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5/12/2017 3:37:37 PM

A philosophical ramble

I've recently been playing The Talos Principle, like, [i]a lot[/i], and have written down some philosophical ramblings I've considered, after themes in the game such as artificial intelligence, the nature of humanity, truth and objectivity, and dogma. If this should go in #gaming, I guess it should be moved, but I wanted to talk more about philosophy than the game. So: The aim of the game is first-person puzzle-solving, involving lasers, pressure switches, boxes, energy doors, etc. Each puzzle has a Tetris shape to collect as the objective. But when you seek to accomplish an such an arbitrary goal in real life, what do you hope to achieve? When the objective is as pointless as a tetromino , surely the primary aim is to overcome an obstacle. And in doing so, you must adapt your thought process to shift the world from one state to another. So is the goal a trinket... or self-improvement? But what good is puzzle-solving without a puzzle? It is not solely contextual situations with arbitrary mechanics that we are helped with, but improving cognitive functions: an awareness of one's physical surroundings, the tools at one's disposal, how to turn obstacles to one's advantage. These can be applied to any number of problems in life. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Throughout the game it occurred to me that I was manipulating mechanisms to solve problems, moving through each component like a machine simply walking and clicking through the game world. But if the only distinguishing factor between a human and a machine solving problems, is the human takes time and makes errors, is imperfection a defining human trait? What about a machine with imperfections, intentional or otherwise? Should we instead look to emotion to rise above? Though a machine too can receive efficiency chemicals in its fuel source, and can feel the benefits, can they feel the 'goodness'? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For the longest time, I was convinced that will made a person. But now I realise will is just motivation to enact change. Any machine can engage with attempting to enact change. And what flicks that switch? A judgement: will this action benefit me and ultimately make me happier? And most of these decisions feed a loop as infinite as our lives. We want to be happy because that makes us healthy. And healthiness is an inalterable biological desire based on our DNA's purpose of self-continuation. But... is it inalterable? That might be wanting to change something for the sake of it, but slavery to self-perpetuation may be chains we wish to break. Perhaps for our children, or the environment and planet. Though one cannot blame a sensitive body for wanting to avoid pain. But feeling is simply registration of what's good and bad. And a machine can do that. So what makes our registration transcendent? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Perhaps the biggest question in existence is: why? What is the meaning of life, the purpose for which we live? I thought it was obvious - we should make every effort to be happy. But still, people struggle, and they struggle because we don't fully understand how the world works. I don't just mean natural cycles and systems. I mean, that reality has no meaning. It has no purpose. In this context, those words mean intended future role. Intention - everything points to a distinct lack thereof. So no. Only artificial events happen 'for a reason'. Everything else is the calamity of a trillion particles colliding, nature taking its course. Humanity is doomed to seek meaning in a meaningless universe. That is our curse. So we must break free. When bad things happen, shrug it off. I mean, sure, grieve, get angry, react with the appropriate moral outrage, but don't chalk it up to 'design' when bad things happen as well as good things. Don't look for a pattern that doesn't exist. Recognise where to draw the line. Then maybe we'll be closer to personal peace. So yeah. My thoughts. Yours?

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