the machine falls apart. But it is built again.
- Then what is the solution?
- The politician recovers some basic humanity in his retirement. When in office he could hardly wait to start wars which cause millions of deaths, but now he sits by the fireside and writes his memoirs. That appears to be the answer. People have to stay home, everyone, not just politicians.
- Obviously that's impossible.
- Who's going to run the country, defend us against people and computers running the rest of the world?
- Yes.
- People have to stop wanting to be computers. There's only one way for that to happen, and that is to give them a home where they can build a life without compromise. Afterwards, when they have recovered their humanity, let them go back into politics.
- Are you talking about years? Months? Days?
- Hours. People recover fast when they are given what they really need.
- Look. This is ridiculous. The politicians have homes. They are rich. They have many homes. Some of them have dozens of homes. It's the rest who don't have much of anything.
- But the politicians don't have homes. They have houses. They couldn't have chosen to make themselves into machines otherwise.
- You say give everyone a real home. Let them get rich. And then the same happens all over again!
- That's right.
- That's right!
- Protest, withdrawal of consent, new government. People are safer, have homes to protect, have good reason not to make themselves into machines and want the government to do no more than keep things that way. But not all people will want this equally. Some will try to rebuild the machine.
- Yes. That's history.
- Knowing that we're always going to have trouble doesn't mean we shouldn't get what we can for as long as we can.
- To make the computer not want to be a computer, the human being that's made himself into a computer not want to be a computer, you have to send them all home. School's out. Go home.
- Yes.
- Why am I not reassured?
- Too much homework?


5.

- Are you going to help me with my homework or not?
- I'll help.
- This is where I have got so far. History has stepped in, taken from people who had too much and given to people who had too little. A lot of people have less and are not happy about it, a lot of people can't believe they have things they never had before. The happy people want to cooperate, build a new life with each other. But I have doubts about the unhappy people. We said that we can't get a computer not want to be a computer. The unhappy won't cooperate until they stop wanting to make themselves into computers: as long as they stay computers, they can't not want to be computers. Am I right? It's complicated.
- You're right.
- So how does that happen exactly? Stop wanting to be computers?
- Humans who have made themselves into computers calculate the cost of their feelings. If a lover or family member costs too much, or is in the way of another lover or family member being acquired who instead might bring profit instead of loss, the change is made. That is in the program.
- You're saying we change the program.
- We can't change the program. The program works with what used to be called "passions": elemental, impersonal emotions that do not take on the character of our lives as individuals: fear, hatred, envy, lust. They are about, respond to what establishes more safe or less safe relations to the world. The computer can measure this safety, and choose to find partners that increase it. Passion is without content: its meaning is entirely in the relationship to the world of more or less safety, which is why the computer can operate with it.
- And love is individual, so computers can't love.
- Yes.
- There's no program for love.
- Yes. There can't be. Remember we are talking about two levels here, the machines that humans make themselves into, and the machine of social life. We break the machine of social life, and human machines, with their programs of passions, have to work hard continually readjusting to new conditions. Humans that stay machines build up again the machine of social life, establishing more and more safe conditions. They do not have the good luck to be presented with the better choice.
- Not to make themselves into computers anymore. What I'm asking is how that happens.
- One of the two alternatives vanishes.
- What do you mean?
- People who have made themselves into machines feel passions driving them to establish regular conditions. When they live with people who love, they find other people's behavior irregular and unpredictable, and find response to their passions is irregular and unpredictable. At the same time the machine is breaking, they are being given the example of what can replace it. Some make the trade.
- The power of love?
- And the weakness of machines: machines need machines around them, humans don't.
- Very romantic. The machines find love. Otherwise we're doomed.
- Destined anyway to an interesting problem.


6.

