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The Parish Hall => The Geek Forum => Topic started by: Pon de Replay on January 04, 2018, 09:32:42 PM

Title: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 04, 2018, 09:32:42 PM
This is split from a thread that went off-topic (https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=19289.msg428617#msg428617).

Because I want to blow up real planets with a real Death Star.  I'm a corporal being.  I like getting down and dirty.  I like the shock wave on my chest when stuff blows up.  I like it when you are swimming in the ocean and a massive wave picks you up and nearly kills you by churning you around, but you struggle against it and live to tell the tail.  At those moments you feel most alive.

I don't want to be Captain Christopher Pike in a cage, like some zoo animal.  I want to be Jim Kirk, risking it all on one turn of pitch and toss.  Jim Kirk is a much more interesting character.

If you retained your humanity then you'd always know it was a make-believe world.  If you lost your humanity then you've lost everything.  It doesn't matter how much "fun" it is if it is not me experiencing it.  That's why I would never take drugs.

Why did Jesus get His transfigured body back?  The other two members of the Trinity don't need a body, why does Jesus?  Presumably He wanted it back again because in some important way it defined Him.

But you would still be you.  You wouldn't lose your humanity.  Just imagine for a moment that you lost your hand, and the technology existed for the doctors to fashion you a prosthetic one that would restore the same sensation of touch as your former hand had.  No hook or claw for you, Greg: you get a fully functional artificial hand, equipped with bio-technology that sends the same sensory data to your brain.  It has nerves that can be fused with your nervous system.  When you peel an orange or stroke a cat or run your fingers over sandpaper, you get the same sensations you always had.  You would still be you in this situation, though, wouldn't you?  You would have the same range of two-handed experiences you always had.  You would still be Greg.  Because what you are, essentially, is your mind; that is to say, your brain.  You're a brain connected to a network of nerves, housed in a bag of bones and flesh.

True virtual reality would be based on the same principle as a nervous system: it would send information to your brain.  Being churned up by a wave in virtual reality would feel no different than being churned up by an actual wave.  All of the sensations you experience in life are dependent on sensory input.  Virtual reality simply gives you the sensory input for whatever you desire.  Our minds and our nervous systems can be deceived all the time.  Sometimes you can be dreaming of something, and for a time in the dream, you think it's real.  Or you can feel like there's a spider on your arm, and then you turn and it's actually just the tickling of lint or a loose thread.  We don't have the phrase "my mind playing tricks on me" for nothing.  Virtual reality would be the most highly finessed version.  It would be as real as this life, because it would operate on the very same principle.  No one can really refute solipsism, and no one can refute Poe: "is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?"

Your nervous system would be bypassed.  Whether you would wear goggles and gloves and a body suit, or whether you would merely have a microchip implanted in your skull to keep the process clean and simple, it makes no difference: it would all be no less real to your conscious mind, and it could simulate anything you wanted.  So you would still be you.  You are your brain.  It would be no less you experiencing the virtual reality than the you that experiences your dreams.  And as QMR might tell you, there is no way to know whether you already are in a virtual reality, and the real you is floating in a sensory deprivation tank somewhere.  If so, you could only conclude that this particular VR was forced on you as opposed to freely chosen—or at the very least it contains glitches, seeing that it contains Indian call centers, liberals, Jayne, "massive tossers," and rainbow sash bishops.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 04, 2018, 09:37:06 PM
I don't think the Islamic version of heaven is actually all that dull.  I think the seventy-two virgins bit is mockable, of course.  (Why do they have to be virgins?  And why only seventy-two?)  But essentially it's just "all the sensual delights of earth, uninterrupted by suffering, forever."  That seems like a universally human longing.

Well I would say it is an acknowledgement of one of the concupiscences we have from the fall and original sin.  One of my favorite St. Bernard sayings is "Soft living makes one dainty hard work makes men hungry ".  Stomachs can only hold so much food comfortably and beyond that is misery, bodies can only engage in coupling so much and then suffer the consequences of too much friction and exertion and so on. 

I think that a matrix like experience where we can have whatever sensual thing (food, drink, smell) we want whenever we want it will lead to an increase of depression after people find out how empty sensual euphoria becomes.

Truly, "the eye is not filled with seeing, neither is the ear filled with hearing."  There is always the problem of restlessness that eventually (usually sooner than later) follows the feeling of being satisfied.  Once we've had something, we want more.  And once we've had it continually, we grow bored with it and resentful of it, and search out something novel.  I think the question of the Islamic heaven makes for a good thought exercise: it offers only sensual pleasures, and it seems that we would eventually get bored with all of them.

Prior to virtual reality, the philosopher Kierkegaard considered the problem of restless and boredom, and he averred that restlessness could potentially be countered by following the principle of crop rotation.  We can think of having a meal that we really enjoy, or a song that we really love.  But if you ate the favorite meal day in and day out, or listened to the favorite song over and over, you would quickly get bored.  So instead you would space out the eating of the favorite meal or the listening to the favorite song.  The fact that variety in pleasure exists means that if you rotated the kinds of pleasures you experience, you would prolong your enjoyments.  And among the different pleasures (culinary, aural, sexual, intellectual, &c.) there is a vast variety within each one.  Therefore Kierkegaard at least gets us theoretically to a very, very long time before anything gets truly played out.  Admittedly, though, after billions of years you would reach exhaustion with every possible pleasure, even in rotation, and get depressed, and take your cue from the Buddhists and believe that liberation consists of being removed from the wheel of experience altogether.

But virtual reality, I think, would get us all the way to eternity, because presumably there would be the option of voluntary amnesia.  If we're assuming that the requisite neuroscience & technology could exist, then the obvious cure for boredom would be to wipe the slate clean and have the experiences all over again.  You wouldn't get bored of them because you wouldn't remember them.  They would be as new to you in the virtual reality as any novelty is new to you now.  So I think that's where jannah, the Islamic heaven, could succeed: if any of the denizens got bored of their houris and fine dining after two million years, Allah would presumably just push the "reset" button at the first sign of a yawn, and they would wake up with no memory of those two million years, and it would be like their first day in the heavenly garden of delights. 

I don't think this would be too different from some of the Catholic concepts of heaven, where it is said that everyone will appreciate God's justice, even if it seems completely unfair to them in this life.  If Greg got to heaven and saw John Paul II and Paul VI there, he might wonder what was going on.  He might demand to know, "how the hell was Vatican II the actual Catholic Church?"  And God might say, "it was a test of faith, like Abraham with Isaac.  QMR was right all along.  I wanted to make sure people would follow my shepherds no matter what."  And before Greg could say, "that's totally cultish and nutty nutbar," his understanding of what's nutty or not would instantly accord with God's.  Would he still be Greg?

Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 04, 2018, 09:59:08 PM
Inception, the scene where Leo's character is shown the 'opium den' where people sleep all day in the dream state where they can do anything they want.

I should watch that movie again; I haven't seen it since it first came out.  I would definitely be in the VR opium den.  Why would anyone not?  Our lives here in the First World are exceptionally good by historical standards, but even so, we all still feel like Tantalus to some extent.  It seems inescapable that no matter how good we have it, we always wish it were better.  Damn this human condition.  For that reason alone I think one could get near infinity out of virtual reality.  Tom Wolfe once said something like, "a plumber living in twentieth century America experiences a greater level of luxury than any Roman Emperor did."  There's some truth to that in terms of things like plumbing and food and entertainment, although if the plumber is a singleton, the pleasures are limited to such comforts, and he is not exceeding Caligula.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Maximilian on January 04, 2018, 10:19:50 PM

 You would still be you in this situation, though, wouldn't you?  You would have the same range of two-handed experiences you always had.  You would still be Greg.  Because what you are, essentially, is your mind; that is to say, your brain.  You're a brain connected to a network of nerves, housed in a bag of bones and flesh.

No, I disagree with this entire concept that we are a brain in a bag of bones. That's not our reality. And the whole prosthetic thing and organ donations are part of it.

"That Hideous Strength" by C.S. Lewis has some good things to say about this trend.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Jacob on January 04, 2018, 10:20:27 PM
The conversation brought this to mind:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Greg on January 05, 2018, 03:10:31 AM
If God says that about Vatican 2 I'm going to punch Him and call him some very rude names.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 10:24:46 AM
No, I disagree with this entire concept that we are a brain in a bag of bones. That's not our reality. And the whole prosthetic thing and organ donations are part of it.

"That Hideous Strength" by C.S. Lewis has some good things to say about this trend.

That our sensual experiences rely on our brain receiving sensory input is factually and biologically true.  For the purposes of virtual reality, all one needs to be is a brain and a network of nerves.  A true virtual reality would bypass the organic nerves and feed the data directly to the brain; one could just as well be "a brain in a vat," or reduced corporeally to a vegetative state.  As it stands now, virtual reality requires goggles and gloves (future generations living in a Singularity would likely view this as primitive video gaming.  What we currently consider cutting-edge might well be Pac-Man forty years from now).

