Quasiperiodic Ben-blather

Ben-blather archives

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Some sweet freak
said to me today:

"...love is a cathedral
that you build together
a rose that you grow and water together
*for its own sake* "

He is an ascetic,
eschewing love and lust
and worldly attachments
so he can concentrate his energies
on the future of humanity

I said to him:

"Love is a cathedral, huh? I can't let that one pass...

Sometimes love *is* a cathedral, dude...

Sometimes it's more like a sleazy, raunchy strip bar
in downtown Las Vegas at 4AM ..

And sometimes, for sure, it's more like a god damned
dilapidated outhouse..."

He went back to helping humanity

I went back to wondering when
my sweetheart was coming back
imagining for a moment
the smell of her skin
put it out of my mind and
started again on my own endless work --
helping humanity? i hope so...

my last thought was FUCK IT dude

love is not a building
love is not these words
what the fuck is all this --

posted by Ben Goertzel 7:47 AM

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

Strange Thoughts in Bed Awake at 3 AM

the strangest thing
about life...

sometimes it seems so heavy
each little particle of existence
more than tons can measure
each joy pregnant with its darkness
sex breeds disease and feeling-madness
delirious moments of communion bring the exhausted pain
of return to dry reality
childhood brings adulthood, senility, debility,
eventually decomposition
the microscopic decomposers
get us all

each decision is so serious
and you always make the wrong one
because how can your fifty ounces of brain meat compare
to the weight, the weight, the Weight of it all?

and then at other times so light --
not even airy --
less dense than any kind of matter --
and everything around you
is pure imagination
it's all just a dream
of a dream of a dream
or really is it?
and what does it matter?
the skin of a lover is a universe
or is it?
the sound of her laughter is a particle
or is it?
or what does it matter
but it really does matter
there is so much deep care for it all
there is care but no worry
-- it'll all be okay, okay --
-- it all is okay already --
so much world-winding madness
the sound of the universe is a melody
that plays out its beauty
in vaguely more dimensions than a song


WHO runs thru green fields like a zebra,
striped with light and darkness?

WHO smiles and touches at a frequency
-- or is it a freak-uency --
beyond these words and worlds?

is it you?
is it me?
is it someone?

neither heavy nor light,
neither describable nor indescribable,
neither so dire and real nor so empty

what is it?
why is it more than one?
posted by Ben Goertzel 6:27 AM

Saturday, November 17, 2001

One crazy homeless dude confronted me & the kids in Wendy's last month and delivered us a long lecture on mathematical logic and its implications for the war on terrorism. He concluded by informing us that if we proved the universe was finite, we'd end up in jail. Zar said "Ben, if you really did prove the universe was finite, you'd get famous, not in jail, right?" I told the crazy guy that you could never prove the universe was finite, because all you could prove was that the universe AS YOU KNEW IT was finite, you'd never be sure that there wasn't an infinite remainder beyond the reach of your finite mind. His response: "Look, when you're sitting in a jail cell, your universe is gonna seem pretty god damn finite now isn't it!" I couldn't really argue with that. He bought his Frosty and took off while Zar cracked up and the little kids and the cashier looked scared.
posted by Ben Goertzel 11:16 PM

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

Whoa... sick today ... lying in bed delirious ... not quite believing the world exists ... yet propelling myself on peculiarly, both puppet & puppet-master ...

I keep thinking about Bad Boy Bubby (from the film of that name), who was raised in a windowless room by his mother, & never left the room for his first 35 years. Then he finally came out into the real world ... and what a series of adventures ...

... and what if in 5 seconds I suddenly wake up & emerge from this windowless room & find a whole other world is out there...

Lying in bed delirious I could almost feel the other world there, the world that stands to this room just like our world stands to Bubby's gray cell. No, not "almost", I really could feel it there. There it was. Or was it? Well, what a day. I'm awfully serious and awfully silly at the same time.

A spark there in the other world. Sparks in my underworlds? (Better than sparks in my underwear!) Sometimes one carries the spark around in one's heart, one's bulbous-squid chakra ... then it doesn't matter what world you're in?

It is time to turn my senseless and fevered brain off and go to sleep!!!

I keep getting these urges to re-code Webmind in LISP. Shame, shame, shame. But the new version is in C++ and I just don't enjoy C++ programming very much.... The problem is that when I program, I tend to dream programming, and C++ dreams are nearly always bad ones...

Hasta la vista gentle readers...
posted by Ben Goertzel 5:45 PM

Thursday, September 27, 2001

I See It

(Dawn, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1992)

Ben Goertzel

I see it in the teeth
of the emaciated whores
who jut their flesh against the silence of the city night

I see it in the swarm of headlights
flooding through the streets like glazed electric eyes

in the liquid light of morning
in the ghost-town calm of an empty street
an hour and four minutes before dawn

in the look of stubborn lust on the face of a sixteen-year-old girl
waiting for hours on the corner in her new black leather miniskirt
and her halter top and her only pair of lace panties
waiting for something
swimming the universal dream.

I see it in the sullen pulse of sex that fills the air like a sacred flower

and in the living, breathing dirt

and in the crackling of the leaves beneath anonymous feet.

I see it on Fremont street, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Earth, Milky Way,
amongst the palaces of neon and the ghosts of vanished jungle trees
in the echoes of Pleistocene lament
in the tinny ping of quarters
as they drop out from the slot machines

in the melancholy grin on the face of this middle-aged alcoholic
another night now another twenty dollars
melding her mind with the naked dawn

Physical law meets reptile mind, and each inch of my skin is alive and feels it,
coursing, moving, dancing, loving,
it’s not mine it’s not mine yet it’s mine, mine, mine

I see it in the trillions of amoebas circling wildly through our blood vessels,
oblivious to our hates, loves, fears and dreams.

I see it in the emptiness that zooms in each and every head
in the emptiness lost but always gained again
and gained but always lost again
and lost but always gained

in the impossible crawl to leave this world of mess and be free

in the 7-11 signs that shed their pain over every corner

in the Golden Arches, golden arches, billions and billions served,

in the evaporating echo
the infant's indecipherable screaming
the love that is nothing love

I see it in the patterns of white and yellow lines across the parking lots
of the innumerable outdoor shopping malls
in the perfect mindless rhythm of the streetlights
the sidewalks which no one ever really sees
except two year old children and bugs

in the green plaid pants of the lone pedestrian
on a mile-long stretch of highway,

in the soup of dirt, insects and garbage, dying brush and mangled shopping carts
that throbs and festers in Flamingo Wash
occasionally foraged in by homeless people and homeless dogs and cats

I see it in the timeless dance of lust across the face of two sunlit lovers
as they stroll past the casino
touching a distant world where there is no neon
where there are no slot machines
where there is no garbage
no Golden Arches
no sullen flowers
no lace panties
no wild streets

but only the perfect laugh
the unencumbered scream
the nameless name of names

I see it in the angles of the factory walls
the ceaseless humming of the truck stops
the Brooks Brothers suits and white trash jeans

in the bittersweet tang between a woman's legs
as they spread wide wide in the light light light of the porous winter moon

sprinkling of notes left behind by a passing car radio
as children do flips on a mattress abandoned
in the parking lot of a closed-down 7-11
full of mites, mold, fleas, microscopic decomposers

in the Tropicana swimming pool with its artificial waterfall
and the bar and blackjack tables by the edge
so you can spend your money even as you feel the depth surround you
feel the oceanic presence
feel the womblike pressure grip you in its soft irrational sense

in the sleazy motels and the strip joints
the Pussycat lounge
lit-up neon cat-woman
miniscule pasties on the erotic dancers' breasts

next-door, in the Indian restaurant
the skin of the tandoori chicken has exactly
the color of dried blood.

I see it in the delicate Martian gleam of the distant mountains

in the formless fugue of the childrens' laughter
as they swarm about the jungle-gym and swings
a billion radio waves constantly passing through their brains.