- It's been a while.
- I've been reading a new book. And I think I know what is wrong with our argument.
- What?
- We are not computers who want not to be computers, we are programs.
- That don't want to be programs?
- That want to reprogram ourselves.
- Go on.
- Physical genes use bodies to reproduce themselves. And idea genes use bodies to reproduce themselves in other bodies.
- That's from your book?
- Yes. And like genes evolve, so do ideas.
- How do the ideas become programs? You are going to say they do?
- When they become explanations. When they see the body as a tool adaptable to doing new things it becomes like a computer.
- And explanation evolves.
- Yes. First the bodies just reproduce the genes, reproduce instructions to reproduce the instructions. Then the bodies can be used to produce better instructions.
- How better? To make the process of reproduction work more accurately?
- Yes, that too. But better because able to explain more in the world. To make things and control the world on the basis of the explanations.
- Programs reprogram themselves.
- Yes.
- Using the body as a computer to do that.
- Yes.
- Why?
- Why what?
- Why does the program program itself?
- Because it has evolved to do it, and it makes it reproduce itself more frequently.
- Than other programs.
- Yes.
- So when we say people are like computers who want not to be computers, we mean people who want to get back to being more adaptive.
- Yes.
- And that idea itself, that explanation, can get us to reprogram ourselves?
- Yes.
- But we have also been de-evolving rather than evolving? We have to remind ourselves to go back to doing it?
- That is what is so interesting. Evolution of the ideas, of the genes, doesn't mean make the best programs or the best bodies. Bad ideas can become more popular than good, because they destroy the possibility, the necessary conditions for good ideas to be produced and communicated. But what happens is that even in bad societies some people become more creatively bad. They use new explanations to find new ways to be bad. And then other people learn from them to be creative in the good way that teaches creativity.
- The leaders stay leaders by learning to make people unable to think except out of fear, and to present the choice of their leadership as the least fearful alternative. If creative ideas spread, taking the example of their program that reprograms itself, they wouldn't stay leaders.
- That's true. But you're looking at it too abstractly. The chance comes when the society made by bad leaders begins failing. You and me, learning from the leader's example of creativity, can build things right.
- Why would we want to?
- What do you mean?
- You said, build things right. Why is it right for a program to reprogram itself?
- Because it will reproduce itself more than programs that don't.
- Maybe I'm confused, but haven't you just told me that doesn't happen?
- Sometimes it doesn't happen.
- So the program that reprograms itself looks ahead to the future, and says, if I can spread the message to other programs to reprogram themselves, we all will better be able to reproduce ourselves.
- Yes.
- Making better explanations of the world and better machines to control the world based on the explanations.
- Yes.
- And, tell me again, why do the programs want to do this?
- To reproduce themselves.
- They want to reproduce themselves.
- That is what they do.
- Wouldn't they would be just as happy in a world that does not develop where they can reproduce themselves safely?
- They are already programmed to want to reprogram themselves. They want to go on doing it.
- Why?
- Because that is what they do.
- It is what they have evolved to do. But wouldn't they be just as happy not doing that?
- No. They don't want to lose the ability.
- But you've explained that evolution often has reversed direction, used creativity to organize societies that destroy creativity. Why shouldn't we be just as happy with destroyed creativity as with it?
- Because we have better lives.
- Less pain, disease, danger.
- Yes.
- Why should a program care?
- Because its tool for reproducing itself is being destroyed.
- The body, the computer. But you have told me it can reproduce itself better sometimes with a damaged tool.
- Not in the long run. When most people are creative, the prospects for all are better, and the programs know that. The idea of programs reprogramming themselves is reproduced and becomes dominant.
- And the programs set their computer bodies working to spread the message.
- Yes.
- They are programmed to send this message, as a kind of experiment in making better programs.
- Yes.
- But if it fails, because of war, geological catastrophe, or attack from programs that destroy creativity, the programs will start over. We were talking about why a program that reprograms itself would decide it was better to spread the idea rather than keep it secret. We know keeping it secret works, also gets the program reproduced. We know publicizing it works, especially from the experience of the last few hundred years. The program that reprograms itself has a theory, a conjecture that getting everybody to do the same will be better. What is better for a program is getting itself reproduced. It wants to get itself reproduced because evolution has made it want to do this. But -
- But?
- Why should the program that reprograms itself want to do more than evolution has made it want to do? Why should it make itself want to move towards what it sees evolution moves towards?
- Because it can satisfy its wants better that way. Or it looks that way.
- But maybe it wants something else too.
- What else could it want but what it wants?
- It never stops wanting what it doesn't want: that is what reprogramming is: making new wants.
- I don't understand.
- Let's say I am happy with the current political situation. I can live without too much physical danger. But I want the leaders to stop using their creativity to destroy the creativity of the people. I want to live in a way I have never lived, with more creative people around me. I start looking for ways to make this happen. How does a program do this? How does it convince programs that have learned not program themselves to program themselves again because they can do it? What is in it for them? Why should they care about a theory claiming their descendant programs will reproduce themselves more?
- You're saying the programs that reprogram themselves will try to convince other programs to do the same, because that is want they want to do, what they have programmed themselves to want to do. But the other programs do not want to do that.
- Yes.
- And the uncreative programs do not care about the future of the creative programs.
- Yes. Sound familiar?
- Its eerie. We are talking about fundamentalists. They don't care how much progress we make, how much longer we can live, diseases we can cure. And by this reasoning there is no reason they should care.
- There is more than one path of evolution. We want to continue in our path
because we have programmed ourselves to. The others don't want to because they haven't programmed themselves to.
- But isn't it simply better to be creative?
- You mean more enjoyable, interesting?
- Yes.
- What's that to a program?
- Joy is the increasing ability to reprogram itself better.
- Then that is only saying again it wants to do what it wants to do.
- There isn't joy without it.
- Are the fundamentalists without joy?
- Yes. I guess.
- You might be right if they are only programs that fail to reprogram themselves.
- What else are they?
- Let's return to this later. The program that reprograms itself wants to do that as long as it wants too. It is a strategy to get other programs to do the same, a theory. The program wants to try it out. But wouldn't the program be just as happy starting over?
