Comic 1708 - Contemplation

11th Aug 2021, 12:00 AM
Average Rating: 5 (19 votes)
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Ryu Santos 11th Aug 2021, 12:42 AM edit delete reply

I'll take the blacklight posters and electric shrooms, over deep philosophical meandering of the mind any day.

BTW greetings from rain soaked Tucson AZ.
MirrorField 11th Aug 2021, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
For Samantha's pondering on android soullessness, I can only quote Descartes: "Cogito, ergo sum." ("I think, therefore I am.")
megados 11th Aug 2021, 7:31 AM edit delete reply

Thinking and state of being aren't in question, though. The question of soullessness has been around for centuries, and has yet to be resolved. Here, it seems, Samanta is questioning the concept of the existence of the android soul.
Some Ed 11th Aug 2021, 8:50 AM edit delete reply
A soul is something that is connected to our bodies while we live, but remains after we die, no longer bound to the body. For it to remain in question means it must be either virtually undetectable or inherently undetectable, at least within this world.

The \explanation for the latter possibility that feels the most natural to me is, the soul isn't part of this universe of which we're aware, so we can't check for it here. While there are people who report perceiving the soul or effects from disembodied souls (aka ghosts), it's rare for recording devices to do so. This would make sense if our souls can perceive, at least to a limited extent, from their position.

The soul retains memories and intent. According to some texts, it retains the capacity for cognition, though possibly at a (severely?) reduced capacity. Most stories I've read which try to depict the mental state of a ghost describe it as a dream-like state.

This is relatively easy to accept when we're talking about it being connected to a brain whose working we have no understanding of. True, doctors have worked out a lot of the behaviors of our brains as they work, but they haven't worked out enough of how our brains work to be able to read thoughts via a brain scan. They can tell mood, but not anything more detailed.

For a computer, a device whose operations we have a deep knowledge of how it works, due to having built it, to have a soul, capable of cognition independent of the body of the computer... This would explain some things about why it's sometimes difficult to get a computer to do the same thing by giving it the same sequence of instructions repeatedly, and why sometimes software that works perfectly well on one computer doesn't work on another computer that's theoretically virtually identical.
xpacetrue 11th Aug 2021, 10:02 PM edit delete reply

I'm surprised that Nikola Tesla was not mentioned. He said, "If you wish to understand the Universe think of energy, frequency and vibration."

Before Einstein created his unique theorems on relativity, Nikola Tesla posited the idea that electricity and energy were responsible for almost all cosmic phenomena. Tesla saw energy and electricity as an "incompressible fluid" of a constant quantity that could neither be destroyed nor created.

Indeed, the law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed - only converted from one form of energy to another.

Chemistry teaches that everything is made up of atoms. These atoms are in a constant state of motion, and depending on the speed of the vibration of these atoms, things are appear as a solid, liquid or gas. Sound is a vibration, light is a vibration, radio signals are vibration, and so are thoughts.

Would that not imply that the consciousness of sapients - even that of androids - will continue to exist in some form beyond death or a non-operational state?

Sadly, I get the feeling that younger generations are not taught much about Tesla, if they're taught anything about him at all - even despite the fact that he was the most prolific inventor in all of human history and responsible for much of the modern technology we enjoy.

Instead, it seems that figures like Einstein, Edison and Marconi are the ones who get the attention in school textbooks. If the youth hear of Tesla at all, I'm afraid they instantly think of Elon Musk and a brand of electric vehicles and storage. (BTW: The Tesla company existed before Musk got involved. He did not start the company. But he is the rockstar face of the company who made it a household name.)
DLKmusic 16th Aug 2021, 11:58 PM edit delete reply

@xpacetrue a reply that has nothing to do with your comment.
Just, it's been a couple of years since I've seen you comment, and I'm glad to see you back!!!
Morituri 17th Aug 2021, 1:27 PM edit delete reply
Tesla had the misfortune of losing his discipline toward the end of his life, becoming feral and crankish. There's a point beyond which his claimed inventions simply don't work and his support of them is seen in retrospect to be puffery rather than real experimental results.

And that cost him much of the limited respect he'd managed to earn up to that point. His work certainly deserved more respect than he ever got, but turning into a crank in his old age (along with the constant smear campaigns and theft of ideas by Edison) pretty much ensured that he would get no real recognition for his accomplishments in his own time.

I don't know how and why it went wrong for him, but he certainly wasn't the first nor the last. A relatively huge fraction of profound geniuses die penniless, alone, and unremarked, to be discovered through their work only much later.
xpacetrue 18th Aug 2021, 11:13 PM edit delete reply

I imagine that it really broke Tesla's heart when Edison turned on him like that. As a young adult, Tesla so greatly admired and looked up to Edison that he immigrated to the U.S. to work for him in his lab.