I would agree, however, that our sensual experiences are not all of reality, as I don't deny the existence of the soul and am by no means purely materialist.  There is of course a spiritual dimension to our existence, or "mystical experience."  It would probably be best not to go into all that, but I apologize for putting things in terms that might suggest I denied the soul.

The VR I'm considering would simply replicate the sensual dimension.  It would be basically a portal into one's own personal jannah—although in the sense that you wouldn't necessarily have to be reclining in a hammock under palm fronds in a lush desert oasis being fed grapes by adoring houris.  The Islamic paradise is (unsurprisingly) of a peculiarly masculine bent, a product of the Arabian mind, and I don't know if too many women would see an appeal there.  So you could reset the parameters.  I have a female friend who would probably calibrate the settings to something like living in a Jane Austen novel, and I once worked with a butch lesbian who would maybe want to work on a construction site, where she could curse and chew tobacco and spit and operate a jackhammer until she got bored with it.  Then she would reset the parameters to live in a zombie apocalypse and mow down the undead with a machine gun while hollering profanities.  (She was a big fan of The Walking Dead).

But I guess my question would be, what is wrong with prosthetics?  Are you opposed to something like the prosthetic feet worn by Oscar Pistorius?  Because those were the difference between him being an professional runner or confined to a wheelchair.  I guess I could see the logic if the idea is that we're supposed to accept our infirmities and consider them as redemptive suffering, but by that measure even those of us who wear eyeglasses are engaged in a form of prosthetic cheating.  If prosthetics are wrong, then I should be squinting just to see things in a blur, stumbling around all day, tripping over the cat and bumping into furniture.

Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Maximilian on January 05, 2018, 10:26:42 AM

If God says that about Vatican 2 I'm going to punch Him and call him some very rude names.

Without assaulting God, one does have to consider that the paradox of "Theseus' Ship" applies fundamentally to the questions we deal with concerning the modern Catholic Church.

"If one gradually replaces each dogma one-by-one with new dogmas, then is that still the same Church?"

An article that received some attention in Latin Mass magazine a few years back regarding Humanae Vitae and whether it represented the Catholic teaching on marriage said about the new "personalism" on which it was based:  "You can compare it to a house which has been moved down the road and placed on a new foundation. Is it still the same house if it has a new foundation in a new location?"
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Maximilian on January 05, 2018, 10:39:26 AM

For the purposes of virtual reality, all one needs to be is a brain and a network of nerves. 

For virtual reality, yes. For actual reality, no.


I would agree, however, that our sensual experiences are not all of reality, as I don't deny the existence of the soul and am by no means purely materialist. 

Well, yes, the soul is an issue here, but it wasn't the soul but the body that I was considering.

I think that in general we underestimate our bodies and the significance of the role they play.

Wanting to die, but not being allowed to die. Being kept alive as a virtual reality. What a horrific nightmare that perhaps lies in the not-too-distant future. The only solution for it is to accept our bodies they way they are and to accept our death when the body is finished.


But I guess my question would be, what is wrong with prosthetics? 

They are unnatural.


Are you opposed to something like the prosthetic feet worn by Oscar Pistorius?  Because those were the difference between him being an professional runner or confined to a wheelchair. 

That didn't work out so well for him in the long run.


I guess I could see the logic if the idea is that we're supposed to accept our infirmities and consider them as redemptive suffering, but by that measure even those of us who wear eyeglasses are engaged in a form of prosthetic cheating. 

A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

This dilemma is represented by the situation that happened recently in Korea where two very beautiful people married each other, but then produced a very ugly child who resembled neither of them. It was at that point that they realized that they had each been fooled by the large amounts of plastic surgery that have become common in Korea. Each one thought that they were fooling the other, but in the end they each were equally fooled.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 10:49:55 AM
If God says that about Vatican 2 I'm going to punch Him and call him some very rude names.

Ah, but I don't think you could, because in heaven your will is perfectly conformed to the will of God.  That's why I ask whether such a "you" is in any meaningful sense you anymore.  If I got to heaven and saw my mom writhing in hell (neither of which will ever happen), I would be forced to understand the situation as God's perfect justice, and I would have to think, "you must burn forever, you reprobate."  And that would not be me.  I don't care if my mom was a Hitler before she had me; in my estimation she would have to suffer for a long time to pay for whatever atrocities she committed, but I would also know first-hand that as a mother she was patient and loving and kind, a person capable of great decency and good-heartedness, so in the end I (me) insist that she eventually be forgiven.  She is "only human after all," as the old 80s song goes.  I would not be "me" in any meaningful sense if I was satisfied with her suffering for eternity.  I might be conformed to God's will, but it would be against my own will.  I would be brainwashed or lobotomized.

In a virtual reality, on the other hand, you fully possess your own will.  It's not like drugs where it's decreased or heightened awareness.  It's the same principle of sensory awareness you currently have.  I don't know much Star Trek, so I had to look up your Christopher Pike / Jim Kirk reference.  But think of it this way: you're not Christopher Pike.  You are Captain Kirk, until one day Captain Kirk is beset with Buddhist ennui and thinks to himself, "life has become tedious.  All of this intergalactic adventuring is played out"—and William Shatner wakes up wearing aquatic undies in a pool of liquid, and a lab technician pulls the microchip out of his brain and says, "you must've had a very rewarding five thousand years there, Jim."  It's Captain Kirk is a Christopher Pike.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 11:10:15 AM
Wanting to die, but not being allowed to die. Being kept alive as a virtual reality. What a horrific nightmare that perhaps lies in the not-too-distant future. The only solution for it is to accept our bodies they way they are and to accept our death when the body is finished.

I'm not understanding, Max.  Why do you say "wanting to die, but not being allowed to die. Being kept alive as a virtual reality"?  I am not stipulating a VR which would be compulsory.  If you don't like it you could stop it at any time.  It would be voluntary, which makes it a good philosophical question; I'm wondering why anyone would want to opt out.  If I was enjoying a virtual paradise, I would not want to die.  Accepting our bodies and accepting death is not the only solution in this hypothetical, as virtual reality would present another.  You're choosing death over bliss?

There is no correlation between Oscar Pistorius' prosthetics and the fact that he killed his girlfriend.  O.J. Simpson killed his ex-wife standing on his own two feet.  If there seems to be any shared cause in both instances, it's that these were famous athletes who probably thought they were so special that they could get away with it.  There are plenty of people who wear prosthetics like Pistorius' who don't turn into killers because of them.

This dilemma is represented by the situation that happened recently in Korea where two very beautiful people married each other, but then produced a very ugly child who resembled neither of them. It was at that point that they realized that they had each been fooled by the large amounts of plastic surgery that have become common in Korea. Each one thought that they were fooling the other, but in the end they each were equally fooled.

Problem solved.  Virtual reality would be the invisible prosthesis; it would be the bloodless plastic surgery.  An amputee would experience physical legs; a Cyrano could live the life of a Lothario.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Carleendiane on January 05, 2018, 11:27:53 AM
Interesting posts going on here. Says me, with two fake knees. 6 kids, 14 grand kids to enjoy, and not on crutches. Is that wrong? I haven't been spared the pain (still constant) and still have serious limitations. But I can walk on my own whereas, by now.....I would need either crutches, or worse, a wheel chair. Though what might have happened without this surgery is not the point in Max's posts. I get that.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 11:40:49 AM
Interesting posts going on here. Says me, with two fake knees. 6 kids, 14 grand kids to enjoy, and not on crutches. Is that wrong? I haven't been spared the pain (still constant) and still have serious limitations. But I can walk on my own whereas, by now.....I would need either crutches, or worse, a wheel chair. Though what might have happened without this surgery is not the point in Max's posts. I get that.

I confess, I am unclear as to whether Max's view on prosthetics would apply equally to your surgery.  He seems to be saying that we should content ourselves with our infirmities.  He did not correct me on my assumption that eyeglasses would be "unnatural" in his view, although I don't suppose glasses would be "a fraud on the marriage market," as there used to be a saying I never understood: "men don't make passes at women with glasses."  But certainly contact lenses would be "a fraud on the marriage market" if braces for teeth are.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Chestertonian on January 05, 2018, 12:19:28 PM
ifmallooclusionss aee an indicator of poor breding what does that say about the house of habsburg

Do you think your avatar might benefit some orthodontia
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Greg on January 05, 2018, 12:21:24 PM
If there seems to be any shared cause in both instances, it's that these were famous athletes who probably thought they were so special that they could get away with it. 

I doubt they gave it that much thought.  I think what happens with elite athletes is that they fail to acknowledge what is obvious to the rest of us about their talents.  They are genetic freaks, or outliers.  God, nature, random chance has gifted them with the ability to throw a ball, run, punch hardest faster and stronger than other men.

