Deterministic World

Part 2. Society

1. Determinism in Society

I have already based most of the previous discussion on determinism - the idea that every observable action has an observable consequence, and vice versa, and that the relationship between the two is consistent over time. In other words, it is possible to formulate rules or "laws" that will be strictly followed. This is a key requirement in conserving information [f1]. There is no random occurrence, and the appearance of randomness is due to our ignorance of the causes of the occurrence. This seems to be true in all of science [f2]. Given that physical matter follows rigid physics laws, and knowing that humans are made of physical matter, a logical conclusion is that humans similarly follow rigid physics laws. Even such essentially human constructs as personality, character traits, love and soul and inspiration, have a deterministic cause. This is not obvious, least of all because we feel like we have "free will" to choose as we prefer, so determinism is difficult to point out on an individual level. However, looking at society as a whole gives an ensemble view of human actions, averaging out individual differences and revealing general patterns of deterministic behavior - to prove this point I will enumerate some real-world examples of determinism in the human world around us.

What might be the cause for a human to act in a given way? "Nature and nurture" is a common response, meaning a contribution from genetics (nature) and from interactions with other people (nurture). Yet we don't talk much about the genetic differences in stomach and liver function (for instance), while there is somehow a belief that brain activity is significantly influenced by genetic effects. I expect brain differences to exist, just as physical differences exist (height, muscle tone) but to a similar extent and influence, with the rest of individual differences being due to upbringing and environment. The brain is a complex organ and DNA has been evolved to attain high replication accuracy to develop such organs. Ultimately most brains work well enough, just as most stomachs and livers (also complex organs in their own right). Thus genetic effects on "normal" brain function must be of a subtle nature: not smart vs dumb but rather more/less impulsive/emotional/creative/interested/dedicated/loyal. What is a more likely cause of differences in human behavior is "runaway processes" - ones that reinforce themselves and grow dominant even if starting due to some arbitrary event {the significance of these processes is further explained under Systems}. These runaway processes also have the ability to amplify hard-to-observe genetic brain differences into vast cultural differences. Examples presented below can be found in [Child Psychology]. For some reason a baby acts shy (genetic or due to some particular one-time event), then the parents (who have a more stable memory) will begin to treat the baby as if it *were* shy, thus in turn the baby may grow comfortable in situations where it acts shy, thus it will be increasingly labeled as shy, and the cycle reinforces itself. Similarly with gender identity: parents will interact with a baby differently based on whether it's called a boy or a girl, reflecting existing societal distinctions between man and woman, and the baby in turn will come to expect being treated in a certain way or being exposed to certain stimuli. Boys like cars and girls like dolls because parents and relatives wouldn't give a baby boy dolls or give a baby girl cars; the joy of receiving a gift toy combines with the notion of what the toy is (a car or a doll) and thus the child begins to like the toy for its own sake. Baby toys and books are designed to appeal to adults, not kids (it is adults who buy the items after all), perpetuating a notion of what we feel a baby should be interested in, for instance bright colors and whimsical fables. Babies don't really care whether they play with a fancy colorful toy or some old household junk - they are curious about everything, and don't even know what toys are. How the parents interact with the baby will have a strong influence on its character - will it be allowed to explore, or kept to a limited set of activities? The baby's brain performs tremendous statistical computations to make sense of the world, and tiny factors of the adults' actions and their surroundings that the adults may well be unaware of will have significant ramifications. The above examples are fairly blatant differences, but for instance the baby's appearance and temperament will influence how often the parents will check on the baby and how willingly they approach/interact with the baby, probably without the parents even realizing it. So there are insidious ways by which the essence of parental culture is transmitted to the baby, far before the baby is even aware of its surroundings (for instance babies can differentiate their mother's voice at birth due to continuous exposure to this voice while still in the womb). This is how a society maintains its identity over time: even though individual humans die, the culture gets passed on to new generations. I would argue that the essence of society is such deeply-held and unquestioned (even invisible to ourselves) beliefs and actions and worldviews. These are never taught in a classroom, but instead passed on implicitly, in the actions that the adults take (based on their memory) and which children eventually copy without ever questioning why.

So, we have a deterministic explanation for how humans become "human" - gain their personality and language and concept of self, with the cause being innumerable interactions with the larger society (and, just like with physical particles, such interactions will be bidirectional - babies will affect their parents just as parents affect the babies). A human will be essentially a mirror of their combined past experiences. A child, having spent most time with its family, will be a reflection of its caretakers; along with spending time away from home (later school and college years) the child's personality will change. Can we see similar effects at play in society as a whole?

