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Jonathan Dickau: on 6/7/14 at 3:42am UTC, wrote Interesting and excellent Michael, I need to get some sleep, but I will...

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FQXi FORUM
April 20, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: An end to steer by, and a means by Michael Allan [refresh]
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Author Michael Allan wrote on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 20:25 GMT
Essay Abstract

Claiming that humanity has an essential end in the cosmos, I propose a means of attaining it. The limit of light speed is small enough, I argue, and the interstellar distances large enough, that together they form a barrier to extinction events; life can radiate across that barrier (just), but death cannot. Assuming a rational, purposeful morality and a supreme valuation on reason, I deduce (M0) that morality must purpose the endless continuity of rational being. This becomes the material end to steer by. The formal means to this end I then derive by analysis: (M1) that morality relates personal action to a universally collective end; and (M2) that it promotes a maximum of personal freedom compatible with equal freedoms for all. From these 3 principles of a moral theory, I proceed to elaborate the corresponding practices, beginning with the present. Modern society is regulated by laws and other text-based norms. Therefore the key capability at present is to compose consensus texts without limiting anyone's freedom of expression. I describe 3 inventions that together would enable this: recombinant text, transitive voting and vote pipes. The combination I call a 'guideway'. I explain how a network of norm and election guideways, if introduced to society, would engage with its pre-existing legislative, electoral and other decision systems to form a primitive steering mechanism. This would immediately generate a demand for consensus on the overall course, including our ultimate origin and destination. I propose to meet this demand by introducing a further guideway - namely a myth-making, or 'mythopoeic' overguideway - to complete the means of steering. Recalling the claimed, material end, I conclude that the future of humanity is necessarily of mythic construction. The essential, material practice of rational being is the perpetual telling and retelling of its own, immortal myth.

Author Bio

Michael Allan is a software engineer in Toronto specializing in collaborative social media. His current work is based on project Votorola.

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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on Apr. 18, 2014 @ 15:22 GMT
I haven't gotten a chance to really go in deep with your essay, but I wanted to add (before I forget!), that I've been working on a project that sort of supports a collective myth-making for the world. My idea has been to help people move from their complaints about the world and their lives to their highest dreams and goals for their world and lives, using a sort of mental composting process. ...

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 18, 2014 @ 22:56 GMT
Hi Turil, I read your essay earlier (and your blog). It's right on top of my list of essays to comment on. I'll get to that soon, now that my own is finally posted.

Speaking of which, my essay (among others) has immediately attracted a very low score. Does anyone know what the reason might be? Are my arguments flawed perhaps? I'm looking for sincere critique, please. - Mike

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 20, 2014 @ 23:00 GMT
Dear folks, please read my policy on reciprocal reviews.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Apr. 20, 2014 @ 04:10 GMT
Hi Michael,

A really fascinating approach to the question. Its interesting to me that there is not an imposed destination but a democratic guiding and myth building steering the course. I don't know if I'm thinking about it in the right way but I am remuinded of the Wisdom of Crowds The Wisdom of Crowds, book ,James Suroweicki, Random House 2004

Wikipedia Wisdom of the Crowd...

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 20, 2014 @ 22:42 GMT
Thanks Georgina,

We both suspect that the wise crowd isn't always so wise. When it comes to steering by myth, law and other norms, for example, where we need assurance of a valid cause and purpose, I recommend instead that the "hand on tiller" be that of the reasoning individual (p. 3). All the crowds in the world might be happy with a normative course, but if any individual cannot reasonably agree to it, then that course is invalid (Habermas, D). The design of the steering mechanism should assure us of a correction in that case. This is what steering is about. At the top of page 8, I try to describe how it might play out in practice under the guidance of individual 'G'.

If you submit an essay, then I owe you a reciprocal review. - Mike

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John C Hodge wrote on Apr. 20, 2014 @ 14:29 GMT
MA

Do I understand correctly, your transitive voting is a means to omit the political party system of the US two party and of the European multiple party systems?

You also seem to agree with the goal of survival as the most senior goal with other goals subordinate to and to support the survival goal?

I have thought of writing a book proposing a new constitution (why not?...

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 06:24 GMT
The scopes differ greatly, as you suggest. I don't speak of parties. And I speak of survival (continuity of life) only at the scope of rational being as a whole. - Mike

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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 12:43 GMT
Michael, maybe you could offer a simplified version of your idea for collaborative work that describes the experience from the user end of things. For example, when I want to share my idea for making raw vegan carrot spice nut-cheesecake, and I want to allow others to openly collaborate on the project, improving it to allow for variations and adaptations (for when one might be out of cashews, for...

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 02:18 GMT
Thanks for the suggestions, Turil. The short answers are all yes's (though I never found a replacement for cashews, either). - Your last point interests me. Please be more specific. E.g., "At point P, there is a lengthy passage on the topic of T, but for no apparent purpose." - Mike

PS - I added your essay to my review list.

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Turil Sweden Cronburg replied on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 14:36 GMT
I guess I can say that my comment "it might be too challenging for many people to follow the middle part, especially without a clear reason for doing so, as you didn't really introduce it with a clear idea of what it would accomplish," related to my experience as a reader of not knowing specifically how your highly detailed breakdown of the consensus process was going to be useful to me. The...