And on the field or in the ring their self-belief is justified.  But it rarely makes them special in any other sphere.  They can't solve quadratic equations, or sing, or string together an argument, or entertain a pack of kids at a party.  Nobody has every skill, very few people are freakishly multi-skilled.  It just happens that the freakish skills sportspeople have attract eyeballs and sponsors pay them money and the world praises them for that particular thing.

When they murder their wives/girlfriends it's usually in a fit of rage.  The red mist takes over, for a moment, and there is not much thought going on about what happens afterward.  I'd bet that once Pistorious had emptied the chamber into Reeva Steenkamp he immediately regretted what he had done.  OJ possibly less so because his ex-wife was a really shameless coke whore and psycho and he might have figured she deserved it and had resentment and anger building for a long time.  He'd beaten her up before, however, so I still think that when he murdered her it was the red mist.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Maximilian on January 05, 2018, 12:22:37 PM

 I am not stipulating a VR which would be compulsory.  If you don't like it you could stop it at any time.  It would be voluntary, which makes it a good philosophical question; I'm wondering why anyone would want to opt out.

You're not stipulating that VR would be compulsory, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be so. Everything that is first allowed is then made mandatory. It's like the saying, "You have no interest in war, but war has an interest in you."


There is no correlation between Oscar Pistorius' prosthetics and the fact that he killed his girlfriend.  O.J. Simpson killed his ex-wife standing on his own two feet.  If there seems to be any shared cause in both instances, it's that these were famous athletes who probably thought they were so special that they could get away with it. 

It appears to me that there is all the correlation in the world. Oscar Pistorius was "The Bladerunner." He was famous solely for his prosthetic legs. He was promoted as a world-wide icon on that basis. He was dating this beautiful woman because of the fame of his prosthetic legs. If he had remained crippled, he never would have been in that situation.

Those are only the pragmatic considerations. Then there is the question of his soul.


There are plenty of people who wear prosthetics like Pistorius' who don't turn into killers because of them.

Oscar Pistorius is the only world-famous athlete with prosthetic legs. So we have a sample of N=1. Within that sample, 100% have turned into killers.

Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Chestertonian on January 05, 2018, 12:23:22 PM
I challenge those who are anti organ donation to one month of hemodialysis, the renal diet, and a daily fluid allotment of 16 ounces
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Lydia Purpuraria on January 05, 2018, 03:58:48 PM
The VR I'm considering would simply replicate the sensual dimension.  It would be basically a portal into one's own personal jannah—although in the sense that you wouldn't necessarily have to be reclining in a hammock under palm fronds in a lush desert oasis being fed grapes by adoring houris.  The Islamic paradise is (unsurprisingly) of a peculiarly masculine bent, a product of the Arabian mind, and I don't know if too many women would see an appeal there.  So you could reset the parameters.
 

It's a good thing that the parameters of this jannah could be reset, because is the gender of the 72 virgins actually specified in the Quran (or just assumed)?  Knowing what we know about certain proclivities of some number of Islam's males, some of you who may find their jannah perhaps the best aspect of the religion may be in for a really disappointing surprise! (A "peculiarly masculine bent," indeed.)

:lol:   :-\

Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Lydia Purpuraria on January 05, 2018, 04:22:33 PM
Wanting to die, but not being allowed to die. Being kept alive as a virtual reality. What a horrific nightmare that perhaps lies in the not-too-distant future. The only solution for it is to accept our bodies they way they are and to accept our death when the body is finished.

But I guess my question would be, what is wrong with prosthetics?

They are unnatural.

I guess I could see the logic if the idea is that we're supposed to accept our infirmities and consider them as redemptive suffering, but by that measure even those of us who wear eyeglasses are engaged in a form of prosthetic cheating. 

A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

This dilemma is represented by the situation that happened recently in Korea where two very beautiful people married each other, but then produced a very ugly child who resembled neither of them. It was at that point that they realized that they had each been fooled by the large amounts of plastic surgery that have become common in Korea. Each one thought that they were fooling the other, but in the end they each were equally fooled.

Would you consider something like an artificial pancreas (or, heck, even just the administering of insulin in general) for someone with type 1 diabetes to be a different category from glasses or braces because it's a true life and death medical necessity?  Or would that be something where, in your opinion, their body wouldn't be able to live long without the insulin, so they really shouldn't cheat their situation by giving themselves the insulin that is no longer naturally occurring in their body?

(And full disclosure: I have a son with t1d, but I'm still genuinely interested in your take on it.)

Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 04:49:35 PM
I think the fact that they were successful athletes may’ve contributed something to Oscar Pistorius and O.J. thinking they could get away with it, at least for O.J. Simpson, since it didn’t used to be uncommon for football players to be academically coddled or given free passes on disciplinary infractions during their time at university.  The football program is a sacred cow.  A college footballer really could come to believe that they could get away with anything, since in many cases they often did.  Football programs on college campuses have a mythical, almost quasi-religious tinge to them, and the heroes can be untouchable.  You can see this in the animalistic rioting that goes on after games, or in the way nobody at Penn State could bring themselves to believe their beloved “Joe Pa” had failed to report a homosexual child rapist.  All of this is speculation, of course, but it surely is the strangest theory to believe that Oscar Pistorius was a killer because he wore prosthetics.

It appears to me that there is all the correlation in the world. Oscar Pistorius was "The Bladerunner." He was famous solely for his prosthetic legs. He was promoted as a world-wide icon on that basis. He was dating this beautiful woman because of the fame of his prosthetic legs. If he had remained crippled, he never would have been in that situation.

Right, but it would still have no bearing on whether he would’ve been more or less likely to murder his girlfriend, even if he had remained crippled and was living in a slum and married to a nobody.  There are plenty of people out there murdering their girlfriends who are not famous for anything.  Oscar Pistorius could just as well have been one of the anonymous girlfriend-murders instead of one of the famous ones.

Oscar Pistorius is the only world-famous athlete with prosthetic legs. So we have a sample of N=1. Within that sample, 100% have turned into killers.

But not all people who have prosthetics become world-famous athletes, so the Oscar Pistorius sample says nothing whatsoever about prosthetics themselves causing murder, since you would have to include all prosthetics wearers.  Yours is the most selective sample you could possibly use in order to ensure a damning conclusion.  For all we know it might be true that famous athletes whose first name begins with an O have a statistically higher rate of murdering their lovers than famous athletes with first names beginning with other letters.  That will tell us nothing about whether Orlando Hernandez is likely to murder his wife.  This is quite the derail.

Trying to get back on track, what do you say about eyeglasses, for example?  There are many, many—probably thousands—of traditional Catholics who wear glasses and contact lenses, which are ocular prosthetics, and as far as we know they are not murdering anyone.

You're not stipulating that VR would be compulsory, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be so. Everything that is first allowed is then made mandatory. It's like the saying, "You have no interest in war, but war has an interest in you."

But this is maddening.  It’s only a hypothetical.  I am asking you to accept a hypothetical situation where VR is non-compulsory.  You can’t say, “that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be so,” because in a hypothetical, it is so.

In The Matrix, the VR is compulsory, but it wouldn’t have to be.  The virtual reality in that movie was “life as we live it in the modern world.”  But if the VR were paradisiacal, I don’t think there would be a need to force it on people.  I think most people would want to be in its thrall.  I know I would.  I am genuinely interested in hearing the reasons why anyone wouldn’t.  Perhaps I should’ve made this a poll, with the options being “yes” or “no (please explain).”
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 05:05:02 PM
It's a good thing that the parameters of this jannah could be reset, because is the gender of the 72 virgins actually specified in the Quran (or just assumed)?  Knowing what we know about certain proclivities of some number of Islam's males, some of you who may find their jannah perhaps the best aspect of the religion may be in for a really disappointing surprise! (A "peculiarly masculine bent," indeed.)

According to the Wikipedia entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houri), houris are mentioned in the Qur'an.  They are of the female sex ("we will marry them to fair women"), and are described as "full-breasted companions of equal (or well-matched) age" and "lovely-eyed."  There is even a subsection of the article which is devoted to some discussion of "the 'large breasts' of the houris (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houri#The_%22large_breasts%22_of_the_houris)."  The translation "large" is apparently disputed, as some scholars believe it could be read as "swollen" or "round."  Although many ridicule Islam as "totally homo," it does at least appear that the conception of jannah, as revealed, is heterosexual in nature.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 05:13:15 PM
I have added a poll.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Maximilian on January 05, 2018, 06:36:25 PM

  Yours is the most selective sample you could possibly use in order to ensure a damning conclusion... This is quite the derail.

You are the one who brought up Oscar Pistorius. Then you directly asked me a question about him. Now you are claiming that my answer to your question is derailing the discussion.

If you are going to choose to promote Oscar Pistorius as an example of why prosthetics are good, then it seems appropriate for me to point out that the outcome of that situation didn't turn out too well, and Pistorius is now in prison.