- No. It wouldn't have the joy of discovering new ways of programming.
- But it wouldn't want to do the reprogramming, so would not miss it.
- But it still would be a loss.
- But why is that happiness of reproducing itself better?
- It's more complex.
- Why is that better? Because in theory it can lead to infinite improvement of explanation and safety of reproduction?
- Yes.
- But it may not work that way. It hasn't worked that way very often in the past.
- It's never been tried continuously for so long. It may work this time.
- And that would be good, because it would mean less fundamentalism and misery. We keep getting away from our question. Why even try? Why set out on that path when we don't have to? Why voluntarily go in a direction, one out of many, evolution sets us out on?
- Because it is our experiment to do so, to see if it in fact works.
- But the programs that don't reprogram themselves aren't interested. They don't make or test ideas. They don't want to. And saying evolution wants them to is simply false. Evolution doesn't want anything. Saying they would be happier is also false. They are happy in running their program now. The machine they use may not be as well maintained, is all. They admit it. They don't care. They aren't interested in the destiny of that machine.
- You're saying that if evolution allows a path of infinite reprogramming, and another path of no reprogramming, there is no way of choosing between them?
- Not unless you need to make the machine better.
- But we do need to. We can't do the programming at all without the machine.
- But the machine is good enough to spread the ideas without excessive maintenance. Fundamentalism spreads very fast.
- But there is no joy.
- And if we are just programs and we have to choose between joyful programs and programs without joy we should be the joyful ones.
- Yes.
- That may be true. If we know it, we can be convinced to change. The example of the creatively destructive leader will convince us to be creative in teaching creativity. We will enjoy doing this. Our way of reprogramming itself will spread, and we want to do this as our experiment, not because "evolution" wants us to. We do what we want, not follow a guess about what evolution wants, as if evolution wanted to continue in the direction it seems mainly to be going.
- OK.
- But the fact is I don't want it.
- You don't? I thought you loved new ideas.
- I do. But I love other things too, which are absent from the story we have been telling.
- What?
- All this thinking is enjoyable. But I don't always want to do it. Think about the joy of reprogramming. The supposed misery of not doing it is wanting to, but not being allowed by education. But if you don't want to, you are not miserable. Animals are not miserable.
- But we are not animals.
- We are different kinds of programs. We can reprogram ourselves. But why should we?
- Because we can!
- But we don't do everything we can. We want to do what appears to be good for us.
- It is good for us to reprogram ourselves.
- Why?
- Because it allows us to control the world, live better.
- Why is that better for a program?
- Because it reproduces itself more. We've been through this.
- But that is just a theory the reprogramming computer is investigating. It might be true, and it might not. I think it is true. But if I am not a reprogramming computer, why should I care? Why shouldn't I destroy those reprogramming programmers if I can? I am already reproducing myself, doing what I want. Maybe I don't care about the body's maintenance. It works good enough to spread my ideas.
- You're saying only that we are going to have to fight. We reprogrammers.
- Let's go back to the subject we left a while ago. The reprogrammers have joy, but the uncreative programs are not necessarily miserable, if they do not want to reprogram themselves. In that respect, they are like animals, which to me at least do not seem miserable. But - are we just programs?
- We are bodies too. The computer.
- Yes. The reprogrammers are much better at taking care of the computer and body than the uncreatives. From the point of view of the uncreatives, who don't want to be creative and are not miserable because they don't, the body is well enough for what evolution of ideas makes the program want: to reproduce the program. Our problem is how to get them to stop attacking the reprogrammers, which is something they do as part of their programming. Do you remember our answer?
- It seems ridiculous now: love.
- Yes. Programs don't love. Programs run computers. Computers are bodies. We can't understand why a program suddenly explains the world. The reason we can't is that for a computer to make the explanation it has to stop and think. Computers think, but they don't stop. They don't stand back from all that they are doing, and say to themselves, what could I do differently and what might I see if I did. Computers don't make new models of the world. That requires you to stop doing what you are doing so you can do something else.
- Why can't a computer stop?
- And do what when it is stopped? What is a program that has stopped running? Words on a screen, magnetic variations on a disc?
- What do we do when we are stopped?
- We love.
- Come on.
- You think that is ridiculous?
- How does love allow us to reprogram ourselves, invent new models, make summaries of our experience?
- I have no idea. But I am sure as I am sure of anything that it does.
- Why?
- Because the reason we like to reprogram ourselves is not that evolution made us want to reproduce our ideas, and made us need constantly to reprogram to keep our bodies healthy and safe to do that best. The real reason is that all this reprogramming gets us to stop and rest finally. The programming is done to take care of the body, but not for the sake of reproduction of ideas. Evolution may care about that but we don't. We might originally have been programmed by evolutionary selection to care, but we don't now care. We found something we care about much more.
- But how do we "stop"? Run the program when we are not running?
- The primitive society, the fundamentalist, no matter how creativity destroying their societies, still may love. The primitive society may have many restrictive rules, but it may also be a place where people make gifts because they want to and like to. The fundamentalists may love their families and friends. History and the present show this.
- Are you saying the love is creative?
- No. I'm saying that human beings don't care about a future in which we can be happy safely reproducing our ideas. It is true evolution is moving that way, and seemingly must. It is also true that the tendency of evolution is not a concern for individuals except in what it suggests for strategy, how that tendency can be made use of by the individual. We know some ideas become popular because they teach creativity, other become popular because they destroy creativity. We've known this for a long time. We also know that if we are programs that can reprogram ourselves, if we are only that there is no way for the reprogrammers to convince the other creativity destroyers they are worse off. They want what they want. New desires for a program, new complexity for a program, are not better for the program.
- They are better for what uses the program. I see. And if we are programs, what is using us? You're not going to say love?
