the mechanics of thought

So, I have to wonder, if you could build a exact carbon copy of me – with the same neural nets connected in the same way – would it be functionally identical to me? Is there any ‘magic’ to us beyond the mechanics of thought? Would it experience the world exactly the way I do? Is it possible our whole world is the result of someone doing a exhaustive search for a particular neural configuration, one that responds in particular ways to particular inputs? Is it likely?

One of the thoughts I had recently is that we’re always encouraged to ‘be ourselves’. Except that the band of ways you can ‘be yourself’ without getting into trouble is very small, and shrinking all the time. A friend of mine posted on facebook that his community had passed a law against wearing your clothing in such a way that your underwear show. He was pleased – I am not. I am alarmed at how little freedom we have in the “land of the free”, and how fast it is eroding. What you wear is a form of freedom of speech.

Anyway, I seem to have wandered off my original point. Certainly, we don’t want a sociopath to “be themselves”. Of course, “Be yourself within certain boundaries” doesn’t sound nearly as nice.

I think I have widely different definitions of which those boundaries should be than most people. And it scares me that those boundaries get smaller every year. I like the idea of a widely diverse population. But it seems like unless you’re riding the exact middle of human behavior, there’s someone who doesn’t want you doing what you’re doing. And I guess I feel like they should be free to want that, but not able to enforce that. Some percentage of them have some political power, and they *do* enforce their beliefs on our behavior.

As a side note, increasingly it seems there is a move to force people to provide services even to those they disagree with, to fight discrimination. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of discriminating against gays or blacks or what have you – but I’m not sure this is the solution. I do think there should be a minimum subset of rights we all have. I do not think that owning weapons is on the list. I do think the freedom from having them aimed at you ought to be.

I do know that every law passed makes us less free – and we never delete laws, and we add new ones all the time. At this point only someone who does nothing but study the law could even keep track of what is and isn’t legal.

I don’t seem to have any consistent point or even thread of thought here, so I’m going to stop for now.

One Response to “the mechanics of thought”

  1. Alderin Says:

    “Unless you are riding the exact middle of human behavior” ~ s/Unless/Even if/

    There should be a minimum subset of rights that one maintains with a minimum subset of responsibilities. If we could *guarantee* that all of the guns were gone, I’d support that, but that is unrealistic. Taking away the guns of law-abiding citizens with a law leaves the guns of the criminals, which leaves the criminals with a slew of unarmed victims. Over the course of a large number of victims and solved crimes reducing the illegal guns, and preventing a new source of guns, this does eventually begin to reduce the gun problem. However, everywhere this has been attempted, things got MUCH worse before they got better.

    Then there is the criminal mindset: take what I want by force or threat of force. Bombs are easier to make than guns, so instead of aimed little projectiles, there will be an increase in bombings, likely with more innocent victims than average gun-related incidents. Interestingly, if the criminal mindset is some level of logical, then an overall higher standard of living with a much smaller gap between classes would reduce crime more than any removal of tools. The rest of criminals would be defective humanity, by whatever cause, and should be helped if possible, removed if not.

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