How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 21

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Everyone who has tried knows that it is difficult to be conscious of how their mind is functioning. My problem is that my world is complex and I can only think about and hold a few of the contradictory things in my mind at the same time. Most of the time I just solve my problems with the first reasonable option that comes to mind, but that approach is obviously flawed because it is based on previous habits that worked in some totally different situations.

The current situation is always new and unique so it is impossible that the old habits will be precisely adapted to the current situation. Thus I must think before it becomes possible to see and react ideally to the situation that is before me. But thinking in a philosophically logical way is nearly impossible, and even thinking rationally is hard, so as a general rule I just try to do the right next thing and to avoid doing something stupid.

Most of my life it appeared that most people were doing the same thing and just trying to get their share of the good things of life without doing anything outrageously stupid that might get them hurt. Here in Bend that is no longer the case, which is peculiar, because we live in such a wonderful place with so few real threats to our well-being.

Perhaps that safe feeling is the reason people here actively seek out dangerous pastimes such as mountain climbing, wilderness biking, spelunking caves, whitewater rafting, etc. The list is endless because if someone can discover a new way to risk their lives they come to this wonderful city in the wilderness and have at it. I see many people limping and have, without intending it, grown sensitive to seeing injured people. It’s like when you have a new car and you start seeing similar ones everywhere.

I don’t have a problem with injured people walking strangely, but I do have a problem with them driving like they are racing for their lives down a street clearly marked at 25 MPH, even 20 MPH here in city center, at double that posted speed. I was talking about this violation of clearly marked traffic laws with some friends this week and all of us had seen people doing similar things, even running STOP signs and solid RED lights at 20 MPH. Two years ago this wasn’t happening here, and people were extremely law-abiding and accommodating.

I have never seen this kind of behavior happening in any other place I’ve lived. This place is going nuts. I don’t know if it is happening elsewhere, but there is now a flagrant violation of simple public laws, public trust, and treating strangers with respect. My false belief seems to be that this problem will be self-correcting, but so far it is just getting worse.

My best option is to do the next indicated right thing and avoid stupid things with negative consequences.

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Another needed step for self-actualizing the Universe is self-assembly.

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To self-actualize the Universe we need to have forms of thinking matter that are extremely stable because the processes involved will take tens or perhaps hundreds of billions (1tic11) of years to carry out that mission. Our present organic thinking brains need constant retraining and are physically unstable, and their maximum usage life is approximately one hundred (1tic2) years. (1tic11 – 1tic2 = 1tic 9. Or 1 with 9 zeros after it times longer than humans live.)

Organic life has evolved from simpler quasi-life forms in part because the carbon atom and its molecules have the ability to self-assemble into more complex forms. They were stable enough to evolve to more complex forms via reproduction of what survived in their local environment. Atoms other than carbon can self-assemble into large and complex crystals, but they are more limited in the physical forms they can take compared to those available to carbon. Carbon easily mutates from one form to another which is okay for organic evolution but for our goal, super stable forms are needed. Some of these other atoms may be limited in the forms that they can take but once they are formed they are stable. For example, zircon crystals are used for age dating early Earth geological forms because they behave in stable ways for billions (1tic9) of years.

If we are to make a thinking being (machine) that can endure for billions of years it will need to be made with these more stable atoms and molecular forms. At present we can manufacture thinking chips at sizes approaching atomic levels but it requires expensive and sophisticated factories to do these things. What we need to devise are ways that at least some of these processes can be done on the nanoscale by atoms themselves. This is already done by carbon-based systems but humans may be able to intervene, as natural organic evolution can not, and create the nanotools that do these assemblies one atom at a time.

Some things cannot be evolved because evolution requires functioning steps in between functioning organic beings. Humans and goal-directed robotic devices can make things that don’t have intervening functional steps. They make the thing they want to exist as a goal-directed activity. A pocket watch found on a beach may be a much simpler thing than an amoeba found beside it but the watch cannot evolve from simple matter because it can have no functioning intervening steps, at least not without human intervention. 

A key step that needs to be created by humans, probably with computer aid, is the nanomachine that can make various nanomachine parts. Once a nanoassembly process can be made functional and self-sustaining, it should be possible to make everything that will be needed. That would include being able to make machines like themselves and thus to generate a logarithmic increase of themselves. Like Bill Joy’s grey goo, but not as scary. With an abundance of these generalized manufacturing machines, anything could be made if they were provided with the needed supplies and energy.

We are on the cusp of being able to do these things and thus to begin the process of self-actualizing the whole Universe.