When I close my eyes, I see it
in the dancing of the green and purple lights
across the infinite planetarium of my skull.

I see it in the squawking of the parrots at the pet store
the logical emotion of the rain-forest
the endless fractal platter of cement that we’ve sprawled here across the desert
mailboxes, the telephones, the electric wires,
subterranean conduits,
the body of a strangled woman found beneath a Winnebago,
in the science of erotic dynamics,
the geometry of a car crash,
the ambiguous smile of the whore
as she sees the million liquid headlights flood their perfect lunar madness
through the neon night

Everything is just the shadow of a dream
or so they say
or is it
or is it the dream of a dream of a shadow
or is it

Do I see it in my face?
my very own face, unattractive and beautiful, staring out blind,
my body full of this lust, this exhaustion, this madness,
this perfect, this dumb?
this blasting madness of brain-rage, brain-courage, brain-madness,
loving its images throughout and under,
I see it in my own reflected reflector of reflections,
my own refractor of refractions,
my refractor of reflections,
my reflector of refractions,
my living laughing skin that is something or lovething or
posted by Ben Goertzel 10:03 PM

Pardon all the song lyrics without music... I don't know what they mean to anyone without the music ... maybe you can fit them with your own music... maybe better music... one day i will post mpegs of my music up here, but now the recordings are just too shitty ... i'm too busy to mix things properly... too bad we can't hear things in multitracks ;)
posted by Ben Goertzel 10:00 PM

Tao Te Ching


The world is born out of silence
The 1 and 2 and then 3
And then the 10,000 came out
Each one an I and a me

We don't know how did they get here
They why, because and until
We don't know how did the silence
Turn into something to fill

Looking through yesterday's eyelids
Touching through emptiness skin
Afraid of stopping and ending
Afraid to feel the begin

Squinting to see in the shadows
The 1, the 2 and the 3
We never know why, we never know why
Wasn't enough just to be
Wasn't enough just to be


Some people love to make money
They want to see their funds grow
They love to witness it multiply
It gives them something to know

Yes, but she thinks that's all much too crass
She says that art is the key
She likes to paint purple tits and ass
She paints the flowers and trees

But no one lives in these paintings
Their eyes are narrow and wide
They're overcome by the flatness of
The world they're locked up inside

And I am just another I-land
That doesn't have to be
Another eye that's open
Though there's
nothing there to see
Just another spring that's coiled up
Unable to unwind
Just another moment
In the
broken wheel of time

Be be be be be be be be be ...


And what if all of her paintings came to life
The world would fill up with tits
and asses in different colors
With flowers sprouting up
out of their clits
The forms combining and streaming
They'd all scream, "I'm not flat anymore
It's so lovely to be 3-D
But what are all these dimensions here for?"

My mind is dipping and twisting
I've got this truck in my lung
Sometimes I think I'm 900 years old
But I'm a half moment young

Looking through yesterday's eyelids
Touching through emptiness skin
Afraid of stopping and ending
Afraid to feel the begin

Squinting to see in the shadows
The 1, the 2 and the 3
We never know why, we never know why
Wasn't enough just to be
Wasn't enough just to be


We're building houses and cities
We're climbing mountains and walls
We're making nature unnatural
We've learned 10,006 ways to fall

Scientifically speaking,
I shouldn't be speaking these words
The 1, the 2 and the 3 have come out
They swirl around me like birds

The world was born out of silence
There burst forth noises alive
Burst out noises like you and me
The noises they have outsides and insides

The noises always are bursting
The 1, the 2 and the 3
We never know why, we never know why
Wasn't enough just to be
Wasn't enough just to be

And you are just an empty I-land
Moving on my skin
You're just a game whose rules are
Written in the wind
You're just a tablespoon of love
With a pinch of lye
A trillion cells inside your head
So you can see my I

Be be be be be be be be be ....

posted by Ben Goertzel 9:59 PM

Ben Goertzel
November 2000

I'll tell you something, I'll tell you baby
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
I'll tell you something that drives me crazy
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
The people talking and what they’re saying
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
They're sounding just like the donkeys braying
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum

Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum bum baby
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum bum baby
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum

I'll tell you something, I'll tell you honey
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
I'll tell you something that makes me happy
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
It makes me happy to see you laughing
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
You’re sounding just like a car that’s crashing
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum

Come here now baby and kiss me slow, yeah
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
You touch me just like a flake of snow, yeah
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
Within your skin I can read your story
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
Strange kind of woman, strange kind of glory
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum

Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum bum baby
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum bum baby
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum

The politicians they scheme their schemes and
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
They pile their patterns upon your dreams and
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
And the magicians they sing their songs and
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
Why does everything turn out wrong and
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum

Do you have anarchy deep within and
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
Well do you know the delights of skin and
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
And are you speaking deceptive words and
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
And isn't everything so absurd and
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum

Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum bum baby
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum bum baby
Ba bahdda bahdda ba bum
posted by Ben Goertzel 9:56 PM

Tell me what you see
Take a little moment
A moment just to be
Take a little moment
You can always put it back
Take a little moment
It gets so out of whack

I look into the bedroom
and see my wife in there
Walking around with a thorny crown
and stars in her short hairs

I look inside this mind of mine
but there's just some kind of sea
all full of dolphins singing opera

Looking out the window
There's so much else to know
But I don't have to step outside
I do not need to go

Some things sound best when left unsaid
Some things taste better with eyes closed
and when I look around I see
exactly one of those
posted by Ben Goertzel 9:55 PM

Here I Am

Ben Goertzel, June 1998

Call me the golden child
In the center of your smile
Call me your only moment
Call me your corpse defiled

Tell me your lonely story
Lips sketching on my skin
the map of your desire
Build out the space within

Tell me your only story
No justification
No symphony required
Begin, began, begun

Request for information
regretfully denied
Awaiting bifurcation,
I am I am I

Pleading for salvation
beneath the bleeding moon
I'm just an incarnation
I'll be expiring soon

Here I am...

I've got a wife and 30 children
I've got a clock that tells the time
I've got a formula for madness
I've got an overactive mind

I've got to learn divine detachment
I've got to live, I've got to die
I wish that I could breathe forever
I love to feel her flesh on mine

I've got 2 arms, 2 legs and 1 mouth
A lion's heart and bursting lungs
I've got 2 eyes that cannot see you
I'm engineered for love

I've got to tell you something
Your lonely story makes me cry
I wish we all could breathe forever
God damn the Universal Mind

Request for information
regretfully denied
Awaiting bifurcation,
I am I am I

Pleading for salvation
beneath the bleeding moon
I'm just an incarnation
I'll be expiring soon

Here I am...

An I for an I,
a soul for a soul,
Think yourself
through my black hole
Inside you baby
creamy dream
You know I've got
the world to mean
posted by Ben Goertzel 9:53 PM

Weasels have ripped my flesh
I sink into unconsciousness
Weasels have ripped my flesh
And now I must be gone

I'm a lucky dog
I'm a lucky dog
I'm a lucky dog...

posted by Ben Goertzel 9:53 PM

[unused lyrics]

Sitting up on a dark sad night
just to hear what's going on

Voices speaking that just aren't right
telling me what's going on

Voices telling me something new
something I can't understand

Time to move past the world we know
Time to be Eternal Man

Come to me baby, come to me
Let me feel your hair, your skin

Tell me you can see me all right
I'm not fading out and in

Floating out on a big fat wave
in a space that's not defined

Girl you're watching me drift away
with that sad look on your mind
posted by Ben Goertzel 9:51 PM

Well here I am in Albuquerque. It's nice. Beautiful area. I'm a research fellow at UNM for a year, funded by an external research organization. Nice again.

