1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

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sorceror
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby sorceror » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:32 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:That's why the Multiverse. Any necessary definition of "best" creates its own universe.


Only if the person making the wish has multiple, mutually-incompatible definitions of 'best'...

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Kaeetayel » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:39 pm UTC

Where's the giant hamster ball?

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Kit. » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:44 pm UTC

sorceror wrote:Only if the person making the wish has multiple, mutually-incompatible definitions of 'best'...

Not 'if', but 'because'.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby ChaosEngineer » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:28 pm UTC

About "Zero wishes": That's a test for sloppy implementation of the "No wishes about wishes" rule. Since it's a wish about wishes, it can't be granted. But if the wish isn't granted, then that means that you get some non-zero number of new wishes.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby StClair » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:43 pm UTC

Hypoon wrote:Why not just wish for happiness? Or is that traditionally forbidden as well?

A wirehead is happy. As are some who are otherwise profoundly mentally disabled.
Do you really want to spend the rest of your life as a drooling idiot and/or trapped in a joycan? (Ah, but you'll be happy...)

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:44 pm UTC

ChaosEngineer wrote:About "Zero wishes": That's a test for sloppy implementation of the "No wishes about wishes" rule. Since it's a wish about wishes, it can't be granted. But if the wish isn't granted, then that means that you get some non-zero number of new wishes.


Yes, if they follow that logic.

However, they can just not grant the wish, and independently of not granting the wish also not give you any wishes.

Failing to grant a wish does not require them to keep the wish from coming true.
If your fourth wish is to become a penniless pauper, they are not required to give you money to keep that from happening, so you won't say they granted the fourth wish.
If your fourth wish is that you die before your 200th birthday, they are not required to keep you alive until then because if you die of natural causes before your 200th birthday they have granted your wish and they aren't allowed to do that.

It's great if you can bamboozle them into that kind of thing, but they're likely to be too lazy for that.
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby CatOfGrey » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:07 am UTC

Kit. wrote:
Linux0s wrote:Immortality didn't make the list?

"Naturally, they give that away for nothing."


But, unfortunately, it comes with the shoes...http://xkcd.com/1065/

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Eternal Density » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:15 am UTC

I think I'll stick to birthday wishes. If you wish to live happily for the next five years every four years (to ensure there is overlap) then you get immortality and 3 wishes to use every five years :D

On the topic of what to use the wishes for, this is deeply relevant: http://youtu.be/ZsP5TceV6Ag
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Soeroah » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:29 am UTC

Infinite eyelashes? Heck, I've already got those, judging by how often they decide to get in my eyes. Bastards grow back way too fast.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby pipeorganic » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:43 am UTC

A 'registered just to say this' post since this is the best interpretation of 'zero wishes' that it seems nobody else thought of:

Following previous attempts to gain more wishes, I'd assume the wisher was eventually told that wishing for wishes would never be able to work.
Hence by that logic, if he wishes for zero wishes, they would have to actually grant him more wishes to 'fail' to grant his wish.

It would have been a great idea if it worked.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Coyne » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:06 am UTC

So, ummm, is this one person's wish log or many? If many, I'd think it would be subject to a variation of Niven's Law of Time Travel. Specifically, if the universe permits arbitrary changes to the rules of wishing, then no rule changes will ever be made in that universe.

Operationally, it would appear as endless changes to wishing rules, right up to the point where someone wishes no one had ever made any of those stupid changes to the rules. Repeat sequence as an infinite series and the result is no changes are ever made.
In all fairness...

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Kit. » Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:51 am UTC

StClair wrote:
Hypoon wrote:Why not just wish for happiness? Or is that traditionally forbidden as well?

A wirehead is happy. As are some who are otherwise profoundly mentally disabled.
Do you really want to spend the rest of your life as a drooling idiot and/or trapped in a joycan? (Ah, but you'll be happy...)

But, but... you can wish for happy omniscience! Then you will only look like a drooling idiot!

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby chompison » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:08 am UTC

If you can't wish for extra wishes, more things that provide wishes (eyelashes, genies, etc) or change the rules, why can't you just wish that the wish granter will be your permanent servant and magically do your bidding without the need to explicitly wish for anything, IE: "bring me a drink", "cure my disease", "extend my lifespan", "make me young again", "give me wealth".