It looks rather like a common science fiction movie theme -- you are offered some phenomenal benefit based on scientific progress, but it turns out to be a trap and you turn out to be the mouse caught in a maze. Pistorius was offered wonderful new legs that would make him rich and famous, and so he was for a short time, but the ultimate result was not what he had envisioned. Rather like Pinocchio and his time on Pleasure Island followed by his time as a donkey working in the salt mine.


It’s only a hypothetical.  I am asking you to accept a hypothetical situation where VR is non-compulsory.  You can’t say, “that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be so,” because in a hypothetical, it is so.

Even in hypothetical situations one has to consider logical consistency. "If A, then B." To me it appears that in a world where a VR paradise is possible, then it must necessarily become compulsory. That is a drawback to the hypothetical situation which is inherent in the proposal.


But if the VR were paradisiacal, I don’t think there would be a need to force it on people.  I think most people would want to be in its thrall.  I know I would.  I am genuinely interested in hearing the reasons why anyone wouldn’t.

Apparently then you disagree with Aldous Huxley who wrote "Brave New World" to present just the opposite conclusion -- That VR paradise is inherently compulsory. This book is, of course, a classic of the genre, and stands up well after 85 years. Huxley presents compelling reasons why the protagonist should choose to opt out.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Maximilian on January 05, 2018, 06:59:23 PM

Would you consider something like an artificial pancreas (or, heck, even just the administering of insulin in general) for someone with type 1 diabetes to be a different category from glasses or braces because it's a true life and death medical necessity? 

There are a number of issues that have to be considered:
1. Extraordinary means vs ordinary means
2. Artificial organs vs ordinary methods like an injection
3. Life-or-death decisions vs vanity projects.
4. Cost-benefit analysis

It's not always easy to disentangle all of these and other issues.


Or would that be something where, in your opinion, their body wouldn't be able to live long without the insulin, so they really shouldn't cheat their situation by giving themselves the insulin that is no longer naturally occurring in their body?

In general I think that we have to learn how to embrace death. Life inescapably involves death, like two sides of the same coin. We want to have only the heads without accepting the tails.

All of us will die, sooner or later. We should be meditating on this reality every day. But when one lives in a society where death is virtually ignored, even by those taking their last breaths in a hospital bed, then not only that final fateful episode is deprived of all its truth and vitality, but when death is never acknowledged, every moment of the prior years is likewise lacking in the profundity that makes life worth living.

Having spent so many decades living a shallow two-dimensional life without the depth that death provides, then when our final moments approach, rather than repent of wasted time, and spending even a few hours in contemplation of our final end, we call for artificial sustenance. "No, I don't want to die, bring me the air hose and the blood circulator and the heart pacer. Give me the organs of some young person. Bring me goggles that show a reality where I am young and healthy again."

And if people get their way, soon they will be able to replace all of their defective organs with artificial substitutes. Never will they face their mortality.


(And full disclosure: I have a son with t1d, but I'm still genuinely interested in your take on it.)

I appreciate your ability to be objective despite the existence of personal circumstances.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 09:23:01 PM
You are the one who brought up Oscar Pistorius. Then you directly asked me a question about him. Now you are claiming that my answer to your question is derailing the discussion.

If you are going to choose to promote Oscar Pistorius as an example of why prosthetics are good, then it seems appropriate for me to point out that the outcome of that situation didn't turn out too well, and Pistorius is now in prison.

It looks rather like a common science fiction movie theme -- you are offered some phenomenal benefit based on scientific progress, but it turns out to be a trap and you turn out to be the mouse caught in a maze. Pistorius was offered wonderful new legs that would make him rich and famous, and so he was for a short time, but the ultimate result was not what he had envisioned. Rather like Pinocchio and his time on Pleasure Island followed by his time as a donkey working in the salt mine.

I brought up Oscar Pistorius because he is probably the best-known wearer of prosthetics, and because the prosthetics in his case gave him an extraordinary benefit, going from being confined to a wheelchair to becoming a professional athlete.  I never said prosthetics are good because Oscar Pistorius has them.  I merely stated their benefits to him.  That he squandered those benefits is on him, not his prosthetics.  It is irrelevant to his wearing of prosthetics that he is ruined for having killed his girlfriend.  Professional athletes kill their girlfriends and so do random people we’ve never heard of—and just as one particular girlfriend-murdering professional athlete happens to wear prosthetics, so do countless other people we’ve never heard of wear prosthetics, and aren’t murdering people because of it.

You’re confusing an example of someone well-known for wearing prosthetics as somehow representative of how bad prosthetics are because he killed his girlfriend.  It’s a baseless conclusion.  Surely you see this.  It is a fallacy to say that one must be representative of the whole.  You need a larger sample size than one.  It might even be true that wearers of prosthetic feet do murder their significant others at a higher rate than normal, but that would probably have to do with the fact that many of them are veterans and suffer from PTSD.  It still wouldn’t mean prosthetics were the cause.

For the record, though, I didn’t ask you a question about Oscar Pistorius.  The question I asked you was, “are you opposed to something like the prosthetic feet worn by Oscar Pistorius?”  That question is about prosthetic feet, not Oscar Pistorius.  To get us off this tangent, perhaps we can just switch out “Oscar Pistorius” for a Google image:
 
(http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/130214101115-06-pistorius-super-169.jpg)

The runner on the left is an amputee wearing the same type of prosthesis as Oscar Pistorius.  If your answer is, “I disapprove of such prosthetics because they cause the wearers to murder their girlfriends,” then we can discuss the statistical evidence for that claim.  Which could always be interesting, but it may prove too much of a digression—in which case, swap the question about prosthetic feet with the question about ocular prosthetics.  I had also asked if you were opposed to eyeglasses.

Even in hypothetical situations one has to consider logical consistency. "If A, then B." To me it appears that in a world where a VR paradise is possible, then it must necessarily become compulsory. That is a drawback to the hypothetical situation which is inherent in the proposal.

It’s not logical to conclude that the benefits of a VR paradise must necessarily be compulsory.  If history shows us anything, it is that the trappings of any sort of earthly paradise are almost always reserved to an elite.  Whether it’s exotic spices, fine wines, lovely courtesans, palatial dwellings, or any other sensual bliss, that sort of thing has usually been the province of the wealthy and powerful, while everyone else kept the system going by eking out a comparatively meager living.  There is every reason to believe that if VR is expensive, it will be the province of the rich.  Just as we Americans enjoy our iPods while the Apple peons in China throw themselves off buildings to escape their work conditions (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/18/foxconn-life-death-forbidden-city-longhua-suicide-apple-iphone-brian-merchant-one-device-extract), there is no certainty that everyone would be compelled to have something that a very few could afford in the first place.  It would probably be more compulsory that you be the person who gently tucks the son of a billionaire into his VR tank and monitors his settings, than that you would be forced to have nothing other than any pleasure you ever desired (which is where the Brave New World comparison breaks down, as those people were bred for castes).

One way a VR paradise would be available to everyone, however, is if some sort of hyper-intelligent A.I. took over the world and wanted to humanely dispose of us in the most generous way possible.  Offering us an endless paradise while cocooned in subterranean VR tanks would be a nice way to do it.  If you wanted to opt out, that would be up to you.  The A.I. might say, “well, my plan is to cover the planet in solar panels, but if you really want an exemption from paradise then I’ll build fewer machines to do the work and you can take their place in the mines.”  I suppose if you genuinely like poverty then that would be your preference.


Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Carleendiane on January 05, 2018, 09:46:21 PM
Pon, the only joys and ecstatic pleasures I want are those that evolve from a life in Christ. My joys, pleasures and highs come quite naturally. Family, faith, friends. A surreal pleasure would always carry a sacharrine element that would have a cloying taste of the surreal. Only the joys God allows us to experience would carry the satisfaction that brings deep lasting memories and mark our memories for a lifetime. A constant stream of pleasure would diminish the impact of that pleasure, experience, or satisfaction.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 10:04:41 PM
Pon, the only joys and ecstatic pleasures I want are those that evolve from a life in Christ. My joys, pleasures and highs come quite naturally. Family, faith, friends. A surreal pleasure would always carry a sacharrine element that would have a cloying taste of the surreal. Only the joys God allows us to experience would carry the satisfaction that brings deep lasting memories and mark our memories for a lifetime. A constant stream of pleasure would diminish the impact of that pleasure, experience, or satisfaction.

Thank you providing your explanation, Carleendiane.  I think you raise a very good point, because it seems to be the case that a sentient being would have to have some knowledge of pain in order to enjoy pleasure; otherwise, without a frame of reference, pleasure would be just static and almost meaningless.  I would only say, though, that for the purposes of this thought experiment, it does not have to be a surreal or saccharine or cloying pleasure that you would necessarily experience.  I myself would choose something along the lines of the surreal; a languorous dreamscape atmosphere.  But others might want more of a roller coaster of thrills, and would choose to have adventures containing risk, adrenaline, and even pain, in order to heighten the pleasure.  Think of all the teenage boys out there playing those dopey first-person video games where they're down in some castle dungeon fighting goblins and trolls or whatever.   But I take well your objection: if you are content with the pleasures you already have, then there is no need to seek after virtual ones, however "equally as realistic" they may be.  Gracias.

Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Non Nobis on January 05, 2018, 10:08:03 PM
How could the most intelligent men (or AI) design an everlasting bliss greater than one from an infinitely good and wise God?  We aim far too low and know far too little, no matter how intelligent we think we are.  We make a mess of things. How can a fake-reality compete with the true REALITY from God?
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 05, 2018, 10:21:06 PM
How could the most intelligent men (or AI) design an everlasting bliss greater than one from an infinitely good and wise God?  We aim far too low and know far too little, no matter how intelligent we think we are.  We make a mess of things. How can a fake-reality compete with the true REALITY from God?

The thought exercise there would be to simply imagine waking up from this reality to find that it was a virtual one.  Unless we have a QMR level of absolute certainty, there is no way to know that this reality isn't "fake" itself (as QMR himself likes out point out: "brain in a vat").  I certainly agree with you that we tend to make a mess of things.  Personally I have a sense that our technology is going to go horribly astray in a Sorcerer's Apprentice kind of thing, but then again, as Greg points out, the results of technological progress thus far have certainly had their benefits if we look at things purely in terms of self-interest.  Greg always says he would prefer not to be living six hundred years ago, given the poor sanitation and overall grimy coarseness of the average life back then.  Aldous Huxley, who Maximilian mentioned, has a really good essay about that called "Hyperion to a Satyr."

Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Greg on January 05, 2018, 11:37:13 PM
We know with absolute certainty we are not living in a VR scenario for this simple reason.  No super intelligence or computer algorithm would come up with book tokens, where you take a perfectly good 20 dollar bill and exchange it for a piece of paper you can only spend in one type of store and then call that a "gift".

Only a really dumb ass human could come up with that and convince other dumb ass humans to buy them as "gifts".

Making the world as stupid as it is would be impossible for an intelligence capable of building VR.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: erin is nice on January 06, 2018, 09:03:01 AM
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Lydia Purpuraria on January 06, 2018, 09:38:41 AM
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.

Good point about thumb sucking. 
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 06, 2018, 09:47:45 AM
We know with absolute certainty we are not living in a VR scenario for this simple reason.  No super intelligence or computer algorithm would come up with book tokens, where you take a perfectly good 20 dollar bill and exchange it for a piece of paper you can only spend in one type of store and then call that a "gift".

Only a really dumb ass human could come up with that and convince other dumb ass humans to buy them as "gifts".

Making the world as stupid as it is would be impossible for an intelligence capable of building VR.

It would be more accurate to say that a benign intelligence capable of building VR wouldn’t create this world.  There is nothing to stop a malevolent one.  Remember, that was the scenario of The Matrix: humans were being harvested for their bioelectricity, and the machines saw no special reason to give them a paradise any more than humans currently see an incentive to ditch the factory farming of animals.  We could almost say that the Matrix intelligence would've been more cruel had it given us a VR of being Egyptian slaves building the pyramids, but as it happened it did nothing more for our benefit than simulate the world of humans living in the modern computer age, with all its annoyances and dumb-assery.  I forget how the particulars worked out, but possibly they needed human consciousness to play out in a computerized world in order to better administrate and police things.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Greg on January 06, 2018, 12:46:44 PM
But at least the slaves built the pyramids.  Evil aside; the accomplishment is remarkable.

But book tokens?  They are an insult to evil and proof positive that humans are just a bunch of emotionally driven idiots.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: queen.saints on January 06, 2018, 03:56:50 PM
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.

That's not true. Teeth are actually quite accurate indicators of overall health and nutrition.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Lydia Purpuraria on January 06, 2018, 05:29:33 PM
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.

That's not true. Teeth are actually quite accurate indicators of overall health and nutrition.

But erin was speaking of crooked teeth, which braces are for.  Braces won't do anything to remedy or "mask" tooth decay or some such indicators of poor overall health and nutrition.  Would they?   
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: queen.saints on January 06, 2018, 07:13:42 PM
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.

That's not true. Teeth are actually quite accurate indicators of overall health and nutrition.

But erin was speaking of crooked teeth, which braces are for.  Braces won't do anything to remedy or "mask" tooth decay or some such indicators of poor overall health and nutrition.  Would they?

I was referring to crooked teeth as well. They're indicators of poor bone development, which is both a problem for its own sake and a symptom of other health issues.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Chestertonian on January 06, 2018, 08:02:43 PM
why look at teeth when soon you'll be able to weed out spouses by getting a genetic profile.  It is getting cheaper and easier to do that sort of thing. 
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: queen.saints on January 06, 2018, 09:04:35 PM
why look at teeth when soon you'll be able to weed out spouses by getting a genetic profile.  It is getting cheaper and easier to do that sort of thing.

It's cheaper and easier to look at their teeth.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Non Nobis on January 06, 2018, 11:02:54 PM
But at least the slaves built the pyramids.  Evil aside; the accomplishment is remarkable.

But book tokens?  They are an insult to evil and proof positive that humans are just a bunch of emotionally driven idiots.

Are book tokens only used in the UK? It seems they could be a good incentive/excuse to get BOOKS, e.g. for a bibliophile, or to encourage young people to read; plus a little convenience. But of course you know more about them than I do.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Kaesekopf on January 07, 2018, 02:31:58 AM
I voted no.

Man is a creature meant to live in reality.  I think fantasy, etc are OK in the mind, and to an extent in man-made worlds (theatre, etc), but immersing oneself in some concocted land is folly.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Lydia Purpuraria on January 07, 2018, 09:14:27 AM
My response to the following is probably quite a bit of a derail from the OP; so, PdR, would you prefer that I make my reply to this in a new thread?


Would you consider something like an artificial pancreas (or, heck, even just the administering of insulin in general) for someone with type 1 diabetes to be a different category from glasses or braces because it's a true life and death medical necessity? 

There are a number of issues that have to be considered:
1. Extraordinary means vs ordinary means
2. Artificial organs vs ordinary methods like an injection
3. Life-or-death decisions vs vanity projects.
4. Cost-benefit analysis

It's not always easy to disentangle all of these and other issues.


Or would that be something where, in your opinion, their body wouldn't be able to live long without the insulin, so they really shouldn't cheat their situation by giving themselves the insulin that is no longer naturally occurring in their body?

In general I think that we have to learn how to embrace death. Life inescapably involves death, like two sides of the same coin. We want to have only the heads without accepting the tails.

All of us will die, sooner or later. We should be meditating on this reality every day. But when one lives in a society where death is virtually ignored, even by those taking their last breaths in a hospital bed, then not only that final fateful episode is deprived of all its truth and vitality, but when death is never acknowledged, every moment of the prior years is likewise lacking in the profundity that makes life worth living.

Having spent so many decades living a shallow two-dimensional life without the depth that death provides, then when our final moments approach, rather than repent of wasted time, and spending even a few hours in contemplation of our final end, we call for artificial sustenance. "No, I don't want to die, bring me the air hose and the blood circulator and the heart pacer. Give me the organs of some young person. Bring me goggles that show a reality where I am young and healthy again."

And if people get their way, soon they will be able to replace all of their defective organs with artificial substitutes. Never will they face their mortality.


(And full disclosure: I have a son with t1d, but I'm still genuinely interested in your take on it.)

I appreciate your ability to be objective despite the existence of personal circumstances.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 07, 2018, 10:54:43 AM
My response to the following is probably quite a bit of a derail from the OP; so, PdR, would you prefer that I make my reply to this in a new thread?

Well, the bit about crooked teeth and organ donation and medical care are a separate issue to VR.  (VR would resolve any physical issue by allowing the user to create a new physicality).  The slightly Mary Baker Eddy-ish opinions being offered by Max and queen.saints are interesting, but they probably deserve a new thread.  Prosthetics, however, must remain here, as any true VR would be, in essence, a prosthetic worn by the brain (a "prosthetic nervous system," so to speak).
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Chestertonian on January 07, 2018, 11:03:22 AM
My response to the following is probably quite a bit of a derail from the OP; so, PdR, would you prefer that I make my reply to this in a new thread?

Well, the bit about crooked teeth and organ donation and medical care are a separate issue to VR.  (VR would resolve any physical issue by allowing the user to create a new physicality).  The slightly Mary Baker Eddy-ish opinions being offered by Max and queen.saints are interesting, but they probably deserve a new thread.  Prosthetics, however, must remain here, as any true VR would be, in essence, a prosthetic worn by the brain (a "prosthetic nervous system," so to speak).

I'll take the VR....  Embodiment sucks!!!!!!
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 07, 2018, 11:04:22 AM
I voted no.