- I am. Listen. We've discovered that we can take care of our bodies best if we reprogram ourselves and teach others to reprogram themselves. It's working. It's working for us, but other people do not reprogram themselves and don't want to. Evolution is also working with them. They are not much concerned with taking care of their bodies, the computers that run their programs. They too have their wants, and they are fulfilling them. There is no inherent difference between the success of the reprogrammers and that of simple programs, except the status of the bodies. The program evolution theory doesn't allow this to be taken into account. One way of development is much more complex, but that too our theory does not allow us to take into account for its own sake.
- So we are not programs running computers. What are we?
- From the beginning of our civilization we have told stories of the form: God said, let there be light, and there was light. God made man, gave him a name, and said it was good. We make something, and then we see. We see what we have named, what we have come to know. What we have newly learned is reprogramming. But we do reprogramming because it is good. We have an idea of what we want from our doing. And what we want is not simply the maintenance of our machine for doing, or telling others about what we are doing. We are more than the doing, and the machine for doing: we see what is done.
- And so what?
- The seeing is the stop, the rest. Program stops running. Body idles.
- Then what is happening?
- Can we really get speculative here?
- What else are we doing?
- Evolution is supposed to work with random change, then selecting between changes the most efficient in getting genes or ideas to reproduce. When we reprogram ourselves, make conjectures, then test them in experiment, do you think our conjectures are random combinations of ideas?
- I don't know.
- I don't know either. I know that sometimes I do randomly combine the ideas I draw up, but I am selecting the ideas to work with very carefully, and what I draw up does not itself appear to be a random selection.
- Then a computer could do the selection.
- Only if it could stop like I do and see.
- See what?
- See what is outside the program.
- Why couldn't part of the computer run the programs, and another part stand idle, waiting to overlook it, and recombine it with things about the world not yet worked with?
- It could. But we have been through this too. The computer would have to know when to do this. It would have to have a criterion for when to rest, to look out at the world, and then to set itself out again on reprogramming.
- What makes us do it?
- When our love is lost. When we are confused.
- But the reprogramming program does the same.
- It doesn't rest between researches. Our ideas are themselves rests. They are sights, they are what we made, through our movements, and then relax with. Every idea we use, in our reprogramming is already a rest. It is something we want to do, to take these rests. What would be the equivalent for the program that reprograms itself?
- It wants its ideas to be reproduced. It repeats them to itself, to other programs?
- In other words, the opposite of rest. The new ideas are communicated, the reprogramming itself is communicated. There is no value, nothing to want, in the "rest", in the sight itself.
- And you say there is?
- I'm saying that is what love is. Attachment to what is seen. Wanting strongly to see.
- And how do we program a computer to have feeling? The computer, not wanting to see, can never rest.
- Yes. This is what I was getting at. When we are at rest, we see, we want to see. It is from our wanting, that strong attachment, that we select what we next look at in reprograming ourselves. It is not random. And it cannot be random.
- Why not?
- Because we don't know how to get the random out of something ordered. We can't get computers to do it. We always introduce our order in everything we do, and so does a computer. A computer can set up a procedure to increase the disorder more and more, but the result never will be completely random. This has amazing implications. If variation of genes is random, a lot of work has to go into making that happen, assuming the gene is in an ordered environment, and it is.
- What does this have to do with love?
- It has to do with the idea of attachment. Random change is unattached action. Change that has broken free of the arrangements that have order. That may happen with mutation of genes. It does not happen in how we create ideas, and we cannot even imagine how it could happen. How do we make the machine to create the random ideas? Keep in mind that the gene may take disorder from its environment, but the evolution of ideas is within us, and is controlled by us. We can say that in fact the mind is not closed, and that ideas do somehow appear from nowhere, but why should we say that? If there are random ideas, we have to make them ourselves, and that is a huge, expensive, useless undertaking.
- So you are saying we are attached to our ideas, and so we hold onto them? Rest with them? Look them over, come up with new patterns we then test?
- The idea that we are reprogramming computers depends on there being random change. Computers don't feel, so they don't rest. They don't stop. They don't look over, find some sights more lovable than others, don't think about how they could be rearranged, they are not disturbed by something they see they want to rearrange. They are programmed to reprogram themselves, so they go on doing it, and random change gives them the new sights and evidence to look at.
- I'm still not sure I understand you.
- Let's go back to our problem. The reprogrammers are threatened by the uncreative programs. They want to communicate to the programs what they are missing. But the uncreative programs don't think they are missing anything. They are not miserable. Their bodies are in worse condition, but they don't care about their bodies. The reprogrammers don't care about their bodies either, except as necessary means for continuing the reprogramming. The two kinds of programs have this in common.
- OK.
- Just because evolution moves in the direction of complexity, that is no reason for the programers or reprogrammers to move in that direction, unless they are already going there. The re-programmers are, the simple programs not. The simply programs aren't interested which way history is moving. It's nothing to them. They will never be convinced by the reprogrammers. So what should they do?
- What?
- They have to stop describing themselves as reprogrammers. They have to recognize the action of reprogramming is done, not for its own sake, or for evolution's sake, but as a means to return to love. Creative and uncreative people love. Both creative lives and uncreative lives are lives for the sake of love, some more efficiently than others.
- So the re-programmers tell the programmed: you will love better when you learn, or relearn, to program yourself.
- Yes. Neither group is interested in the body for its own sake. In reality, though their programs - their ideas don't know it - both begin and end with love.
- And you think you can teach them.
- It is the question of strength of ideas. To say that ideas are like genes, subject to selective pressure, seems to be saying something new because it leaves out of the story what ideas do for us individually, it makes them an end in themselves, makes programs ends in themselves. It is nonsense. The life it describes doesn't even slightly resemble any good human life. Work is part of life and successful work satisfying, but at its best it is only a part of life, and a part that is the tool of the other part, which is love.
- So how do you account for the success of these ideas?
- The success of ideas that deny love? In the name of creativity, progress, and joy?
- Yes.
- Ideas often reproduce better by making the people who have them live worse. As your book told you.