Inspiration, creativity, spontaneity, imagination, all seem to be completely contrary to determinism and its cold, logical progression. Yet inspiration will only come to those interested, and interest will come to those able to cultivate it, and the ability will come to those born in the appropriate circumstances. All of our stories/fables/myths, UFO abduction claims, and even religious texts, inevitably contain elements of the culture of the person generating such stories. They are not random, and - satisfying the essential deterministic principle of information conservation - they contain no truly new or original information, only manipulations of existing human knowledge. If someone claims to have been abducted by aliens, I would check whether this is true by asking for exact details of the event. A description of a real abduction would be so unanticipated and new that our imaginations could not generate it; there would be significant 'real information' in such a description. A fake abduction would contain lots of references to the person's earlier experiences of perhaps a doctor's examination (up to lying on a bed under some bright lights) with obvious changes that make it more eery (such as huge eyes and long fingers of the 'aliens' - but inexplicably they were of a human form and height/proportions and communicated by speaking?). All our "aliens" and "monsters" are based on animals (it seems like the best some of these people could do is to combine different animals - the head of an eagle and the body of a dog [f3]), or even simply on people ('aliens' are just people with big eyes and green skin, rather unimpressive performance if our creativity were a truly random process). The process of creating a new work - of art or of science - can be seen as a brain's deterministic combination of societal and personal knowledge into an 'original' form [f4], one which follows societal and personal expectations for what it should look like. Indeed, we cannot consciously generate random, or even good quality pseudo-random, sequences: try to write down 100 random binary digits or letters or dates or names or words simply by thinking of them with your brain (no coin tosses/dart throws) - the list will inevitably contain patterns. If our brains were capable of random action, any of the above would be as easy and obvious as (say) imagining a square, yet consciously coming up with random (or seemingly random) items requires our full concentration and even then results in predictable patterns.

The deterministic view can be easily witnessed in society. We don't really question the role of determinism in science, solely because we have evidence of scientific successes as real physical objects all around us. In manufacturing, if the right steps are taken the final outcome is guaranteed, so we can produce millions of CPUs, each with billions of transistors, and each one works perfectly for decades at GHz rates. This is no small feat, and it would not be possible unless determinism was a key element of physics and of our world. Determinism means that given some initial condition and some laws, the same final condition will be reached time and time again. If we find different final conditions have been reached, a non-deterministic view says that the system has chosen to act one way or another, while the deterministic view says that we haven't yet understood the initial conditions and laws. The deterministic view has proven itself correct with every new scientific theory (in fact, without the very structure that determinism gives to the physical world - allowing consistent experiments to produce consistent measurements - we could not have built up science as we know it. Men knew, before any mathematics, that objects tend to fall down; this consistency drove the earliest scientists to find rigid mathematical laws to describe the pattern.). So what of society? In science, there are numerous cases of nearly-simultaneous discoveries and publications - found independently and enabled by the discoverers' exposure to similar information at that point in time. In engineering, similar contentions arise as inventors independently discover some new mechanism at nearly the same time. Artists and composers are not invulnerable to determinism - the similarities in artworks in any given time period, and even the ability to classify art by style or time period is a sign of similarities in artists' thought processes.

In a human relationship, such as husband and wife, the two have similar experiences and after years together might complete each other's sentences or even think about the same topic at the same time (due to a common response to some earlier stimulus - which may be subconscious, leading to the idea of a "telepathic connection"). Traits and habits and emotional patterns that run in families are transmitted from generation to generation in subtle ways as outlined above, a sign of intellectual/behavioral determinism. And the recent susceptibility of all natural (and supernatural) occurences to scientific explanation, justification, and repeatability, leaves barely any room for truly random processes or free will. When we see determinism on all scales, except for ones we don't have very good tools to explore, it seems most convenient to just say that determinism applies everywhere - that we live in a deterministic world.

In fact I argue that the comprehensive study of developments and trends in history, with the view that "exposure to x results in discoveries of the nature y", is an extremely powerful tool that will show how the brain processes, organizes information, and generates ideas (assuming common everyday variations - like what food people eat - can be statistically filtered out). To help with this program we have an extensive history available - for instance by seeing where (in which societal/living conditions) certain scientific or artistic achievements were attained we can attempt to clarify the controlling variables of human performance and creativity, as well as the necessary ingredients for "original thought". Then, by looking at variables present in modern society we can make predictions as to future progress and trends in the population. This is something that modern companies like Google/Youtube/Facebook can achieve, with the internet's enabling of rich feedback and 'mini-experiments' (for example, Google can track how likely a person is to search term x if they searched term y previously; it can also try including term x in results for term y and check how often the person clicks the new term, in effect manipulating or predicting people's thoughts even without their awareness).