Man is a creature meant to live in reality.  I think fantasy, etc are OK in the mind, and to an extent in man-made worlds (theatre, etc), but immersing oneself in some concocted land is folly.

Thank you for answering, Der Kopf, and thank you for giving the explanation for your “no” answer.  Nine people have voted “no,” but not all have explained why.  Maximilian and erin are belligerent in refusing the hypothetical.  When I say, “it will be whatever you want,” erin says, “no thanks, it’ll be like Sword Art Online.”  When I say, “assume it will be voluntary,” Max says, “no, it will be compulsory.”  If I had them over and offered them tea they’d probably say, “no thanks, because you’ll give us coffee.”  As Tom Cruise says with resignation in Rain Man, “that’s the end of that conversation.”

But to your own point, it has to be offered that the internet on which we have this discussion is, itself, a “man-made world.”  As are movies and video games.  They are virtual realities; simply primitive in form.  A video game is a virtual reality, it’s just not one hundred percent realistic.  My nephew plays an interactive video game online with his friends.  All the players see the same field, but through uniquely first-person perspectives on their screens.  So that’s the visual sense engaged.  They can also speak to each other using headsets (aural), and there’s even a bit of the tactile because a player’s controller jerks if he gets struck by an arrow, or rumbles if the earth shakes from the stomping of a dragon.

So what is meant by “living in reality?”  My nephew is still a living, breathing, corporeal human primate on the planet earth when he plays his video game.  That his senses are being engaged by something different than what mine are is no different from an Inuit having a different range of experience in going about his daily life as a native of North Sentinel Island does.  And if we accept the notion of free will, then we each create a new reality for ourselves every time we make a choice.  Free will allows for a butterfly effect in creating different possible realities.  If Marty McFly hadn’t stopped Biff from using the sports almanac, then he would’ve lived in a Biffian dystopia—a completely different reality.  Admittedly that’s a time travel scenario, but you get the idea.

I take your meaning, though, about “immersing oneself,” this being a worry about people going off into their own utopia, just as a heroin user who “nods off” is dead to the world, nearly comatose, and unable to interact or respond to people.  I think Carleen has raised the best objection along these lines, saying she requires “family, friends, and faith” in order to be truly happy.  I can meet her objection on the first two counts, though, as there would be nothing in a true VR to prohibit interaction.  You wouldn’t have to live in your own private fantasy.  There could certainly be portals from one person’s created world to another’s.  Besides, we already have interactive video games, so there would naturally be interactive VR: a family or a group of friends could all go into the same world, and have adventures and campaigns and whole lives together.

It wouldn’t be any different from someone packing up their family in Albany and moving to a Sufi commune in Indonesia or something.  It would still be all the same people, but having a radically different experience.  (Given how people tend to like using make-up and braces and plastic surgery to enhance their looks, however, with VR there might be a problem of recognition if people are allowed use avatars and create whole new looks for themselves.  People might need to have their avatars wear name tags, just as when my nephew sees some bearded dwarf with a Viking helmet in his video game, he knows it’s his friend Tim because there’s a little box floating above that character that says “timmythedragonslayer99”).

Professor Harari who I mentioned earlier has an essay that I won’t link to because he’s critical of religion in it, but he does wonder what humans might be doing all day if enough of us are pushed out of work due to the increased automation of things with artificial intelligence.  He does almost agree a bit with Maximilian, as one wonders what “the powers that be” might do with whole swaths of humanity that are unemployable (what Harari calls “the useless class”).  It could happen that the elite might make VR compulsory, as people who opted out would be materially poor with little to do all day, and the portion of humans that can content themselves with library cards, cats, and tea is a distinct minority, and many people with nothing to do are often prone to some kind of mischief.  Idle hands being the devil’s workshop, they might fall into barbarism, or wallow in resentment and stoke the flames of revolution.  Here’s the essay with a few paragraphs redacted.  It still flows, though it may be “TL;DR” for some:

Quote
Most jobs that exist today might disappear within decades. As artificial intelligence outperforms humans in more and more tasks, it will replace humans in more and more jobs. Many new professions are likely to appear: virtual-world designers, for example. But such professions will probably require more creativity and flexibility, and it is unclear whether 40-year-old unemployed taxi drivers or insurance agents will be able to reinvent themselves as virtual-world designers (try to imagine a virtual world created by an insurance agent!). And even if the ex-insurance agent somehow makes the transition into a virtual-world designer, the pace of progress is such that within another decade he might have to reinvent himself yet again.

The crucial problem isn’t creating new jobs. The crucial problem is creating new jobs that humans perform better than algorithms. Consequently, by 2050 a new class of people might emerge—the useless class. People who are not just unemployed, but unemployable.

The same technology that renders humans useless might also make it feasible to feed and support the unemployable masses through some scheme of universal basic income. The real problem will then be to keep the masses occupied and content. People must engage in purposeful activities, or they go crazy. So what will the useless class do all day?

One answer might be computer games. Economically redundant people might spend increasing amounts of time within 3D virtual reality worlds, which would provide them with far more excitement and emotional engagement than the “real world” outside.

Some time ago I went with my six-year-old nephew Matan to hunt for Pokémon. As we walked down the street, Matan kept looking at his smartphone, which enabled him to spot Pokémon all around us. I didn’t see any Pokémon at all, because I didn’t carry a smartphone. Then we saw two other kids on the street who were hunting the same Pokémon, and we almost got into a fight with them. It struck me how similar the situation was to the conflict between Jews and Muslims about the holy city of Jerusalem. When you look at the objective reality of Jerusalem, all you see are stones and buildings. There is no holiness anywhere. But when you look through the medium of smartbooks (such as the Bible and the Qur’an), you see holy places and angels everywhere.

The idea of finding meaning in life by playing virtual reality games is of course common not just to religions, but also to secular ideologies and lifestyles. Consumerism too is a virtual reality game. You gain points by acquiring new cars, buying expensive brands and taking vacations abroad, and if you have more points than everybody else, you tell yourself you won the game.

You might object that people really enjoy their cars and vacations. That’s certainly true. But the religious really enjoy praying and performing ceremonies, and my nephew really enjoys hunting Pokémon. In the end, the real action always takes place inside the human brain. Does it matter whether the neurons are stimulated by observing pixels on a computer screen, by looking outside the windows of a Caribbean resort, or by seeing heaven in our mind’s eyes? In all cases, the meaning we ascribe to what we see is generated by our own minds. It is not really “out there”.

In his groundbreaking essay, Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight (1973), the anthropologist Clifford Geertz describes how on the island of Bali, people spent much time and money betting on cockfights. The betting and the fights involved elaborate rituals, and the outcomes had substantial impact on the social, economic and political standing of both players and spectators.

The cockfights were so important to the Balinese that when the Indonesian government declared the practice illegal, people ignored the law and risked arrest and hefty fines. For the Balinese, cockfights were “deep play”—a made-up game that is invested with so much meaning that it becomes reality. A Balinese anthropologist could arguably have written similar essays on football in Argentina or Judaism in Israel.

Indeed, one particularly interesting section of Israeli society provides a unique laboratory for how to live a contented life in a post-work world. In Israel, a significant percentage of ultra-orthodox Jewish men never work. They spend their entire lives studying holy scriptures and performing religion rituals. They and their families don’t starve to death partly because the wives often work, and partly because the government provides them with generous subsidies. Though they usually live in poverty, government support means that they never lack for the basic necessities of life.

That’s universal basic income in action. Though they are poor and never work, in survey after survey these ultra-orthodox Jewish men report higher levels of life-satisfaction than any other section of Israeli society. In global surveys of life satisfaction, Israel is almost always at the very top, thanks in part to the contribution of these unemployed deep players.

You don’t need to go all the way to Israel to see the world of post-work. If you have at home a teenage son who likes computer games, you can conduct your own experiment. Provide him with a minimum subsidy of Coke and pizza, and then remove all demands for work and all parental supervision. The likely outcome is that he will remain in his room for days, glued to the screen. He won’t do any homework or housework, will skip school, skip meals and even skip showers and sleep. Yet he is unlikely to suffer from boredom or a sense of purposelessness. At least not in the short term.

Hence virtual realities are likely to be key to providing meaning to the useless class of the post-work world. Maybe these virtual realities will be generated inside computers. Maybe they will be generated outside computers, in the shape of new religions and ideologies. Maybe it will be a combination of the two. The possibilities are endless, and nobody knows for sure what kind of deep plays will engage us in 2050.

In any case, the end of work will not necessarily mean the end of meaning, because meaning is generated by imagining rather than by working. Work is essential for meaning only according to some ideologies and lifestyles. Eighteenth-century English country squires, present-day ultra-orthodox Jews, and children in all cultures and eras have found a lot of interest and meaning in life even without working. People in 2050 will probably be able to play deeper games and to construct more complex virtual worlds than in any previous time in history.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 07, 2018, 11:09:08 AM
I'll take the VR....  Embodiment sucks!!!!!!

