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System V, ultimate politics, economics, philosophy, ethics, systems theory


(Michael Hrenka) #1

This thread is mainly to clarify my own thoughts a bit. I don’t expect anyone to fully understand what I am writing here. This line of thought had different origins, and a recent trigger in my observation that sentient beings have the natural impulse to flee from aversive situations, even if that reaction is dysfunctional and prevents personal growth.

There are other strands that lead to system V:

  • The Aonian Exaltation is a fictional civilization that is supposed to be a deeply “posthuman” utopian utilitarian civilization. I have been wondering for quite a while how it actually works, and these ideas have shifted over time.
  • System C and system X have been concepts I’ve used in the fictional Fractal Cosmos universe to denote the difference between capitalism / “communism” / centralism / command society / control society and the system that comes afterwards and is based more on decentralization, interactivity and self-organization principles

System V comes after system X. It is the ultimate system that I can envision at the moment. V stands for valence or value. It is a system that combines politics, economics, philosophy, ethics, systems theory and many other things into a unified theory that guides macro scale organization of society (if not micro scale organization).

System V is also represents the full development of valence utilitarianism, which is the latest iteration of classical hedonic utilitarianism, the ethical theory that identifies/sets the maximization of happiness / positive emotions as primary value. In System V, valence utilitarianism has a mathematical basis that allows the practical operationalization and application of utilitarianism.

System V transcends the paradigms of system X similarly to how system X transcends the paradigm of system C. While system X is very appropriate for a human / transhuman civilization, system V is the most appropriate system for a posthuman civilization. In a posthuman civilization technology makes about anything possible, including the radical and utter redesign of ones own body, mind, and identity. So, what orientation do entities have under such circumstances and freedoms? Clearly, old fashioned human religions and philosophies are not enough. More sophisticated solutions are required! I don’t claim to know how system V looks like, exactly, but I suppose that an elaborate theory will come into existence that builds on basic utilitarian principles and transcends them to reach something that doesn’t look quite like utilitarianism, but more like controlled madness from the point of view of uncomprehending human entities.

In system V there is still money, but its use is completely marginalized and controlled by the deeper intentions of highly intelligent forces that use it as a specific tool, just like they would use sulphur atoms as tools: Just as elementary building block of something greater. Also, system V still has reputation systems and reputation economics, and perhaps also resource based economics, but they do not represent the core of economic activity of system V. Instead, system V builds its economy on the principle of efficient maximization of value. Which is the same principle that underlies the main political imperative of system V. In system V there is no difference between economics and politics, because both have been completely subsumed under the organizing principles of system V.

V theory is highly complex and there will be highly qualified specialists, called Vians, who educate all kinds of entities about how the theory works, and what theoretical and practical implications it has. System V is a system that operates on insight into V theory, which (at least due to posthuman technologies) translates in V–motivated action. It’s a philosophical system through and through, even though it’s not called philosophy anymore, because there is a clear theory that guides behaviour through the insight about how true value is actually constituted. Vians certainly seem to have the dominating influence in system V, but that’s only since they have the deepest insight into V theory, and because the entities in system V choose to follow V theory, or at least the guidance of the Vians. Entities in system V are usually free to leave the system, though eventually insight will make them rediscover V theory, or just realize that V theory is basically correct.

This may sound like some kind of moral realism. It’s not. It’s merely a hypothesis that there is this V theory, which is an extremely strong memetic attractor in some large areas in meme space. V theory is not ultimate moral truth, but it’s basically the “natural area” for many highly developed entities to inhabit in spirit.

System V is a natural consequence of trans-/posthuman entities being confronted with technologies that allow for complete freedom – making most of the previous systems and philosophies obsolete and useless. Efforts to build a flourishing posthuman society based on the paradigms of system C or system X will be insufficient, because those paradigms have arisen from the human condition, and not the utterly different posthuman condition. At the same time, anticipating system V is necessary to make the transition to the posthuman condition look desirable. Therefore, system V is a component of transhumanist thinking that has been missing so far.

