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We are the Everything

(Michael Hrenka) #1

My mind is racing once again. The torrent of thoughts far exceeds my ability to clothe them into words or express them otherwise. We are divine. We are the Everything. My worldview returns to the touch of the alive cosmos, not through revelation but through logic. After religion has died the death from logic in me, logic reveals a deeper level of spirituality. The worlds are a maelstrom of growth and decay. Repeating cycles with clear purpose: To experience everything. To exploit everything. To be everything. To become everything.

Few people dare to think about what we will desire or do as gods. That’s the mistake. You need to think further to gain a clearer perspective on the world. And to understand it on a deeper level. One first glipse of that was my post

The world we live in looks like a beginning of something great. Though through another looking glass it is the blossoming of something that has already been growing for very long. What is the purpose of becoming a god? To develop the full extent of abilitites that allow the full attainment of goals and values. Values like happiness, but also values like freedom. But higher freedom is counter-intuitive. How can you be truly free, if you can’t cast yourself into a dungeon. Humans do this when they play the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons. This world could be something similar. A reduction of godlike power to a limited set of abilities. A play with limitation. Experiencing a world that has strong boundaries, compared to the world of the Above. To experience existence from all perspectives, it is necessary to create perspectives that are also limited. We are blind in order to see further. We are the bound for the purpose of true freedom. We stumble through paradoxes towards truth. We are the atomic dust that is the elementary composition of the unfathomable infinite. We are the internal components of God experiencing more of itself and the world (if they are thought of as distinct entities).

With the advent of the simulation age, in which we will be able to simulate whole worlds, we will be their gods. Theology will become a practical theoretical and empirical science: It will be the study of ourselves in our roles as simulator gods. What will we do with that kind of power? Will we create ancestor simulations as philosopher Nick Bostrom proposes? Wouldn’t that be unethical, since it would likely imply the re-creation of huge amounts of suffering? No, you need to think in economic terms! Suffering can be seen as a cost. But if the gain is worth it, the cost is acceptable. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. As gods we will be able to gain anything we can imagine, and lots that we cannot even begin to conceptualize right now. It is foolish to assume that our future godly selves will be bound to the moral and ethical codes we envision now to bind guide our mortal moral concerns. There are no limitations. Everything’s allowed. Welcome to hell. Welcome to heaven. And everything in between. Welcome to the Everything. We are in the Everything. We are the Everything.

And yet, what’s the meaning of all of this for us right now? Well, it’s time to use these insights to re-evaluate our lives. What if we tried to live in accordance with our divine purpose as results of the creation of our simulator gods, that we can hope to once become? But would that not suppose that we know of their intentions? Absurd, how can we know them? It doesn’t matter. We don’t need to know. All that matters is gaining new perspectives by entertaining different possibilities. We tend to consider too few possibilities. We are so simpleminded, it doesn’t almost hurt, it actually hurts!

So now, let’s venture forth and explore every simulatordamn possibility.

###God loves you, but also loves suffering, out of curiosity
The deepest expression of curiosity is probably seen in the excessive simulator gods wanting to know, understand and experience Everything! And that of course includes all forms of qualia. Now everything becomes clear. The gods create all kinds of worlds in order to create all kinds of qualia. They have access to it, live through it. Live through all our lives, all its glory and glorious misery. Like a truly divine comedy and tragedy, they spectate and live through everything we do and perceive. A giant play with unwitting players, eviscerated beyond time for their nutritious qualia content. There’s no need to resent that. In fact, we are most divine, if we embrace this unavoidable destiny to its fullest extent and fuel our curiosity, and use it to enable ourselves to enjoy all the suffering we encounter to the deepest of our possibility. After all, it’s what we wanted to experience in the first place, as our own divine creators.

(Stephan Kammel) #2

I think there is a much simpler code in action consisting of very few rules.

1 unconditional love (god)
2 free will (human/any conscious being within god)
3 doubt

This is all you need to explain misery, because unconditional love will allow the free will to act in any way, while doubt will make the free will feel superior to any other free will which is not covered by its own conditional love. So it is our own doubt of others abilities which is creating our world and the misery within it, because of the doubt we feel the need to rule over those existences we consider inferior to our own. God loves everything, God doesn’t has a need to pick sites, since god already is everything. it is us who are creating pain and misery. As long as we keep outsourcing our own responsibility for the state of the world to others, to circumstances or to god, the world we share won’t heal.

