Getting into Some Deep Epistemological Sh-… Stuff…

I’ve had some puzzling thoughts and deep introspection lately and I thought I would get some other people thinking about them too. In no particular order, here are a few deep thoughts and interesting quandaries.

1.

Freedom or Death?

This was first introduced to me while playing Mass Effect (a series I heartily recommend to sci-fi fans). Without spoiling too much, I’ll give a brief run-down of the situation.

The robotic Geth are all controlled by a central intelligence. They all think and “feel” whatever their collective conscious tells them to. A hive-mind, if you will. The Geth are seen as evil creatures to all organic life, because, due to conflict with their creators, they rebelled and became hostile.

However, a select few Geth are somehow freed from the hive control and one of them joins your crew, under the name Legion.

During the game, a choice may be given to the player while attacking a Geth ship. Legion tells you that s/he could stop the Geth from attacking organic life in one of two ways: s/he could shut them down, or, s/he could reprogram them to ally with organics and they would never know it.

This stopped me in my tracks at first, because it is the sort of thing we never deal with in real life.

Do I wipe out an entire race because I don’t agree with their actions? Should I eliminate one civilisation to save others?

Or do I remove all sense of free will from them? Do I take away their ideals and beliefs and replace them with my own?

What’s the right choice?

Is there a right choice?

If they weren’t robots, would our views of the situation change? What would I want in this situation? What would you want in this situation?

It’s a difficult question to answer, because it’s not a situation that can be tested humanely, if at all. Would you rather die, or live with all your thoughts manipulated by another?

 …

2.

What is a Life?

To the Moon recently went on sale again, and it reminded me of my first time playing through it. The game is an emotional roller coaster, going through comedic situations to heart wrenching tragedy, and it’s amazing.

The game is centred around a man on his deathbed, who asks a pair of scientists to use some revolutionary technology to alter his memories of his life. Throughout the game, the two scientists travel through his memories and alter situations to reach the desired outcome.

However, I found myself questioning what it means to actually live. If all your memories of your life aren’t real, is it your life?

What constitutes a life? Is it our memories of the situations or the act of living that gives us our lives?

And what would a technology like this do to society as a whole? How would people act if they knew they could change everything? I can see a society on the brink of ruin, as people waste their lives away, waiting to “live” at the end of their time.

And what about the people left behind? In To the Moon, I started to feel sorry for the old man’s wife, because she died without having her memories changed. She died without feeling fulfilled. How would those that couldn’t change their memories feel about those that could?

 …

3.

Who are you?

No matter what you see, taste, hear, feel or smell, everything you interact with is filtered through your brain.

The brain is the final arbitrator on what enters you, and it adds its own biases as it wants.

But the same thing is true of everyone else. Each and every person filters the world through their mind, and each of us has our own unavoidable biases.

So my question to you is: who are you really?

Are you the “you” that you see? Are you the person strangers see? Are you the person your family sees? Are you the person your friends see? Are you the person your enemies see?

Which of these highly varied versions of yourself are you? When there are so many people you could be, who are you really?

This is another question that can’t really be answered, and even if it could, each person would have a very different view of the subject.

 Those are just a few of the philosophical queries that bob around in my head sometimes, and I hope they got you thinking a bit more deeply about seemingly average situations that you go through each day.

festina lente,

Logan, the Not-So-Dragon

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