What You Are

post by 4thWayWastrel · 2020-07-13T11:35:23.234Z · LW · GW · 3 comments

I wrote this after a bad trip some years ago, in which one of the challenges was a almost total loss of context for my experience. I'd hoped this would give me some kind of experiential ground to stand on if it happened again. If you have your own sequence of fundamentals to bootstrap an understanding of "what's going on" please share.

You Exist
Which means that you are rather than are not

You are Conscious
This means there is something that it is like for you to Exist
One imagines there is nothing that it is like to Exist as a rock
And perhaps something that it is like to Exist as a cat
Somewhere from rock to cat a subjective point of view develops, and there is Consciousness

You are an Agent
Which means you prefer, and act
To prefer is to have a valenced to your experience, positive and negative
To act is make change happen in ways that interact with your preferences

You are a Human
Humans are the best general purpose Agents we know of
Which means you can prefer and do a great many things

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comment by kithpendragon · 2020-07-13T13:53:07.032Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Curious: it sounds like maybe you don't think any experiences have neutral valence? Consider things your mind-body complex routinely perceives, but that don't (typically) get automatically promoted to your conscious attention; what it's like to wear pants or breathe the air in your own home, for example.

Or perhaps that kind of subtlety is simply unhelpful in context? I've never experienced the kind of altered state you seem to be trying to navigate more skillfully, and everybody I've spoken to (perhaps predictably) describes it in different terms, so I find it hard to get a bead on what might be too much depth for the situation.

Replies from: 4thWayWastrel
comment by 4thWayWastrel · 2020-07-13T22:03:13.307Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I definately identify with that description of neutral experience. I suspect removing ", positive and negative" might make it read a little easier.

And yeah, it's an interesting balance between a straight forward sentence, and one that still fully beings forward the the idea in my mind. I'd like to include Perception, Memory, and an experience of Time also but I either don't have an intuitive enough abstraction of them or can't think of a sentence that brings it forward.

Replies from: kithpendragon
comment by kithpendragon · 2020-07-13T23:08:34.374Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perception, memory, and time might be especially tricky in a sufficiently altered state. I'm told it's sometimes extremely difficult to know what the mind is making up. What aspects of each would be most helpful to remember when you might not be sure what (if any) of your current experiences correspond with the territory outside your own brain?