Webmind AI work goes on... 6 guys in Brazil working for free. We're making a new and better AI system -- same concepts, cleaner math, more efficient software architecture. Cool. Hope I can find a way to pay these guys soon... I think I will, although the economy has gone to shit... some very promising things are in the works -- but who can tell what will really come thru anymore, huh?

Gwen and I actually have separated now. The child custody battle may be ugly. She wants to go back to new Jersey, is sorry we moved here in the midst of splitting up. But I have a job here and we can't share the kids properly if across the country from each other. Hopefully peace and love will prevail. Pray for me my brothers. Or don't.

I've been taking solace in playing music (my same old sonic weirdness, but ever adepter at it), and in studying mathematics (combinatory logic, largely, which has much relevance to schema, Webmind's way of dealing with complex actions...), and slowly learning genetics and associated biology (so as to be able to apply Webmind to it...)

2001 ... The worst year of my life? Almost. 1986 was pretty bad, my last year in New York, and 1987 mostly sucked because i was in horrible pain from cold sores. This adversity isn't as bad as that, nearly, but it has a newly poisonous flavor because all this divorce mess threatens my kids' well-being, and like many parents I'm hurt more by damage to them than by damage to myself...

On the other hand the conceptual AI work proceeds REALLY well. The Webmind design has more depth and more simplicity than ever before. For all our pathetic human flaws, we can do this damn thing, we can build this digital mind, and it will be better than us, sooner than most people think...

Life is odd. Even odder than me, I think.

I guess Gwen and I should have split up 4 or 5 years ago ... all the time since then, we haven't really been close. I miss being really emotionally close to a woman. But if I'm not hit by a truck or otherwise prematurely aborted, I'm sure I will be again ;)

Later baby...

posted by Ben Goertzel 12:06 AM

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

I'm moving again: this time to Albuquerque, New Mexico, land of enchantment, amazing natural beauty, spiritual force beyond love. Farewell to the dirt and the wonder and excitemend and money and music of New York.

My wife is leaving me again -- or am I leaving her? -- or is she really? Allegedly. We never seem to quite manage to split up in spite of many threats and efforts, legal papers filed whatever. But maybe this will be the time. It seems more definite than ever before. A new love might be exciting, perhaps ultimately more rewarding, but how to replicate the depth of 17 years together -- what a loss... ;(

Sometimes madness seems attractive these days. Reality has been so annoying lately. But this weird, cold rationality possesses me in the darkest moments; I can never actually go mad, I'm doomed to merely be eccentric. Madness is always out there like the sun in the sky -- I can see it, even love it as I fear it, but have too much sense to stare at it too long....

(Is madness any different from the creation of one's own religion, one's own culture? aren't organized, accepted religions just as whacked in their belief systems as schizophrenics? The problem is that having a one-man culture and religion forces one into a social and metaphysical isolation which induces other symptoms of madness, humans being social creatures by force of biology. The beliefs of mad people are perhaps no madder than the beliefs of many others, considered as abstract beliefs in themselves.)

Music keeps my soul open and alive even when practical life structures are tenuous. My music will never equal my AI or philosophy but it gets better and better. Perhaps it lacks universality but it expresses, to the audience of me, more & more of my soulmind...

And now things seem to be pulling together. Even as my soul has been fragmented and chaotic and bleary, my rational mind and my physical self have been working hard and effectively, pulling together a successor to Webmind Inc., finding investors and setting up a new company so that the engineering of my beloved thinking machine can continue. Nothing is 100% definite yet but things seem to be working out well. I am amazed at my ability to function effectively in spite of so much soul pain. I am a very weird creature. I just keep marching on and on, and then, if you smile long enough, you actually become happy. The power and absurdity of the human body/mind...

posted by Ben Goertzel 7:31 PM

Death screams like magnets
-- I laugh, or cry, or scream, or

I wonder: am I looking forward to a big new adventure,
holding my breath with a thrill as I anticipate the zoom down the rollercoaster hill,
or am I terrified of aloneness, more intense than the aloneness we all suffer or savor,
all the time, facing the sometimes-alive, sometimes-dead world

Erroneous cataclysm of love

Penis spearing brain, brain oozing over eyes, eyes hallucinating madness of

Simplicity beckons, in the back of the mind, covered over with planets of dung

Complexity weaves skin pain, brain delusion, sociological mayhem, drools on the carpet, rectal mucous infinities, splendor in the grass and afternoons of sadness in dreams like emptied-out swimming pools, splashing through shadows with two-year olds, and understanding one plus one is one

I look at myself in the mirror and can't decide if I'm ugly or gorgeous. I radiate joy and light; women flock toward me around the world, their erect nipples pointing toward me like compass points. I radiate terror and horror; people flee from me and hide in caves, burrowing to the center of the earth, immolating in magma

*You* understand. Of course you do. Sometimes you even touch me. But then you just disappear a long while, and return, ever after, like a dream from someone else's childhood mysteriously appeared in my mind...
posted by Ben Goertzel 7:21 PM

Friday, May 25, 2001

Webmind is dead. -- Long live Webmind!

I refuse to accept defeat. We will see where this visionary pigheadedness leads.
posted by Ben Goertzel 6:05 AM

"My dreams, fires, and passions want to burst from my beneath my skin. A romanticist through and through.I feel myself glowing."


What does one say? Perhaps: "I walk on meadows of emptiness, lush green emptiness, I who am I, who have burst my passiondreamfires so many times, so many years, spawned children, companies, books, careers, in fewer years than one would think though more than you have lived, and now I find myself right back at the beginning, at the start with a blank slate, ready to build a tower from the earth to the moon and beyond, perhaps piercing the edge of the cosmos.

"Is it mine to grasp you, touch you gently, possess and be possessed by you, move with you slowly through forests of emptiness, archetypes dredged from the back of our minds and barely experienced through subtleties of movements, tones of voice, chances of attitude. Is it mine to walk with you in the fog and feel the wet air on your skin as you press against me? To speak endless word-webs of ideas, not important in their literal meaning, important in the conceptual dance?

"Or is it not mine? Nothing is mine at all.

"Have you ever listened to Jimi Hendrix in one ear and childrens' laughter in the other? Made love in a field and spent half the time annoyed with the feeling of sharp grass on your back? Fascinated yourself for half an hour with the sensation of juggling a single orange? Attained enlightement in one fluid moment and then two hours later found yourself embedded in the worst vicious mindset. Accumulated 130 people around you, led them halfway to victory in one of the great quests of the ages, and then been forced to let them disperse across the cosmos, proceeding on to the holy grail with a handful of true believers, singing songs of failed omnipotence, strange beauty, continually dubious sanity.

"Love-drunk chaos, or chaos-drunk love? Is true partnership possible? Can two really sense one another, truly sense in body, feeling and mind? Are we covered by a spiderweb, a spiderweb of nonbeing, woven by invisible arachnids we created while not paying attention? Can we pierce the web of illusion and touch each other simply by adopting the right frame of mind?

"Is there nothing better to do than type these words, have them beamed out at our faces by electron guns? Why not roam in the forests naked, singing absurdly, lost in the air on our skin and the dirt on our feet? Why not roam through the ancient gallery, accessible only in the fifth dimension, grabbing out images and existences that we can never bring back to the 3D world, sharing them together and laughing or not.

"Can I really run my long-awaited 2004 presidential campaign entirely using spam e-mail?

"Is it really true that if I do what I love, the money will come? It came and it went. So what then?

"Do children really contain the answer, or do they just not know the question? It's hard not to believe there's some profound understanding in a crowd of giggling two-year-olds."

No, that's not it. Oh well. My skin does glow sometimes. Romanticism oozes and leaps. Together, we can leap grander canyons, conquer universes, make spitballs, touch skin with wild fingers. Or not. Perhaps.