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 20

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Perhaps one of my key false beliefs is that people want to improve themselves. Once again in my three-mile drive across town, there were only a few opportunities for a car to enter into the thoroughfare street that I was on, but someone crossed a STOP sign at approximately twenty miles per hour.

What they did wasn’t unsafe this particular time because it was clear that there was no traffic to interfere with their progress. A couple of days ago while I was waiting at a RED light I saw a person run past me at high speed where there was another car involved. That other car had to slow and yield a little space for this violator. Once again this wasn’t particularly dangerous because there was enough space. My problem is the flagrant violation of a simple public law shows an utter disrespect not only for the public laws but of other people in the public space.

Grabbing other people’s space and property isn’t improving one’s self it is simple greed that will corrupt a person to their core.

 

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 19

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One of my probable false beliefs is that people will do what they say they are going to do. They don’t walk the walk of the talk they talked. Carl Jung said, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” A parallel idea is that a politician will vote in a way that will promote his own short-term self-interest, not that of his constituents, who elected him. No doubt there is an abundance of similar ideas.

In the book I read last month, Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild, the Cajuns have the power to endure unjust suffering inflicted on them by the local industries that are polluting their homeland, but they lack the social history to organize to fight against those profit-driven corporations. If they had read Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, they might have generated the strength to do the necessary things to survive and thrive, but their culture is to endure injustice rather than fight it. A man’s habits are formed by what he did, not by what he said he did. Thus, a man is more likely to follow in the footsteps of his, and his culture’s, previous behavior than in what he claims he should do. Nice people don’t fight against other people even for their legal rights.

People will claim a long string of personal virtues, but their past actions are more predictive of their future ones.

Tomorrow creeps in

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Shakespeare – Macbeth – Act 5, Scene 5


SEYTON

The queen, my lord, is dead.

MACBETH

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Enter a Messenger

Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.

Messenger

Gracious my lord,
I should report that which I say I saw,
But know not how to do it.

MACBETH

Well, say, sir.

Messenger

As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look’d toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.

MACBETH

Liar and slave!

Messenger

Let me endure your wrath, if’t be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.

MACBETH

If thou speak’st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.
I pull in resolution, and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth: ‘Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane:’ and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
I gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone.
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we’ll die with harness on our back.


Here I am … waiting! And you, dear reader?

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 18

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The discovery of my false beliefs can begin with analyzing the source of the information. These false beliefs can’t be eliminated until they have been potentially identified and then analyzed for their likelihood of being false.

Once a belief has been identified as being false, a search can be made for others who have had similar false beliefs and then reported the various ways they attempted to cope with their problems.

The Roman author Seneca wrote a book-length article on On Anger about the year  45 AD that I found helpful when attempting to challenge one’s own beliefs and behaviors. He struggled mightily with that problem and was functionally murdered (forced to commit suicide) about fifteen years later by Emperor Nero, the very person whom he had tutored as an adolescent.

There are many ways to attempt to cope with the discovery of true information, which will be discussed below, but first, it is reasonable to filter the information coming to us according to its source. The chart below analyses the information’s source from intentional obfuscation by an unknown author about unverifiable facts through 14 steps of increasing agreement culminating in opposing forces with skin in the game finding an agreement about some details of the information. That information is itself available for open assessment for its trustworthiness because all of the various factors are readily observable by any interested person.

This style of information assessment is presented in the chart below and a larger chart can be printed by clicking here — Trustworthiness of Information.Trustworthiness of Information

Trustworthiness of Information

We can prioritize information in various ways by checking through various techniques. And apply all of them and then choose which will be most applicable to our goals and needs. Pareto charts, Scattergrams, Timeboxing, Triage, Reverse triage, SAP value mapping CARVER matrix. All of these techniques are intended to help the user make the problems and their potential solutions more available to the investigation. Once they are visible the relative merit of the potential solutions may be prioritized and the most beneficial outcomes with the lowest risk and highest likelihood of success chosen. Then there will be coping methods such as antifragility, etc.

I hope to work with each of these soon as I become more aware of my false beliefs.

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 17

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Humanity’s goal must be to grab the Universe by its bootstraps and pull it into a full consciousness of itself so it can self-actualize its potentials. It is my belief that we are now at the moment in time when we must commit to helping our Universe to become conscious. We have been hanging our toes over the edge of oblivion ever since the creation of H-bombs in the 1950s, and a tiny miscalculation would put all of us into a thin geologic layer of dirt already forming and labeled the Anthropocene. We can and must take our society to the next level of responsibility for  helping the Universe to evolve from a vast amount of random matter into an equally vast amount of coherent matter being organized to an ultimate purpose. The current random natural trend seems to be toward a cold dark place where ultimately nothing will be happening. And yet, before that time comes it would be possible for our universe to be unified into a thinking being to do magnificent things. 

