I have a fear of artificial intelligence or, perhaps more specifically, I have a fear in the rise of artificial intelligence. I strongly promote the idea of progression and exploration and understand that curiosity is basic human nature and has undoubtedly aided us greatly in the past. Curiosity has made discoveries, solutions, progression but curiosity killed the cat and it’s likely it’ll kill us too.
Charlie Brooker has made an excellent UK thriller series of a technological dystopia that delves into the dark realms of a possible humanitarian apocalypse. It’s called Black Mirror and is one of the most beautiful, yet heart numbingly eery series I have ever seen. Isn’t it scary how so much of our personality, and so many of our thoughts can be stored in a mass sphere of information called the internet – the web. Mine and your Skype calls, text messages, tweets, Facebook status’, Facebook messages and blog entries can be logged and stored in an online filing cabinet with the name ‘Sarah Snow’ printed in times new Roman; and there we go an infinite virtual store of my memories and of my thoughts.
Accessing these memories and thoughts is always going to be second best to actual face to face communication, or at least current communication . But what happens when a tie is cut, when the person is no longer available to talk to, to communicate with, but we still want them, we still need them. We often forget the importance of natural order when we live in a world where almost anything and everything can be made easier. In times of grief and desperation our inclination is to do anything to ease the pain. We would seek an immediate outlet for our suffering and if accessing thoughts and feelings of the person we are grieving is an option, it’s sure to be a popular one. If we could in anyway recreate the person we so long for how could we say no? Ignoring what they left behind would be so close to impossible especially if only a tap of a few buttons away.
Latching onto our vulnerability is what temporary inhumane solutions thrive at. What offers a moments comfort takes away from our recovery and steps in the way of a natural process causing a chaotic spiral we do not know how to solve, Artificial intelligence could take us to an unknown scenario and give us no solution. Artificial intelligence could strip humanity of what humanity is and leave us as shells seeking momentary satisfaction again and again until we are nothing more than robots ourselves. I’d rather knowingly have an imperfect life with bumps along the way because every bump is a human struggle and every struggle dealt with adds to my character. Artificial intelligence would instead chip away, slowly and painlessly at our soul and we’d let it because by the time we realised we’d be too hooked.
I think as humans in today’s society our priorities are ever-changing. We are so easily consumed with the modern world, the latest technology, the gripping but equally shallow and vacuous reality shows that they can often become a priority in our lives whether we realise it or not. By following these ‘celebrities’ on social media sites, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook they become an integral part of the fabric of our self-created day to day network of information. They stream into our lives after one tap on the ‘follow’ bottom and we consume it abominably from then on.
It’s easy though. And nice. I really like the car that Kylie Jenner drives, and the scandal of her engagement with Tyga? Tell me more! Oooh the cast of the only way is Essex are in Vegas, I really want to go there. I wonder how much they earn. Hmm. Flick, tap, scroll… Sigh. Ok we’re all guilty of doing this, and, we’re all guilty of convincing ourselves that we aren’t like the general public and that our infatuation is ironic not obsessive. That deep down we know that there’s a bigger picture and that leaving that knowledge deeply rooted but not letting it surface is somehow acceptable and thus justifies our intrigue in keeping up with the Kardashians.
The day that Kylie Jenner turned 18 was the day that Malala Yousafzia (an 18 year old Pakistani activist for female education) opened a school for Syrian refugee girls. This wasn’t covered by the media, it wasn’t streamed into our social media and so it flew right above our heads without a second glance. Even if it were to be covered and displayed to us it isn’t glitzy enough, not lavish enough to entice a generation of people who are intrigued by context not content.
Our generation is in a state of ludicrous levels of laziness. There is a mind warp pandemic and our brains are morbidly obese with the rubbish we are feeding them. The ‘man’, ‘It’ the ‘Media’ may be to blame for stacking a table full to the brim with unhealthy, fast, easy food but we are ready and waiting with our spoons to scoop up anything new added to the table. We leave the fruit of the media alone to disintegrate and rot, we are the selfish and simple end stage of the conveyer belt of rubbish that is society.