If we are inclined to think every event has a cause, it is deceptively straightforward to conclude that everything must be easy to understand. How could our brains be deterministic and do so many amazing things? In fact deterministic systems can be very complex - the very testament to that is how long it has taken humans (the most advanced intelligence on the planet) to uncover the "simple" underlying principles of basic mechanics. These principles are very far removed from everyday perception - plants, clouds, rocks, rivers, bugs and animals - the things that early humans interacted with were very complex indeed. To see the deterministic principles, the complex system must be 'distilled' to essences on which the principles clearly operate. Of necessity, in this process the complexity of the system is lost. But because we can explain *any* small part of the system deterministically, we can also explain the whole system, meaning it is also deterministic. We can track the stock trades and individual decisions of each investor in a stock market and know the exact outcome. At no point is there a true random process (to an observer that can examine everything desired). The perceived 'random' nature of systems is due to the combined effect of:

Randomness is thus an entirely human construct, based on something happening that the particular human was not able to predict. Consider the decrease of illness incidence once hand-washing was realized to reduce germ transmission - the earlier humans believed illness to be effectively random, while the modern humans have found that it can be systematically controlled.

Having perhaps accepted the role of determinism in all of life, we come to some tougher questions. First, how can anything "new" happen? How do new artistic movements, scientific advances, or engineering achievements occur in a deterministic world? Second, if everything is already "set in motion" why is there any need for the progression of time? If "God" already knows everything that will ever happen, if all information is conserved, why do we see a rate at which things progress, why do we have a feeling of "now"? How is it possible to pick a "now" out of a system that is fully known and determined?

For the first question, we recognize that humans are always exposed to "random" occurences - illness, war, natural disasters, and numerous interpersonal conflicts and discoveries on the individual scale. Genetic mutations also have a "random" effect on human development. Of course these "random" occurences could be traced to causes, and the causes to their causes, and so on. Ultimately the artist of a new generation will have been exposed to a different life/environment than the previous generation - if the culture allows it, the artist will see the earlier generations' artworks but at a younger age and under difference circumstances, and thus will have a different view resulting in different artistic outcomes. Mozart could not have composed an electronic music piece because electronics did not exist in his time, but modern electronic music composers may use Mozart's works as inspiration to create 'new' melodies, even if each step along the way has been deterministic. Even in a 'static' society things always change - the scientists are able to build off the explorations of past inventors who tried something because they were curious because of the way their parents raised them and some object they had lying around "randomly" and so on. I only stop because I don't have enough insight to describe cause after cause after cause, but truly for any event we can find a cause. Even if we claim that all minds operate the same way, we can still expect an evolution of overall society as progressive generations change what they have been exposed to into their updated interpretation of life.

The second question is probably impossible to answer in a satisfactory manner, as any attempted explanation of time at this point would be self-referential. Perhaps the question itself is misguided - a system which is "fully known and determined" may be a pure mathematical abstraction. I can solve the equations of motion and find out exactly how a particle will move, what its position will be at any time t I desire. These equations do not create a system that evolves from moment to moment, since they can give me an answer for any t. But these equations are only of any use because I am able to solve them - step by step, in my time-based universe. If I did not have a concept of time, I could not solve the equations in the first place, and they would remain meaningless symbols on a piece of paper. The equations that fully describe a system as a function of time are only relevant to the extent that they affect my (human in a time-evolving universe) actions and to the extent that I am able to solve them as my brain manipulates symbols, requiring finite time and evolution of the brain over time. We see something similar in the "game of life" - an algorithm where a 2D grid is evolved in time, step by step. To see the 'future' of the grid, you *must* iterate - there are no shortcuts and no guaranteed end states. Generalizing more, we arrive at the halting problem. What I claim is that systems must be iterated to advance - so even "God" does not know the future state of the universe until the universe gets there. Mathematically this means there are no analytic solutions that will evolve the universe, any such process is necessarily recursive. What about the analytic solutions we are taught in physics class? These solutions describe individual objects, and it is the interaction between objects that makes the real universe not mathematically tame like the simple models for which we write equations. Note the difficulty of solving even two-body and three-body interaction problems analytically, compared to the immense complexity of the universe. And note the unique use of computers in solving multi-body interaction problems by evolving the system, from one moment of time to the next. The sequential progression of interactions is the only way we have to define time, and the only way we have to solve real physical problems - even analytic ones.