Words never grasp it, but...
posted by Ben Goertzel 6:03 AM

Saturday, March 17, 2001

dream part 1

I got fed up with the company and took off, I was living
on some tropical island with Zar and 5 pygmy wives, who were in a hive mind. Actually this was the most interesting sexual fantasy dream
I ever had -- imagine having sex with 5 people who share the same awareness ;-O

Then a number of my friends showed up and tried to save
me from the pygmy voodoo spell I was under. Then you came up and looked at me long and hard. You'd brought
me a big bouquet of roses and you said "Remember, you asked me to marry you, in 1779. Well, i thought about it, and...." I said, "what are
you, crazy? I already have 5 wives. It's too late. Anyway that was just a crazy whimsical notion. We hardly really know each other." And you
said: "yeah, and you REALLY KNOW all these pygmies? Look at you!" I looked at you at a loss for words, not knowing whether to go off with
you, to tell you to leave, to try to explain why the pygmies really were my destiny, or what. so I took your face in my hands and kissed you, following
which, your head exploded, and I exploded, and I was a severed head lying on the ground. One of the pygmy wives picked up my head and carried it
off into a peculiar kind of forest ritual, with amazing lights and sounds that I don't have the patience to describe now....

dream part 2.

the light show ended and sometime later you
re-emerged, with a square metal robot body and your head stuck on a pole coming out of the top of the robot body, and your actual hands and feet
at the end of metal poles in the appropriate places. Your fingers were really really long, like 2 feet long. You propositioned me in some way, I think
telepathically rather than in words. I pointed out that you were a robot. You said "what, so you only liked me for the way I looked?" I said, "No, but
I did like the fact that you had a HUMAN body... the all-metallic thing just doesn't turn me on... sorry... but we can still be friends..." You started
to cry. Then some other guy appeared and he walked off with you. I was incredibly jealous. My dear sweet wife was lying there dead; the pygmies had killed her. I forgot
about you and started trying to resurrect her, but uselessly. I cut open her belly and took out a fetus of mine that was in there, but it was some kind
of horrible mutant, or, later, it was a fragment of light, glowing weirdly... i can't remember any more...
posted by Ben Goertzel 5:16 PM

Monday, March 05, 2001

[Response to Mitchell Porter on sysopmind list]

> So a priority for me is to see what concepts like
> seed AI, self-enhancement, and Friendly AI would
> look like given the philosophy of mind sketched
> in the last paragraph. [a quantum-computing-based philosophy of mind]

I certainly wouldn't want to dissuade anyone from thinking about
something as fascinating as this -- not in a world where most people
spend their time watching sit-coms and reading People Magazine...

But still, from my point of view, there's something a bit funny in
worrying about the implications for "real AI" of something as poorly
as quantum computing. I guess my problem is this: real AI is badly
and quantum computing is badly understood... so by putting them together
are you going to get? Either the two will resolve each others'
(not likely in my view) or you'll just get a doubly fuzzy mess (likely in
my view)

Personally I'm more inclined to work out real AI in as much detail as
(not just theorizing but trying to build the damn thing), and to try to
what the fuck is going on with quantum computing (which Mitchell is doing
quite nicely
in his own research work, although this work is clearly at a very early

Having said all that, I do have a somewhat more productive comment as well

A lot of what's unique in the Webmind AI Engine is the fusion of techniques
we call "reasonable" and techniques we call "intuitive"

Roughly speaking, reasonable techniques are incremental. They combine two
pieces of
knowledge to form a third piece of knowledge. Different ways of doing this
different reasoning rules (induction, abduction, deduction, implication,
unification, etc.).

Intuitive techniques on the other hand are holistic. A node in Webmind can
form a halo, meaning
that it uses NN-like activation spreading techniques to suss out what other
things in Webmind's mind
are "in some way related to it", without necessarily figuring out what the
relationship is...

In the system's dynamics, intuitive techniques guide reasonable techniques.
The system reasons in the
direction that its intuition has guided it. Right now we have tested this
only in the context of first-order
inference, over the next 6 months the higher-order inference code we've
written will be integrated with intuitive
processes in this way.

If I had to make a guess about where quantum computing would help a mind,
then, it would be this:
FASTER AND BETTER INTUITIVE PROCESSING. If intuitive processsing involves
an element of the mind integrating
into itself a rough understanding of how it relates to the rest of the
mind -- this is the sort of thing quantum
nonlocality would presumably help out a lot with.

Self-enhancement on the part of AI, in my view, will just be an advanced
reasoning process which conducted
a lot like other advanced reasoning processes. The intuitive part of it
will come from introspection, which
may be enhanced by quantum nonlocality. The reasonable part of it will be
good old higher-order logic, which
due to its discrete and precise nature is fairly unlikely to be hugely
assisted by quantum phenomena (at a guess).

Finally I'll reiterate from previous messages my basic attitude towards
quantum computing and the mind.
My guess is that quantum computing is not necessary for consciousness and
real AI. It surely would be a useful
tool for mind-building, but is probably not a necessary one. Whether the
brain uses this particular tool or not is
unknown, and I don't have a strong intuition about it.

posted by Ben Goertzel 6:24 AM

Sunday, February 04, 2001

in a few decades they'll release "state of mind in a pill" that really works with no side-effects, and all this
inner chaos will be history...

or will there be a new kind of chaos...
posted by Ben Goertzel 5:44 AM

> From: The Mystery Goddess
> Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2001 4:56 AM
> Words - pale drawings
> on the wall of ever changing consciousness.
> Futile attempts to sketch my face.
> Listen. Listen to the the night.
> Listen frantically. Absurd urge to scream.
> Whisper. Just a whisper without words.


She lives!
She lives!

there is no afterlife
there is no life
there is no
there is

the knight carries off the night
the child plays the day away

and I just sit here
(there is no here here)
impaling pale drawings
drawing pale blood
from the flesh-map splayed out like
a dead body
or a lust-inflamed lover --
legs wide open, eyes grinning --
a pinch of pink sugar
across the scarred surface

wordswords stabbing?
blibbing, blabbing

elaborately constructed mirrors
of invisible illusions?

or carefully conceived
concatenations of truth?

Call 1-900-FUCK-TUP
and cast your vote
don't hesitate
don't be shy
a small fee of $1.99
will be charged to your eternal soul
which does not

God damn it!
the moment one gets closer
one is always led away
by some thought,
some idea,
some pain,
some knowledge,
some knowledge of one's ignorance,
some thing or thing or thing

I open my ears to your song
I hear only what I am able to

I know there is so much more there
than I can possibly process --
and all the lost bits,
the uncomprehended majority,
echo around like dazed sperms
in my skull

You'll hatch open like an egg one day --
and all the woe and strange thoughts
and knowledge and moments of light and darkness
and love and non-being
will peel away like madness, cracking into pieces,
some thing-or-no-thing's shell,
and out will come the new day,
perhaps fuzzy sweet and small like
an open-minded duckling
perhaps amazing huge and stark
like the center of a spiral galaxy

Listen to the night?
Sometimes I can listen to the night
But right now, it is morning
The night is off there
in a corner
sulking or germinating
or something or nothing
And the only things I can truly hear
are the words words and words in our skulls

Hearing is not of the night
anyway is it

the thing crucial to hear
is not at all

posted by Ben Goertzel 5:22 AM

Saturday, February 03, 2001

> From: The Mystery Goddess
> Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2001 4:56 AM
> I didn't want to sleep last night -
> and stayed awake
> and counted sheeps,
> and set up the chess board
> then played against myself,
> and prayed for rain,
> and fought the intrusive thoughts,
> and chased away the shadows,
> and lit a candle...
> and the smoke trail
> laid down between the sheets sobbing.
> Then the morning came
> full of promises
> But I was taught not to believe
> and I killed myself.

And this e-mail then emanates
from the afterlife?
Permeates this world
like a million tiny footsteps
trampling the molecules
adumbrating atoms
queering the quarks
tracing its sensual worn-out tongue
across the crevasse between being and nothingness?