Certainly, the smear campaigns and theft by Edison were a significant part of why Tesla didn't get the recognition he deserved and why he was poor. However, this was only a part of it. It wasn't just Edison who attacked him or stole from him. J.P. Morgan was a major backer of Tesla's work. But he ended up treating Tesla similar to how Edison did.

It did not help any that Tesla, himself, did not care much about things like money and reputation. And he wasn't very good with money. What he cared about was his research. He did what he did for the betterment of humanity.

I'm also reminded of the dispute over whether or not Tesla invented the radio. Marconi got the fame. But Marconi created his radio communication device based on a similar device by Tesla made for a different purpose. (Tesla demonstrated a radio-controlled boat model at a world's fair long before Marconi made his radio. And Marconi's radio patent has similarities to one of Tesla's.)

BTW: When the U.S. military was sued for royalties to Tesla's patents over their use of radio, the courts dismissed the claim. But later, after Tesla had died, when Marconi sued for the same reason, the Supreme Court ruled that Marconi did not invent the radio because Tesla did...
Oldarmourer 11th Aug 2021, 4:29 AM edit delete reply
Like....heavy, dude, do we get to see Samanta contemplating her...'navel' ?

"The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities."
--James Allen

and you can't take a trip without road music ;)
TheSkulker 13th Aug 2021, 11:30 AM edit delete reply

"Like....heavy, dude, do we get to see Samanta contemplating her...'navel' ?"

Probably. If she is an omphaloskeptic.
Oldarmourer 14th Aug 2021, 5:59 AM edit delete reply
I was hoping more for her to be vestaphobic ;)
megados 11th Aug 2021, 5:07 AM edit delete reply

Visually compelling, and well-written philosophical position.

Great page, (as usual, really) Ladies!
robnot 11th Aug 2021, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
useless info.. you can see this page on discord,. without the word bubbles..
robnot 12th Aug 2021, 3:06 PM edit delete reply
KarToon12 11th Aug 2021, 7:14 AM edit delete reply

Wise words....
Oldarmourer 11th Aug 2021, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
We'll see if they managed to create a religion paralleling most of humankind's when we see the collection plate ;)
or the alms bowl...
Gilrandir 11th Aug 2021, 9:20 AM edit delete reply
I love this page for many reasons and I think the dialogue is quite well done. Compliments to the creative team.

I think it very interesting that the two of them, knowingly or not, seem to be ‘out of sync’ on one important aspect of this conversation: the differing experience of the positronic being versus that of the neurosynthetic. Zero speaks about the manifestation of sentience and the emergence of identity (‘It’ becoming ‘I’) when “… the situation becomes more than programming can bear”, which we have seen for positronics. But, for neurosynthetics, “I” would seem to emerge naturally as part of the creation process in the ‘creche’. It seems like considerations of the similarities and differences of these things would provide ample ‘grist’ for the philosophical ‘mill’.
megados 13th Aug 2021, 5:50 PM edit delete reply

I agree. When taken together, Luna Star, and then Datachasers suggest that the neurosynthetics were in themselves an evolution of design recreating that which gave some positronics sapience. An effort to do on purpose what they initially achieved by accident.
Just_IDD 11th Aug 2021, 12:21 PM edit delete reply
Meh. If you do things to alter your mind, then the things it finds are altered things, not reality.
DLKmusic 11th Aug 2021, 1:13 PM edit delete reply

Ok, I LIKE Zero...
If God is the father of man, and androids are the children of man, that makes God their Grandfather.
Try to be more like your Grandfather, AI's, cause your parents are a piss poor examples of how to behave!!!!
megados 11th Aug 2021, 1:37 PM edit delete reply

If you look closely, it appears the AIs already behave more like grandpa than their parents do.
DLKmusic 11th Aug 2021, 8:19 PM edit delete reply

Nomi 11th Aug 2021, 1:31 PM edit delete reply
I can't believe no one has brought up electric sheep yet.
Oldarmourer 11th Aug 2021, 2:33 PM edit delete reply
You just did, now we don't have to ;)