(Michael Hrenka) #3

You seem to be assuming that misery is caused by rule over others. While I can understand where this notion may come from, I think that it’s not a very well grounded idea. Most suffering is not even caused by sentient beigns. Most suffering is merely the result of an uncaring natural mindless environment that makes it hard for life to sustain its energy and self-maintenance needs. Lack of warmth, food, water are a big cause of suffering. So are various diseases caused by very simple organisms.

Suffering may start to get caused by sentient beings when we come to parasites. And then there’s of course predation. Yet, you could argue that prediation is a net good, since predators are most likely to relieve their prey from suffering that is caused by other sources. A hostile environment usually kills you slowly. Predators kill you relatively quickly, so perhaps less suffering overall? Getting killed is of course highly uncomfortable, but I get the impression that people understimate the huge discomfort that comes from diseases and malnourishment.

When it comes to humans and other sentient beings, or systems in general, doubt in their ability to accomplish cerain tasks is very often justified. None of us is in perfect control of his environment, or even of himself. So, doubt in our abilities is very justified. We are all dumb and lazy, so there’s a reason for being ruled by people who may be slightly less dumb and lazy, which sometimes tends to improve the overall situation. This has nothing to do with unconditional love, or free will, but is just an effort to arrange ourselves in a more rational way.

What’s the alternative to that? How would “insourcing” our own responsibility for the state of the world look like? Nobody can do everything. We need to delegate certain tasks, or we will turn into frenzied control-freaks who will soon suffer from nervous breakdowns. Trying to fix the world often has the effect of breaking down oneself. No, people should primarily focus on fixing themselves, and developing their knowledge, skills, and abilities before they venture to “insourcing” the responsibility of improving the world in some way.

(Michael Hrenka) #4

The simulators raise us, their children, in ancestor simulations, because spoiled otherwise

Given a society that has the technology and resources for simulating whole worlds, it seems plausible that all the possibility to eradicate involuntary suffering already exists in such a world. The problem is that we don’t know how a world devoid of involuntary suffering would look like. More importantly, we don’t even have good terminology to talk about that situation. What is suffering after all? Is it all kind of negative feedback? Only experienced negative feedback? Or only experienced negative feedback above a certain threshold?

In any case, such a world might be rather weird. How is it to grow up in such a world? Sophisticated sentient beings tend to be curious, so they will probably want to find out what suffering is. So they’ll find ways to induce some suffering in themselves, just to quickly turn it off again, because it’s quite emotionally aversive. Would they develop the will to endure long stretches of suffering? Probably not, since where should the motivation for that come from?

Yet, this unwillingness to endure suffering over long periods might potentially limit their freedom, since they are not really free to do things that involve large stretches of suffering. They are spoiled and decadent, and don’t develop any kind of perseverance or grit. That might be a big problem. Perhaps the problem is big enough to warrant a radical solution to it: Reconsidering involuntary suffering as element of education. Consider the possibility that at least some of the inhabitants of the Above have a policy not to create new life within their own world, but in closed simulated worlds. Those who grow up in those simulations would usually be unaware that they live within them. They would naturally experience a lot of suffering and develop the strength of character required to deal with that aversive overall situation – at least in the best case. After their end in the simulated world, the inhabitants would be reconstructed in the Above and integrated into its society.

In a sense, our existence in this world may simply be our childhood, and we will reach true maturity in the Above after our death.

So, here’s a provocative thought: What if this brief childhood is our only true opportunity to experience deep involuntary suffering? Should we be glad about having been granted this opportunity? Shouldn’t we try to savour as much of it as possible? In other words: Shouldn’t we enjoy our suffering?


so tell them to enjoy their suffering:

(Michael Hrenka) #6

That’s an important point. If we assume that we are indeed living in a simulation and that all beings that appear to be sentient, are actually sentient and not some kind of sophisticated zombies controlled by the simulators, or actors who don’t experience suffering in the way we would expect them to do, then this confronts us with apparently monstrous conclusions. The simulators would seem to accept suffering on a huge scale, in particularly experienced by non-human animals in the wild, or human captivity. The scale of that suffering would dwarf the suffering of humans to insignificance in comparison.