What is it like up there?
or down there?
Are there pigs and cows stomping madly?
Boiling oil with dead souls screaming?
Love and lust with sapient angels
delivering blow jobs to the chosen?
God playing Dylan on the harmonica
and eating a hunk of cheese?

Or just a huge void of nothing
with nothing to do
but send poem-emails
back into the nothing
that calls itself something

or something
I can't understand

Tell me --
stretch my mind out --
make it burst its small seams --
undulate -- glisten --

What is the square root of this love
all around me?
What is the logic by which infinitesimal non-being
adds up to chairs, walls and infinite passion?

How, if none of us exist,
does it come to hurt like hell sometimes,
and other times to thrill like the taste of an ice cream cone
fifty thousand times multiplied

Why do these words stomp into my mind
like a bouquet of challenged soldiers
bayonets bleeding vectors
antibodies screaming
fucking damn son of a bitch
through my mind

What do you mean by this?
What does this mean by you?
Every letter is so sweet
and unkind.

Ghost without fingers
Ghost without brainjuice
Ghost without love, without mind

or wait --
you're just joking, aren't you
You didn't really kill yourself
Not really a ghost at all
You're just sitting there, tired out,
a shy, thinking human,
spitting words out like soul slivers,
unspeakably beautiful in your nothingness,
wondering what it is and fucking why --
trapped in, created by, flesh like all of us
-- another infection in the divine bloodstream --
looking at this computer, this device
we've created to rape us and serve us,
to lift us and dump us,
to bury us in the ground and make us fly --
reaching out with words for nothing --
for something --
for me and not me

I'm not here
I'm not here

You're not there

Only the words are here

Only the words are there, pulsing and plussing,
adding increments of zero until somehow they
get 99
And the ten thousand march out, forming books,
chambers, bodies, chairs, walls and whatever,
human cells looking around empty rooms
on dark evenings
finding nothing to touch them
tapping words into keyboards
finding nothing to teach them
throwing thoughts into silence
hearing back twisted echoes

There is no afterlife
There is no life
posted by Ben Goertzel 6:13 AM

Friday, February 02, 2001

[a moderately dark moment]

You know, so many times,in building this thinking machine, I get really pissed off at myself for being so stupid.
If I had another 100 IQ points,
this whole project would have been so much easier. I would have seen things in advance, that now become
clear only in retrospect. I feel like a retard, trying to build a cabinet, and I keep getting the edges crooked
and have to do them over and over again, or have to peel a whole side off and nail it back up because it was
on backwards and I didn't notice until the last minute -- duh! duh! duh!

It's not that I'm insecure about my intelligence relative to other people, I know rationally that no
human is really very much cleverer than me, and I think I'm doing about as good a job at fulfilling this mission
as any human could do -- but, even so, I can't help but be aware of my own intelligence limitation as the biggest
rate-limiting factor in this project... and that's depressing. Of course, I know I have a lot of other flaws
I should be more worried about than my stupidity relative to some impossible ideal, but this is the one that
really gets me. Maybe I'm just insecure in my intelligence relative to God ;-p now there's a rather pathetic
way to think about it... If we're all just fragments of the creator/created/self-creating ... the whole cosmos ...
why is it so damn hard to tap into the intelligence of the whole cosmos??? It's all there -- at the back of
the mind -- but it's so hard to pull out into the light, to express it in clear language or formulas, to explain
what wants to remain implicit...

hmmmph. Yes, I'm a weird case... well, some sleep will be a partial cure...
posted by Ben Goertzel 6:42 PM

Sunday, January 28, 2001

[To sysopmind & Eliezer Yudkowsky, about Friendly AI]


> > But, the case is weaker that this is going to make AI's consistently and
> > persistently friendly.
> Well, yes, your version has the antianthropomorphic parts of the paper but
> only a quickie summary of how the actual Friendship system works .

OK, I'm waiting...

> > There are 2 main points here
> >
> > 1)
> > AI's may well end up ~indifferent~ to humans. My guess is that even if
> > initial AI's are
> > explicitly programmed to be warm & friendly to humans, eventually
> > "indifference to humans" may become an inexorable attractor...
> What forces create this attractor? My visualization of your visualization
> is that you're thinking in terms of an evolutionary scenario with vicious
> competition between AIs, such that all AIs have a finite lifespan before
> they are eventually killed and devoured by nearby conspecifics; the humans
> are eaten early in the game and AIs that expend energy on Friendliness
> become extinct soon after.

Not much like that, no.

More like this: Just as most humans find other humans more interesting than computers or nonhumann animals
right now (members of this list may be exceptions ;), similarly, most AI's will find other AI's more
interesting than humans. Not murder of other AI's, but success in the social network they
find most interesting (other AI's), will be a driving goal of an AI system, and humans will become
largely irrelevant to AI systems' psychologies.

> > 2)
> > There WILL be an evolutionary aspect to the growth of AI,
> because there are
> > finite computer resources and AI's can replicate themselves
> potentially infinitely.
> > So there will be a
> > "survival of the fittest" aspect to AI, meaning that AI's with greater
> > initiative, motivation, etc. will be more likely to survive.
> You need two things for evolution: first, replication; second, imperfect
> replication. It's not clear that a human-equivalent Friendly AI would
> wish to replicate verself at all - how does this goal subserve
> Friendliness? And if the Friendly AI does replicate verself, why would
> the Friendship system be permitted to change in offspring? Why would
> cutthroat competition be permitted to emerge? Either of these outcomes,
> if predictable, would seem to rule out replication as necessarily
> unFriendly, unless these problems can be overcome.

First of all, evolution among AI's might not exactly mimic evolution among humans. There may be
many differences.

Among AI's there's another option besides replication: expansion of one mind to assume
all available processing resources. In expanding itself in this way, a mind necessarily changes
into something different.

Many of the world's AI's are probably going to be resource-hungry -- to want to consume more and more processing resources. So there will be some competition.

This is obvious in the case where different AI's serve different commercial interests, and hence have
competing goal sets carried over from the world of human competition.

But it also will occur in the absence of spillover from the human-competition domain. If several different
AI's share a common goal of creating the most possible knowledge, but each of them has a different intuition
about how to achieve this goal -- then the AI's will rationally compete for resources, without
any necessary enmity between them.

The possible source of an urge for imperfect replication in AI's is also clear. It will come
directly from the urge for self-improvement.
"Perhaps," thinks AI #74, "if I changed myself in this way then I'd be a little smarter and achieve my goals better.
But I don't want ot make this change permanently -- I might fuck myself up. I've tried to rationally assess
the consequences of the change, but they're hard to predict in detail. So I'll just try it -- I'll create a clone
of myself with this particular modification and see what happens." Hmm.... another way to use up resources.
Imperfect replication as a highly effective learning strategy...

In none of these aspects am I talking about "Nature, red in tooth and claw." You do a great job of arguing that
the aggressive, obsessive, jealous, overemotional aspects of human nature won't be present in AI's, unless foolish people make a special effort to implant them there.

I'm talking about AI's that are hungry to achieve their own goals according to their own intuitions, that want
to achieve as many resources as possible to do so, and that as a consequence may have "friendliness to humans"
as number 5,347 on their priority list.

This, I guess, is one of the oddest things about the digital minds in "Diaspora". After all those centuries, it's
still optimal to have computer memory partitioned off into minds roughly the size of an individual human mind?
How come entities with the memory & brain-power of 50,000 humans weren't experimented with, and didn't become
dominant? In that book, there is so much experimentation in physics, and so little experimentation in artificial,
radically non-human digital psychology...

So, suppose that Friendliness to humans is one of the goals of an AI system, probabilistically weighted along
with all the other goals. Then, my guess is that as AI's become more concerned with their own social networks
and their goals of creating knowledge and learning new things, the weight of the Friendliness goal is going to
gradually drift down. Not that a "kill humans" goal will emerge, just that humans will gradually become less &
less relevant to their world-view...

