X-Message-Number: 16696
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 21:46:25 -0700
From: Lee Corbin <>
Subject: Re: But, how can you know if your life is real?

Dave writes,

>>*boredom* is not simply some kind of default state
>>that happens to a soul...Boredom is an extremely
>>sophisticated process built into people for the
>>express purpose of aiding survival.
>You must understand boredom in a different way than I do.
>...I do not think boredom is built in to our bodies in
>such a similar way (if at all).  The drive for food or
>sex is a physical, mechanical, concrete thing.  Boredom
>is an abstract way of describing how you feel when nothing
>excites you.  Are you suggesting that one will have to
>redesign hiself to be something like an emotional-less
>zombie to avoid boredom?? 

Oh, not at all!  It's just that we should decide
whether we want to be excited by something, not
leave it up to chance or our genes or conditioning.
Yes, it will be pretty weird to have the "excitement"
knob within reach; and I assume that I'd have mine
turned up pretty high most of the time.  It indeed
would take some getting used to.

You're quite right:  "Boredom is ... how you feel
when nothing excites you."  But that begs the question;
haven't you ever failed to be excited by something that
you thought should excite you?

>If one has every possible virtual possession and every
>desire satisfied, how is that not virtually static?

It's always possible to strive for more gratification,
(enhanced ability to experience it), and to strive for
more understanding (of mathematics, at least).

>>Therefore, two things are nearly certain to be perpetual
>>activities of an immortal:
>>1.  Gratification Research.  (Self re-design to accomodate
>>    enhanced experiences and capabilities.)
>>2.  Mathematics Exploration.  (It can be shown that there
>>    exist infinitely many mathematical theorems---very nice
>>    if physical explorations ever come to an end.)
>In a particular way, exploring individual theorems forever
>might exist, but in a more universal way, exploring theorems
>in general, might become similar and boring.

Not if you have your "mood organ" adjusted properly, to use
a phrase of Philip K. Dick's.  Remember, nothing in itself
is truly interesting, just as true beauty likes only in the

eye of the beholder.  Whether something is interesting to
you depends on you.

>But have you no possible answer on how one could know if
>one was in a fake world or his own creation (made with
>his permission by someone, and not an accidental world
>like we think we live in) ?

You've got me there.  I believe that in principle there can
be no way whatsoever to tell the difference between reality
and a simulation that's good enough.  And if you can, then
it wasn't "good enough"  :-)


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