Author Topic: Ethics of Psychically Influencing Other People  (Read 3429 times)

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December 23, 2015, 08:15:40 PM
Reply #15

Rayn

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On the other hand, if that were true, then how are 99% of humans created according to the genetic programming? If it were purely unpredicable due to certain random variables, then humans wouldn't have a fairly easily recognizable form.

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The brains that produce our physical consciousness are stochastic yet dynamical systems that are not deterministic
And yet... scientists can poke around in the brain and cause people to have all sorts of weird experiences and sensations... And there is the theory regarding "keep tracing every action to smaller and smaller effects, and eventually you'll see that it is all deterministic, even if the resultant determinations would be mind-bogglingly loaded with factors" (though, I disagree with this theory myself, it is still popular among some).

Steve, you have no clue what you are talking about... If you were to put a drop of dye into a glass of warm water, how the dye would diffuse in the water is random. That is called Brownian Motion, and Brownian Motion is an example of what is called a stochastic process. Stochastic processes, by their nature, are indeterminate. Due to this, it can also be described as noisy. Cellular processes have a large degree of noise and thus have stochastic processes that go on in it; therefore, your chemistry is built on largely indeterministic processes. This includes your brain. For some crazy reason, it keeps slipping your mind when you speak to me that I have a genetics degree. My social web is also filled with a lot of people who work in labs, too, not to mention that a lot of lab experience was part of my education. Contrary to what you think, there is a large degree of noise when it comes to transcriptional kinetics... Gene expression has stochastic aspects due to the molecular collisions that happen which utilize the same mechanics as to why dye would randomly diffuse in water per the collisions between water molecules and the molecules of the dye. I answered your question already, though, in regards to our genetics. It is a dynamical system in regards to regulation. Genetic expression being stochastic is an established scientific fact. Arguing with that just makes you look stupid. 

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In mathematics, a dynamical system is a set of relationships among two or more measurable quantities, in which a fixed rule describes how the quantities evolve over time in response to their own values. Examples include the mathematical models that describe the swinging of a clock pendulum, the flow of water in a pipe, and the number of fish each springtime in a lake.

At any given time a dynamical system has a state given by a set of real numbers (a vector) that can be represented by a point in an appropriate state space (a geometrical manifold). The evolution rule of the dynamical system is a function that describes what future states follow from the current state. Often the function is deterministic; in other words, for a given time interval only one future state follows from the current state;[1][2] however, some systems are stochastic, in that random events also affect the evolution of the state variables.

Edit:

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Without an additional postulation, we can say that something can randomly be any given thing in those boundaries.
If you're talking Schrodinger's cat style experiment, where we've purposefully put everything in a box and we don't know what's happening because we remain willfully ignorant, then sure, I can agree to that.

No... To go with the example I gave you above, if we have a box of water and dye in that box, how the dye will diffuse in that box is randomly. This has to do with the microstates of the microcanonical ensemble you would use to model the possible states in that box of water. Something deterministic has only one possible solution whereas stochastic equations have more than one solution. The molecular collisions and interactions within that ensemble would be stochastic and therefore none deterministic. You see this same behavior with gasses, too. So, if there is a box filled with gas or water, you can model the interactions of the collisions of the molecules stochastically in a microcanonical ensemble. Since it is a microcanonical ensemble, things like volume and energy would be assumed to be the same in all possible states in such a way that we are dealing with finite quantities. Now, these statistical mechanics work well in regards to predicting how particles are likely to behave based on their information without knowing exactly about all of the smaller interactions that happen. In that, where it will be is based on where it has been, because it can be said that its history traces a particular trajectory. On a quantum level, we can think of it like a water drop(a wave function) having a spec of dust in it(an electron). We know that the spec of dust has to be in that drop, but it can be anywhere in that drop where it is intrinsically unclear where the electron has been since it does not have an exact location(a path integral is a sum of possible paths versus it being a singular path); therefore, we can only model it probabilistically. Instead of electrons being like little planets orbiting an atom, you get a probabilistic electron cloud.  It is nondeterministic because a path integral(it's history) is a sum of all possibilities or all initial points and paths, so there is no exact initial point to extrapolate things exactly.

Now, this is important, in terms of genetics, because before a polypeptide can be called a functional protein, it has to have a particular structure into which it is folded. This is called protein folding. The particular properties of electrons, I explained above, plays a role in protein folding where proteins, in neurophysiology, can act as membrane proteins (receptors) in regards to neutrotransmitters. In other words, as I stated before, your brain is not a deterministic thing. Because consciousness and the ability to decide things are emergent from a person's brain, and a person's brain is not deterministic, this implies that what we decide is not determined because the exact physical state of your brain is not already determined. Since what we decide is not determined, we can freely decide things. When something is treated as emergent, it is treated as something that is complex and interconnected. This is what Science says. I don't care for your philosophy. There is randomness in our brain. It is just regulated via things like bifurcation since biological systems can be modeled as dynamical.     