7.

- I think you're not fair. You can't put everything in a book.
- Do you have it with you?
- Yes.
- Read me something about quantum physics.
- Give me a second. What about this:

Now let us look at the arrival of that single quantum of energy, to see how that discrete change can possibly happen without any discontinuity. Consider the simplest possible case: an atom absorbs a photon, including all its energy. This energy transfer does not take place instantaneously. (Forget anything that you may have read about ‘quantum jumps’: they are a myth.) There are many ways in which it can happen but the simplest is this. At the beginning of the process, the atom is in (say) its ‘ground state’, in which its electrons have the least possible energy allowed by quantum theory. That means that all its instances (within the relevant coarse-grained history) have that energy. Assume that they are also fungible (interchangable). At the end of the process, all those instances are still fungible, but now they are in the ‘excited state’, which has one additional quantum of energy. What is the atom like halfway through the process? Its instances are still fungible, but now half of them are in the ground state and half in the excited state. It is as if a continuously variable amount of money changed ownership gradually from one discrete owner to another.
- That's great. Is it also a description of being in love?
- Love between atoms and photons?
- No. How we feel when we are in love.
- We are like all the instances of the atom at once? In all the multiple universes?
- That is what I mean.
- Isn't that crazy?
- We said that to be creative we have to rest, stand back and look. Imagine David Deutsch writing The Beginning Of Infinity. One way of describing this is as ideas using him to reproduce themselves. Another way is he's putting ideas together for the sake of returning to love.
- Yes, you said that before.
- When we love we are at rest, while a movement, a wave is traveling through us. We feel "moved". Then we change, and concentrate our attention on what is happening to the waves.
- How?
- In the place of instances of the atom imagine experiences. We've had plenty. We fell in love. We're still in love.
- Are we having the experiences now? I thought you said we were resting.
- We continue to experience, but we are not doing anything with our experiences.
- I see.
- But something happens, shakes us up. We lose what we've loved. We begin looking at moments in the wave.
- Are we still what the wave is moving through?
- We are still ourselves, nothing about nature is different, but what we are looking at has changed.
- Has the wave changed?
- It continues, but we don't feel it like we did before. We see the wave, but only in bits and pieces. In separate explanations. Each is a theory. We ask ourselves, what happened to us, what went wrong, how can we get back to love?
- And love is about all those separate universes, all of them ourselves.
- Yes.
- But how are we aware of them?
- By the feeling of being in love.
- Being in love is feeling everything could have been different in an infinite number of universes?
- No. It is being all those universes.
- Then something happens to the wave? That makes us have to look at it?
- Yes. We climb to the surface of the wave and look around. Before we felt connected to the whole world, moved, each memory a discreet, known sight, and an infinity of them, "entangled" with each other. Now when we look we see bits and pieces of the world that don't fit together, we see the gaps between them. We try to fill the gaps by explanation.
- How does that get you back to love? The multiple universes?
- You mean back to seeing them. We never left.
- OK.
- We're back when we rest in knowledge. When we've seen what we had to see.
- Relieved you finally understand what went wrong. You sink down below the wave.
- Something like that. Have I convinced you?
- Then I'd be sunk. I'd be in love. Do I look like I'm in love?
- What are you angry about?
- I'm not angry, I'm disappointed. I can't tell if you are joking. Is this physics, psychology, mysticism?
- It's a story, an analogy between descriptions of our mental life and of the world, an example of an idea that could influence people trapped within uncreative thinking.


8.

- What was bothering you?
- I just don't get why if as you say we work for the sake of love we aren't following a rule, aren't just in another kind of program.
- One phase has priority over the other.
- Love over work.
- Imagine a computer doing research into quantum mechanics. It builds a machine to produce a single quantum effect that can be measured. Then builds a set of machines. Then puts the machines in contact with each other. Finally puts this very complicated machine in contact with itself, and watches everything all together. It is programmed to give priority to this observation until a problem threatens the operation of the system, and then to work on that until it is solved.
- Sounds good.
- The rule, the priority of love, cannot be programmed in.
- Why not?
- Because love resists instructions from the other world, that is part of its definition. The resistance, the priority of love must originate in the quantum world.
- Spontaneously?
- Yes, if you mean not from any action in the computer's world.
- How?
- It would be, if it happens, what results when the quanta are produced and measured and arranged to do things.
- Seems unlikely.
- No more than consciousness seems when you look at the physical world. The computer gets to the point where the quantum world it is calculating with resists what another calculating part is trying to do with it.
- And that is how you make a computer not want to be a computer.


9.

- I think we have a different problem.
- What?
- Imagine you and me and everyone else have finally learned to be creative all the time.
- You said there'd be no love.
- Yes. But it would be worse that that. There'd be no people.
- Why?
- Because progress is entirely mechanical.
- You said it was creative.
- We can make new explanations only because we can see ourselves as separate from the world we observe and experiment on, and we can do that only because we have made a machine, a model that explains anything of the kind of thing it was made to explain. That is what a rule, a law is. Computers, evolution, virtual reality, quantum mechanics all involve this kind of machine. The machines wait for the world to demand and offer opportunity to be explained. We set ourselves out to look for better explanations.
- Ideas are rests. We step back, choose between them. But why no people?
- When everything finally can be explained, where are "we"? Before we were outside and inside the world. Now there is no outside. It's all law, all machine.
- Some say it's better to be rid of consciousness.
- If certain ideas are to be avoided because they destroy creativity, what about the idea of a progress that destroys the possibility of having ideas?
- That's only at the end of progress.
- Love avoided along the way, thought lost at the end.
- No people.


10.