Then keep me company in the poll box, Chestertonian.  I'm all alone up there with the sole "yes" vote.

 :(
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 07, 2018, 11:14:58 AM
Are book tokens only used in the UK? It seems they could be a good incentive/excuse to get BOOKS, e.g. for a bibliophile, or to encourage young people to read; plus a little convenience. But of course you know more about them than I do.

Book tokens seem to be the same thing as gift cards.  I wonder why Greg hates them so much.  I would think he'd see them as a clever way of businesses making money.  When I was working at a Borders, we were told to push gift cards on the basis that something like ten percent of all gift cards sold either never get redeemed or never get fully used before the expiration date.  Apparently they have a good profit margin due to nothing other than human forgetfulness.  And yet, people do like giving gift cards.  It's a way of saying, "instead of just throwing money at you, I at least took the time to remember that you enjoy shopping at this establishment."  The giver, the recipient, and the establishment are all satisfied.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Brighid on January 07, 2018, 11:30:28 AM
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Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Jacob on January 07, 2018, 12:02:25 PM
I voted no.

To quote Antonius Block, "I live in a world of ghosts, a prisoner of dreams."  I spend a lot of time thinking about what if I had done that instead of this, etc.  But even thinking about pleasant fantasies, there's always the nagging voice in my head trying to square things like, how can a 37-year-old man live inside an immature, not fully developed brain, i.e. this is nice, but that's all it is.

A voluntary VR would be very seductive, but in the end it wouldn't be real.  It has no consequence.  Once I'm dead, the system reboots for a new user.  To quote another movie, "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."  The same could be said for real life, but at least out there, one has the chance to affect the future, whether it is being a great man of history or having kids or just knowing that I have interactions with real people.  Not like The Truman Show where one is either acting a role or is the ignorant dupe.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Lydia Purpuraria on January 07, 2018, 12:49:47 PM
My response to the following is probably quite a bit of a derail from the OP; so, PdR, would you prefer that I make my reply to this in a new thread?

Well, the bit about crooked teeth and organ donation and medical care are a separate issue to VR.  (VR would resolve any physical issue by allowing the user to create a new physicality).  The slightly Mary Baker Eddy-ish opinions being offered by Max and queen.saints are interesting, but they probably deserve a new thread.  Prosthetics, however, must remain here, as any true VR would be, in essence, a prosthetic worn by the brain (a "prosthetic nervous system," so to speak).

Yeah, I agree about those being a separate issue.  Although the artificial pancreas (https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/05/02/first-artificial-pancreas-systems-coming-market/100704988/) (or, "closed loop system") could probably be considered somewhat in the realm of VR, I'll make a new thread.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 07, 2018, 02:48:50 PM
I voted no.

To quote Antonius Block, "I live in a world of ghosts, a prisoner of dreams."  I spend a lot of time thinking about what if I had done that instead of this, etc.  But even thinking about pleasant fantasies, there's always the nagging voice in my head trying to square things like, how can a 37-year-old man live inside an immature, not fully developed brain, i.e. this is nice, but that's all it is.

A voluntary VR would be very seductive, but in the end it wouldn't be real.  It has no consequence.  Once I'm dead, the system reboots for a new user.  To quote another movie, "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."  The same could be said for real life, but at least out there, one has the chance to affect the future, whether it is being a great man of history or having kids or just knowing that I have interactions with real people.  Not like The Truman Show where one is either acting a role or is the ignorant dupe.

Thank you for conceding the seductiveness of the proposition, Jacob.  I will give you some pushback on two of your three objections, though, since I agree it would be impossible to father children in virtual reality.  (One could have children in VR, of course, and they would appear as real to you as any children do in actual reality.  There would be no distinguishing an offspring in virtual reality from a living, breathing, and thinking biological child.  But they would ultimately be A.I., and not true organic minds).  A person who already does have children, though, could go with them into the virtual reality.  Families and even communities could go into the VR together; in fact, the whole of humanity could.  In terms of “having interactions with real people,” there would be no prohibiting that.  You would be able to interact with everyone you currently do (unless they were opt-outs like Max and erin and Kaesekopf.  Which is weird, really, because once you’re on the internet, you’re already in a virtual reality of sorts, however primitive.  As Greg likes to point out, many traditional Catholics were hellfire-and-brimstone against the internet in the early days, until ten years later when the same people suddenly all had blogs).  Some people from real life might choose to look different in the VR, but surely looks can’t be the measure of what makes someone real.  Already we live in a world where people change their looks—whether dyeing or cutting their hair, growing and shaving their beards, legs, and armpits, getting braces and tattoos, or even undergoing plastic surgery.

Consider someone who is perfectly normal and then gets in a fiery car wreck, and the next day is an unrecognizable quadriplegic amputee hairless burn victim.  They’re still the same person we knew.  They’re no less real, even if they appear radically different and talk to us through a Stephen Hawking voice modulator.  In VR they might want to be restored to their previous shell.  Or if someone is plain old Joe in real life and shows up looking like Terence Stamp in the VR, you would just say, “Joe, man, you’re looking really cool,” and then go on an adventure together.  Almost instantly the human race is going to start looking a whole lot better in VR (although of course there will always be the kinds of smart alecks who’ll choose to look like Viking dwarves or flying purple people eaters.  The freaks and trannies and dragon ladies will go hog wild, so there will still be a broad diversity, and doubtless even an explosion of new life forms, but on the whole I think most people will opt to go with either their pre-VR looks or something human).  Meaningful intellectual interactions with other minds would be no less available.

And through these interactions, you would be able to leave a legacy behind.  Assume that since people will want to interact with each other, there would be a “commons VR” where anyone and everyone could interact, and then there would be sub-commons worlds where shared interests and communities would congeal, and it would get more private and less overlapping from there, with family worlds and then individual worlds.  Even the most severe misanthrope who opted out of every single commons and retreated for the rest of his or her life into building a vast, closed-off world of their own invention—such a person would nevertheless be able to stipulate that a portal to their world be made open after their death, to be experienced by anyone who might one day want to enter.  Maybe that misanthrope could create an unexpectedly beautiful world, the way sometimes reclusive artists and poets leave behind work that future generations find fascinating.  I think even with VR technology, for those who don’t waste their whole lives with it on masturbatory inanities, we would still be curious about each other, and want to see what other minds do with it.  No matter how much we can gratify ourselves, we would still have an itch for the unexpected.  So you would not be like Roy.  Those “c-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate” would not be lost to posterity so long as you leave your creation behind.  Stanley Kubrick is dead, but we still have Barry Lyndon.


Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: queen.saints on January 07, 2018, 06:17:24 PM
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Brighid officially the best person on the internet.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: red solo cup on January 07, 2018, 06:52:31 PM
I voted yes. Mostly curiosity.To experience VR...not necessarily live there.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 08, 2018, 08:27:19 AM
.

Brighid officially the best person on the internet.

Post count: one.

Content of post: a lone dot.

I think I’m in love.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Lydia Purpuraria on January 08, 2018, 08:47:42 AM
.

Brighid officially the best person on the internet.

Post count: one.

Content of post: a lone dot.

I think I’m in love.

 :lol:

Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: mikemac on January 08, 2018, 11:16:23 PM
I voted no.  I assume you are saying that you could go into this VR world and come out of it when ever you want at your own choosing?  Or is it a set time?  Do you determine when you come out, or does someone else have control of that?  I think too many people would get their VR world confused with their real world.  You know, like we have already seen with Columbine and other mass shootings.

I think my main reason for a no vote lines up more closely with Carleendiane's here though.
https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=19304.msg428779#msg428779
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 09, 2018, 11:35:48 AM
I voted no.  I assume you are saying that you could go into this VR world and come out of it when ever you want at your own choosing?  Or is it a set time?  Do you determine when you come out, or does someone else have control of that?  I think too many people would get their VR world confused with their real world.  You know, like we have already seen with Columbine and other mass shootings.

I think my main reason for a no vote lines up more closely with Carleendiane's here though.
https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=19304.msg428779#msg428779

Two of Carleendiane’s criteria (“friends and family”) could be met in virtual reality, as one could still interact with friends and family in the VR.  If anything, it would be a marked improvement in terms of internet friendships.  Already we have funtime threads on this forum that attempt to recreate a virtual atmosphere of “relaxing with friends.”  People will type things like, “can I get you a cup of coffee?” or “I’m bringing out the shrimp tacos!”  And there’s nothing wrong with this, except that the enjoyment is limited to the imagination.  If these interactions took place in a true VR, you could really drink the coffee or eat the shrimp tacos together.  Instead of seeing an eye-rolling smiley, you would see someone actually rolling their eyes.  Internet forums and social media are painfully primitive forms of virtual reality.  And one could still interact with one’s real-life friends and family in the VR; the only snag being that with the ability to recreate our physical bodies there, we might be confused at first at the transformations.  A mother might be disappointed that she can no longer enjoy her freckle-faced daughter’s gap-toothed smile because in VR her daughter has chosen to look like Margot Robbie playing Harley Quinn or Mary Elizabeth Winstead playing Ramona Flowers.  (The whole “garish comic book movie cosplay” trend would be ratcheted up to the nth power).  But then again, many a mother in real life has already gasped at dyed hair, wild haircuts, goth makeup, and nose rings, so there would be nothing new under the sun as far as people altering their appearance goes—only the extent.