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 04:56 GMT
Thanks Turil, Rather than look at the design of a future-steering mechanism, you'd prefer to feel it in operation. That's a good approach, I agree. It requires telling a story. There's a short one beginning on page 8 where (finally) the individual is "ready to steer". - Mike

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Prakash Chandrashekar wrote on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 16:57 GMT
Mr. Allan,

Excellent contribution. I believe that a lot of the detailing listed out in your work would mesh very well with the strategy and tactics tree I have mentioned in my essay[/Link] I appreciate greatly the uber-goal of the continuity of the rational being. It has a certainty to it.

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Prakash Chandrashekar replied on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 16:59 GMT
Sorry for messing up the link.

My Essay

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 02:23 GMT
You are too kind, Prakash.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 14:53 GMT
Dear Mr. Allan,

I was quite impressed by your essay, especially by the magnificent graphics. I do have one minor quibble that I hope you will not mind me mentioning.

You wrote: “Nothing can travel faster than light.”

INERT LIGHT THEORY

Based only on my observation, I have concluded that all of the stars, all of the planets, all of the asteroids, all of the comets,...

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 02:36 GMT
Dear Joe, If you could be a little bit stronger in your critique, without basing it on your own thesis, then I could probably reciprocate. - Mike

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Joe Fisher replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 14:43 GMT
Dear Mike,

There is nothing stronger than reality. You cannot reciprocate to reality with abstraction. I have no need for you to reciprocate.

Regards,

Joe Fisher

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Member Tommaso Bolognesi wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 16:29 GMT
Michael,

I do not know how appropriate this is, but I must report that I had an experience similar to yours. When my essay was published, it appeared with a score 1, and I noticed that this was the case for several others - all serially scored 1!

I suspected this was a sort of strange general policy by one community member to have most essays (but not all?) work hard to climb the hill. Mine succeeded, to some extent, but I would really be curious to know what has really happened.

Tommaso

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 01:10 GMT
Yes, unfortunately the rating system is flawed. It's like throwing a bunch of lobsters in tank without banding their claws. I no longer hope for a prize, just a sincere, critical appraisal from anyone who shares an abiding interest in the steering question - in return for the same from me. So I drafted a policy on reciprocal reviews. Please note that I posted a review invitation on your own page, earlier.

Also note that I seconded your thoughtful comments on Parry's essay. (Alas, the notification system here is unreliable, too.) - Mike

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Turil Sweden Cronburg replied on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 14:18 GMT
We have discovered just one of the many major faults of the competition-based, zero-sum game approach to life! Trying to rank/score others as a way to make decisions about resource allocation only gets in the way of healthy information sharing.

It's not bad enough for me to give up sharing my unique thoughts and observations and research entirely, but it certainly is discouraging to have ranking that seems irrational and entirely lacking useful feedback.

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Chidi Idika wrote on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 13:34 GMT
Dear Michael,

I like that you seek to objectify morality.Your essay is quite detailed. This means you have in your mind a specific picture of the “myth making process”. Among other things am concerned to know:

What is your physical definition of this myth? Is it as some manifesto or some actual physical impetus/potential or do you use myth as in “spirit of the law” vis-à-vis...

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 14:25 GMT
Thanks for reading my essay, Chidi. I answer in short, but can expand if you have questions. A. By myth, I mean an "explanation of where we come from and where we are going." (p. 7) B. I connect light speed as one of the premises (P1) underlying the 3 principles of moral theory, the corresponding practices of which I describe in 3 sections (pp. 3-9). C. For an intuitive picture, "perhaps the most important image to hold in mind is that of the individual as a hero, hand on tiller, eye on the stars, directing everyone's future while limiting no one's freedom." (p.3) D. In the supreme valuation on reason (P2), I don't mean to imply that we fully use reason, just that it's the last thing we'd surrender. E. Thank you, but here I defer to Habermas and other philosophers. I'm not competent to defend his theories against economists. F. I agree the question of 'why' can be hard to answer for most norms, but maintain it's important to try. G. Currently there are prototypes, but no proper practice yet. - Mike

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Aaron M. Feeney wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 23:24 GMT
Hi Mike,

Warm greetings, fellow FQXi thinker. I just found your newly added note about myself and other authors implicitly declining your invitation. However, implying any lack of enthusiasm regarding your invitation was not my intention; I do gladly accept it. I had been wanting to have something substantive to add about your paper before contacting you, for I had planned to accept it from the beginning, but that can wait until my next post.

Aaron

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Author Michael Allan replied on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 10:24 GMT
Hi Aaron, Warm greetings and thanks in return. Your paper is one I definitely wanted to include. I'll be to comment soon. - Mike

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Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 02:37 GMT
Hi Michael,

I know you're waiting until you have an opportunity to comment on my article again and rate it. You will see that I'm putting the following postscript on everyone's page, so I thought I would also share it with you. It is especially pertinent in your case because you're the expert on voting systems. (That was my favorite part of your article so far, I really learned a lot.)...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 07:43 GMT
Thanks Aaron, Please go ahead and count on my vote. Toward the end of the month I'll be voting for all the essays on my review list, which includes yours. I've kept the timing deliberately vague in order to avoid issues of vote disclosure. - Mike

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Tommy Anderberg wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 21:23 GMT
I see we both like the finite speed of light. It would indeed make the imposition of imperial rule over interstellar distances a difficult feat. I am not so sure about its ability to act as a barrier for death, though. Even disregarding exotic possibilities like vacuum decay, I can imagine things like paranoid aliens sending out "grey goo"-inducing von Neumann machines to "pacify" their galactic...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 1, 2014 @ 17:54 GMT
Thanks for the critique, Tommy. I summarize my reply: A) arguments for interstellar extinction are hard to take seriously and relatively easy to defend against; B+D) your suspicions of forced steering and replacement of existing institutions seem based on a misreading; and C) I do define "transitive voting" in the text.