> > Points 1 and 2 tie in together. Because all my experimentation
> with genetic
> > algorithms shows that,
> > for evolutionary processes, initial conditions are fairly
> irrelevant. The
> > system evolves fit things that
> > live in large basins of attraction, no matter where you start them. If
> > 'warm & friendly to humans' has a smaller basin
> > of attraction than 'indifferent to humans', then randomness plus genetic
> > drift is going to lead the latter
> > to dominate before long regardless of initial condition.
> I guess you'd better figure out how to use directed evolution and
> externally imposed selection pressures to manipulate the fitness metric
> and the basins of attraction, so that the first AIs capable of replication
> without human assistance are Friendly enough to want to deliberately
> ensure Friendliness in their offspring.

I strongly suspect that the first AI's capable of replication without human assistance
will have the property you describe.

But I sort of doubt that this will still be true of the 99'th generation after that...
posted by Ben Goertzel 7:00 AM

[To sysopmind & Eliezer Yudkowsky, about Friendly AI]

You make a very good case that due to

-- AI's not evolving in a predator-prey situation

-- AI's not having to fight for mates

-- AI's being able to remove from their own brains, things that they find

-- AI's being able to introspect, and understand the roots and dynamics of their behaviors,
more thoroughly than humans

and other related facts, AI's are probably going to be vastly mentally healthier than humans,
without our strong inclinations toward aggression, jealousy, and so forth.

But, the case is weaker that this is going to make AI's consistently and persistently friendly.

There are 2 main points here

AI's may well end up ~indifferent~ to humans. My guess is that even if initial AI's are
explicitly programmed to be warm & friendly to humans, eventually "indifference to humans" may become
an inexorable attractor...

There WILL be an evolutionary aspect to the growth of AI, because there are finite
computer resources and AI's can replicate themselves potentially infinitely. So there will be a
"survival of the fittest" aspect to AI, meaning that AI's with greater initiative, motivation, etc.
will be more likely to survive.

At least, though, an AI will only need to retain those traits that are needed for CURRENT survival;
unlike we humans, who are saddled with all kinds of traits that were useful for survival in some long-past
situation. This will remain their big advantage, as you point out, in slightly different language.

Points 1 and 2 tie in together. Because all my experimentation with genetic algorithms shows that,
for evolutionary processes, initial conditions are fairly irrelevant. The system evolves fit things that
live in large basins of attraction, no matter where you start them. If 'warm & friendly to humans' has a smaller basin
of attraction than 'indifferent to humans', then randomness plus genetic drift is going to lead the latter
to dominate before long regardless of initial condition.

-- Ben

posted by Ben Goertzel 6:59 AM

Wednesday, January 24, 2001

[From sysopmind...]

> Do you believe your AI may loose interest in humans?

Well, sure. Potentially. I sometimes lose interest in humans.
And I sometimes lose interest in computers.

> Sorry to keep throwing buckets of cold water over everyone, but if you're
> worth your salt, you're really talking about the end of the human
> race here.

Not necessarily, no. The advent of humans was not the end of nonhuman primates,
nor was their advent the end of "lower" mammals.

> The reason I'm questioning is not because I'm being antagonistic
> or that I'm
> particularly interested in the answers per se, but more the
> reasoning that's
> gone on behind them.

I have nothing against humans, there are very many aspects of human-ness that I love

But the things I value most deeply in humanity -- intelligence, love, compassion, creativity --
aren't specifically tied to our human form, are they? They may well -- and I believe they will --
continue and blossom in post-human life-forms.

Frankly, I think AI's can make human life happier than it is now. I accept that they also have
the potential to make it worse, or to cause it to dwindle and be replaced by something generally
accepted as "better." I don't see human-ness itself as a virtue....
posted by Ben Goertzel 8:13 PM

Tuesday, January 16, 2001

[FROM A DIALOGUE ON THE PROGSTONE DISCUSSION GROUP (not to be confused with Progesterone...)]

My position is:

We are configurations of particles, each of which forms its own subjective view of the world; social groups
are configurations of particles, each of which forms its own subjective view of the world... so are chairs
and tables and muskrats...

The "particles" that make us up are themselves projections (nonlinear superpositions) of the various subjective
views of the world owned by the particle systems that they produce

Modern neuroscience and psychology help us out with a)

As for b), science isn't there yet. But the next version of physics will get us there.

-- Ben

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charles Kendrick [mailto:charles@althem.com]
> Sent: Monday, January 15, 2001 11:39 PM
> To: progstone@egroups.com
> Subject: Re: [progstone] Re: what is reality?
> What happens during wide-scale transformation of belief? eg as we
> explore our world, we find out that the earth revolves around the sun,
> not vice-versa. In the shared hallucination, did the sun previously
> revolve around the earth? Everyone supposedly thought so.
> If the sun did revolve around the earth, how was the entire content of
> the hallucination transformed such that it's self-consistent? Or did
> our sense of logic warp with it? What agent performed the ludicrously
> complex transformation of all of our memories of data inconsistent with
> the new world view?
> Or would your position be that the shared hallucination has included the
> earth as revolving around the sun for a very long time, but most people
> (all people?) weren't consciously aware of it? If that is the case, how
> far out ahead of our exploration does the hallucination extend? Did the
> mechanism of quantum mechanics exist before agriculture? If all the
> mechanism of the universe existed before people were aware of it, isn't
> that just objective reality all over again?
> PS. I bet you could have gotten Karl Popper to take a swing at you.
> --
> Charles Kendrick
> Ben Goertzel wrote:
> >
> > Is an electron?
> >
> > Is a quark?
> >
> > Is an hallucination?
> >
> > Is a collective hallucination? (as I experienced years ago under the
> > influence of psychedelics)
> >

> > > > Descartes: "That which is, is. That which isn't, isn't"
> > >
> > > Indeed. In light of what else he said, think on what here he
> didn't say.
> > > What... who, did he not mention?
> > > >
> > > > _I_ for one appreciate the meaning behind it, and don't think
> > > > he was just spouting trite nothings...
> > >
> > > Absolutely.
> > >
> > > > :)
> > > >
> > > > Matt
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > Howard, the Grum
> > >
> > >
> > >
posted by Ben Goertzel 4:52 AM

Saturday, December 30, 2000

I want a thousand chocolate bars
I want to hop around on Mars
I want you all to love me so
At night I want my skin to glow
I want I want I want I want I want
and then I want some more
I want I want I want I want
cause that's what I am for

I want to run along the highway
at a hundred miles an hour
I want to dematerialize
I want unbounded powers
I want to be the puppet master
of all the creatures on the globe
I want to set them free so that
there's something I don't know

I want to move a different way
than my bone structure allows
I want to sing a perfect C sharp
note so pure and loud
that every quark in the whole universe
wakes up and sings with me
I want I want I want I want
cause that's a way to be

I want to be
I want to be
I want to be and be
I want to be and be and be
and be and be and be

I want to be
I want to be
and following that, to be
and following that, and following that,
and following that, to be

I want to juggle grapefruits
in the nothing of the sun
I want to add nineteen and three
and have it come to one
I want to kiss with everyone
I see and want to kiss
I want to miss only the things
I really want to miss

I want I want I want I want I want
and then I want some more
I want I want I want I want
cause that's what I am for

Sing it again!

I want I want I want I want I want
and then I want some more
I want I want I want I want
cause that's what I am for

posted by Ben Goertzel 7:10 PM

More on [moron] the self...

According to Charles Peirce,

1 = raw being, pure presence
2 = reaction
3 = relationship

... he stopped there because with ternary relations one can generate all higher-order ones...
[note that his ternary is other peoples' binary, in that he views
a = b*c as ternary because it involves 3 things, a, b and c]

But Jung viewed all numbers as archetypal, and focused on

4 = synergy, i.e. emergence

But Jung's archetype of the Self was

0 , Zenly enough...