But Carleen did raise the most salient objection when she listed “faith” as a key to her happiness.  And indeed, to answer your question, mikemac: for the purposes of this discussion, it would have to be possible for a person to be able to come out of the virtual reality at their own choosing.  This would be of particular importance to Catholics, as a Catholic would be obligated to exit the VR at least once a week in order to attend Mass.

I would only take exception to your point that “too many people would get their VR world confused with their real world.”  I think people like the Columbine goons would never return from the virtual reality back to the real world in the first place.  Let’s face it, most people are pretty animalistic; sorry to be a snob but many people have no appreciation whatsoever for aesthetics or spirituality and are just as dumb as a post and live in squalor.  Consider how popular porn is on the internet, and how perniciously people can be become addicted to violent video games.  I think a great many males would live out the rest of their lives in a macho fantasy in the VR: on an endless loop of having sex, racing cars, flying planes, and shooting things and blowing stuff up.  They would basically live in a hyper “Michael Bay / The Fast & the Furious” kind of action movie with porn scenes and junk food.  My favorite current television show is Westworld, and it has a very pessimistic take on what humans would do if we could build fully realistic androids: basically, it hypothesizes, we would probably build theme parks where a person could do anything they wanted without the prick of a conscience, since the other people they interacted with would be A.I. in a human body.  Anthony Hopkins builds a park that recreates the “Wild West” where people can get into gunfights and sleep with saloon floozies and go on train robbery adventures.  I have little doubt that a virtual reality would be used by many people in the same manner.  It may even be the case that people like the Columbine shooters become so hateful and psychotic because they prefer their fantasy worlds to the real world where they have to do chores and homework, and go to school and get picked on.  I think the shooter at Virginia Tech snapped because he was rejected by a girl.  Better to let such people go off into a VR and get any girl they want without fear of rejection.  Hopefully they would never come back, but I don't know if anyone else would either.  Who would choose to come back, aside from those with religious obligations?  Catholics would have to come back for Mass, and possibly Muslims would have to come back five times a day to pray, considering that facing Mecca in a virtual reality might not be considered as truly turning in the direction of the real and actual Mecca.



Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: The Curt Jester on January 09, 2018, 12:48:44 PM
I voted no.   I've always disliked hypothetical questions so why would I enjoy a virtual reality?  Imagining something that one might do in the future may be amusing for a time (especially if you know you can really do it later), but living in an imaginary world would actually  be a disappointment.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 09, 2018, 02:13:22 PM
I voted no.   I've always disliked hypothetical questions so why would I enjoy a virtual reality?  Imagining something that one might do in the future may be amusing for a time (especially if you know you can really do it later), but living in an imaginary world would actually  be a disappointment.

Wouldn’t it only be a disappointment if it never happened?  Anticipating something and not getting it is a let-down, I agree.  Let’s say you and I were on a flight to Tokyo and there was a loud, incessantly crying baby on board.  I might turn to you and say, “hypothetical question, Curt.  Would you enjoy if it I had a way of making that baby stop crying?”  You would probably roll your eyes and say, “yes, I would enjoy that very much.”  And I’d say, “well, too bad, because I don’t have any cure for the crying baby,” and you’d grumble, “I’ve always disliked hypothetical questions.”

But if, instead, I were to take out my iPod and change some settings, and the baby suddenly stopped crying, and if I said, “the truth is, Curt, we are living in a virtual reality and I’ve hacked into the program that runs it, and I can block out the sound of a crying baby as sure as anyone can block out images on their web browser,” I don’t see how you’d be disappointed.  Granted, it is highly unlikely that this would ever happen, but if it did happen, you would not be disappointed.

So how would “living in an imaginary world” be “a disappointment”?  It wouldn’t be any more “imaginary” than this one.  On every sensual front it would be as materially real.  I can understand your objection to the question on the grounds that imagining something but not being able to actually enjoy it is, alas, the frustrating curse of Tantalus, to which you prefer not to be subjected.  But don’t vote “no” on those grounds.  The question isn’t, “do you enjoy being asked to consider this unlikely hypothetical?”  Only vote “no” if you think you would truly not enjoy (or not want to enjoy) experiencing the greatest sensual reality you can imagine.


Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Greg on January 09, 2018, 02:37:21 PM
I hate book tokens and gift cards for the same reason.

You take a perfectly liquid $100 paper bill and exchange it for a financial instrument that is far less liquid and can only be spent at one type of business.

The receiver of the gift now has a less useful thing, than if you gave them the $100 bill.  You have wasted your time exchanging something more valuable (more liquid) for something less valuable (less liquid).  Only the business that sells it to you gains because of all the unused book tokens and gift cards that are never fully spent or expire or lost.  Those are effectively free cash for them.

Only a complete muggins buys the con that buying a piece of plastic or card somehow makes the gift "more thoughtful".  Ebay is full of giftcards being sold at a discount.

Just give the cash if you cannot think of a present.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: The Curt Jester on January 09, 2018, 09:54:40 PM
Wouldn’t it only be a disappointment if it never happened?  Anticipating something and not getting it is a let-down, I agree.  Let’s say you and I were on a flight to Tokyo and there was a loud, incessantly crying baby on board.  I might turn to you and say, “hypothetical question, Curt.  Would you enjoy if it I had a way of making that baby stop crying?”  You would probably roll your eyes and say, “yes, I would enjoy that very much.”  And I’d say, “well, too bad, because I don’t have any cure for the crying baby,” and you’d grumble, “I’ve always disliked hypothetical questions.”

But if, instead, I were to take out my iPod and change some settings, and the baby suddenly stopped crying, and if I said, “the truth is, Curt, we are living in a virtual reality and I’ve hacked into the program that runs it, and I can block out the sound of a crying baby as sure as anyone can block out images on their web browser,” I don’t see how you’d be disappointed.  Granted, it is highly unlikely that this would ever happen, but if it did happen, you would not be disappointed.

So how would “living in an imaginary world” be “a disappointment”?  It wouldn’t be any more “imaginary” than this one.  On every sensual front it would be as materially real.  I can understand your objection to the question on the grounds that imagining something but not being able to actually enjoy it is, alas, the frustrating curse of Tantalus, to which you prefer not to be subjected.  But don’t vote “no” on those grounds.  The question isn’t, “do you enjoy being asked to consider this unlikely hypothetical?”  Only vote “no” if you think you would truly not enjoy (or not want to enjoy) experiencing the greatest sensual reality you can imagine.

If one person could hack into another person's virtual reality, pleasure would certainly be fast fleeting, would it not?   You just made another argument against it.  Still voted no.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 10, 2018, 08:30:30 AM
If one person could hack into another person's virtual reality, pleasure would certainly be fast fleeting, would it not?

Only if you insist on mistaking one hypothetical for another.  In that scenario I was only trying to illustrate how you wouldn't be disappointed.  I can make the same point without using virtual reality:

Quote
But if, instead, I were to take out my iPod and change some settings, and the baby suddenly stopped crying, and if I said, “the truth is, Curt, we are living in a virtual reality and I’ve hacked into the program that runs it, and I can block out the sound of a crying baby as sure as anyone can block out images on their web browser,” say, "the truth is, Curt, I am a magical being from the planet Q'ah-Ru and have the telekinetic power to make babies stop crying," and if the baby then suddenly stopped crying, I don’t see how you’d be disappointed.  Granted, it is highly unlikely that this would ever happen, but if it did happen, you would not be disappointed.

But if you must be lawyerly about it, know that the word "endless" in the poll question denotes "without cessation," "uninterrupted," and "unperturbed by people hacking in."  (As I indicated to Max earlier, the most likely scenario for this virtual reality is that it would be a gift from a hyper-intelligent A.I., meaning that its intelligence would far exceed human intelligence and would therefore be immune to any nefarious human interference.  I agree with Non Nobis that we mortals are unlikely to engineer the nano- and bio-technology necessary for a true virtual reality on our own).  But as I also assured mikemac, the endlessness of your enjoyment would come with the proviso that you yourself could stop it at any time, if you felt an obligation to return to this reality, or if for some reason having every sensual delight you ever wanted turned out not to be to your liking.
Title: Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
Post by: james03 on April 26, 2018, 10:08:36 PM
A really cool book on VR is CTRL-ALT-Revolt (check it out on Amazon).  The book takes a little to get things set up, then the author hits you with it.  When you get done you'll say this was the most creative book you've read.  Very entertaining.