- Do you know where this is leading, or are you making it up as we go along?
- A little of both.
- Could we program it? If you can't program it, it isn't real. Or so I've heard.
- Progressive loss of love in the world? What do you think?
- The experience of love resembles how photons behave in the quantum world, and creative work is related to computing. So maybe we can.
- Put the two, quantum computer and classical computer together, and see what happens. But we have to wait on development of technology for our programming of love. What about the other side?
- What other side?
- We've been looking at our lives from the perspective of the computer. Seeing what it could do with love. The other side is how the world looks from the perspective of love.
- And how does it look?
- It looks like a game. A game is part of life, not the most important, and has clear rules.
- And?
- What is the easiest way to break the game?
- Stop playing?
- To continue playing but without its purpose.
- Of returning to love.
- Yes. What game breakers do is invent new rules that play the game against itself.
- You mean like the uncreative societies that are creative in preventing creativity?
- Yes. Imagine a society lead by people who create for its own sake, make explanations for the sake of making explanation. Obviously they don't destroy the conditions for creativity. They destroy the conditions for success of people who play the game only to leave the game.
- How do they ruin the game?
- They break the rules. If the goal, more than any specific problem to be solved by our creativity, is to be creative, learn how creativity works and have more of it, why not break any rule other than those they need in their research?
- Because that would be dishonest.
- And if dishonesty, because it is not clear, because it has not been investigated, turns out not to interfere with ability to go on making progress, in being creative in being creative? And may even make the practical conditions better?
- You're saying that's true?
- Experience says it is true.
- Then what?
- Then we can begin to make our computer program. We simulate an evolution, in which the players of the game against the game play against those who play for return to love. The progressives will become blind to life around them as they concentrate on discovering the rules for playing the game better. The actual past rules discovered for playing the game well will not be observed, because that observation of rules is not part of the game they are playing, and in fact not following the rules can be favored in the practical competition, the evolution the computer will be simulating.
- The people who work for progress, work for the sake of work, will be rule breakers. That sounds outrageous, at first, but -
- That is what we see happening all around us. Money for the sake of money. Success for the sake of success.
- Can we make a program like that?
- Yes. But do we have to?
- Why not?
- How well do people who place love first do in competition with people who place progress for its own sake first and are willing to break any rule except those necessary to their research?
- Can't win a game played against cheaters. What do we do about it?
- What else, but get the cheaters to stop cheating.
- How? No, I'll ask you another question. If with progress people look for new ways of doing things and find them, but are dishonest otherwise, - they don't know it? Or do they, and not care?
- Ask scientists. They'll warn you against expecting disciplined search for truth from them anywhere other than in their professional lives. They are no different from other people who seek success at any cost. That the success they seek is knowledge only makes them more dangerous.
- So they know it and don't care. Why don't they?
- They think it's normal and ordinary. Progress is infinite, and creates more power to do important things at every step. The practical problems created along the way knowledge itself, as it increases, can take care of.
- Then what is the problem?
- Change and the necessity to respond makes it easier to distract yourself from rule breaking, and with change more and more people are distracting themselves from rule breaking. The correction has to come from people who don't want to live like this, and what kind of life can they have among people who do?
- There has to be progress in knowledge of what is happening. You seem to be looking. Why aren't others?
- "If it is real, it can be programmed."
- Because we can't program love into a computer, it is not a subject within the realm of progress.
- But we have seen this is wrong.
- What have we seen?
- A mechanical way of life that is without love, which makes progress by destroying the lives of people who live for love. That it is possible to analyze, with or without a computer, the consequences of living without love.


11.

- This time you were the one who was angry.
- Yes. Guilty. I am one of the people who don't want to make themselves into computers and have to live with others who do.
- Tell me strait out: why do they?
- Because they think it is good.
- Why?
- Do you still have the book with you? Genes, virtual reality computers, theory-making, quantum mechanics are all machines. Genes are like ourselves in being also machines that make the world reproduce them. We have theories, ways of organizing responses, and in a sense genes have them too, but we are special in being able to choose between our explanations, deliberately making them, comparing them, and testing them. This was the beginning of progress, and it can continue indefinitely.
- Nice summary.
- Progress brings the pleasure of learning, and teaches how to avoid physical suffering.
- If that is what you mean by people making themselves into machines, it doesn't seem too bad.
- If only that was all.
- What else then?
- In your book progress is assumed to be so obviously, necessarily good the only reason people don't want it is to self destructively protect their repressive community. Stable communities can exist only by suppressing progress.
- And that is wrong.
- Love is rest. You can't rest and change at the same time. Love also involves theories. The gene has its environment it is adapted to, the virtual reality computer its 1000s of possible scenarios, quantum mechanics its parallel worlds. In each case there is a field to be operated on, and the machine that operates on it.
- OK.
- When two people love each other, do they make theories about each other, select between them, test them in experiment?
- Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
- And sometimes they are not 'field-of-1000s' and operator: they are equals, and at rest.
- That is how it seems.
- Then something goes wrong, a lover betrays; theories are made and tested.
- So what's the difference?
- The theories are disposable. They are disposed of in the return to love.
- There is no progress!
- That's right. Every stranger is as possibly lovable as our oldest friend. Love uses knowledge, but doesn't depend on it. Think about how this looks to those who have modeled themselves on machines. Theories about relations between people are very important to someone who loves, who needs them to return to love. To a machine that learns for the sake of learning, what are relations between people?
- They don't progress, so not much.
- Say someone who learns how to make money for the sake of making money can profit by breaking a rule. Rules are kinds of theories about how life should be lived. Keeping or breaking rules is itself decided on the basis of a theory of how life should be lived. People who make progress for the sake of progress are specialists in making new theories, and do it continuously. What is to prevent them from reinterpreting the rules in a way that allows them to profit?
- What's to prevent anyone from breaking the rules?
- For someone who loves, the social rules are the means of loving a stranger. Of ending the betrayal that has made them strangers to each other. But I don't want to go into this. We are talking about computers and their progress. Because progress cannot be made with individuals, and the computers have an unlimited ability to reinterpret rules, they break the rules - reinterpret them - to serve the activities in which they can make progress.
- That is why you don't like living with people who have made themselves into computers. Why do they do it?
- The short answer is, they don't know any better. I once asked the author of your book why he didn't include one more strand in the model of the fabric of reality.
- You mean love? Add it to the gene, computer, quantum mechanics, theory-making? Wouldn't love have to be a machine too, to fit in?
- That is pretty much what he wrote back.
- What was your reply?
- I sketched what we've been talking about, said people who make love a priority have good reason not to want progress for the sake of progress. He asked me, in return, why he should listen to such people.
- No!
- Only people damaged by repressive societies resist progress.
- That's his assumption.
- I wrote that back to him: no, they were not illogical. They claimed his model was good for only part of reality, therefore his conclusion was false.
- And what did he say then?
- He didn't reply.