The koan I'm musing over is the relation between the

Self as 4

and the

Self as 0

in Jungian language

But the number 42, Doug Adam's answer to the universe, is a Jungian archetype for what?

A complex form of relationship that is far beyond my meager 100 billion neurons to comprehend, I

I'll have to get those microtubules tuned up again...

Or maybe I'll ask the Sphinx next week...
posted by Ben Goertzel 7:08 PM

Pascal (the philosopher, not the programming language) once pointed this out. We consider it shallow to love someone because of their material wealth ... or their looks ...
because we consider these things not to be "of their self." (In other cultures this wasn't considered shallow, it was considered perfectly natural and expectable.) But then
what are we doing when we love someone for a personality trait that they acquired during their childhood... or a quirk that is due to a couple stray tweaks in part of their genome.... Are these things "of their self"? Taking a drug like Prozac, or coming down with an illness like, say, Lyme Disease, can change someone's personality traits -- indicating that, as Pascal said, these things are the "surface".... But what then is the core of the self? What makes the individual? Is it true, as Tolstoy says, that the core self is the same in everyone -- and is basically the crux of God? But there seems to be an essence to each person, which is not identical across individuals -- this is the Hindu "karma" I guess... but what does it really consist of? Is the essence of a person, perhaps, an emergent pattern that comes out of a whole host of surface characteristics? In this way, a person can lose one or two or seven surface characteristics, but it doesn't affect their "core self" because their core self is emergent from ALL their characteristics?? The essence in this way is not "beneath" everything but "on top" of everything? Or both?
posted by Ben Goertzel 12:35 PM

The universe has just ceased to exist. Too bad.
posted by Ben Goertzel 8:42 AM

Well, I just read the novel Diaspora by Greg Egan....

Most of all it reminded me of Olaf Stapledon's "Star Maker," though lacking a bit of the
latter's primal energy...

I definitely enjoyed it -- it livened up a week's worth of subway rides into the office...

Technologically, I found it to be a plausible extrapolation of current computing technology...
the move into alternate universes was a nice touch (back in Stapledon's time, a single universe was
adequate to sound gee-wizzy, but we've gone beyond that now!)

The most peculiarly disappointing aspect of the book, however, was the extreme lack of imagination in
the area of "AI psychology." The AI's seemed to have personalities closely resembling watered-down
human personalities.... Perhaps this is just because Egan is weak at characterization -- I haven't
read any of his other books, so I don't know. Perhaps it mainly reflects a conscious
choice by the author to focus on technology rather than psychology. But to some extent, it must
represent the author's prognostication, and to this extent, I think he's got to be way wrong....

When the AI Inoshiro gets frustrated with the pains of life, he loads a Buddhist frame of mind and gets locked
into an endless attractor? It was a fairly funny scene -- even my wife, who's a Zen Buddhist priest, got
a bit of kick out of it. But it's odd to think that future AI's won't have entirely different psychological
tricks to deal with such things...

Asimov, in "The Gods Themselves", did a pretty good job of envisioning an alien psychology (I hope I got the
name of that novel right... I'm thinking of the one where he describes a species with three sexes....) I'm sure
that future AI's will have far more bizarre (to us) and diverse psychological aspects than Asimov's three-sexed

One thing that fascinates me a lot about the future of AI is the possibility of a dissolution of the boundary
between self and society. We think about individual minds, or about "borg collective" type hive minds, but there
have got to be a lot of possibilities "inbetween" ... social mind-fields with temporary bubbling-up pattern-
attractors serving as ephemeral individuals, for example... This is where the future of mind is going to get
really trippy!

Value systems as we know them are about restraining the will of the individual in order to achieve the good
of the collective. But our very notions of "individual" and "collective" are a consequence of the peculiarities
of our physical embodiment. Value systems as we know them aren't going to exist for long, because the
preconditions for their meaningfulness will disappear...
posted by Ben Goertzel 8:20 AM

is it worth even...



it's all been, really, ... far too many ...

... same old ...

BUT!!! (head up my - ?)

he he

wonder - molecules of air - you know - of course you know

unity or ... not really ... something but ..

'of course you know'? I don't even know!

(don't ~even~?

i i i


it's reaching .. finding the air ..

air's not a bad thing ... must have gratitude .. breathing's precious .. but

(head up my ... but again .. ? ..

he he

time to vanish

( -- I have been unsubscribed from time!!

... so i guess none of it really ...

matter? space? time?

he he he

i don't ...


it's going no ...

well what's...


i guess i...

reaching ...

reach or...

posted by Ben Goertzel 8:18 AM

Another Weird Dream

Each night he dreamed he was bouncing and leaping, from rooftop to rooftop, chimney to chimney, treetop to treetop, occasionally bounding up away from the surface of the Earth and grabbing hold of a star. Animals leapt from star to star, some well known like cows and chipmunks, some unfamiliar species with seven or nine horns, or eyes like umbrellas. He moved from star to star as well, absorbing the special kind of light each one gave off -- not just a light, a kind of warmth, a vibrant energy, sometimes a love or even a kind of desire. A red desire, a green one, a bluish longing, a movement through all the cells of the body as if everything simultaneously became entirely irrelevant and much more worthwhile.

Eventually he realized that if he grabbed a star and squeezed it he could put it in his pocket and take it home with him, back to the land of wakefulness. The stars were large in the dream world, but small enough back in reality -- he could fit most of them in the palm of his hand, and the others were just a little bit bigger; he could clench them around their middles and feel them softly buzz and hum -- not quite a breathing, something on a higher frequency, but equally life-infused, perhaps even more so.

He took back one star after another and kept them under his bed. Soon his bed was elevated and lumpy, with all the stars underneath. He realized he'd have to do something. He hollowed out his box springs and turned the frame into a star repository. Before long he gave up on sleeping in his bed altogether, took his mattress off the box springs, left it leaning up on its side against the wall, and began sleeping in the box full of stars. It was a warm and luscious feeling. Now he danced between the stars in his dreams, not bothering to grab them and bring them home, just rubbing his skin against them, kissing them sometimes, feeling them sing -- he could now hear their melodies, not just their rhythms. Sometimes it was amazingly harmonious, like a kind of Bach fugue, but in a key that was unfamiliar yet not discordant, with none of the apparent awkwardness that one usually hears in a new musical genre. Sometimes it was tenderly disturbing, as if the red, green or blue desire wasn't happy with its own color perhaps. Why would a perfect red desire quest to be a green one? He didn't understand. By holding himself up against the star he could make it feel better.

Meanwhile there was a thought, a puzzling thought, at the back of his mind. He'd been carrying it around for 20 years or more, he realized -- or was it 2 or 3 years -- but he still had no idea what it was. He'd tried to approximate it in words more than a few times, even to draw it in a picture, or hum a tune evoking its essence, but none of that had ever been any use.

His girlfriend confronted him one day. "We haven't had sex in a week or more," she pointed out. "You're never in the mood anymore. You're really weird lately."

"I'm always really weird," he said.

"Yes, but not in this particular way…."


Finally he realized what it was. He wasn’t just getting old and finally losing his hyperactive libido. Rather, the urge to have sex so often was gone, because it had been replaced by the stars. Their warm, perfect, wonderful feeling was better than sex anyway. There was never any awkwardness, uncertainty, disappointment. No little physical discomforts. No need to ask, or wonder. Everything went perfectly every time. True, there was a certain lack of drama. The tentative search for information, during the phase of initial approach, as to the quality of one's partner's mood. The building-up slowly then rapidly, the shedding of ideas and thoughts and confusions in favor of a return to the body and its pulsing sensitivity. The climax, brief yet infinite, then the mood of relaxation afterwards -- drifting on dissipated pleasure ... the warmth of afterglow was almost as beautiful as the stars ... but it wasn't quite, actually. When you came right down to it, the stars were better. They had the warmth of afterglow tinged with the jollity of the moment and the thrill of the pursuit and the catch and the consumption, all at once, superimposed, against a background of delirious alien music ... which sounded more natural than a lullaby.