A. A network of stellar civilizations slowly expanding into...

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Robert de Neufville wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 01:03 GMT
This is a very interesting essay, Mike. As someone whose professional training is in political theory, I love how you ground your argument in Kant and Habermas. But I also think you—understandably, given the topic—cover too much ground to really make the points you want to make.

Your essay was hard for me to follow at times. There is certainly nothing wrong with reasoning abstractly,...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 20:47 GMT
Thanks Robert, this is especially helpful. I cover more territory than I'm able to properly explain, making it hard even for experts to follow (I see that now). I answer in detail below: A+B) better explaining some concepts in the moral theory; and C) agreeing that two of the inventions might be replaceable, but disagreeing about recombinant text.

A. The construction of M1 is poorly...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 21:25 GMT
Correction: not a cantilever, just a beam. (Good thing I'm not a structural engineer.)

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Robert de Neufville replied on May. 9, 2014 @ 05:30 GMT
Thanks for the explanation, Mike. I'm glad if my comments were at all helpful. I would love to talk more about this with you. I don't have time right now, but I hope we can pick up our conversation some time in the future.

Best,

Robert

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Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 05:03 GMT
Hi Mike,

I read through your essay and if I remember your statement correctly you had said your essay contained a method for choosing a "path" or for coming to some kind of consensus. I'm not sure if I understood everything (the figures do help here) but you are presenting some iterative process whereby people are able to cross check and come to some common conclusion. The diagrams do have a flavor of trying out many different approaches to a questions and cross checking to come to some conclusion. Anyway I liked the idea. One suggestion -- would it be possible to try out this process on a small scale one some test question for which the conclusion is "known" n order to test if/how the procedure works in practice? In other words run the process through a test to see how it does.

At the end of the essay (and this is also mentioned in the beginning) you mention the use/power of myth. I didn't clearly follow the segue here, but in general I think myth does have a powerful but specific role to play in human culture. Actually in this regard you might be interested in works by Joseph Campbell who studied the role of myths in various cultures. Also Carl Jung's archetypes are in this direction (I think) so you might find this interesting as well.

Anyway a good essay. Best of luck.

Doug

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 04:50 GMT
Thanks Doug. I answer about path searching (see link) and independent verification.

A (path searching). Your essay and mine are both concerned with finding the optimum path to an end. In my case, each branch in a particular forest (i.e. in a guideway) defines an alternative path to a proximal end (say a law), or to the ultimate end (mythic destination). In form, the path is a draft...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 08:23 GMT
(on path selection, see also my reply to Ajay's May 9 post)

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Ross Cevenst wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 11:33 GMT
Hi Michael

I love your long-term perspective of the survival of humanity/the biosphere and extinction events. I found this the most interesting part of your essay - it would have been great to have read more content on this.

You also include some moral philosophy and an extremely detailed set of mechanisms by which consensus can be formed (which you suggest achieve the goals of your...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 20:59 GMT
Hi Ross, thanks for commenting. I answer briefly at first, but am happy to expand. A. Though I'm indebted to Kant's insights, the theory stands alone on its two premises. B. No, I think dissensus is harmless in itself, even owing to value differences. C. You imply that two species of rational being are mutually exclusive, but why? D. I think the public discourse should identify where expert knowledge is needed, then meet that need. When we choose a harmful course, then we should learn from our mistake. - Mike

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Ross Cevenst replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 09:30 GMT
Hi, Mike. Thanks for your recent comment on my paper, I'm looking forward to reading more!

You said "You imply that two species of rational being are mutually exclusive, but why?"

My main suggestion is that a system that selects for 'rational being' will probably result in gradual human extinction, simply because AI and other technologies will likely be more rational and more efficient than humans. This becomes an issue only in the context of competition, such as for energy resources, but this seems higly likely if AIs multiply due to either self-replication or the needs of commerce or industry.

Therefore I wonder if a bettter system/moral principle might be the continutation of life and humanity, which implies the continutation of rationality (and probably the development of safe AI), but as a means rather than as an end?

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 06:01 GMT
You're welcome Ross, thanks in return. - Well, I'd simply defend the premise of a supreme valuation on reason. The full realization of that value requires an interstellar network of civilizations, something that can only be strengthened, never weakened, by the addition of other civilizations, human or non-human. This I argue in the essay and in the comments.

To the extent your hypothetical AI-creatures are more rational than we, I feel we've less cause to fear them than ourselves, even if we're all crammed into the same local niche. Genocide is never a rational response to competition, only a sign of mental weakness or collective insanity.

