Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Why Do We Live?

 

Often heard questions are: "Why do we live?", "How should we live?", and "What is the purpose of our lives?". Let's not look at this from the point of view of religion, but, as is more befitting for a book on ISs and their societies, from the point of view of an IS.

It seems to me that the above are not really the correct questions. We could just as well ask if we let go of a stone: "Should it fall downwards or upwards?" Or, "Why does it fall downwards?" And don't tell me it should fall downwards because of the law of gravity. As we have seen in the chapter on Intelligent Systems (For continuos reading, like a book - do not enter here now)., scientific laws (or laws of nature) are something humans made up to be able to predict, with precision, an occurrence in the environment. They do not exist in the environment outside our brains. They do not cause occurrences. They only help us to predict them. So why do we live? We live because human beings have properties which aid survival. Better said: Only those types of human beings that had properties, strongly helping survival, are those which still live today.

How should we live? We don't have much choice. Societies that live in a way that does not help survival, do not live long, historically speaking. Many types of humans do not live any longer. A case in point are the Neandertal men.

Today a society could live on abundant drugs and pollute their environment horribly. But if in the future a difficult moment arises, such a society will not be able to react correctly, it will cease to exist. There will be no descendants to raise the question about: "How should we live?"

So lets realize that we are IS's and as such have a main objective, that is built in through evolution, namely the survival of the species. We are members of a species called Homo Sapiens, (I doubt that we are "sapiens " except on rare occasions) but we are the animals with the best thinking processes. At least we believe so.

Animals cannot do much more than just live, but we have the chance to use our intelligence, the level of which differentiates us from the animals. It seems to me that we should use it consciously to live in such a way that it furthers the chances of our species to survive.

By the way, the survival of the species can be promoted in two different ways, animals do it one way, humans another. Animals have evolved by adjusting themselves to the environment. They evolved feathers to fly, furs against the cold, strong legs for rapid movement and so on. Humans do it the other way and adjust the environment to suit themselves. They make an artificial environment. They build planes, houses, cars and so on. This is important; it is a fundamentally different way of assuring survival.

It is noteworthy that anything that helps us to obtain our objectives or the objectives of our society, we call "good". That which hinders us or our society in obtaining our objectives we call "bad". It seems that there is no absolute "good" or "bad"; one independent of the existence of humans and their society.

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Last Edited 6 Mar. 06 / Walter Fritz
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