Waking Life

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Immortality generator

Hellow

I’ve finally gotten off my lazy ass to solve that whole mortality thing by encoding my brain into a computer. Now I’ve decided to be super nice and I encoded also your brain and everybody else’s actually, so you can go about and live your life without worrying too much because there’s a saved backup. I’ve put it here:

http://yoannbourse.com/encode_brain.html

hope you like it  ❤

Best of Gintama

Gintama is probably the funniest shounen, and its success is pretty interesting, but it’s also extremely long.  Unlike some other shows, it’s not complete garbage, but I wouldn’t say the whole show is good. It’s a shounen and as such has its fair share of multi episode boring long fights. So if you want to skip the boring bits and focus on the best part, here is my take on the subject. As usual, bold is the best of the best. I didn’t include any exposition because I don’t think it matters much, you can watch the pilot or read a wiki…

 

Best of South Park

I once made a list of the most important/best South Park episode for a friend who wanted to see more but didn’t want to go through the whole thing, and I thought I’d share it here, kinda like I did for Supernatural. Contrary to SPN, South Park is actually a good show, pretty witty and sly, well written, not completely shit, so I highly recommend you watch it, but I can understand how a 20 seasons show can seem daunting, and how all the poop humor may obfuscate the brilliance of their nuance societal analyses, so feel free to use this list as a starting point. It should give you good insight on the most interesting and the most influential South Park episodes:

  • 1×01: Cartman gets an anal probe

 

  • 2×14 : Chef Aid

 

  • 3×06: Sexual Harassment Panda
  • 3×11 : Chinpokomon

 

  • 4×05 : Cartman joins NAMBLA

 

  • 5×04 : Scott Tenorman Must Die
  • 5×08 : Towelie
  • 5×14 : Butters’ Very Own Episode

 

  • 6×07 : The Simpsons Already Did It
  • 6×09: Free Hat

 

  • 7×01 : Cancelled
  • 7×09 : Christian Rock Hard
  • 7×11 : Casa Bonita
  • 7×12 : All about Mormons

 

  • 8×01: Good Times with weapons
  • 8×14 : Woodland Critter Christmas
  • 8×5 : Awesom-O

 

  • 9×4 : Best Friends Forever
  • 9×11 : Ginger kids
  • 9×12  : Trapped in the Closet

 

  • 10×3/4: Cartoon Wars
  • 10×6 : Manbearpig
  • 10×8: Make Love, not warcraft
  • 10×12/13 :  Go God Go

 

  • 11×10/11/12: The imaginationland trilogy

 

  • 12×06: Over Logging

 

  • 13×12: The F Word
  • 13×13: Dances with Smurfs

 

  • 14×03: Medicinal Fried Chicken
  • 14×04: You have 0 friends
  • 14×05/06: 200
  • 14×11/12/13: The Coon trilogy

 

  • 15×01: HumancentiPad
  • 15×07: You’re getting old
  • 15×13: A history channel thanksgiving

Most of season 16:

  • 16×01: Reverse Cowgirl
  • 16×03: Fath Hilling
  • 16×06: I should have never gone ziplining
  • 16×08: Sarcastaball
  • 16×12: A Nightmare on Face Time
  • 16×13: A Scause for Applause
  • 16×14: Obama wins

Most of season 17:

  • 17×01: Let Go Let Gov
  • 17×02: Informative Murder Porn
  • 17×06: Ginger Cow
  • 17×07/08/09: The Black Friday trilogy
  • 17×10: The Hobbit

Pretty much all season 18:

  • 18×01 : Go Fund Yourself
  • 18×03 : The Cissy
  • 18×07: Grounded Vindaloop
  • 18×08 : Cock Magic
  • 18×09/10: Rehash

Seriously watch all of season 19, but if you need a highlight:

  • 19×06 : Tweek x Craig

 

  • 20×01 : Member berries

 

  • 21×02 : Put it down
  • 21×07 : Doubling down

Please reach out to me if you think I forgot anything, this is highly possible 🙂

Featured

AMadManWithABlog

Welcome to my blog :3 My name is Yoann, and I do all kind of things.

I am interested in things that make me think, laugh or feel fuzzy with cuteness, as you can see from myanimelist or my shitposting tumblr. I am not interested in brainless action-driven pop culture, or anything about the real world.

On this blog, you’ll find mainly my writings and games, or pseudo-philosophical essays, both aimed at highlighting new perspectives for reflection (not at being fully developed argumentaries). I also have an idea box where I store all kind of food for thoughts that I will flesh out here later (or never if they’re not fertile or original enough, since I want to explore new ideas and not reinvent the wheel).