Accepting determinism is unsettling. It suggests that, given a specific goal, there is an optimal path to achieve it - even in fields like art and literature [f7]. It suggests that we are fated mechanical systems even in spite of our lively feelings and experiences, and it suggests that we're by far not the only ones capable of such experiences. It forces us to face our own limits in the face of new technology that can do things considered "human" such as self-driving cars. We may find that the successes in our lives are mostly due to luck and circumstance rather than the things we are taught will lead to success (studying hard, being a good person {good is relative anyway, everything is relative}). We may find that deterministic chains, intertwined, leave no room for the self beyond a mechanism that accepts and responds to inputs from the world and other 'selves', forming a larger interconnected society, all carried on by deep undercurrents of emotions/subconscious memories/repressed desires/chance encounters and connections which we don't at all comprehend. Determinism shows our lives as so many particles adrift in a stream of time swirling and moving steadily towards the highest entropy state [f8], yet it leaves no room for doubt in its clarity and exactness. So this is how the world works.

So far, I have argued that determinism applies in human society just as it does in physics experiments, because humans are bound by physical laws. Determinism conjures up images of logical progression, algorithms, rationality. Rationality? Our society is far from rational. Even while we laugh at earlier humans' misconceptions, we still have a lot of work to do in achieving a more rational lifestyle; work on such big concepts as 'self' and 'death'. Rationality relates to determinism, because a rational decision can be clearly and uniquely justified by valid logical statements, similar to the rigid laws of determinism that select one specific course of evolution out of infinitely many. An irrational decision is based on poor logic or incorrect assumptions, so while it selects one specific course of action, this selection is largely arbitrary and not logically justifiable in relation to the stated human goals. How can we have irrational actions in a deterministic world? It turns out the actions we call 'irrational' or impulsive also have clear deterministic causes - just ones we often remain unaware of. So, let's dispel the notion that human beings are rational/logical/good/honest with a few examples:

There are two more irrational notions that deserve extra space. They are: our sense of self or 'I', and our approach to death. In society, the notion of the individual is taken for granted, as certain truth, shaping our views and actions. This notion, like "I think therefore I am", claims that there is something one can call "I" or "he" that has the same real existance as a physical object. Even in the debate of free will vs determinism, the notion of self or individuality is preserved. I call this "The cult of I"; the main telling sign of this cult is the worship of the individual as a god-like power: the individual decides what to do, and is rewarded or punished according to his actions. [f9] Science fairs and sports events award first place prizes to individuals, these individuals are then praised by others and books are written about their lives. Parents tell their children, "you want to be successful like x". The justice system blames individual persons and punishes them as criminals. The criminals, thus labeled, are at fault for the offenses they committed.

Yet if we are to carry through the deterministic viewpoint that a person's actions are determined by their external environment, the above picture seems all wrong. The individual is then only an abstraction - the real causes of any action are in the external world. What are we really saying when we award a prize to a well-performing athlete? We are not rewarding his individuality, or effort, or hard-working personality, but rather we give credit to the myriad circumstances that led to this athlete performing so well: genetics of his parents (and associated random factors of how they met), his consistent training (aided by his coach/family/own psyche - in turn based on life experiences), his choice of meal that morning (and the companies that made the meal possible), as well as other athletes' worse performance and luck (didn't eat as well, experiencing family issues and less concerned with training, got a 'random' injury). The individual cannot take the credit for everything that has gotten him to a given point in life - in fact he can take credit for not much more than his genetic-based appearance and physical properties. For each successful athlete there is an extensive support network, without which the athlete's performance (or even choice to be an athlete in the first place) would be different, and that network in turn has its own support network, extending eventually to include the whole world population and natural resources/events. All that is what we acknowledge when we award a 'first place' medal, but due to the "cult of I" it is only the individual athlete who gets the medal (and fame) which seems quite an injustice.