But see, that's the problem. You've started with two basic assumptions, 1) that this has to do with metaphysical power, and 2) that it has to do with actualization.

Yet the mundane world talks about free will as well, and the mundane people do not have metaphysical power to actualize their intentions via magic, and so they must utilize mundane methods in order to actualize their intentions. So, because a mundane person cannot "guarantee" the outcome via magic, it's hard or impossible for them to assume that the results of their efforts need automatically be included in the definition of free will. ("Actualization" is just a fancy word for "Well, I tried and I just so happened to have succeeded." Failure to actualize means "I tried, but failed." Refusing to attempt to actualize in the first place means "I didn't even try.")

Actually, I did not. You made that assumption. When I said Metaphysical, I was referring to an ontological model. The abstract way we speak of energy and power in multiple disciplines is ontological which is metaphysical. An example of this is that energy does work and power is the ability to have a finished, and real, product. These are conventionally derived from Aristotelian concepts. For example, I would say that money is brokerage of power within society where I use money to do things. You were actually making the assumption you were accusing me of making. When I buy something with money, I am completing my desire to buy food. When I decide to get up and get up, I am completing and making real my decision.

Not at all. This is merely an observation of the real world, much like observing gravity. Observing that something happens does not mean that it was set up for the very purpose of happening that way. We are born, and we die. This is the way that the universe is set up, not necessarily because that's the purpose, but because that's the reality. Teleological has to do with reasons for things, not mechanics of things. I'm talking about the mechanics of things.

You can not say that the universe is set up in a way you can currently prove, because that presupposes something set it up which implies something intelligent did so. You cannot empirically prove this implication. If your intention was to simply say that this is how the universe exists without any intelligent creation, then that is acceptable. Otherwise, I am going to say it is an unproven assumption that is not observable like gravity.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 03:25:41 PM by Rayn »
Noein - A Resource on Psi, Science, and Philosophy
but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.

December 24, 2015, 07:08:05 PM
Reply #16

Steve

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So first thing's first. In response to this:
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For some crazy reason, it keeps slipping your mind when you speak to me that I have a genetics degree.

This. (only the 10 seconds until it fades to black)
https://youtu.be/it7W8Gm_oK4?t=63


Next, you're right. I feel so stupid now. How could I have ever forgotten that the literal definition of stochastic is "we can't be arsed"? Oh well, doesn't matter much anyway, because I'm giving you this point. You win it. I was only taking pot shots for the fun of it anyway.

And lastly, I need to apologize. For all the times I tell you to post which version of a definition you're using, I missed it when you actually did so. You said the classical definition of metaphysics. I missed that because I was tired, and because I saw a bunch of words like "actualize" and "metaphysical" and "your power" together and I thought you meant the definition of metaphysical that we normally use on this site. My bad. My first assumption was totally wrong.

The second assumption was not so much wrong. You still thought it has to do with actualization. And you said actualization had to do with the results. And if you're trying to say that actualization has nothing to do with the decision, then what the hell is a person actualizing? (Although, it turns out I did go a little bit overboard in my reply. You used the term three times, and I used it 15 times in response. hah, whoops)

But then none of that matters either anyway because that's a discussion about will, rather than a discussion of the ethics of psyhically manipulating people. Would you care to discuss the ethics in a thread created for the very purpose of not derailing a different thread with the topic of ethics?

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If your intention was to simply say that this is how the universe exists without any intelligent creation, then that is acceptable.
I did not say that, but nor did I say or imply that it has anything to do with intelligent design. What I said had nothing to do with any of that at all.

A set up is just how you find something before you start messing with it. Our bodies are genetically designed to die. It's been like that since long before we knew what genetics were. It's the way of things, completely regardless of intelligent design or complete accident or adaptation of species. And it is very, very observable even without knowledge of genetics.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

December 26, 2015, 09:17:06 AM
Reply #17

Rayn

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The second assumption was not so much wrong. You still thought it has to do with actualization. And you said actualization had to do with the results. And if you're trying to say that actualization has nothing to do with the decision, then what the hell is a person actualizing? (Although, it turns out I did go a little bit overboard in my reply. You used the term three times, and I used it 15 times in response. hah, whoops)

But then none of that matters either anyway because that's a discussion about will, rather than a discussion of the ethics of psyhically manipulating people. Would you care to discuss the ethics in a thread created for the very purpose of not derailing a different thread with the topic of ethics?

