Author Topic: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom  (Read 6304 times)

Offline Maximilian

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #15 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.

 

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2018, 12:23:22 PM »
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Offline Lydia Purpuraria

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #17 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:   :-\

 

Offline Lydia Purpuraria

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #18 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.)

 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #19 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).”
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #20 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, 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."  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.
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2018, 05:13:15 PM »
I have added a poll.
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #22 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.
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #23 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.
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #24 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:
 


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, 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.


« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 11:28:15 AM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Carleendiane

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #25 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.
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #26 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.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 10:56:57 PM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #27 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?
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #28 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."

« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 10:55:01 PM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Greg

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #29 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.
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