I'll re-read your essay shortly and see if I can't think of a question or two for that gentle interviewer to ask. - Mike

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Mark Avrum Gubrud wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 10:17 GMT
Mike, this is a very beautifully written essay, and very beautifully illustrated as well. The main ideas about voting and consensus-building are also very similar to ones that occurred to me some years ago, and I think potentially very important.

Unfortunately, the writing is almost too beautiful; the way you weave your thoughts together makes it difficult to follow the mechanics of the...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 00:28 GMT
Thanks very much, Mark. In summary: A) Any beauty must come from the technology, not my writing; B) I agree the tooling needs a methodical description; C) I mean extinction of the network is barred, not the local nodes; D) I clarify "essence of humanity" and ask you to re-evaluate; E) I agree about the value of life, but think it implied in the supreme value of reason; F) I ask you to explain your...

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Anonymous wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 19:25 GMT
Dear Michael,

Here is my attempt to honestly and critically analyze your essay:

First, what I consider to be the strong points:

1. The visual presentation of the essay is excellent, the diagrams are a pleasure to look at

2. Your writing style is captivating and at times I would consider it lyrical

3. You present novel connections between concepts that most people...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 02:40 GMT
Thanks for these questions Armin, and the chance to explain. I answer in two posts. Here's a summary of the first: 1) I explain the literal necessity of endlessly retelling the myth; 2) I explain how "Life could radiate... but death could not"; 3) I further justify the premise of a supreme value on reason; and 4) I suggest that answers 2 and 3 may help you follow the theoretical...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 02:50 GMT
Continuing from previous post: 5) I outline the essay structure; 6) I explain details of recombinant text; 7) I reiterate the purpose of pipes; and 8) I agree the rationale for overguidance should be more graphic, and offer a kind of picture.

5. For each principle in theory (M2, M1, M0), I devote a separate section of the essay to the corresponding practice; 3 sections in all. That's...

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 04:32 GMT
Dear Michael Allan

I met you in essay of Georgina Parry

Unfortunately your essay beyond of ability automatic translation so I only see the presentation.

Maybe it's your thoughtful and conscientious very admirable .

10 points are worthy for that - Hải.CaoHoàng

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 23:46 GMT
Hello again, Hai. Here's a text version of my essay. I hope it's easier to translate.

Thanks very much for your generosity. I've added you to my review list. I'll be to comment on your essay shortly. - Mike

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on May. 6, 2014 @ 03:58 GMT
Michael,

That is a very interesting and well thought out plan. I think though that you really need to step back even further to get a more complete picture and some of these issues might fall into place of their own accord.

For one thing, humanity shouldn't be an end in itself, but one more tool, one more bridge between what came before and what will come after.

One of the...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 9, 2014 @ 01:54 GMT
John, I don't claim humanity's 'an end in itself'. Maybe you've confused me with someone else? - Mike

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John Brodix Merryman replied on May. 9, 2014 @ 10:05 GMT
Michael,

" An end to steer by,...

The material principle of the theory (M0, Table 1) follows almost directly from the two premises: while the laws of nature (P1) enable rational beings to assure themselves of a continuous existence, as opposed to extinction, that same continuity would also be necessary to fully develop and realize the supreme value (P2). So we take that continuity...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 9, 2014 @ 22:50 GMT
No problem, John. You correctly identify the end as "M0". But M0 isn't defined as "humanity", nor could anything "come after" it. - Mike

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 23:27 GMT
Michael,

Speaking of myth and reason seems incongruent though myth is certainly part of our current culture, religion carrying a great deal of weight in decisionmaking. But we do separate reason and faith in our world. Does the myth have to support the reason and steering applications and consensus building.

I have a vision too that might require myth and reason:

Humankind and...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 9, 2014 @ 02:17 GMT
James, while I agree Earth's origin is a mythic theme, I don't understand why you confront me with faith and religion. 'Myth' I describe (p. 1) and define (p. 7) as a normative story of "where we come from and where we are going", one that's backed by rational discourses in the public sphere. Are you confusing my essay with someone else's? - Mike

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Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 9, 2014 @ 05:24 GMT
Michael,

Years ago, I ran a successful consulting service that helped author an organization's story with the objective of the story being to encapsulate culture, tradition, goals and aspirations that would rally both insiders and outsiders. So, your idea of steering with a myth intrigues me to no end. I would love to find a way to make your idea real.

Inventing a story so "convincing it becomes immortal" is easy to say, however, than do. The easy part I found was the history if it was well documented and recent. The future was another question altogether due to one overriding consideration: The different places different people were coming from - this seems to be the same as what you imply in seeking "consensual norms." We tried all sorts of voting patterns to build consensus but, while everyone agreed on the very far long term, the closer we looked the more the differences. Your legislative example seems to depend on a majority agreement and may work but we were seeking 90% agreement.

While I totally subscribe to your idea of a myth steering, almost automatically, to an acceptable future, I am concerned about its implementation. Any concerns on the implementation of your model?

I look forward to your comments on my essay here.

- Ajay

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 08:14 GMT
Thanks Ajay for the thoughtful review. Here I explain the feasibility of consensus.^* The kind of consensus we're after is defined by the validity criterion (D, p. 3) as a text (myth, law or plan) to which all affected persons can in reason agree. Put like that, you'll see it's easy to obtain a starter consensus. The example I give for a mythic text is (p. 8), "We want to create a better...

