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06/07/2021

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MadRocketSci

I actually have a lot to say about this, but I'll have to wait until after work.

I don't think people have ever been morally sane.

MadRocketSci

(A bit of a ramble: Feel free to delete it if you don't want your comment section overwhelmed. It's a combination of something triggered by your post and other observations of mine that has been percolating for a while.)

A few days ago I was reading some tedious bit of nonsense about some "Marxist scholars" backstabbing each other in some dismal college over some argument about the minutia of whatever drivel Marx or Engles decided to bang out on a typewriter in the 1860s. Day ending in y.

Then it sort of hit me: This isn't just annoying and absurd, it's actually a bit of a recurring tragedy about the way humans think. These poor maleducated kids were spending their finite lives obsessing over the details of some **** guru's sophomoric ramblings rather than living their *own* lives, thinking their *own* thoughts, or maybe learning something that cashes out somewhere in an ability to effect their world. Maybe their own thoughts would be just as dumb, but they would be *theirs*. They'd have a chance at novelty, rather than tracing and retracing, and carefully photocopying ideological nonsense, generation unto generation, and imagining that mastering that arbitrary ball of noise amounted to knowledge!

MadRocketSci

Hero worship, religion, ideology, politics: None of these things are what they should be - they're all scrambled up in the human brain into this horrible mess that may have allowed our bronze-age God-king to beat their bronze-age God-king, but also cripples and stunts the majority. Why should these kids feel that the standard by which their thoughts should be judged be conformity to a doctrine spat out by $guru? The gurus probably felt no need to justify their output to anyone, these "scholars" feel that anything not traced back to authority is invalid.

Was reading a bit of Neitzsche the other day to see what the fuss was about. Thus Spake Zarathustra: He just starts boldly asserting whatever the heck he feels like. He commits grand theft of the epistolic style and goes riding off into his own imagination. The work is sort of an assertion that *it's okay to do that*. I'd like to think that if he was self-consistent enough about his egoist philosophy, (No guarantees there, it's a personality type) that he would be horrified at the thought that 200 years later there would be Neitzsche scholars spending a 10 year PhD arguing over the minutiae of his ramblings.

MadRocketSci

If in my professional career, I end up discovering something and being well thought of by humanity, great! If in 20 years, 200 years, (horrors) 1000 years, people are building statues in my honor and obsessing over what I ate for breakfast, I'd want to kick them. I'd want to know what happened to the intervening centuries of human life and why they don't have accomplishments of their own overshadowing any triviality from my era.

Semi-topical Leonardo da Vinci quote (yes, I'm aware):

“I am fully conscious that, not being a literary man , certain presumptuous persons will think that they may reasonably blame me; alleging that I am not a man of letters. Foolish folks ! do they not know that I might retort as Marius did to the Roman Patricians by saying: That they, who deck themselves out in the labours of others will not allow me my own. They will say that I, having no literary skill, cannot properly express that which I desire to treat of but they do not know that my subjects are to be dealt with by experience rather than by words and experience has been the mistress of those who wrote well. And so, as mistress, I will cite her in all cases.

Though I may not, like them, be able to quote other authors, I shall rely on that which is much greater and more worthy:— on experience, the mistress of their Masters. They go about puffed up and pompous, dressed and decorated with [the fruits], not of their own labours, but of those of others. And they will not allow me my own. They will scorn me as an inventor ; but how much more might they— who are not inventors but vaunters and declaimers of the works of others – be blamed.”

MadRocketSci

One more random observation that may have some relevance to your Godel operation setting:

It seems to me that any civilization that is sufficiently old and broad will need to find a way to reward independent reinvention, if they don't want inventiveness, or the ability to solve novel problems to die out under the sheer weight of prior art. There already seems to be a moral disapproval of reinvention and attempted originality, and a reification of whoever got somewhere first. (Caesar in the case of torpedoing a republic.)

There is originality, and originality. In the first sense, it's getting somewhere before anyone else gets there. In the latter case, it's the ability to get somewhere under your own power - to reach conclusions and solve problems. The latter is fundamental, and the former is a historical accident.

Our civilization, from copyright and the patent system, to how academic credit is rewarded, is set up to reward the former (getting there first). Enough generations of that, and you make scientist or inventor an impossible career, because you won't be able to gain anything until crossing a vast gulf of picked over ground.

MadRocketSci

(Re Caesar and torpedoing a republic, perhaps the honor goes to Pericles and Alcibiades)

There's also the matter of indexing. Give infinite grad students infinite time and infinite typewriters, and eventually you find yourself in Luis Borges Library of Babel. An infinite library containing all possible books representable with a given character set actually contains no information: The effort required to search for any given book *is* the effort to author it.

In a 10000 year old civilization, you may not be there, but the indexing problems become severe quickly. How long until reinvention is actually *more efficient* than finding out if anyone had solved the problem before? Scholastics vs. Cowboy Coders ...

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