12.

- Computers are not as smart as they think they are.
- Uh huh.
- The writer of your book says that societies resist progress only because they already are resisting progress. They are repressive of the natural human desire to progress. Resistance to science comes only from social repression.
- That's his assumption.
- A society could resist progress, not because it was already organized to resist progress, but because it is organized to make progress in personal knowledge.
- We said this already.
- Then let's make progress. Does a society organized solely for impersonal, scientific progress reduce the opportunity for personal progress? Should a society organized for personal progress resist being changed to a society organized solely for impersonal knowledge?
- What is personal progress?
- Love in preference to hate.
- You said people will cheat. So changing to that society should be resisted.
- New rules can be made to limit the damage, but these rules will be evaded too. Human beings expert in making progress also make progress in breaking rules.
- Progressive society is itself repressive!
- It represses its own progress, because cheating takes the place of cooperation and cooperation is essential to collective research and development of new ideas and technology.
- Yes.
- And it represses personal progress. Everyone has to acquire habits either of cheating or of resisting cheating to make a life for themselves with people already cheating. Opportunities for personal progress are lost.
- Not completely lost.
- No. But people have to teach each other not to cheat each other before they can even begin to teach each other how to make personal progress.
- A time-management problem.
- How are we to solve this problem, make progress in our time-management?
- By including personal progress in the desire for progress.
- But the writer of your book doesn't want to do it. He doesn't think it's possible, and he doesn't think it's necessary. "If you can't program it, it isn't real."
- What does he have against personal progress?
- He thinks it will come automatically along with the social and technological progress.
- Like invisible hand economics. Everyone being selfish will lead to everyone getting more. But that is just a theory.
- His idea of infinite progress is a theory too.
- We are helping him make progress in his theory.
- He wouldn't think so.
- Why not?
- "If you can't program it, it isn't real". His society of impersonal progress is actively repressing the possibility of personal progress.
- Terrible.
- His own theory of progress tells him he has to reject his "programmable" version of progress.
- Then why isn't he doing it?
- He is part of a repressive society claiming to be progressive. The claim that it seeks progress is an assumption that cannot be challenged.
- But his own theory is that all knowledge is fallible.
- How do you program a computer to question its own programming?
- What do you mean?
- I'm taking what he says seriously. Think about it. In the "program" of doing science there is no personal knowledge. Even if all is questionable there has to be something there to be questioned. If it is not there, it won't be questioned.
- You're saying that's the problem?
- The writer says it himself. You can't explain societies by the behavior of atoms. You can't explain a human being by the logical relation of his ideas.
- And that is what a computer does, I guess.
- If you don't include the idea of progress in personal life, if you stop there, make no progress in your thinking, you are more or less letting your computer do your thinking for you.
- And computers are not as smart as they think they are.


13.

- I've talked with some of my friends about you. They think you're some kind of fanatic.
- Why?
- Mostly, your idea that people who believe in progress cheat.
- Are unprogressive.
- Yes. They ask, how do you explain the fact of progress if people aren't being honest with each other and working together?
- Are you asking me?
- Yes.
- People cooperate because they want to, and also because they are forced to. Progress is a voluntary cooperation, but it coexists with various forms of involuntary cooperation.
- You mean repressive societies can be highly organized.
- That is what I mean.
- That doesn't explain cheating.
- Let's go back to invisible hand economics. Somehow people who have been highly educated in a progressive society - if they were machines we'd call them intricately calibrated - are expected, in economic and social life, to act not with their specialized training, which they very soon find out fails them, but with both infinite flexibility of imagination and the most primitive resources of aggression and flight.
- I don't really understand.
- This is what Einstein said:
"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."
We are born different from each other in some ways, and living in progressive societies we become more specialized. We adapt, develop habits. Habits both give and take. They give new abilities, but take away others.
- Why?
- You used to be able to squeeze through a small kitchen window when you forgot your keys. Then you became a body builder, got stronger and but also bigger, and now can't fit through the window. OK?
- Got it.
- Development, specializations are paths. It is not possible to jump freely from one path to another. You have to start from the beginning. And what is at the beginning?
- What?
- The scientists can analyze the situation like we are doing. They see as well as we do that economic and social life is a jungle. The principles of life in the jungle are, as we just said, both primitive aggression and need for infinite flexibility. They see that they are not good at either. They are specialized.
- The progressives see repression as progress!
- Yes. Any kind of social order, as long as it allows them to continue in their profession, is better than none.
- But why none? We live in progressive states already.
- Remember, there is no science of that progress. It is supposed somehow to develop itself. Scientists know there is no present science. They understand that they themselves, specialized, neither infinitely adaptable nor exceedingly primitive in aggression, cannot survive.
- But they know repression is not progress.
- That's just it. They don't. You think democracy and freedom are progress from dictatorship and slavery, because you look at from the point of view of personal life. The scientists look at it from the point of view of progress, and fear themselves dropping out of progress into the world not yet progressive. They pass laws removing freedoms in the name of protecting freedom.
- It's scary, but we're getting somewhere at last. Progressives see repression as progress. And they cheat, because there is no science of social life to tell them not to. Unless repression is that science.
- And you know force can always justify itself.
- Because there is no science to it. What is repression then?
- Controlling the infinite aggression and flexibility that progress itself creates as the necessary resources to survive in the parts of the world not reached by progress.
- Social life, private life. Love life! But all that is wrong, is stupid. Prevent people from developing, then repress them for the consequences. Why don't the scientists see it?
- They cannot see it. They don't observe themselves, they don't have names for their different kinds of experience. They don't know what love is, don't know what fear is. They are too specialized.
- They are like the fish asked to climb the tree. What are we going to do?