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 01:40 GMT
Dear Mike

I am very pleased with your suggestion and would be very grateful if you give me another translation to recognize the shortcomings that I have made.

I did see copies of your text - I would love to look forward to establish a regulation for your future and especially: "Maximizing PERSONAL FREEDOM: Necessary Inventions" - you'll find it at "The Optional" in my essay.

attachments: 1_NHIM_V_BT_BUC_V_GII_PHP_TNG_TH_CHO_TNG_LAI.pdf

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 14, 2014 @ 09:32 GMT
Thanks, Hai. I still hope to re-read your essay. I reply in your forum.

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 14:46 GMT
Mike,

I've now read your essay a 3rd time and must admit I still struggle to genuinely understand your thoughts (the 1st was speed reading so doesn't count as yours is as immune to skimming as mine).

I somehow miss the jump from the limitations of c to populating the stars (all of which I agree with) and also reliance on myth. As an astronomer I'm very happy with concepts of distance...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 13, 2014 @ 03:57 GMT
(above was posted twice, so I'll reply below)

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 14:48 GMT
Mike,

I've now read your essay a 3rd time and must admit I still struggle to genuinely understand your thoughts (the 1st was speed reading so doesn't count as yours is as immune to skimming as mine).

I somehow miss the jump from the limitations of c to populating the stars (all of which I agree with) and also reliance on myth. As an astronomer I'm very happy with concepts of distance and light speed limitations but I use the word myth quite often to describe current paradigms of astronomy and physics which we require to shed, so I myself suffer subconsciously from omnipresent preconceptions.

From seemingly (to me) more pragmatic and empirical foundations I've produced a conventional paper on a cyclic galaxy sequence and cosmology the evidence of which, if studied carefully, implies a very long term (infinite in fact) cyclic process of re-ionization and renewal where we have and will constantly be turned over and mixed with fresh material as garden soil and plants. I'd like to feel morality in one iteration influences the form and intelligence of the next sentient being any one of our brain cells may next become part of (after part of countless billions of suns and rocks between).

But only myth supports such a hypothesis. I wonder if some complex proton oscillation patterns may hold information of previous cycles? - It's really only a better evidenced 'multiverse' theory, but those who hold more mundane myths may well sent the men in white coats to drag away those with different myths! I wonder which sounds more credible to you?

Best wishes

Peter

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 14, 2014 @ 09:47 GMT
I see your mistake, Peter (though I don't share your sense of humour). You're looking for a complicated answer, but really it's quite simple. Please imagine (p. 1) ...

A child is looking at the night sky. His mother points, "Do you see that star?" she asks, "That's where we come from. We also have people there, and there," she says, pointing to other specks of light, one by one. Then she gestures across the whole of the starry sky, "This is where we live," she says, "We will always live here."

She just told a myth. A myth is a story of 'ultimate origin and destination' (see abstr). Far from being false, this particular myth will always be true. Therefore the promise it contains will be kept. She knows this. She knows this precisely because the limit of light speed (C) serves as an interstellar 'barrier to extinction events' (abstr). You see, it isn't complicated.

And please don't make light of it. The moral view is important. Humanity matters. Thinking only of physics can lead to bad consequences. We might instead tell the story of the child at Hiroshima crying for her mother, with her skin half burnt off. If we steer humanity into the shithole of extinction, then we let that child die for nothing. Either way, you see, these mythic stories tell us exactly who we are.

Mike

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Arthur R. Woods wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 18:57 GMT
Dear Michael

I thoroughly enjoyed your essay which was so well constructed and written that I do not have any real criticism.

In the introduction to my essay A Space Age on Earth , I, too, mention the function of myth making and the decision making process as it relates to the perception of humanity's place and purpose in the universe. "As knowledge increased though a process of...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 07:29 GMT
Thank you for a thoughtful reading, Authur. I like your analogy of the medicine wheel. It seems we moderns are destined to recreate simple folk ways in ever more complex forms.

I added you to my review list. I'll be to comment on your essay shortly. - Mike

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Gyenge Valeria wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 20:31 GMT
Dear Michael!

I found your essay title interesting conveying something similar message to be considered as I'd tried to point out to that in my essay.

I've not yet been able to read it over with perusal and taking a deserving comment.

However at the first glance, I welcome the 'morality principle', but I can a bit disagree with the further 'myth-making' and looking into the 'stars'. At least the phrases need to be reconstructed.

As far as, I also skim read your 'Votorola' about page (much in your essay an abbreviation from that - I find it very interesting and I will look at the software too, as an IT women also :) I feel, I'm able to understand your thoughts and concepts, however all is quite complex for first sight and even for non technical average understanding. (As I read above in some comment).

I'm also not sure the voting system can work well as negotiated someone's else sent me and written on your wiki page.

I'm ready to discuss with you further, but I find non-relevant doing that longer here. You can reach me the given e-mail in my essay.

I can further offer you an annotation tool(it works stable for me tested on Win8 ff28)

Kind regards,

Valeria

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Gyenge Valeria replied on May. 13, 2014 @ 20:35 GMT
Michael, here is the annotation tool link

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/stickyplu
shighlighter/

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 07:37 GMT
(Ah, then we both use web highlighters. I'm using this one.) If you've time to explain your critique in a little more detail, Valeria (just a few sentences), then I'd be happy to return the favour by reviewing your own essay. - Mike (contact info)

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Gyenge Valeria replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 19:19 GMT
Dear Michael!