It shouldn’t be normal to partake in this system. It shouldn’t be normal to turn a blind eye to those most in need. It shouldn’t be normal to numb our hearts to the cries of the desperate. But we do. We obnoxiously avoid responsibility. The media has created a vast sphere that stretches across nations, continents, countries it scopes to the richest and to the poorest. But this has not lead to a community that is tightly bonded it has led to dispersion of responsibility to nothing more than a speck per person. Dispersion of responsibility combined with a much easier alternative than dealing with the problem is the deadly dosage we have been prescribed. We’ve got to use our specks of responsibility and make a storm with them.
I don’t think we ever ‘find ourselves’ I think all we do is learn more and more about ourselves. We’re too complex to be found, what there is to learn is infinite, and the best way to make our way through the infinite checklist of self-discovery? Pain. Being hurt. Having our heart strings torn at in all directions, being yanked as they cry and as tears drip down our faces. It’s horrendous, it’s horrible, it’s indescribable but it does one thing. It teaches us something.
When you’re down a pit that has been created by a shitty reality and a self-torturing mind, you evaluate two things, how you got there and eventually, how you will get out. Thinking about how you got there totally depends on the perspective you take but ultimately the best way for you to move on and the best way for you to spin this into a silver lining is by being brutally honest and accepting. Maybe after a heartbreak the energy you have shouldn’t be focused on hating the other involved, maybe it should be spent on nurturing ourselves. Maybe we should forget our pride, forget our silly games, and let go. Feel the weight of tension drop off our shoulders. The reason we don’t is because this tension is all we have left of the person. It’s negative but it’s not nothing. And for a long time you’ll think it’s better than nothing. But when you accept the absence of anger and focus on yourself it’s the first big step of recovery.
Firstly, be proud, so proud that you even got to this stage. It’s the hardest stage and well done. Now I know unlike this analogy that the weight and tension doesn’t just evaporate. I know some hovers around like a bad smell fogging up the back of our minds. But what we need to do is have the sharp, harsh memory to keep us in check. Think of it as a border of standards. We can remember what that level of pain feels like so we can ensure we don’t allow ourselves back there again. There is hope in this and it does get better.
Just remember that there is no external or internal timeline. You shouldn’t feel better by a certain time. You can’t take too long to recover, and you also can’t recover too quickly. There is no shame, no lack of dignity in it taking months or years to move on from this pain. Our souls are soft and often the softest get squashed the hardest. If you are sad accept it, but don’t prioritise it. Prioritise the thought of happiness. The imagining of your future self, happy and free. And soon you will get there, that thought will turn to a feeling and you will be there.
And lastly, please remember that there are so many people in this big world who have been screwed over. Who have had their hearts torn out and trampled on, who have had to claw back themselves and have learnt to exist and eventually to be happy. There are people everywhere who understand your pain. Your pain is not irrational. It is real. And it’s one of the very worst things in life. You are coping with it. And you will recover from it. Have as much faith in yourself as I have in you. Once you learn to have faith in your self-recovery you will see it happen.
Why do I feel a moral obligation, or a moral guilt when I participate in activities that are morally neutral? For instance, last night I went out – I kissed a guy and I feel, wrong, bad, unsettled about it. I’m not in a relationship and the kiss was consensual from both parties, so why do I feel uncomfortable about what I have done?
I guess this could stem from some sort of societal role that I feel I should fulfil. The idea that female promiscuity is ‘slutty’ or ‘degrading’. Or the values my parents hold, that being intimate is private and special and not something to be handed out easily. Or perhaps I feel like the act was simply out of character, so much as to rattle me up a little and question the genuinity of what I’ve done.. Did I really want to?
