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About DocWatts

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  1. This needs to be emphasized more. We've been trying to create in a laboratory over the course of a few decades what took hundreds of millions of years to develop through natural selection. Add to that that a science is still very far from understanding how consciousness works and how life emerged from non-living material, and it would behoove us to approach these claims the topic with more skepticism and humility.
  2. I'd disagree with this slightly. While it's true that a bee's mind doesn't use symbolic processing, I'd instead argue that bees are on a spectrum of general intelligence, along with people. The most sophisticated AI that we have still can't come close to replicating all of the things that a bee can do.
  3. If anyone is interested, I did a write up on the subject of AGI for a book I'm working on, where I delve into some of the substantial barriers to creating AGI, owing to fundamental differences between living minds and machine intelligence. (Apologies if these pages get uploaded out of order).
  4. Is it though? The idea that AGI is just around the corner is akin to thinking that one is making progress towards reaching the moon because they've managed to climb halfway up a very tall tree.
  5. @Leo Gura Hope you're doing well Leo, and that you're taking care of yourself. Appreciate all the work you've put into your content, and for cultivating a relatively non-toxic little online community 😎
  6. Really want to see a character arc for this Ork now, where he learns to integrate and embody the Spiral stages 😁
  7. First off, very cool 😎 My take: it could be that the skulls are symbolic of how he's integrated and embodied aspects of Red instead of denying and repressing it. Perhaps he knows that violence is sometimes situationally appropriate (though regrettable), and that death is a necessary aspect of life. Or perhaps he's transcended a fear of death.
  8. 'The Integral Vision' is a pocket sized introduction to his work that can be read in a few days. If after that, you find that you're connecting with his philosophy and want a longer and more substantive introduction, 'A Theory of Everything' would be the next one to pick up. 'Sex, Ecology, Spirituality' is generally considered to be his magnus opus, and explores Integral Theory (ie the philosophy that undergirds almost all of Wilber's work) in a ton of depth. But it's also 1000 plus pages and not for the faint of heart (though in fairness despite its length he does a reasonably good job of using an accessible writing style ).
  9. Best thing I did for my intellectual development over the past five or six years was to take a step back from this site, along with Ken Wilber, Integral, Spiral Dynamics, and the other paradigmatic 'scaffolding' I'd been relying on, since it forced me to develop my own perspective. #PierceTheBubble
  10. This one gets on my nerves for how intellectually lazy it is. It's the equivalent of trying to have a substantiative sociological discussion with someone, only for the person on the other end to say something asinine like "you say that you don't like capitalism, even though you're writing this on a phone that you bought at a store." Then, me: "Welp, guess that's on me for having the audacity to exist now instead of some unspecified other time and place I guess" 😂
  11. Thanks! By this heuristic, neither metaphysics nor phenomenology are sealed / walled off from one another, as one's pre-existing metaphysical beliefs influence how things are disclosed to us in our direct experience. And vice versa. (For instance, the content of a person's mystical experiences is heavily contingent upon which religion one was brought up in, to list just one example). I guess the broader point of my heuristic is that neither metaphysics nor phenomenology should be treated as an Absolute Ground for knowledge, they should be applied in a more contextual and flexible way depending upon what one is trying to understand. As for drawing inferences, we can reasonably infer that some things necessarily have to be true for us to be able to have different types of experiences. For instance, certain things about our physiological structure have to necessarily be in place for us to be able to experience the world in certain ways. This also includes the type of relationship that we have with Reality, which is different for living beings than it is for non-living entities (such as a disembodied AI like Chat-GPT). And at the same time there's no such thing as a 'neutral' phenomena, since every observation about some aspect of Reality is necessarily experienced from a point of view, and thus involves us. Which is to say that because of our physiology and the structure of our minds, we don't like in a 'neutral' version of Reality. Instead we live in an experiential Reality that comes 'pre-arranged' in terms of our needs and capacities.
  12. My take, for anyone who's interested. What stands out to me is that there's an interesting commonality between those who adhere to scientism and those who propagate various forms of pseudo-scientific magical thinking, and it's a failure to recognize that there's both a phenomenological and a metaphysical dimension to phenomena. The former is concerned with how things are disclosed to us in the immediacy of our direct experience, and the latter deals with our interpretive schemas about the overall functioning and purpose behind Reality. Put another way, the phenomenology is an 'inside-out' approach, while metaphysics is (typically) an 'outside-in' approach. Which of these two dimensions is more appropriate to emphasize in any given scenario depends entirely upon what it is that you're trying to understand. Which is to say, the 'correct' methodology is always tied to a purposive context. The reason that this distinction matters is that something can have considerable value when approached from a phenomenological framing, apart from the metaphysical claims that its attached to. The rituals and practices found within many of the worlds wisdom traditions are often ways of intuiting important phenomenological truths, using whatever metaphysical framing device that culture had access to at the time. For instance, from the vantage point of the physiology of the human body (ie an 'outside-in' approach), the chakras 'do not exist'. But as a way of systemizing the lived experience of how energy moves throughout our bodies, its utility or 'truth' becomes clear. Pseudo-scientific thinkers tend to get into trouble when they advance dubious metaphysical claims, while scientific materialists have a long history of throwing the baby out with the bathwater for phenomenological truths that don't fit into their limited worldview.
  13. If you're new to Wilber, don't start with Religion Of Tomorrow. Start with one of his shorter, more accessible books where he introduces the basics of Integral Theory. Integral Theory is the meta-theory that pretty much all of Wilber's philosophy is an articulation of. 'The Integral Vision' is a pocket sized introduction to his work that can be read in a few days. If you're interested enough to continue with his work, perhaps move on to 'A Theory of Everything' for a more fleshed out introduction to his meta-theory. Afterwards, his other books explore the applications of Integral Theory for different domains (such as religion, psychology, etc). Starting with Religion of Tomorrow is a bit like jumping into trigonometry or calculus without a solid foundation in algebra. Also, it's entirely possible that you may just not 'click' with Wilber, and that's perfectly okay! While I think Wilber's an amazing philosopher, he's not everyone's cup of tea.
  14. Unfortunately, for anything as complicated as a phone or a computer appalling and exploitative labor conditions are the norm. The materials for these products are sourced from some of the poorest regions of the world, and usually assembled in sweat shops. That's not just true of electronics, but likely all of the clothes you own as well, not to mention for most of the objects in your home. This isn't because people living in developed countries are 'evil', that's the buy in for being able to live in an industrial society. Instead of agonizing over if X or Y consumer product is more or less ethical, you'd be better off putting your time and energy into supporting NGOs, activists, and progressive political candidates that are working to reform the worst aspects of this system. In the developed world, it wasn't 'consumer choice' that curbed the worst excesses of capitalist exploitation, it was labor and citizen activism that lobbied governments to put rules in place to protect workers, consumers, and the environment.
  15. Unfortunately what we're seeing, and have been seeing, is a normalization of political violence. While a full blown civil war seems unlikely, localized shootings, coup attempts, and assassinations are likely to continue at an accelerated pace. A scary side effect of this normalization of violence is that if America does backslide into an authoritarian form of government (whether through a Trump dictatorship, or through an eventual successor to the MAGA cult), this is preparing (or 'grooming', as much as I dislike the word) segments of the American public to accept violent oppression of dissent by state as an acceptable practice. Or at the very least, not to be shocked by forms of political violence and state oppression that have been common in other parts of the world, but haven't become the norm in the States.