Humanity now has the infrastructure for taking raw natural materials and converting them into thinking matter that could form a society that could propagate to stars and planets within our Milky Way galaxy. In the time that it would take to accomplish that grand scheme there might be ways to move on to other galaxies that are now only dim glows in the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF) photo.

How can I eliminate my false belief that this is a worthy goal and that I can help to get it started when I believe this is what the whole Universe needs you and me to do?

It’s a big job helping the Universe to self-actualize and we must get started while we can.

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 16

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“Don’t bury the lead.” This may be one of my faults and it may be why people sometimes find me to be a bore and walk away. The reason I tend to bury the lead in my conversation is that I feel that much of what I have to say requires a bit of background information.

My probable false belief is that without that bit of essential information my story becomes meaningless to the conversation in progress at the moment. An exacerbation of telling that bit of information may itself have a bit of backstory before it becomes meaningful, and so does that backstory, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Add departure.

How can I avoid that counterproductive habit? — I searched and found, “Six ways not to bury your lead.” Don’t say anything that will confuse your listeners, because at that point they will either stop listening and try to figure out what you’re talking about, or even worse drift off into other more interesting dream space, or even worse just start arguing with their favorite boogeyman. Looking at my two previous paragraphs demonstrates my problem. … obscure words, and talking about boredom.

I am fond of saying, in a joking way, that “I am a slow learner, but I can learn.” But, now I am beginning to wonder.

 

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 15

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These explorations into my false beliefs are complicated by the fact that I don’t know what I’m talking about. If I knew what my false beliefs are, it would be easier to work on what is wrong with my thinking, but I, probably like most people, think my ideas are all right because they are what I have learned from previous experience. They work for me.

Perhaps that is the crux of the problem, because thinking is made up of a lifetime of problem-solving that reinforced former beliefs. Whatever was believed when our ideas were first being formed as a child, or at any age, sets the groundwork for the next set of personal beliefs for how to solve the next problems we encounter. These reinforce the previous ideas and after thousands of confrontations with reality, we form habits that are in line with what has worked for us in the past.

The problem with that method of solving our problems is that it is based on infantile beliefs which had little experience upon which to base responsible adult actions.

Another needed step for self-actualizing the Universe is human interest.

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So far I haven’t discovered anything about our human quest to help the Universe self-actualize that is physically impossible. Some of the items needed for a robot society may be difficult to make, but if solar-collecting cells can be put in place by robots, and if the solar cells themselves can be made by robot processes, then the electricity for feeding the whole robot society will be available.

Probably all the physical parts needed for that society can be made by robots themselves if we humans go to the effort of setting up the needed equipment. Some of these robot-ready factories may be expensive to make, but they would be far less expensive than manufacturing a human society’s whole technical infrastructure.

The big problem is to find the human motivation to help the universe to advance to its next level of being. That new being would be one that is self-aware enough at the beginning to understand the results of actions it is capable of performing. At its present level of consciousness, everything the Universe does operates by the processes set into motion at the Big Bang, and those have evolved to our present moment where we as thinking and foresightful beings can change the future in local situations. We have free will, even if it is very limited, but the Universe at present has no free will, it just is what it is and does what it does.

But, if we set up a robot society that could exist for the rest of time, it could eventually move throughout the whole and bring into being a state of forethought locally and these local societies could each be in connection with the rest. These processes are very slow by our standards, but the time element is less important to beings with nearly infinite  lifespans.

Humans do have enough consciousness to affect the future, and they do have a consciousness of their ability to affect things in the distant future even after their personal death. Some people accumulate property throughout their lives so they can give it to their children, but they must realize that their children won’t live very long either, and so they hope for their grandchildren to inherit their property. However, after a very few generations, their wealth evaporates into the general chaos of the world. Those who think in longer terms will realize that our whole Earth will in a few billion years be engulfed by our sun and all life will be burned away.

What is being proposed in this series of blog posts is an opportunity for our humanity and us as individuals to create something that will last forever. We are capable of creating a self-sustaining and evolving society that could eventually be vast beyond current belief.

We can not live forever but we can create a Universe that can come close to that ideal and if we create a loving Universe it would love us and our gift forever.