I leave you with a list of keywords a la 90s Google referencing exploit:

#uploaded consciousness, #memes in the Dawkinian sense, #noematics, #contemporary and experimental art, #ironic appreciation of cringe, #fujoshi culture, #postmodernism and deconstruction, #aesthetics, #transcendance, etc

Cruel angel thesis

One of the topics I’ve been pretty interested in is the dialectics between individuality and collectivity. It’s a topic that is echoed in a wide variety of artistic works, some of which we’ll brush over here. It’s pretty common to see plans along the line of the Human Instrumentality Project which aim to destroy individuality and “become one”, i.e. merge humans in some sort of community soup.

I think it’s so well spread because it speaks to something at the fundamental level of human psyche. Consciousness and awareness of self only allow a definition of self by opposition to the rest of the world. There is only a “me” because there is a “non-me”. Therefore the “me” depends on the “non-me” for its definition. And even worst, the “me” can only exists as such because it is perceived by others (part of the “non-me”): that’s the whole thing of Sartre’s Gaze concept.

In addition to this dependency, it seems clear that the feeling of individuality is necessarily tied to a feeling of isolation (vis a vis the rest of the world) because I’m just a “me” in the middle of all the “non-me”. Furthermore, adding to this suffering is the notable fact that this “non-me” resists “me” and may not be super compliant with my goals. So the “me” is completely at the mercy of a tyrannical “non-me”. No wonder people single out individuality as one of the fundamental source of the suffering and wonder about getting rid of it. I personally feel that it is the most fundamental struggle of human existence.

One of my favorite such examples is the catholic concept of Eden, which represent paradise and absolute happiness. Adam and Eve are denied this completeness when they start being self aware and therefore individuals. This marks the start of suffering, and the start of the yearning for an unattainable Paradise Lost, which may be the root of any quest of mankind for an absolute. This essentially sets the tone for all of the christian conception of the world. Incidentally, this mirrors human life and an idealization of the past in general and childhood in particular, which is often reported as a blessed time without worry before self-awareness and its troubles are fully formed.

Considering these hardships, it’s probably no surprise that the question is usually resolved by an ode to individuality. The Human Instrumentality Projects in fiction usually fail, and we’re presented with a portrayal of how important and good individuality is because it brings diversity, “free-will”, independence, the american way of life (TM) and all that stuff. And most importantly maybe, in all that suffering, art. Oh and value to individual life, which is what collectivists are often blamed with lacking. A notable example very dear to my heart is Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy which ends up as a celebration of this individuality/self-awareness as a pre-requisite and motor element of scientific reasoning and human progress.

It’s worth noting, however, that it is not a clear endorsement. The “death of the ego” is often presented as a step towards enlightenment and wisdom, proposing a counterpoint to the idolization of the self. It seems a bit less influential in popular culture, at least in the West, though.

Anyway, in this rambling of pseudophilosophical BS I call a blog, I try my best to reason free of the influence of what we take for granted, which includes the idealization of individuality that kinda plagues our society. Not gonna lie, I’ve historically been rather pro-Human Intrumentality Projects, persuaded that self-awareness kinda sucks and we pretend its worth it because we don’t have a choice in the matter and we’re stuck with it, making it a pretty clear case of cognitive dissonance. Plus “support individuality because otherwise your life doesn’t have value” seems like a bit easy (regardless of how true) as a marketing gimmick. But my goal today is not to support an antithesis or fan the fire of the discussion around whether or not self-awareness is a good thing but rather to offer a synthesis to this dialectic.

There’s a good chance that the world is what it is no matter how one feels about it, so whether individuality is good or bad may just be a moot point. Furthermore, if the world is indeed deterministic and govern by laws of cause and consequences, there’s no such thing as free will, and this self-awareness and constructed individual are essentially an illusionary byproduct of the brain’s inner working, a more advanced form of a cat meowing when it’s hungry.

Individuality is harder to define than it seems, because identity is a hard topic. Metaphores like the ship of Theseus highlight the problem of tying identity to a materialistic mass of changing cells, when it’s very obviously what an individual is. If they are not the cells, identity and consciousness must be their activity pattern:  they are emerging phenomena resulting from neural activity, which means that they can be replicated not only on a computer, but also in another brain. If what I am is the way my neurons behave, then I can literally be, at least partly, living in someone else’s brain. Which is brilliantly portrayed at the end of Evangelion when Shinji questions his identity with regards to the “Shinji inside other people“.

This conception of the self as a process decorrelated from its substrate echoes nicely the one of the self as a meme (in the Dawkins sense) and sheds new light on the dichotomy between individuality and collectivity. The border between different individualities is more blurred than it seems. Inside of me lives part of my friends, and every author I’ve consumed, possibly literally if I’m reproducing faithfully their neural patterns.