Either way what the experience has done is close me up. I don’t want to be promiscuous or flirty. I don’t want to be ‘easy’. The only reason I can directly attribute these feelings to is a sense of self-worth. Perhaps I was seeking some sort of intimacy with a guy in order to top up any insecurities I had. I don’t believe that I place my worth as an individual in the way I am viewed by others but of course having a guy find you attractive is a blanket of reassurance. So instead of the act being empowering and strong. It was carried out from a place of weakness and self-doubt – and that’s why I feel unsettled.
Do you ever just sit down, stare at your paper and pen, or your screen and keyboard and just kind of sigh. When you have so many thoughts but none of them string together in a cohesive alignment, or none of them fit the same context, or at the very worst you’re not even sure what they mean? Well yea, that is me, right now.
And that will be my topic I will align my thoughts to. Why do we feel the need to express our thoughts? Even when we’re sat alone at home, why do we find it necessary to find an outlet for them? I guess it could be due to our natural inclination to be open with one another. Or it could be a defence mechanism for coping with the thoughts – particularly if they are negative. Or it could be in order to better ourselves. Jotting down thoughts certainly gives us the closest to a third person perspective we could ever ask for. And that enables us to analyse them, it enables us as well to exude these negative thoughts and thus examine them with a clearer, more neutral mind.
One thing these things have in common is subtracting a certain amount of thoughts from being stuck within us. A way of ridding them. I’m sure we’ve all ‘thought’ (oh the irony..) that we would like to switch of our brains for a bit. Or that we would like to permanently erase something from our memories. This idea of ridding thoughts is of course just that, just an idea. So the only realistic pursuit of this being possible is the ability to somehow monitor or distract, or expel them from ourselves. By turning them into a physical object (ink on paper) rather than an elusive enigma of floating consciousness that troubles us, saddens us and can drive us insane.
That’s a lot of thought bashing. It brings me to the question of what is so good about them… I mean really, what is good about thoughts? Yes it allows us to analyse situations in a complex manor, it allows us to be self-aware, it allows us to plan ahead to try and create a life that we believe is best for us. If wed ignore the black whole side of thoughts, the side that sucks our mood into it in a moment of mental masturbation then I guess we can start thinking about these positives. But would we really need to plan a life if we had no thoughts in the first place, we’re planning because we get upset by things because of how we feel and think – we’re thinking to help previous negative thinking.. What.
The only conclusion this leads me to is, thoughts are life. They allow us to interpret things, soak them in rather than having them penetrate right through us without so much a ripple of conscious effect. And this is good. Because despite life as we know it existing without our thoughts, it doesn’t exist to us. And if the only way I can experience life is by coping with a cocktail of complex thought processes then that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.
I haven’t been on here on a long time, and its partly because as soon as I set any sort of schedule or routine to something creative it becomes a chore. And that’s annoying because a blog, especially such a laid back blog, should never be deemed laborious. That’s one reason. The other is that I’ve finished college and I’ve stopped having daily philosophy classes and discussions and my mind has been extracted somewhat from the realm of philosophy in general. That isn’t to say entirely because I believe I am internally philosophical somewhat. In no pretentious way at all. At all. Because, I think most people are.
So where am I going with this.. well I suppose that I want to inform everyone that in the near future (an annoying phrase I know!) I aim to vamp this blog up and make it something I am proud of. This is a selfish blog. I write about my feelings, my thoughts, opinions and I do it to a small percentage in the hope of validating these thoughts by hopefully receiving some sort of feedback. I also want to connect to people who share similar views. So indeed this blog will hopefully become far more interactive.
I know when I go onto a blog site, such as this one I split my time 60:40; being others blogs (60) and mine (40). So to maximise my enjoyment of this site I would absolutely love to have some sort of interaction with the blogs that are so glorious and so articulately written that they steal my mind for a few moments and fill it with meticulously thought out thoughts.. that belonged originally to another human.