I had the opportunity to read your essay. Which is inevitably well written, well thought out, huge work. Even more you have a concrete project giving a sophisticate software which is based on your conceptualized 'Moral theory' and voting system.

What I feel behind,you are tying to give a live-sample concerning this essay contest relevant theme - How should humanity...

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Toby Asher Lightheart wrote on May. 22, 2014 @ 02:57 GMT
Hi Mike,

First of all, thank you again for your comments and critique of my essay. I see that you've been fairly successful in getting other entrants to critique your essay. I will give you my thoughts, which echo those of others, but is there anything in particular you would like me to give you feedback on?

Others have commented on your premise that "reason is the supreme value". I...

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 23, 2014 @ 21:46 GMT
You're welcome, Toby; thanks in return for yours. Summary: A) answering about the feedback I seek; B) defending premise P2, supreme value on reason, and explaining how to attack it; C) defending principle M2, maximum of personal freedom; D) defending rational discourse as the horse to pull the cart; E) sampling what can and cannot be reasonably agreed; and F) planning my next essay...

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Jeff Alstott wrote on May. 22, 2014 @ 11:24 GMT
Hi Michael,

Thank you for your reciprocal review offer. Let's do it!

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 23, 2014 @ 21:57 GMT
Thanks in return, Jeff. I posted a review of your essay yesterday. I'll be rating it (along with the others on my review list) some time between now and May 30.

Awaiting your answer, - Mike

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Jeff Alstott replied on May. 26, 2014 @ 11:02 GMT
Thank you for writing this beautiful essay, Michael. The accompanying diagrams are similarly beautiful and very helpful in making your thoughts clear. I find the recombinant text and guideway system appealing. My main question is this: if rational discourse is valued, how does this system ensure that rational discourse is maintained (as opposed to attractive rhetoric, bribes, threats, etc.)? Are there additional systems that would need to be put in place to maintain this?

Thanks for your entry!

Jeff

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 27, 2014 @ 05:04 GMT
Thanks in return, Jeff. It was a pleasure to work on, and the critique and feedback are valuable to me.

Habermas says the sought-for rationality already lives and breathes in the public sphere (a realm of reason). Just introducing the guideway should suffice to tap that rationality and bring it to bear on the decisions of the administrative system (a realm of power). Toby's analogy of May...

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Aaron M. Feeney wrote on May. 23, 2014 @ 00:05 GMT
Hi Mike,

What an awesome article, I really enjoyed it and your vision of how we might better build consensus. You obviously put a great deal of thought into how to maximize the fairness of consensus through networked drafting of consensus norms. This is a neglected area and I'm glad to see that someone is filling the void. I would love to see a longer work focused just on that which...

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Aaron M. Feeney replied on May. 23, 2014 @ 21:58 GMT
Erratum: A hole was punched in a concrete block, not a steel plate. A steel plate was also mentioned in the context of the same set of experiments, but it was not punctured, only dented.

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 24, 2014 @ 03:17 GMT
Hi Aaron, It needs a longer text, I agree. I plan to start writing one shortly. There's software already (Votorola), but it's only a prototype with wires sticking out.

Thanks for sharing these superluminal findings (new to me). I guess they aren't generally recognized yet, so my premise can still appear to be secure. I'm sure it'll eventually fail regardless (what ever doesn't?) and with it my moral/steering theory. But maybe we'll have found other destinations to steer toward by then, maybe with the help of your foreknowledge machines.

Warmly, with best wishes in return, - Mike

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James Blodgett wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 08:42 GMT
Your essay has great graphics and interesting ideas. I like your invocation of myth. Your charts are an interesting way to diagram things, and to think about them. However, many of your charts seem to simply describe more or less standard democracy, and the parts that don't seem based on goals that do not seem quite as axiomatic as you make them. For example, you establish personal freedom as a supreme goal, but then you mention limits. Don't limits make it less a supreme goal and more a matter of satisficing competing wants within the context of a grey area? I suppose that everyone writes their own page in their own head, but I would think that an elected official would not want to publish thoughts with which his constituents would not agree, and so those parts of his page would generally stay in his head. If he chooses to be a politician and wants to be a successful one, he compromises his personal freedom to say whatever he wants. Can you build a different set of motivations and contingencies? How does your myth pathway work when competing with many preexisting and contradictory myths? My feeling is that you have good ideas and a potentially valuable way to diagram them, but they need field testing to see if they work in practice.

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Author Michael Allan replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 01:34 GMT
Thanks for your critical reading, James. I propose composing a myth that everyone could freely agree to. This would be a novelty because none of the traditional myths ever attracted an unforced consensus. Consensus was forced in the past. Later force was lifted and consensus was lost. We'd now be inclined to think of myth (like religion) as a lifestyle choice, "Which myth do I prefer?"

But that's not the question. Rather the question is, "What myth could we all reasonably agree to?" Here the traditional myths are all unlikely competitors, at least in their canonical forms.

You claim that I limit freedom in contradiction of moral principle M2 (a maximum of personal freedom compatible with equal freedoms for all). Where?