Worse, the cult gets us to think wrongly about responsibility; it biases people to take too much credit for their own (and others') accomplishments. This works for both success and failure - when we punish a criminal, we are really punishing the living conditions that lead them to commit crimes (and those living conditions in turn a result of past political changes), the availability of weapons or other tools that aid in the crime (and the factors that lead to this availability), media that encourages crime or makes it look cool (and factors leading to such choices by the producers). Yet it is the individual criminal who gets the charges and the blame. Can this really be called justice? After locking away the criminal for some time in company of similar-thinking and probably even more experienced criminals, in a unique position where he doesn't have to work to earn a living unlike the rest of non-criminal society, we let him back into society and again placed under the influence of the same external factors that led to committing crime in the first place - should we be surprised to see repeat offenders in such a misguided system? Why don't we apply known behavioral findings to our justice system, making it rigorously effective - are we really after reduction of crime or after retributive punishment? Is the goal of modern jails to help 'criminals' find a way to become part of non-criminal society, or to keep hopelessly poor/unproductive people off the streets and out of sight while creating money flows that benefit those in power? A deterministic view says that by placing our trust in the 'cult of I' we routinely misuse reward and punishment, applying them to the result (athlete or criminal) rather than the cause (support network or lack thereof), the "tail wagging the dog" as it were, treating the symptoms instead of curing the disease. We may expect overall sub-optimal performance and increased personal stress when we leave it to the individuals to figure it out for themselves under threat of punishment or promise of reward.

Why does the 'cult of I' pose such a tempting belief? Because this seems the most obvious conclusion when we don't have the ability or patience to see all the external influences on what we are. Without a well-developed psychology and physics we may not even have the tools to trace such influences. When explaining actions or events, we are content to look 'one step back', or if more detail is requested, to the earliest 'random' or unanticipated event, even in science. [f10] Why did he do well? Because he trained hard. Why did he train hard? His family told him to (this is a 'random' event, so is good enough to be called an 'original cause'). What happens in a heat engine? Heat is taken from hot to cold, with some work output. Where did the heat source come from? External circumstances (arbitrary) - this is how the engine was built, no need to go farther back (why was it built this way - or at all?). Where does the heat go when it reaches the cold source? It is dissipated (becomes 'random' - so we no longer care about it), no need to question what that heat will do, or why or how. The 'heat engine' is the individual that does the work, so we can ignore all other factors and focus on 'engine performance'. It takes discipline to keep asking - and answering - "why?" to reveal the real original causes. But since all is interconnected in the deterministic world, such questioning will reveal that there is no such thing as an original cause.

This is a frightening conclusion which does not fit at all with the common view of the world. Our brain is designed to think in terms of cause and effect, actors and actions (take for instance the structure of myths and stories in all cultures - a protagonist sets out to achieve some goal and takes action to achieve it), so we do not know how to interpret a world of intertwined influences, with no clear beginning nor end. Without better tools for the purpose, this conclusion means that we are all caught in a vast current that we do not understand or control - even those of us "in charge" (for they can only make their decisions based on the existing state of society and on their own mind/memories/life experiences). This lack of understanding is displayed almost sardonically in our approach to death.

Death is not just the absence of life but the end of a life, an upper temporal bound on a living organism, necessarily imposed at birth and inseparable from it. If death is the end of the physical processes that enable my feelings to exist, then I don't think death is painful or even observable to me. In a sense I 'die' every night (or under anasthesia) and return to life in the morning [Death, be not proud.. John Donne]. If I escape from the 'cult of I', it is easier to see there is no reason to fear the permanence of no afterlife, since the world and all its rich systems will continue to exist. We are biologically programmed to avoid suffering, and evolution has ensured that actions which ease suffering also tend to prolong life, so we rarely think about death directly and somehow come to the belief that dying of "old age" is desirable, and the older the better. But in reality there is no dying of old age - it will be a death from body failure or disease, with all of the associated suffering and pain; death does not get easier just because one lives longer. In the 'cult of I' we religiously believe that a longer life is a better life, so today people wither away in elderly homes, left alone by families, perhaps unable to take basic/intimate bodily functions like washing themselves without the aid of employees, who may try to hide the fact they're only helping because they're paid to but it wouldn't be effective. Then when the elderly are too sick they are transferred to a hospital bed, kept alive longer and longer by impatient doctors and nurses, in an impersonal hospital room. Family visits from time to time, but the elderly are never quite sure if it's out of a sense of guilt, or maybe they're too sick to care or remember them.