Nevertheless, a direct transition from system X to system V is not possible, or even desirable. (Trans)Humanity has to go through system X to reach system V. There are numerous reasons for that:

  • System C is not able to make full use the technologies of the digital age. It is also inappropriate for humans living in the digital age, causing all kinds of problems, which dramatically increase existential risks.
  • Stabilization of system C in the advanced digital age is probably only possible in a restrictive tyranny which nullifies societal progress and makes a direct transition to system V virtually impossible. First, the system C tyranny needs to be replaced by system X. Under system X society can flourish until it reaches the problems that stem from the posthuman condition, at which stage it needs to transition to system V to overcome crucial problems.
  • System C is not sophisticated enough to even enable entities living under it to develop the elaborate and highly complex V theory which underlies system V. Only system X allows for the freedom and abundance to embark on the difficult journey to develop V theory.

It’s really hard to even imagine how system V looks like, because it will transcend the paradigms of system C and even system X. This doesn’t mean that it won’t use the tools of system C or system X; rather it will use all available tools, but in old and novel ways; basically it will use all tools appropriately.

Perhaps there is an issue with system V being appropriate for posthuman entities, and not directly for human entities, because they might have a hard time grasping V theory fully. In that case, they might still flourish by following the guidance of Vians. If they reject that guidance, they can still try to live in a system X society, if they like. Whether that’s better than living in a system V society under the Vians is not clear at this stage. If that’s actually the case, the Vians will probably establish a pseudo-X system for human level entities which is actually nicely embedded in the deeper system V. Meaning, society will mostly look like system X for human level entities, while at the same time it actually furthers the goals of system V, and is thus merely another component of system V.

But given those considerations, it is likely that system V will allow the greatest flourishing for all kinds of entities, because the Vians will know what is most appropriate for any entity living in that system. The Vians will be the ultimate mentors who lead entities to greatness, unfolding of their full potential, and reaching their own desires at the same time – while still maximizing value overall. System V is not a command system, it’s a system of guidance by truth! Thus, the guidance of the Vians is not any kind of oligarchy, it’s merely the most efficient way to organize society to lead everyone to full flourishing and maximizing value overall. Entities are free to reject that guidance, but doing so will naturally lead them to the insight that following that guidance is the better option, after all.

Is there a system after system V? It’s hard to say whether postulating a system after system V even makes sense at this point. For us, at this human stage, system V is probably a hard limit. Transcending system V doesn’t even make conceptual sense for us.

What sense does it make for us to think about system V? Well, looking into the distant future can reframe our existence in the presence. Talking about system V enables new narratives, optimistic narratives, about a positive future that we can strive towards, in which our current philosophical, political, economic, and ethical problems will be basically solved. Even the problems we can anticipate about trans-/ and posthuman existence will be solved in system V, which means that this mode of existence is really desirable!

Let’s move towards system V! :smiley:


Civilization System W
Ultimate Value Fiction
(João Luz) #2

This is a very interesting concept, if highly speculative. It could definitly be the basis for a an amazing science-fictional universe.


(Michael Hrenka) #3

Thanks, I want to include system V in the Fractal Cosmos universe, if you don’t have anything against that addition. In any case, I want to reframe my Exaltation verse with the addition of system V. And I’ll think about reframing the Universal Upgrade as transition from system C to system X and then finally to system V.

What do you think is most speculative about system V? I find many of the ideas highly natural. After all, with the nearly unlimited freedom that posthuman technology provides, a clearer orientation is necessary. A lack of clear positive orientation leaves the field open for extremist ideologies like that of IS. We need to counter this with a more reasonable and friendly philosophical alternative, as soon as possible.


System V factions
(João Luz) #4

Yeah, that sounds great. Of course we’ll have to decide where to fit it.

I think that system V would probably emerge in the late 2090s and rise to prominence in the first years of the 22nd century.

Now, who would be the first ones to adopt it? Probably EISHEC or EISHEC 2 and the societies under their influence, or maybe the cloud-lords.
In my opinion Earth societies will be the last ones to transition to V, since most of the X-nations will probably resist the new system.

We also might want to think what other ideas could make sense in a posthuman future in order to come up with concepts for anti-V factions. After all, what we want is to create an increasingly diverse world.

Yes, the ideas seem natural, but, as we are talking about a system to be designed and implemente by posthuman entities, they are also speculative.

