Re: poly: Why Oldies Stations?

From: Anders Sandberg <>
Date: Fri Apr 03 1998 - 08:38:08 PST

"Perry E. Metzger" <> writes:

> Anders Sandberg writes:
> > Of course, the real question once we begin to get somewhere with our
> > answers to this question is what to do about it. Can we extend the
> > exploring period through some means?
> I can think of one that seems to work fairly well, but it has the
> disadvantage of not being particularly legal these
> days. Hallucinogenic drugs tend to put people in a "lifestyle
> questioning" frame of mind, even at an older age, but they certainly
> don't work for everyone, and whether the cost/benefit of them is
> worthwhile is open to question.

It might also be interesting to see if there are natural hormonal
effects involved. I wouldn't be too surprised if there really was an
"youthful idealism hormone" or combination of neural maturation and
hormones with these effects. Maybe it could be done using less drastic
psychochemistry than hallucinogens.

> Failing that, some people are more culturally plastic than others. I
> believe it is possible to simply deliberately decide to make ones self
> more "plastic" for a while, at least when it comes to trying/exploring
> new things (and the reason hallucinogens may work for some people is
> because they simply tend to shock one out of one's paterns.)

Yes, our decisions should not be ignored.

A friend and I once speculated that we have a kind of metaconscious
(call it whatever you want) system, our schemata of what our lives
should look like and how they should develop, a kind of long-term plan
we usually unknowingly develop during maturation. Usually it is not
conscious, and our conscious plans might not even fit these metalevel
plans, but sometimes they can reveal themselves to us in various ways
(perhaps this is an explanation of many "visions from God" or similar
life-changing phenomena). If we become aware of our metaconscious
schemas we can start modifying them, what some refer to as
metaprogramming. So maybe by creating culturally plastic metaconscious
schemata (through cognitive therapy, say) we can make ourselves better
at changing context.

> It is certainly the case that even older people can force themselves
> to adapt to new cultural patterns, but whether they can make
> themselves "educationally plastic" in the way that younger people
> are, especially with respect to things like learning languages or
> big new chunks of fundamental skills, is something I'm not sure we
> have an answer to.

I have not yet seen any evidence the learning capabilities decrease as
we age normally after the first two decades (if we could temporarily
recreate the learning abilities of toddlers without having to erase
our complex schematas the Singularity would occur within a decade
:-). General speed decreases, but not the quality (unless disease or
lack of use sets in).

> > Is it a good idea?
> I'm not sure, actually. Perhaps, perhaps not. Being a neophile, I tend
> to look down on neophobes, but that doesn't mean that being a neophile
> is necessarily a "better" thing. I'd like to think so, but that could
> perhaps be prejudice on my part.

I think it will become more necessary if we continue to live in a
changing world and living longer. Imagine having basic reality models
several ages out of date ("What do you mean, ridgeways conhabeas,
young man? Is it some kind of new-fangled nanotechnology?"); we likely
need a periodic contact with the new realities.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
Received on Fri Apr 3 16:45:43 1998

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