Intelligence is the mind’s worst enemy10 Oct 2004
If you’re interested in high level conversations on a wide range of topics, check out edge.org. Their motto: To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.
There’s fascinating stuff about quantum computing and black swan dynamics, but a piece in the last publication jumped out, a discussion on ‘A self worth having’:
An increasing intelligence would also reach a point where it became aware of its own intelligence and that’s a highly dangerous spot, because an intelligence that was naked and transparent would be susceptible to intellectual manipulation. The first thing that a mind smart enough to see itself would do is start to hack itself.
Kevin Kelly (on edge.org)
The irony of this is that the research performed by Mr. Kelly is doing just that: trying to hack the mind. But he makes a great point. The above quote actually comes from a reply to an earlier article, the original ‘A self worth having’ thesis:
This case stayed with me to remind me, if I should ever forget, how much consciousness matters. Even to the extent that mattering may be one of the main reasons why consciousness exists. What if it’s consciousness that gives us a reason for waking up every day, and going out into the world to experience the qualia of a rainbow, the sunset, music, interactions with our friends, sex, food? What if consciousness provides such an incentive for living that, as human beings, we would not - and probably could not - do without it?
Nicholas Humphrey (on edge.org)
So, making out under a rainbow, Marvin Gaye in the background, just after a picknick with some excellent Sancerre is not by accident an enjoyable event: you are actually celebrating the Self. And far too busy to start picking your own mind.