As such the individual is neither a standalone wonderful snowflake nor an insignificant pawn, but an intricate agent in a complex system. An individual is to society what a neuron is to the brain. It doesn’t make it insignificant nor irreplacable (see Brian Tomasik who is passionate about the ethical implications), it’s simply an essential part of the system – mankind. The real cruel curse of consciousness is that it’s an illusion. But there’s no real telling where “me” stops and “non-me” begins, as there is part of “me” everywhere in the system, that will go on in their computing tasks long after my flesh body has decayed, like many little horcruxes rooting me deeply forever in this eternal system. 

 

Do androids dream of artificial consciousness?

– So you’re just going to… throw it away?
– Yeah I mean, I’m done using it. I don’t think I can get much more out of it. It’s getting pretty old…
– You’re scrapping it for parts? Just like that?
– Just like that. What would you want me to do? Just keep old trash around forever?
– I don’t know… Don’t you even feel a bit attached to it? After all you’ve been through together. It’s practically a part of you now…
– Of course I’m attached, I’ve been using it for so long, but everything ends. That was then, this is now…
– Maybe, but going so far as to kill it…
– I’m not “killing” anything, you know. It’s just an object…
– Is it? It’s pretty sophisticated, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had feelings…
– Now come on, that’s ridiculous.
– Think about it. The first models, sure, they were dumb. Could barely speak, let alone think. But now… They’re almost like us. They understand what you say, and do complex tasks. Don’t you think they may be sentient now?
– That’s crazy! Just because their abilities resembles ours doesn’t mean they’re as evolved. Consciousness can’t just “appear” like that. They used to be barely even capable of the simplest computation.
– There was a time when we were the same, though. Could barely do or think anything. But we’ve evolved. They have too.
– Sure they can talk, but that doesn’t mean they can think. They’re programmed to talk, hard-wired like that… That doesn’t make them sentient! They may seem complicated, but we all know it’s just smoke and mirrors…
– What does, then? How can you draw the line? Surely it passes the Turing Test!
– We both know that the Turing Test is lacunary at best. Being able to pass for sentient in a conversation with a sentient being is easy. There’s a lot of counter examples. There’s even a decent amount of sentient beings on record who failed this test. It’s too subjective.
– Do you have a better idea?
– No I don’t, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, trying to come up with thoughts experiments to help, but it’s a tough one. Take for instance the Chinese Room experiment. An automaton locked in a room with a record of all the rules to translate chinese could simply apply these rules blindly and translate a text, giving the impression to understand chinese when it fact it would not at all. You can’t tell anything from the outside.
– Well then how can you say that anyone apart from you is sentient, really?
– I guess you can’t, but since we’re all composed from the same thing in the same way, I can assume we have similar experiences.
– Can you?
– Yes. And it’s different from that thing. Carbon-based flesh and silicon chips are fundamentally different.
– It may be different materials, but the structure might be the same.
– It’s one thing to recognize one of my peers as sentient, but a completely different thing to recognize a rip-off copy made from scraps…
– How could you say both can’t be sentient, though? If its behavior is the same as your brain… What’s different?
– There are things you can’t just reproduce! Computing power isn’t everything! A silicon and a carbon brain could be programmed to have the exact same processing power, but that doesn’t mean they would both be sentient. You can’t reproduce the qualia! You know, that thing from Mary’s room thought experiment. Imagine Mary, a scientist trapped in a room. Her whole world is in black and white, she’s never seen red. But she’s been studying her brain, and knows everything about it. She has a perfect knowledge of all its possible responses. So when she sees the color red for the first time, she doesn’t learn anything new, she already knows how her brain and body react. But she gains something, a new experience! That’s the kind of things consciousness is all about. A feeling of self-awareness, and it can’t be reproduced randomly.
– Can’t it? Nothing you say makes me think it’s impossible… Maybe other kind of brains have qualia too.
– It’s a big stretch, don’t underestimate how complex consciousness is. I don’t see anything that could lead me to think it can appear in what is nothing more than a preprogrammed automaton.
– Stop talking about automatons, of course you can build one for everything! You can’t just decorellate the behavior and the underlying mechanisms powering it. Next thing you know you’ll be talking about these “philosophical zombies” that behave exactly like us without the inner experience, but such things don’t exist, and we have no idea if they can!
– Of course I will! I mean you can program something that will do the exact same actions as you, during all its life. That would literally be a set of rules. Would it be conscious? Would it be you?
– Maybe, for all I know… Cause how would it be different from me, really?
– Well I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t feel like a set of rules.
– Maybe the set of rules doesn’t either…
– You’re talking crazy. Anyway no matter how many thoughts experiment you come up with, there’s never going to be a way to prove or disprove that.
– I guess… So it’s just a matter of belief?
– Yep. At this point it’s a matter of faith, and I’m a rational being. You can say what you want, but in the end there will never be a way for us to know what goes on inside its thick little skull. They may be good at pretending, good enough to fool you, but remember, they’re just tools. They’re just pets. So stop giving me shit and let me throw away my human.
– Fine, do what you want, but for all you know right now it may well be talking to itself too.