No, I did not say they have nothing to do with one another. I said that a person's will and decisions are not the same as the power to actualize something. A person's decision can be thought of as a blueprint for the house. The actual and finished house can be thought of as an actualized product predicated by the blueprint. Machines produce actualized things all of the time; however, machines have no intrinsic consciousness from which to say they have any kind of will. Decisions are not simply energy and power. Gas engines have energy and power, but they can't make choices. A decision is the result of a reflexive vector of experience where decisions are abstract. Energy is the process of causing a series of changes whereas power is the sum capability to make these changes; however, energy and power are not decisions. To conflate these two is to imply that decisions are more basic than they actually are when decisions are emergent and therefore complex. Reductionist ideologies, ironically, don't work well with biology, because biology, and the consciousness it produces, is complex. A neuron, by itself, for example, is not consciousness; rather, consciousness only emerges when there is an interconnected framework of neurons, so consciousness emerges from complexity. Without a sound grounding in biochemistry; however, it is difficult to appreciate this, though.

You're the one who brought up will. You're also the one who made an incorrect comment about it. Conversations about ethics are really conversations about what we should or should not do; therefore, ethical choices are predicated by and contingent on what we will and will not do. If our choices are already determined, then what we will and will not do is determined. Since things are predicated on this, I would say it is important.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2015, 09:20:16 AM by Rayn »
Noein - A Resource on Psi, Science, and Philosophy
but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.

December 26, 2015, 10:57:48 PM
Reply #18

Steve

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No, I did not say they have nothing to do with one another. I said that a person's will and decisions are not the same as the power to actualize something.
Okay, so we both agree that the decisions are not the same as the results of those decisions.

However:
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Machines produce actualized things all of the time; however, machines have no intrinsic consciousness from which to say they have any kind of will
There are two slightly different concepts of actualization put in play here. When we say that the universe actualized something, such as a lightning bolt appearing, we do not assume there is intent or consciousness behind it. But when humans do so, such as programming the machine, we assume that there is a conscious will or decision or intent behind it because human existence tends to be conflated with consciousness. Do we agree on that?

If we both do agree on that, then what else have I said in the past posts that you disagree with?

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however, energy and power are not decisions. To conflate these two
I do not conflate them. However, I do see a pretty simple process at play when it comes to human manifestation:

Human decision to actualize X -> effort to actualize X -> X actualized.

Without the decision at the beginning, we have the following instead:

Effort to actualize ?? -> ??

And then this begs the question, what is being actualized? The decision is needed on the part of the human to start the process. (This does not apply to the universe, because the universe is a big bundle of workings according to the various "rules" of the universe, and whatever original event(s) set it all in motion. The difference between humans and the universe is that humans have the ability to break that chain of events that only follow the rules, and do something (almost) entirely random instead, or just plain follow a different set of rules than what should have been predetermined purely by the mechanics of the universe instead) Yet, I also understand that the decision is not the same as the result. After all, I could decide to get up and drink a glass of water, but then never do so.

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Without a sound grounding in biochemistry; however, it is difficult to appreciate this, though.
No, it's pretty easy to appreciate this without such a background. Physicists have to appreciate similar concepts when talking about materials and architecture, for instance. Just putting a bunch of molecules together doesn't make for a working sky scraper. Hell, anyone who's tried to build anything more complex than a paper airplane should be able to appreciate the basic concept of "increasingly increasing" (compounding, exponential, whatever) complexity as more factors are added.

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You're the one who brought up will.
Actually, Akenu brought it up originally. And if we had kept discussing for a long period, I'd have suggested that we could create a different thread about that too.

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Conversations about ethics are really conversations about what we should or should not do; therefore, ethical choices are predicated by and contingent on what we will and will not do.
Yet conversations about will and free will, but which ignore ethics, can also be had. Which is what we're doing now, since we're not talking about situations that people find ethical. Plus, there's that more specific aspect of the influencing others, and then the third issue of doing so psychically.

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If our choices are already determined, then what we will and will not do is determined. Since things are predicated on this, I would say it is important.
"If I have made a choice to do something, then it should already be deteremined that I will probably attempt to bring that choice to fruition."
Seems fairly obvious. But that discusses nothing about ethics. It just discusses Will. Making choices is a part of ethics, but it is hardly the same as ethics, anymore so than a discussion about making choices is the same as a discussion about art or music or mathematics.

So how do we tie it back into a discussion of the ethics of psychically influencing other people? Just saying "we have free will, so that's our discussion of ethics" isn't really cutting it.