One day they get too sick and die, perhaps alone at night, with no one to support them or say goodbye. Family members don't want to think of saying last words, so the real last words end up being something arbitrary rather than what the family actually wanted to say. The death culminates in a funeral - a day of sadness when the dead body is lowered into the ground. Family members are frustrated at having to leave work on such short notice and quickly (and with considerable expense) arrive at the funeral, while also being saddened by the untimely loss, wishing the person could have lived longer (but why?). Nobody is really happy about any of this, and maybe someone says "Oh I wish we could have done more together". We try to delude ourselves, hope that the dead person can hear us in heaven, hear all our last words and things we wish we could have said, but the truth is they are dead and they don't hear us. They died without ever hearing our words of care, without seeing the outpouring of love and support that everyone has put up for their sake during the funeral - if only they could be alive to see it. They died alone in a dark room and we make a mockery of our pretence to care by trying to sound loving when talking to their dead body. Whatever experiences you wish you could have done together, you should have done while they were alive. It's too late now. You won't see them again because there is no heaven or afterlife, you will soon be gone as they are. They're dead now - they don't care how many people are at their funeral, or how sad those people are, or whether the body gets eaten by maggots. So why even bother with all the emotional and mental difficulty of planning a funeral? Maybe it just ends up an emotional self-falgellation, a feeling of having 'paid' in suffering for all the time you wanted to spend together but didn't, and now can't. The same notion appears in religious services - just think hard enough about how sorry you are about your sins, and you will be forgiven. Well it's pointless suffering now, because they're *dead*.

I wish it were different; I wish instead of a funeral we would have a 'parting day', a celebration of a person's life while the person is still alive, where family members and friends could plan to attend, reminisce on the good things in life, complete the bucket list, and share last words [f11]. Instead of fading away in a hospital, I would feel comfortable in knowing the people who truly love me and care for me are literally at my side. Instead of slowly losing bodily control and autonomy, being taken over by other people, I would face death strong and on my own terms, proud of it all until the very end. My friends do not leave with emotional guilt over not having spent enough time together, but with a sense of closure and awe of spending such a life-changing moment together with me. Because everyone planned in advance, they don't feel anxious about having to get back to work and can see the whole event in a positive light, as one they chose to attend rather than being societally forced to at a bad time and with short notice. I would pick the weather of my last day, and a picturesque spot to spend my last moments alive. I would be scared of death, but accepting that my time has come, ready and willing to face it, supported by my loved ones and closest friends in an ultimate act of trust. My body would be quickly transferred to a medical program, to be used for organ transplants or research. Doesn't that sound, objectively, better for everyone involved compared to what we actually do today? We are unique among animals in being able to understand and even bring about our own death, but we make no use of this power to better our existence. It is our evolutionary drive for survival which keeps us blind to such solutions.

[f1] the observation of macro scale determinism could still occur if micro scale events are uniformly random (divine intervention in quantum probabilities), but due to the inelegance of imposing a scale separation and the dubious question of the information content of random events, I will take it as an axiom that events at all scales are deterministic

[f2] though it has to be taken on faith for the cases of "wavefunction collapse" and its close neighbor of radioactive decay, for which we have not yet found clear causes. My view is there are local causes for decay, and there is no collapse (or wavefunction)

[f3] that we can readily combine such features mentally without too much concern for the obvious physical discrepancies (at least that the eagle's neck is much smaller than a dog's) is indicative of the structure of our memory and mental processing as being uniquely capable of linking arbitrary concepts in 'node networks' at multiple hierarchies

[f4] I am no art historian, but it seems that modern square-like abstract art arose about the same time as large industrial square-like cityscapes

[f5] whether this is even possible is a deep question that I don't have the tools to address yet

[f6] this is another incarnation of a 'universal computational limit' which I alluded to earlier; a system cannot predict its own evolution as this is equivalent to sending information back in time/infinite computing power

[f7] it is no accident that some works of art are well known, and it may well be due to factors beyond the work of art itself, such as the artists' ability to garner fame and publicity

[f8] it would be interesting to map evolutionary success of an animal vs. its ability to increase entropy. See also Maximum Power Principle and Rod Swenson's original argument on

[f9] our language is filled with emotionally invalidating phrases like "cheer up" or "don't worry" or "don't think about that" which are implicitly reinforcing the 'cult of I' as the power of the individual to control his emotions and thoughts. This is further considered under Self

[f10] in addition there are certain words which seem to be thought-endpoints, like 'God', 'Bible', 'family', 'legal', 'studies'. This is discussed more under Self

[f11] encouragingly, today this is not a fantasy. A number of short documentaries show individuals choosing to end their lives (mostly in northern Europe where such choices are legal) and spending a parting day with their loved ones. This is still limited to those who go out of their way to prove they have some terrible disease

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