Mike

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Ray Luechtefeld wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 16:39 GMT
Hi Michael,

I'm sorry it has taken me a while to comment on your essay. I have a few questions:

You assume rationality, but there are tons of studies that show that people are not rational (look up the Wikipedia article on decision-making biases, for example). How do you reconcile this with your essay?

Also, it seems that your whole structure ignores the polysemous (having multiple meanings) nature of language. Only in the hard sciences have words been pinned down to a rigidly defined meaning (mass, velocity, etc.). Elsewhere language is layered with innumerable fabrics of meaning, both shared and personal. How does your description of a movement toward consensus take polysemy into account?

Thanks,

Ray

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Michael Allan replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 09:43 GMT
Hi Ray, No problem, I'm always grateful for feedback. I answer about A) our rational capacity, and B) polysemy.

A. Well, you must admit we're not completely devoid of reason. I try to assume only what we actually have. (Please see my answer D to Toby's post of May 22, and Jeff's of May 26.) In engineering, math, science, humanities, and other fields, we managed over the centuries to make some progress that required reason. What I suggest is to get in the habit of applying some of that to the steering problem.

B. I guess we'd use existing, standard solutions for polysemy, which would therefore depend on the context. A legislative consensus would employ legalese, for example; a planning consensus, the appropriate technical jargon; and so on.

I answer on the surface, but maybe you've a deeper problem in mind? If so, please re-phrase your questions.

Mike

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Ray Luechtefeld replied on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 23:52 GMT
Thanks for your response Mike, I just want to dig a bit deeper into the questions...

A) I agree, we are not completely devoid of reason. When we can abstract away the emotional connotations, as in math and the study of physics, we are able to be rational. But, as the "global warming" deniers illustrate, even something as purely rational as the physical phenomena of the greenhouse effect...

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Author Michael Allan replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 20:07 GMT
You're welcome, Ray. I expand on my answer to A, but am stuck on B.

A. As a naive undergraduate in science, I was disappointed to learn that scientists are no better than anyone else. They've the same faults as others, including a tendency to irrational behaviour. Whatever makes science a rational pursuit, therefore (which by and large it is) cannot be the scientists. Nor the...

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on May. 31, 2014 @ 22:42 GMT
Dear Michael Allan,

I'm not sure I would define reason as the supreme value, but it's a good working premise.

We agree on (M2) promoting a maximum of personal freedom compatible with equal freedoms for all.

Your M1 relates to collectives and I have more problems with "collective", which, while really existing, is an abstraction that has different order of reality from the...

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Author Michael Allan replied on Jun. 2, 2014 @ 09:12 GMT
You're welcome, Edwin; thanks in return. I spoke in these forums already with Douglas, but I'm unsure whether he sees the similarity in our approaches. Anyway, here I answer about A) "collective"; B) votes based on "effort and expertise"; and C) the need for the overguideway despite the overguide being an individual.

A. I employ "universally collective" only in the technical sense of...

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 01:16 GMT
Mike,

Thanks for that response; you've answered my key questions. And thanks for the links to the Resource Accounting Framework. I've also read your other comments elsewhere and appreciated them.

And I do think that we are ready for and not very far away from the next myth that will arise to give meaning to what seems to have become for too many a meaningless life.

My best wishes for success in the work you're doing.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 02:39 GMT
Michael,

I found your essay ambitious and complex. You certainly have put a lot of thought in optimizing the process of consensus-building, which is vital, of course, if humanity is to successfully steer the future! I am not sure I was able to follow all the intricacies of your arguments and of your diagrams, but this is certainly due to the limitations of a 9-page essay.

I particularly liked your opening paragraphs, where you explained how the limit of light speed and the huge distances between star systems form a barrier to extinction events: it is an often encountered statement that humanity will never be safe from extinction before it colonizes other star systems, but you have presented this idea in an original and interesting fashion.

I also like the way you framed your discussion about optimal consensus-building around the larger theme of "mythopoeic overguidance". I fully agree with you when you say that "the future of humanity is necessarily a mythic construction, our ultimate existence hinging on our ability to invent and evolve a story so convincing it becomes immortal." Your reminded me that the power of myth is one of the important aspects that must be taken into account if, like I propose in my essay, we are to construct a successful Futurocentric Education Initiative.

Good luck in the contest!

Marc

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Author Michael Allan replied on Jun. 2, 2014 @ 09:26 GMT
Thanks, Marc. I wish I could've made the technical descriptions a little less dense, but I'm happy the main ideas came through. They haven't been exposed to critique before, which I think they need. So I'm working to give them room to breathe by rewriting the essay as three separate papers.

I've added you to my review list and look forward to reading your own entry. - Mike

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 03:09 GMT
Hello Michael,

If I can get to your essay this week, I will of course give you an honest appraisal, as that is my standard approach. That is all I can promise at this time.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author Michael Allan replied on Jun. 2, 2014 @ 09:32 GMT
Thanks Jonathan, I couldn't ask for more. If you do find time, then please leave me at least D-Day itself to read your own essay.

Hoping for your speedy recovery, - Mike

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George Gantz wrote on Jun. 2, 2014 @ 16:55 GMT
Mike –

Thanks for your comment on my essay – I hope my reply is helpful.