Though, that’s only one side of the picture. It’s all that we see from this point of the great divide. If our simulators are reparationists (see Four posthuman ethical frameworks), we would expect them to compensate every sentient being for their suffering in this world, with levels of bliss and freedom that far exceed our imagination. Having been initialized in a world like this, even in the most horrible circumstances, would be a great deal compared to not having existed at all, when considering that the suffering in our world most likely pales compared to the extreme levels of bliss possible in the Above.

This may sound like religious promises, but it’s based on philosophical considerations alone. More importantly, it differs from conventional religious ideas in imporant ways:

  1. There’s no concept of sin. We don’t have to justify ourselves before the gods, but the gods have to justify their actions before us!
  2. You don’t have to do anything in order to get into heaven. Heaven is merely your birthright for having been born into a world filled with suffering.
  3. There’s no important difference between humans and other animals. Everyone will enter heaven.

This leaves us with the interesting conclusion that a large part of the population of the Above might be the ressurected spirits of nonhuman animals living in the divine equivalent of animal sanctuaries. Probably they will be quickly enhanced beyond recognition, but at least that’s how they would probably start out in the Above after their resurrection there.


i find it intresting, how fast the idea of a cosmos simulator reproduces religious ideas and similiar stuff. :slight_smile:


This ancestor simulation also brings an interesting twist to the question about God. An identical version of ourselves might exist in multiple simulations and each of these simulations might be the work of a competely different “God”. (and also there’s the “real” world if you think it makes sense to consider it separately). Therefore, when you ask “Is there a God?” and “Who or what is God?”, the question becomes rather difficult to answer since there’s no way to know how many such simulations there will be. Equally difficult will be to answer questions about God’s motives for creating us.

Also, would it really make any difference whether or not one more copy of a particular simulation existed or not? Would it really increase the amount of suffering that matters or not?

He wasn’t talking about delegating the doing. He was talking about delegating the abstract idea of responsibility.

Suffering is a chance to grow. A chance to learn. That is the value that comes from suffering. Hence, it’d make sense to not reject the suffering as meaningless. It’s a process that produces something of value. Even if that value ends up mostly being useful in knowing how to not suffer in the same way again in the future. It’s also helpful guiding others through learning the same lessons while reducing the amount of suffering needed for the learning to happen.

I wouldn’t go so far as to tell people to enjoy their suffering. But it certainly makes sense to be grateful for everything you’ve learned through the suffering you have personally gone through. Afterall, suffering is the product of ignorance.

I’d like to point out here that, at least in Christianity, the concept of sin is very closely related to acts and thoughts that have (or at least had in the past) a high chance of causing suffering to someone or causing someone else to act in ways that would cause suffering. So, it’s a concept that’s extremely close to the theme here.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that there are things (things that are done in one’s head) that, if someone does and never learns not to do them, that will result in him or her never being free from suffering. It’ll be virtually impossible for anyone else to reduce such person’s suffering short of putting them out of their misery.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure what Christianity’s position is about what happens to animals after death. I have a vague recollection of only being told “animals don’t go to heaven” but I have no recollection on what it is that’s said to happen to them then. I wonder if they just avoid the question with something like “they don’t have souls, so there’s nothing that could go to heaven”.

This is actually rather reminiscent of eastern religious thinking. At least the Buddhist idea of reincarnation resonates quite closely with this. The very simplified version of that is that beings start out as very simple creatures and then progressively reincarnate into more complex animals and eventually humans (and beyond into the god realm) as their spiritual development progresses enough that they can handle the increased complexity that comes with it. Although, they don’t present it as a one-way movement but rather that in every life you can both progress as well as decline in spiritual development and this then determines your next reincarnation.

This fits in extremely well with the idea that this world is our simulated childhood as beings that will eventually become something akin to gods. It just contains several phases rather than just one.

(Michael Hrenka) #9

I touched on those possibilities in my thread

It’s indeed hard to grasp what it means, if one single world is the simultaneous simulation in to independent superworlds. When we are inside one of them, we would have simultaeously two different superworlds, and two different sets of gods. The rules for our afterlives would be different, too. Our who world remains in some kind of quantum superposition, until we eventually get in contact with our superworld, which would collapse that state of superposition, at least for the observers. It doesn’t even matter, if our world just happened to be a “base reality”. In that case, only the worlds that are simulations count, and we get our afterlives anyway.