For instance! Is it okay to psychically influence another person by making them think more positively about themself so that they'll be happier in life? Well, that answer actually has less to do with psychic influences than one would think, because it can be generalized back to general ethics regarding when and how it is acceptable for one person to influece another (having to do with multiple factors such as 1) relationship between people, 2) conscious buy-in of recipient, 3) degrees of help and/or harm to recipient, 4) emotional responses of interested 3rd party people/groups who are watching, 5) emotional responses of disinterested 3rd party people/groups who are watching, 6) how society at large might be affected, etc). It's largely the same question as whether it is okay to yell at a person and say lots of mean things to their face in order to make them feel worse about themselves. So that's not really much of a helpful discussion to the specific issue of metaphysics.

What is helpful is a specific discussion about how psychic influence differs from normal influence, and that's mostly in the "awareness of being influenced" of affected individuals. Yet, I could then also point out, as I have before, that I can and do influence other people using purely mundane methods without affected people being aware of it. So is a discussion of awareness anything new to the topic? Not really.

So are we at the point where a discussion of the ethics of psychially influencing people is really just a smoke screen for a more generic discussion about ethics? Or can you think of any specific aspects that relate purely to the topic of magic and not to the topic of the mundane?

How about the difference between internal versus external influences? All mundane influences are inherently external to the recipient, whereas psychic influences can bypass that and directly influence another person. Is that worth discussing (beyond the mechanics of it, alone)?

Or is there any other part of the ethics that you'd like to discuss, even if it can be discussed in the more general mundane category as well?

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

December 27, 2015, 03:09:20 AM
Reply #19

Akenu

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@Steve: I brought up the free will for a different reason. If person is a slave of a system, who cares that you modify his day? There isn't anything valuable he would be doing otherwise anyway, unless, of course, you make it so.

@Rayn: Silly Rayn, it's called generic degree, silly Rayn :D

December 27, 2015, 09:30:57 AM
Reply #20

Steve

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Akenu:
Yeah, I know you brought it up for a different reason. It's not like I'm blaming you for doing so :P I'm just mentioning it.

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If person is a slave of a system, who cares that you modify his day? There isn't anything valuable he would be doing otherwise anyway, unless, of course, you make it so.
That is exactly true. Thus we can ignore the extreme path of PreDestiny/PreDetermination and start with the assumption that humans have at least some degree of freedom or free will, but not "True Freedom" or "True Free Will" as there are limitations placed upon our existence, whether we want them or not.

But, as with Rayn, how do we tie that back to ethics? Can we say that "because we don't have True Free Will, we therefore can't be held responsible for our actions, and therefore the entire discussion of ethics can be thrown out the window"? I'd say not, and I'm sure most others would also say not as a plain viewing of humanity's actions and interactions show that ethics are a relevant topic. Even if freedom or free will are only illusions, we still operate our daily lives and interactions with one another under the assumptions of having freedom and free will, and thus I'd say we can actually skip that part of the discussion and go straight back to a discussion of ethics.

If people would rather have a discussion of freedom and free will, then we could start a different topic about that so as not to confuse other people who are reading (as Rayn mentioned "them", and was concerned with "them").


Rayn:
Here's some more simple descriptions of the efforts of actualization, written out for the sake of completeness. This way, if you have a problem with any specific ones, you can always point out the specific line you want to discuss.

Human decision to actualize X -> effort to actualize X -> X actualized.
Human decision to actualize X -> no effort to actualize X -> X not actualized.
No human decision to actualize X -> no effort to actualize X -> X not actualized.


Then, if you think any of the below situations are viable, you'd need to detail how they would come about. I'm sure there would be some circumstances where they just happen to happen, such as someone else entirely attempting to actualize it and you reaping the benefits, but those would be outliers and in a general sense the below don't make sense:

Human decision to actualize X -> no effort to actualize X -> X actualized?
No human decision to actualize X -> effort to actualize X? -> X actualized? (this is also the "Effort to actualize ?? -> ??" from my previous post)
No human decision to actualize X -> no effort to actualize X -> X actualized?


Oh, and one more thing, not for Rayn but for those people who Rayn mentioned who have been messaging him and thanking him for his scientific approach to things:
If you're not already, do Rayn a favour and applaud some of his posts. I'm not suggesting that you go around purposefully attempting to applaud him all the time just because you like him as a person, but if you see a post you like so much that you're willing to thank Rayn for it, applaud it.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

December 27, 2015, 09:52:06 AM
Reply #21

Steve

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Double post:

New topic for discussion of Freedom and Free Will (as distinct from the Ethics of Psychically Influencing People)
http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php/topic,23599.new.html

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?