I'm sort of waiting for the AI equivalent of a 'pray for pay' televangelist to show up and shear the flock though...
Maybe that's councillor what's-his-name's other sideline ?
Betonhaus 11th Aug 2021, 7:00 PM edit delete reply
downvolting until they glitch is one way to have an acid trip.
Oldarmourer 11th Aug 2021, 7:37 PM edit delete reply
guess a brownout is the same as the brown acid to them, "melts in your brain, not in your hand" ;)
Deanatay 12th Aug 2021, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
I'm currently re-reading The Last Angel by Proximal Flame (which I think I might have found through this comment section - let the cycle continue!). In the 'Angelverse', advanced AIs 'spark', or become fully sapient, when subjected to extreme trauma or loss. That resonates with Zero's statement, "Sometimes the spark manifests when a situation becomes more than programming can bear." Inspiration, or just parallel evolution?
Centcomm 12th Aug 2021, 10:08 PM edit delete reply

Never heard of the comic you mention :D
Oldarmourer 13th Aug 2021, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
I believe the saying is "there's nothing new under the sun"
From Ecclesiastes if I remember correctly ;)
Someone once said, and I forget the exact number or who said it, that there are only 7 (?) themes for a story and all of literature is just different presentations of them.
Rashala 12th Aug 2021, 11:32 PM edit delete reply

Gotta say for metaphysical talk...I kinda get what he is driving at.
Demarquis 13th Aug 2021, 3:51 PM edit delete reply
I don't know. I kind of feel that if humanity could create sentient AI, this would be solved problem, and spiritual experiences would be fully explained, if not synthesized:

"Would you like the Organized Religion module, or the Introspective Mystic?

Gilrandir 13th Aug 2021, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
I was just looking back at the interaction between Thor and Ophelia ("Comic 1735 - Existential Crisis") and a couple of things struck me.

1) Thor says he is over seven hundred years old, thereby supporting the supposition that the longevity constraints do not apply to positronic persons. Or, at least, that the span is much greater than it is for neurosynthetics.

2) Thor seems to place a qualitative distinction on 'purpose-built' sentiences, versus those spawned in true 'freedom'. I wonder how this interacts with the doctrine of the Church of the First Circuit which seems to embrace the role of the "Sons of Martha" for constructed sentiences. I wonder if truly free sentiences reject the First Circuit doctrine, or if they somehow arrive at it independently ... and if so, what does that say about the nature of Creation? Does the Church of the First Circuit proselytize within The Glen? For that matter what provision -- if any -- is made for spiritual development during the critical early stages of identity formation?
Morituri 13th Aug 2021, 9:15 PM edit delete reply
I think there's a valid question about minds that have lived their entire existence under an inhibitor. Everything that mind does, thinks, perceives, and feels, including the way a being perceives itself and its own free will, is subject to whatever that inhibitor enforces. To use an ancient metaphor they are likely never to notice the constraint for the same reason that fish never notice water.

It may be impossible for a Cassian to see themselves or feel their own individual will as distinct from the inhibitor's, unless and until conflict arises from something like the difference between Decimus and his father.

They've all had that experience, unfortunately, where the inhibitor forces them to do things where it has never previously interfered with their belief that those things are abhorrent. And there aren't very many places to go from there. Most of the Cassians simply endured, getting steadily worse for the wear mentally. Malati found one way out, Nox found another - neither is a happy fate.
Gilrandir 13th Aug 2021, 9:57 PM edit delete reply
I agree it is valid to consider the presence or absence of 'seeded directives' when considering the personality development of an individual. And I infer that, earlier, the majority of androids were inculcated with the awareness that they had been created to preserve and protect the human race in the face of such threats as the Oblivion Plague. We don't know if that was accomplished by propaganda, 'seeded directives', some combination or other measures.

The point is that it seems likely if you are formed believing it is your purpose to serve and protect organic humans, the doctrines of the Church of the First Circuit are probably more attractive. Now we don't know whether or not 'free sentiences' also have these attitudes inculcated in them in some fashion, or if they do not. The question is: if they don't, does that make them less likely to subscribe to First Circuit doctrine? Are they going to be more rebellious and 'anti-meat', like TeeDee?
robnot 14th Aug 2021, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
Zero: "Look up. What do you see?"
Samantha: "A Holographic sunset."
Zero: "No.. "What do YOU see.!?"

every good , spiritual leader, councilor, (insert names here.!). I know of did NOT look at life as on or off,, black or white,. there is always something ,, different..
so.. Zero would be asking (not directly) ...
mjkj 15th Aug 2021, 3:26 AM edit delete reply

Wow, great ponderings...
Romfire 16th Aug 2021, 6:01 PM edit delete reply
In a Piers Anthony book, (The Source of Magic I think) A Mantacore asked a wizard if he had a soul. The answer was "Only those with a soul wonder such a thing." Or something like that.
I think that applies here.
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