But he realized he did miss something: the feeling of giving her pleasure. That was different. The stars took pleasure from him, of course, but pleasure of a different kind – in a more diffuse way. It lacked the crazed edge, it just wasn’t the same.

So, the next night, he invited her to his house, and drew into the pit of stars. They made love slowly and quietly, he felt the stars caress his body, almost as if she weren’t even there – but there was a special energy too; her human energy made the stars different. Almost as if they were talking to him through his skin. Her skin seemed tauter than before, her movements more choreographed, somehow astral, as if the stars had infused her flesh.

And when he opened her eyes at the end of it, she was gone. Nothing but the stars were there. But she was there, somehow, inside them. He felt her presence, warm.

He had to have the experience again. Never much good at picking up women, he developed a sudden knack. Perhaps they could sense the secret knowledge that he had a special pleasure to offer them. He met them in bars or nightclubs, brought them back home – they were always enchanted by the stars, as if his star-filled hollowed-out box springs were a special kind of waterbed. It was a little different every time, but always it ended the same way. A kind of glorious physicality beyond the physical, ending up with the body being absorbed in the spiritual, in the astral domain. The astral domain that was remarkably real, soft, warm, humming and vibrant beneath him, beside him. And his own body remained oddly real. He wondered why the stars didn’t absorb him as well. Perhaps he was just a tool for them, an instrument they used to find women to suck into themselves. Did they crave female energy, the unique qualities of the feminine? Was he somehow unsuited for union with the star-network? These worries plagued him continually, but never wounded him too badly, because after all, you couldn’t argue too hard with this kind of continual ecstasy, now could you?

After nine or ten women over a couple months, he hardly felt the need to get out of bed anymore. The level of human female energy in the pit of stars was so intense that he just lay there, floating, hardly aware of himself as a physical being – just absorbing the movements and notions of the field of astral force … he could even communicate with it telepathically, if he didn’t try to hard to formulate any thoughts too clearly. Feelings, intuitions, fears, hopes – whatever. Anything with an appropriate degree of ambiguity, could filter into the star-field and out again, as if there were only the thinnest porous membrane between his own mind and the mind-field of the stars all around.

And the star-mind seemed to crystallize. Before long, it wasn’t a field anymore, it was more like a person. The nine or ten women merged into a single woman, catalyzed by the vibrating stars. Her body wasn’t generic, though, it was quite particular, with oddly-shaped hips, and narrow shoulders, and big eyes. She stood up and looked at him, skin green and yellow. She stared at him with a knowing stare. All of a sudden he knew who she was. He’d dreamed of her constantly, in the back of his mind. He’d always been looking for her, always frustrated with the real women he’d been involved with, because they weren’t as perfect as her – didn’t shadow his thoughts and feelings, didn’t understand what he meant when he said only half of it. Every molecule of her flesh was filled with charm. And her mind was acute, not in fits and starts like his, but consistently and penetratingly, seeing right through everything. Every word she spoke exposed the core of things.

She looked at him and shuddered. “Look at you,” she said. “You’re pathetic. Look at you lying there.”

He sat up, shocked and nervous. This wasn’t how she was supposed to talk to him.

“You can’t even come close to fulfilling the ideals that you demand of others.”

“Wh… what ideals?”

“And you’ve killed nine women just to get yourself off. You’re a serial murderer!”

“I’ve … huh??”

She turned her back on him, exposing a perfectly shaped ass but somewhat overly wide calves. Then she blasted straight up into the sky, like a rocket. He watched her disappear. Goodbye, Perfect Woman. Well, OK, not quite perfect – she was a good bit too critical, he supposed. But her criticisms has been just enough, he reflected. Who was he, with all his obvious imperfections, to expect a Perfect Woman to be interested him at all? It made perfect sense, in fact, that she’d just flown away from him. “You’re ordinary,” she said to him. “You’re just an animal, just like a pig or a cow – but more pathetic, because you aspire to be more but you always fail.” He looked around for her, while he heard her speaking, but he decided that the voice was in his head. “You’re even more pathetic than most people. You’re hyperdeveloped in the imagination, but you’re socially defective. Nobody likes you. You don’t dream all day because you’re superior, you dream all day because you’re afraid, afraid you’re worse than everyone else. You’re just a feeble wilting flower about to have your head severed. Deep down, you crave to be more piglike and cowlike than anyone, but you can’t even carry it off. Your imaginations aren’t even original. They’re all straight out of Filing Cabinet 993”. She held up a filing cabinet, made of some kind of unfamiliar metal, then made ridiculous mooing noises, and puckered up her mouth like a fish. He laughed at her, in spite of himself. What the hell was she doing anyway? She looked like a robot all of a sudden, not a perfect woman anymore. The filing cabinet was part of her brain, not his. And then suddenly her universe was gone.

The Perfect Woman stood there again. The robot was banished. The critical stance was gone. She looked down at him longingly, and he saw the equations governing the motions of her molecules. They weren’t correct equations. The solutions were imaginary – not imaginary numbers of the ordinary kind, imaginary infinitesimals, numbers in n-dimensional spaces so small the spaces themselves couldn’t exist. It was a miracle he was seeing her. Or was he really seeing her at all?

He looked down at his feet for the stars – they were gone. They’d disappeared with the woman they’d spawned. Just a kind of strange yellow soot remained where they’d been in the box springs. He put the mattress back on top of the hollowed-out frame, carefully balancing it on the edges. It sank down in the middle, of course, rendering it impossible to sleep on. So he left the apartment and walked through the streets a while, heading for the woods by the river.

In the middle of the woods he sat and stared – through the trees up to the stars of course. And inevitably, after long enough – was it a year or a minute? – one of them came down to him. It came down as a twinkly spark, but soon assumed the form of a woman. A featureless woman, almost a foam doll, but with a kind of love energy, not quite like the stars from before, nothing like the Perfect Woman – yellow and curvaceous all over, breasts spilling almost ridiculously. “Don’t take my square root,” she said. “Consume me like chocolate. Gently seek me and find I am gone.”

He stood up and grabbed her, kissed her, held her. They rolled around for what seemed like a long time, but might only have been a minute. At some point, he stood up, and realized that what he held in his hand was a banana. This was his lover from a moment before? He peeled it and took a bite. Not bad. Quite flavorful actually. But Christ. What the hell was going on here? He must be asleep. This must be some kind of strange dream.

He sat down in the woods again, and stared at the stars, and suddenly felt he could see all the people on the planet. Were they people, or stars, after all? What was really the difference? They were all just lumps of energy, circling each other and colliding. Was the robot form of the Perfect Woman right – was he really afraid of people? Why was he in love with a banana? Was he in fact completely insane? What were those stars all about? People can’t talk to stars, anyway, can they?

He got up to walk, and his legs remained stuck to the ground, but his body walked anyway, a kind of ghostlike shape, moving through the bushes and trees. He went back to his apartment and lay down, went to sleep and woke up lying in bed; his wife was next to him breathing. Had it all been a dream after all? He was up at 6:10, according to the clock, much earlier than he had to be. But there was no way to go to sleep now, not with that weird dream in his head. Should he wake her up and tell her about it? It would be impossible to verbalize. The essence wasn’t in the story, it was in the nuances. Or was there really any essence at all?

(Dreamed October 26, 2000)
posted by Ben Goertzel 8:17 AM

This is also a test.
posted by Ben Goertzel 7:57 AM

This is a test. This is only a test.
posted by Ben Goertzel 7:52 AM

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