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Masael255

Philosophical Discussion

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So I have a lull here at work and thought I'd pose up a philo-mo-sophical question to my favorite techie crew. Imagine you are given a chance to be strapped into a chair that, once connected, you will enter a realm of eternal paradise. The chair operates by constantly finding new ways to invoke the brain's pleasure sensors and, thus, the paradise will never become dull or boring and will be catered to what your form of paradise would be. Further, the chair will take care of all of your physical needs and ensure that you do not die from starvation or any such physical concerns. To take the hypothetical even further, the chair has a 100% guarantee to never fail and will absolutely never "glitch" and send you into a non paradisical state. On the down side, once you connect to the chair, there is no way to ever return to the real world. All connections with this world will be lost as you are, essentially, opting out of being an active part of the physical world. As you can never disconnect yourself or be disconnected by another, you freely choose the option of the chair. Which do you choose? For me, I would take the chair and here is my reasoning why: Firstly, from a Hindu and Buddhist perspective, entering into a realm of pure pleasure that is detached from this world can be seen, firstly, as Moksha or enlightnment and denounces the Maya or illusion that the world we currently live in even exists. Along this same line of thinking, even if I acknowledge that the world I'm entering isn't a true reality, my brain will eventually come to see it as reality and the fact that my physical self is actually in a chair will not matter any more. The brain's reality is, in essence, more important than the body's reality. Secondly, from a more utilitarian standpoint, removing all suffering and pain from life to live in a world of pleasure, whether fake or not, maximizes the human experience. Some would argue that suffering is required in order to fully appreciate the human experience but I would argue this is the optimist's perspective trying to rationalize the harsh realities of life and turning them into a more positive experience. The idea that human experience is best served with positive and negative occurrences is biased on the fact that we can not truly imagine a reality that does not include negative occurrences. Lastly, from an existential standpoint, if life has no meaning other than the one that we create for ourselves, am I not justified in choosing a reality of blissful paradise rather than the harshness of reality that was experience on a day-to-day basis? Must I be forced to join in the issues of the world if a viable option exists for me to escape said reality? And is it not only my familiarity with the norm that may sway me from this decision if, as the question suggests, I am guaranteed the highest rewards when connected to the chair? So there's your moment of philosophy for the day and my excuse to ramble in text. XD Enjoy!

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Hi Masael255, great post! Personally, I would prefer to stay in touch with reality. After having experienced this world for 20 years, I have made things far too precious and people far too important to throw away for a virtual simulation. Also, there are many things in life that are enjoyable and exciting, you just have to know where and how to look. I don't think true happiness can be obtained by sitting in that chair, for true happiness is something that can be shared.

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Hi Masael255, great post! Personally, I would prefer to stay in touch with reality. After having experienced this world for 20 years, I have made things far too precious and people far too important to throw away for a virtual simulation. Also, there are many things in life that are enjoyable and exciting, you just have to know where and how to look. I don't think true happiness can be obtained by sitting in that chair, for true happiness is something that can be shared.
An excellent retort. I would respond, though--for the sake of playing devil's advocate--is it truly out of desire for a better reality or a more "authentic" reality that one may wish to remain in this world or is it a fear of a reality that may far exceed our current state of being? That is to say a fear of something completely alien that, despite being superior in every way, scares us simply because it in inherently different? (For the record, I love to debate just for the sake of debate. XD)

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I wouldn't take the chair and I'd have to agree with Tom's first statement as my reasoning as well. That said, I can see how people may opt for the chair. It's basically like committing suicide. The world is too harsh, and reality sucks so I'll withdraw from it. I think everyone's answer will all depend on how they view life and the meaning of life. As for your points @Masael, here's what I think.... 1. Yes, I agree. I'd definitely say that your mind can adjust to the world created by the chair and take it as reality. I'm not sure how it'll stop the pain of you knowing you bailed out on your friends, family, people who depend on you, etc. though... Does it do a reformat as soon as you're hooked on? 2. On the contrary, I think there needs to be both positive and negative experience in human life. To me, the most important thing in life is to be able to make a contribution to society or to make a difference in someone else's life - to turn negative experiences into a positive ones. For myself and for others. I think by putting myself in a 100% peachy world, there'd be no motivation to do anything, hence my life would be meaningless. Yeah, I'd be happy, but I can't help but think there'd be something missing. Of course, I'm making this point through my life experiences. Someone from say Somalia who's experienced mostly negative experiences in life will probably have a whole different perspective. 3. Yeah, I think people are justified in choosing whatever path they take, but like suicide, the machine isn't going to let you choose to go back. For me, that seems selfish. Also, I know it's a hypothetical, but what happens when your physical body dies? o.O Time to get off work! :biggrin:

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It is, essentially, like suicide. I hadn't quite thought of it that way before, to be honest, haha. Good point, though, in relating that everybody's answer will change on how they view life. In response to your points: 1) It's not necessarily a reformat but more of a conditioning. Imagine constantly having a good feeling all the time and even when you try to think of a negative thing, it can't take away from the positive you're feeling. I would imagine it more like that rather than completely erasing memories. Since it's a hypothetical, it just has to be accepted as such but I have a hard time rationalizing it myself. XD 2) The contribution argument is one of the strongest ones I would make against myself taking the chair as well. If I get fulfillment from contributing to society and helping those around me, it's hard to accept abandoning it all for my own selfish wanton desires. And while I talk big and say I'd take it, I think it all depends on what day they catch me on. Hahaha. 3) It is, without a doubt, a selfish action. The egoist would argue that all actions are inherently selfish as furthered by my own unintentionally chosen words, "If I get fulfillment...". Of course, that's an argument I won't side with because I'm still an optimist and believe in the altruistic nature of people, hahaha. And regarding the last point...I would imagine you'd just shut down and not realize it. That would add a new element to the question, though: take the chair and experience complete bliss until the moment you die where it unplugs you and you feel your death. X_X Can we say new horror game? Haha.

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