When you don’t think about, pleasure and happiness seem like the same thing, when you do think about it, their differences become glaringly apparent. There are a few major differences between the very essence of each one. Happiness is a mood, a state of mind that stretches across life, and enriches our experiences, it penetrates into everything and thus I can have a bad day, but still be happy. Pleasure comes in bursts, on it’s own it holds no worth, it relies on the richness of a premeditated level of happiness to work. Happiness is self authenticating, pleasure is not. Happiness can cause pleasure, pleasure cannot cause happiness. I get pleasure from seeing someone smile because I’m happy, I get no pleasure from the very same thing, because I’m depressed.
But can we be happy, without pleasure? It almost seems as though we need events that atleast have the potential of being deemed pleasurable in order to sustain a level of happiness. Although happiness is a state of mind, a cloud of glowering enlightenment, it is not inaccessible by emotions like pleasure. But if pleasure can’t cause happiness how can it sustain it? Maybe because pleasure isn’t a ‘thing’ in itself but is moreover an illusion that happiness has cast. So as you would say ‘money makes money’ it would seem ‘happiness makes happiness’. And so although happiness isn’t permanent, although admittedly stable, it can be slipped in and out of. When we slip out of our happiness less pleasurable illusions are cast, less pleasurable illusions equals less genuine happiness and the spiral continues.
In a previous post I’ve discussed my view on personhood, I believe we’re purely a bundle of biology (not that that’s a bad thing..) I also believe in determinism, a combination that gives my life very little meaning or hope, but anyway.
Today I watched a documentary on the serial killer Arthur shawcross and not only did it illuminate the absence of any remorse, empathy or guilt Arthur lacked but suggested that he had an ‘abnormality’ in the brain, common in serial killers, or even killers for that matter. Identifying this it was argued that Arthur couldn’t be held responsible because he couldn’t help act in the way he did due to his innate programming, he didn’t chose to have this biological abnormality. Well of course he didn’t because he IS this biological abnormality and therefor he is fully to blame.
But similarly then, caring people, charitable people, loving people, cannot be praised for good deeds because they are programmed that way inclined. I couldn’t commit a murder, so by not I’m no better than Arthur why should I be praised for something I cannot possibly be do anyway?
Ok ok ok contradictions all over the place! I’m saying we are not responsible for anything we do, and therefore punishment and praise are irrelevant.. But really we are fully responsible for everything we do because what we are IS what we do. For example I am a person who happens to obtain a sympathetic mind, Arthur is a person who happens to contain an abnormality in the brain. He is the abnormality and I am the caring brain. There is no ‘me’ or ‘him’ seperate to the entities within my brain. I and my brain, and all contained within my brain are not distinguishable. All are one. So yes, I can fully blaim Arthur.
There is no such thing as a soul, or a seperate ‘mind’ outside our brains and body. We are infact no more than the chemicals, atoms, and neurons that make us up, our conscious, our thoughts, these derive from our biological organisation. So defining a person can be problematic, surely if I take a paracetamol I am no longer the same person as I was a few minutes ago before I took it, because, ultimately my biology has changed since then. Furthermore without paracetamol or infact any kind of drug my biology changes constantly anyway, so my persistence as appearing as the same person is not as a result of me being the same person but as a result of people percieving me as the same person. Personhood is no more than an illusion, we are not people, we are just collections of atoms, and these atoms and our cells are changing all the time, we are changing all the time. Following this there is no objective explanation of what makes a person, because really a person is never in existence as that person for any length of time at all, in just a few minutes an element within me will have changed. Infact time can become an issue, time is infinite, it can always be smaller. So detecting when a change occurs is impossible, most people would accept that I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, but when exactly did I change? It’s impossible to know because there is always a smaller millisecond in existence so a better way to judge is when others begin to identify me as different. My only true claim to being a continuous person is a series of successful and similar actions I do that lead others to percieve me to be the same, I am not the same, but being perceived as the same is what defines me as a person, really the idea of a person is not more than an illusion. This idea of personhood and how it’s percieve relies on a holistic view, I am judged and I judge others holositically, I don’t scrutinise their individual elements but focus on them as a whole and so this almost vague attention to detail when it comes to percieving others allows for generalisation of the indictable components to be seen as the same, thus ignoring minute changes within biology.