I found your essay difficult to follow and perhaps unnecessarily complex, but my sense is that the tools you are suggesting, reflecting an integration of game theory, media and social dynamics, may be extraordinarily useful and practical in working towards a positive future for humanity. They deserve further investigation. I did not feel, however, that your background and analysis leading to the proposed tools was well grounded. I felt there was a forced formality to the P1 – P2 and M2 – M1 – M0 sections that, for me, interfered with the more convincing “poetic” elements of your essay. Also, I tend to disagree with some of your principles. P1 (limit of speed of light), for example, appears not to be fundamental according to findings in quantum physics (what Einstein famously called “spooky action at a distance.”). There are forms of communication that are not constrained by the speed of light. P2 is also a principle which seems limited – if you accept that the human experience is something that includes both reason and emotion, and potentially transcendence.

I would also suggest that the process of moving from your principles to the moral postulates is not one of deduction, but draws heavily on analogy and inference. I always felt that Kant was often guilty of such overstatement. Inference is fine – we just need to be honest about it.

The strength of your essay was in the mythopeotic framing of the issue – and in the very practical suggestions you are making for improving our social decision making. I was not able to understand all the technicalities of your proposals, but would like to spend time trying to learn more. Is Habermas the place to start?

Thanks – George

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Author Michael Allan replied on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 16:08 GMT
You're welcome, George, but I don't understand your own critique. I'm probably your only source on the subject of mythopoeic overguidance and tree-form guideways, as I think nobody else works on this technology. And this is my first attempt at an intro. But I'm happy to answer your questions if you've any... I've some for you, please:

You're the first to dismiss the moral theory tout court and I don't understand your reasons. Can you point to a particular fault? You imply that the prohibition against faster-than-light communication (P1) cannot stand because some other theory is indifferent to whether it does or not. But that doesn't make it likely to fall. We've plenty of empirical evidence of communication at and below light speed, but none faster. Or where is the evidence? Or the consensus that it's likely to be forthcoming?

Or please explain in a few sentences why the other premise (P2) is unlikely to stand. How is emotion more likely than reason to be the supreme value in the universe?

Or point to a particular logical conclusion (whether deduction or inference) that's invalid, and briefly explain the error or omission you see. Without such an explanation, I cannot understand why you dismiss the theory. Please also see the summary of past critique that I've answered. - Mike

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 20:08 GMT
Dear Mike,

I like your essay. It is well written, well informed, well illustrated. I find interesting the connection between collaborative technology and freedom. This offers a fresh perspective on the relation between individual freedom and collective. One question, which is not related. Good luck in the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi

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Author Michael Allan replied on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 16:35 GMT
Thanks Cristi, good luck in return.

Did you have a question, or was that a typo?

Mike

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Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 05:13 GMT
Typo. I had a question, but I realized the answer is implicit in the essay.

Best,

Cristi

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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 07:58 GMT
Hello Mr. Allan,

This is Margarita Iudin

I read your essay without rating it. I stopped rating essays because I feel confused about how the authors rate each other.

Before I read your essay I liked how you organized your comments. Now I want to say you that you submitted very good essay.

These are my remarks

1. the essence of humanity, words, just words

2, E. Kant moral values, reason, it is always good to mention Kant

Mythopoeic overguidance, sounds heavy, even negatively, why?

Mythopoeic

I remember once I encountered the word mythopoetic in relation to Einstein

4. What laws of nature do you mean?

5. endless continuum of rational being

what about escaping from the physical body, destruction of the body, cleansing and rebirth of a soul I am not sure we understand each other

6. procedural theory, procedures, software computing terminology

7 Strange understanding of what freedom is

Seems to be a flight of imagination

8 a primitive scheme of voting,

preliminary, because all of them would be preliminary

In TDSB school grade 10 students learn about 3 levels of the Canadian government and that the voting as an important feature of democracy

The voting procedures may work properly, democracy itself does not work

Where are the responsible citizen-voters ? Why voters are unable to make competent decisions?

Think about the voting in Ukraine

8 I like your approach to myth and storytelling



http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2096

Imagining the future humanity by Margarita Iudin

Please read my essay on your convenience and share your opinion.

Good luck,

M Iudin

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Author Michael Allan replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 20:44 GMT
Thanks Margarita, good luck in return. I like your forthright style, but your critical points are too terse for me to answer. I'll try to answer your questions first:

2. Mythopoeic overguidance is a heavy technical term, I agree. But otherwise it doesn't sound negative in English, at least not to me.

4. By "laws of nature" (p. 2), I mean the physical contraints of nature that enforce the limit of light speed, which I assume cannot be breached (premise P1).

8. I agree that electoral voters could be more competent in their decision making. The answer my thesis gives is roughly, "they're incompetent because they're not making use of the public sphere". Before making an electoral decision, they should be talking in public and agreeing on what the decision ought to be. Armed with that knowledge, it will be easier for them to make the right decision on election day, of course. But I doubt they can make use of the public sphere without the support of guideways, which is the technical part of my proposal.

If you could expand on one of your critical points, explaining in a few sentences what you think is wrong, then I'll try to answer further. - Mike

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:42 GMT
Interesting and excellent Michael,

I need to get some sleep, but I will comment on the morrow, or so. There are limitations to how extensively this idea could be implemented, but it's a good step toward a systematic solution. Best of luck.

Regards,

Jonathan

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