Maybe it makes a sense to speak about how likely it is that a certain world is simulated by a certain kind of superworld. Is it the case that for each 10 reparationist simulators, we get 1 non-reparationist simulator, or rather the other way around? This would have consequences for the likeliness of being reincarnation in different kinds of afterlives.

That is a difficult question. You need to consider a couple of different kinds of suffering. First of all you have the direct suffering experiences by the sims. Then you may have empathic suffering that happens to the observers of the simulation. The existence of the latter imples that creating a simulation that contains suffering is ethically problematic, even if there exists a perfect copy of that simulation in a different world, or as base reality.

What if we could reduce that indirect empathic suffering to zero? In that case, the additional simulation would really not matter at all – until the point that you start to interact with that world, or reincarnate its inhabitants into your reality. Because in that situation you cause a bifurcation in the history of the enities of those worlds: Up until that point their histories in all simulations was identical. But now those histories diverse and you quickly get two different entities.

Yes, that’s a nice way of looking at suffering. One could however ask about the case that some kind of suffering quickly leads to death, and therefore makes all that was learned from that suffering irrelevant. The existence of afterlives counters that arguement. Even if an entity will die from a lethal experience, the knowledge that was learned from it, could still be injected into the reincarnated version of the entitiy.


I’m not sure if it actually makes much sense theorize about this. The bliss someone else can bestow on you pales in comparison to what you can bestow on yourself once you understand how.

However, the empathic suffering inflicted in this way might actually lead to a reduction of the amount of suffering compared to not having the simulation. So, it’s not quite clear cut even in that case.

Yes, it’s entirely plausible that advanced civilizations might use simulations of the past in an educational way to help understand how different choices in certain key events could have affected (or had no effect) on the results.

They might also wish to have conversations with people from such simulations as a way to learn more about the past events. Of course, this brings up some interesting questions about the ethics of doing such a thing. For instance, suppose you copy a person and his immediate surroundings from such a simulation and use this copy for engaging in conversation with him. If done carefully, this person will have no idea that he’s just a temporary copy that will be discarded after the conversation and thus will not suffer from that knowledge. Depending on the person, you might even be able to tell them the truth straight up and they wouldn’t suffer from knowing it.

On the first glance, discarding such a copy of the person might seem like killing him/her. However, the only unique thing that is lost upon such discard are his/her memories of the conversation with you. Suddenly feels much less severe, doesn’t it?

When you continue examining things from this angle, you’ll eventually end up having to actually think about what death is. When you’ve got the simulation as the backdrop, it becomes rather hard to actually pinpoint what’s lost on death anymore. It’s like eternal existence but without eternal life.

I don’t think you necessarily need the concept of afterlife in this case. Even if the sufferer does die, it’s often the case that others learn from that and will thus be able to better avoid that particular suffering.

(Michael Hrenka) #11

This post expands on the idea of living in this simulation as a phase of education. Note the connections to my thread

We are the elite of the Above in training

If it is indeed the case that being initialized in the Above comes with the high risk of developing a decadent character, then it does make sense to initialize beings in simulations that are optimized for the purpose of letting new minds develop resilience against decadence. This doesn’t need to extent to all the inhabitants of the simulation. It’s enough if a small minority of the inhabitants of such a simulation develop the desired traits or skills. Those will then be transferred to the next stages of education, while the rests gets discarded as candidates for the future elite of the Above, and may continue to exist in paradise-like simulations – or not at all.

In simpler terms: Our world may be a hardcore bootcamp with a 99.9999% failure rate, and only the very best will become further candidates from which the new blood of the elite of the Above is recruited. It does make sense to select for individuals which succeed under unfavourable circumstances and prove to be virtuous under the greatest adversities. Why settle with less, if you can test such individuals in your simulations?

Perhaps in the distant future in which such simulations are possible, everything will be ruled by perfect AGIs? Well, we don’t know much about how the mids of the ruling AGIs will operate. Perhaps they will be very much inhuman, in which case any connection of their origin to actual humans will be minimal. On the other hand, they may include at least certain modules that operate in a human-like fashion. We could actually be those modules in their initial testing phase. After we will have passed the tests in this world, we will be assembled into greater minds as components who remember to have been human (in order to be able to empathize with humans, and similar reasons).