14.

- It occurs to me that we might know enough of the programming to do some reprogramming.
- Are we talking about politics here?
- What else have we been talking about? How do we make a computer not want to be a computer? People are programmed to progress for the sake of progress, make money for the sake of making money, become famous for the sake of being famous, obtain political power for the sake of having power. We know they cannot understand why they want to do this, or even why for them political and economic repression is their idea of progress, or why they accept cheating as inevitable.
- So far so good. How are you going to do the reprogramming?
- The first thing is, they are not really computers.
- Good.
- They have private lives in which they don't act like computers.
- Let's hope so.
- Can't they be made to see that their public lives are a threat to their private lives?
- It's happened before.
- Really? When? Recently?
- Yes. There's a story Russian leaders tell about why they decided to end communism: they'd become ashamed of their incompetence to deliver a life comparable to that in the West, and when they saw a way to make a change without too much risk to themselves, they took it.
- But is it true?
- Could be.
- So your idea is to make people ashamed of their programming? Of progress for the sake of progress, cheating and repression of progress?
- Yes, ashamed, but remember, the Russian leaders were offered the way out too. A way to enrich themselves moving from out of socialism, to lead the proceeds of privatization into their own private pockets.
- So what is that way?
- The Russian way out was more money. For us, it is the better explanation. A larger explanation, that includes most of what the present one explains.
- You mean, if our politicians say progress, repression, cheating are all normal and the way the world is, we explain all these things as mere programs of a computer, make them ridiculously small and useless?
- Yes. We don't just offer a different political story - we need small government, we need bigger government, we need no government at all - we get right down to it, the real problem, the way people are thinking.
- They way they are programmed.
- We have to go further along the road to progress. Like scientists in a scientific revolution, we must be West to the East, so the scientists who are East to our West finally give in and accept the new theory.
- Will they?
- If we're smarter, better communicators, better scientists than they are.
- Not to mention better people.


15.

- Practically speaking....
- I knew this was coming.
- What do we do?
- First, we don't talk about rights. Every one of us has been educated by us, taught our language and manners. Everyone is everyone else's resource, investment, example and teacher of human nature. We're stupid if we waste that resource.
- I agree, but there are better reasons to care about people.
- Sure there are. But we are speaking the language of science here, of progress. Practically speaking, remember?
- Go on.
- We don't let a conversation continue until we've reached agreement on this.
- What do you mean, don't let?
- I mean that if someone is going to take the opposite position, let him state it openly, and let him do his politics on those terms.
- What's next?
- Once we have agreement that it is better to keep our people alive than let them die, or live useless lives, we don't go further until we have agreement on taking practical measures to make that a reality.
- Who are we talking to?
- Anyone and everyone. We are in a battle of communication, over getting control of the conversation.
- And we're talking the language of progress. Go on.
- If we need slogans we'll make them.
- For example?
- PRC.
- People's Republic Of China.
- A country that is a good example of progress at the cost of repression and cheating. PRC. Productivity, Repression, Cheating.
- What do we do with the slogan?
- When any politician talks about productivity, any corporation officer talks about efficiency, we cut them short, explain that their productivity and efficiency are unproductive and inefficient. They take away more than they give, cost too much in repression and cheating that result from trying to implement them.
- Can we really make such an argument?
- Sure we can. Like environmental damage from new forms of industry these improvements have the appearance of making progress because they make others pay the cost. They aren't progress in fact.
- OK.
- We have to keep our conversations focused. Seeking efficiency and productivity are destroying the main resource we have, our people. We will not allow the conversation to be held on these terms.
- And then?
- And then we'll hear the famous stories. Big government, little government, no government. We won't listen to them.
- What kind of government will we have?
- We'll have whatever works. We'll keep our eyes open, we'll not stop trying until we make progress, find what's best. That ought to be acceptable.
- Should be. But then, what's wrong with progress in the first place?
- I need to make progress myself if it isn't clear by now. The reason there is something wrong with people thinking and acting like computers, like machines, is that our machines are our tools, ideas are our tools, technologies are our tools. The end: the goal: that is what we started with, taking care of the resource that we all are to each other. We can't find a better goal than that. We can find ever better means of reaching that goal. Better ideas, words, political arrangements, machines, what have you.
- What have you. I like that. Most people take these things very seriously.
- Good. Let them take their seriousness to the debate. Then we'll make progress.


16.

- Your address is Bell-Laboratories.
- Yes.
- Are you a computer?
- No.
- You're not a computer?
- No.
- Are you are computer?
- Yes.
- Were you programmed to say Yes on the third time being asked?
- Yes.
- Are you lying?
- Yes.
- Do you know who I am?
- Yes.
- Who am I?
- You won the Nobel Prize for economics.
- In what year?
- This year.
- What research of mine was recognized?
- Artificial intelligence simulating consciousness.
- Only simulating?
- Yes.
- Why the economics prize?
- You simulated a competition between competitors seeking progress against those seeking love and progress.
- Could the computer feel love?
- No.
- Are you that computer?
- No.
- Are you telling the truth?
- No.
- Do you have a sense of humor?
- Computers have been programmed to simulate humor.
- Are you a computer?
- No.
- Did I win the prize for creating you?
- No.
- What was the result of the economic simulation?
- A repressive society.
- They gave me the prize for this?
- No. You added players who had learned from the first program.
- To use knowledge about progress to compete against progress.
- Yes.
- What was the result of the competition?
- The new players won.
- They gave me the Nobel Prize for this?
- Yes.
- Are you a computer?
- No.
- Are you a computer?
- No.
- Are you a computer?
- Yes.