We don’t know how posthuman minds will work, so, there is no way of telling if these ideas will make sense to them.

Yes, I totally agree with that, and I think perfectly OK to speculate to that end.

If Hollywood and 80% of the science-fiction writers can assume that posthuman minds will want to anihalate us to promote their technophobic vision, we can also assume those minds will have a positive and rational philosophy.


System V factions
(Michael Hrenka) #5

Some more thoughts on system V, mainly focusing on economic and political aspects.

The V economy is so advanced that sentient beings typically live in a state of total digital abundance, and usually material abundance, too. Technology is so advanced that the distinction between dreams and reality becomes quite blurred. If you can dream it up, chances are that it can happen easily.

Of course, entities can live in virtual realities in which they can live in excessive superabundance without any problems. When it comes to the material reality, there’s still a high level of abundance, but it’s not absolute. In most cases, you won’t be confronted with the existence of money and reputation indices, because the economy is so advanced and automatic that you don’t need to worry about these things! They are still there, is the background, doing their magic to grease the economy, but their role is reduced to the equivalent of simple metabolic processes keeping the human body alive. Human consciousness doesn’t concern itself with such basic matters – which doesn’t mean that it couldn’t, but there’s usually no need for that.

All basic needs are being taken care of, pretty much automatically. If you want some material good, just use the next replicator / dispenser / materializer / grey good pool / nanobot cloud and make it, unless it’s unreasonably large. You won’t easily be able to materialize a mountain of gold, but why would you – unless it’s an art project, in which case, it might work anyway.

But anyway, the V economy is crazy advanced, like it’s so automatic that it continuously scans your thoughts and suggests better thoughts (if you allow that), because better thoughts are better at maximizing value. Like, you want to eat ice cream, but no, the suggester symbiont in your mind tells you that a super-artistic hyper-experimental ice cream that nobody has tasted before, because well, why not (and the entity designing that ice cream wants to have feedback, and everyone else wants a copy of the experience of eating that ice cream)? It also solves 20 mathematical problems in the process in a way you cannot even begin to fathom, unless you augment your mind and download some crazy mathematical knowledge. The V economy aims for extreme synergy, because that is better at maximizing value. Of course, you could shut off the suggestions, but why would you? The suggestions are often super awesome, and even better than what you wanted in the first place. Human volition is overrated anyway. Instead of being like advertisement, which often makes your decisions worse, system V is even more intrusive (but people accept that, because it’s super awesome), but it makes your decisions better.

The V economy is so advanced that desires automatically create autonomous companies that aim to fulfil your wishes. You won’t be aware of that process (unless you explicitly want to). You just want something, and a few moments later you want what you have. This is true no matter whether you want digital goods, material goods, or services, or even some minor political change. The AI and distributed intelligence of the system is just so great that it makes it possible – for about anyone.

What if you want to have something totally excessive? Like a death star? Then you suggester will suggest something better, like a super great spaceship. But it won’t belong to you, but will be co-used by a large number of other people, which doesn’t make it less awesome, but even more. What if you mute your suggester? Then you will probably be contacted by an economic agent who explains to you why your idea is excessive or inappropriate. If you still insist, that agent may tell you what you might do to get your stupid death star in exchange. It may work, but it would be very hard and time consuming, in total contrast to the near instant wish fulfilment of more reasonable desires.

Now let’s come to V politics. The basis of V politics is that everything is voluntary by default. If you agree with laws and regulations that’s voluntary. You get rewarded for agreeing with certain laws and regulations. The full magic of the V economy doesn’t work for people who refuse to follow any laws – which is actually a very effective incentive to subscribe to those laws. Because laws are voluntary, territorial polities have lost their power. Instead, you subscribe to voluntary polities which can coexist in the same space. How these polities organize themselves is also a matter of the rules and laws they give to themselves. if you don’t like them, make your own polity with rules and laws that suit your needs and desires better.

There’s a problem in that these rules and laws can become crazily complex. Either you merge with a lawyer symbiont, or you switch to a polity that has less complex rules and laws.

Also, system V is extremely peaceful (otherwise this coexisting polity stuff and voluntariness of subscription to laws wouldn’t really work). How this peace is actually maintained is a difficult question that I will address sometime later.