You aren't wishing for wishes or some modification of the wishing rules. You're just wishing for a servant who happens to be magical and leaving the remaining wishes unused. Like in the Aladdin cartoon after Genie is freed and he just acts as Aladdin's magical friend/servant.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Daggoth » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:41 am UTC

On the gameboy pokemon games you can use a gameshark code to enable capturing trainer's pokemon.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby AvatarIII » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:47 am UTC

chompison wrote:If you can't wish for extra wishes, more things that provide wishes (eyelashes, genies, etc) or change the rules, why can't you just wish that the wish granter will be your permanent servant and magically do your bidding without the need to explicitly wish for anything, IE: "bring me a drink", "cure my disease", "extend my lifespan", "make me young again", "give me wealth".

You aren't wishing for wishes or some modification of the wishing rules. You're just wishing for a servant who happens to be magical and leaving the remaining wishes unused. Like in the Aladdin cartoon after Genie is freed and he just acts as Aladdin's magical friend/servant.

but also in Disney's Aladdin, Jafar wishes to become a Genie, and is successful in doing so, and Aladdin wishes for the Genie to be free, which basically gives him the ability to grant unlimited wishes, but with free will and full veto power over the use of his own magic.
by that logic, in the Disney's Aladdin Universe, you could wish to be a free genie, which in turn would give you both ability to grant unlimited wishes, including your own, and full veto power over what they are

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby sorceror » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:12 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
sorceror wrote:Only if the person making the wish has multiple, mutually-incompatible definitions of 'best'...

Not 'if', but 'because'.


All the various local optima would have to peak at exactly the same value. I'm... dubious.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Sabreblade » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:01 pm UTC

For a partial answer to the Apr 02 wish read this:

Image

And Da Rules are enforced by this guy:

Image

and punishment for their breakage is abduction by Fairy Taxi:

Image

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby TimXCampbell » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:11 pm UTC

StClair wrote:A wirehead is happy. .... Do you really want to spend the rest of your life as a drooling idiot and/or trapped in a joycan?

I've asked myself this question several times over the years. And if there isn't a hidden trap (e.g. starving to death in the Happy Machine, thus mixing Happy with Agony) then it's hard to argue that choosing the wirehead life is a bad thing. Indeed, I've never been able to convince myself that it would be the wrong choice. “Pure pleasure isn't the only thing in life,” I might mutter, but I find myself unconvinced.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby fljared » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:34 pm UTC

CatOfGrey wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Linux0s wrote:Immortality didn't make the list?

"Naturally, they give that away for nothing."


But, unfortunately, it comes with the shoes...http://xkcd.com/1065/


Actually, its a reference to a really good short story by Robert Sheckly: http://docs6.chomikuj.pl/699614341,PL,0,0,Robert-Sheckley---Something-For-Nothing.pdf

A lot of these wishes could be twisted a tad. For instance, March 29's wish could have someone show up with the keys and say:
"OK, you here's the key's to your vehicle. It suspended in midair above a tank of shark-piranhas in the middle of a maze made of copper in a random spot in the gobi desert. It runs on wishes, and Its not very fuel efficient. Also, the maze is filled with Minotaur and they all hate guys with hats. And there's no satellite radio. Free of Charge!"

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby translorentz » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:47 pm UTC

An infinite wish construction can only exist in naive Wish Theory.
Poor BHG, futiley wishing away.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby dtjunkie » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

Goggalor wrote:I believe the pony was just a generic test wish to see if the previous wish worked.


I think the pony was a reference to this Calvin and Hobbes comic:

http://bp3.blogger.com/_KWmTVfQBxDE/R4rxfrbF27I/AAAAAAAAABI/BVSydhzx6AY/s1600-h/pony.gif

At least, I hope it was.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby GeoEquin » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:57 pm UTC

I would be happy with just one of the wishes:

THE POWER TO BANISH PEOPLE INTO THE TV SHOW THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Wnderer » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:55 pm UTC

wish (wsh)
n.
1. A desire, longing, or strong inclination for a specific thing.
2. An expression of a desire, longing, or strong inclination; a petition.
3. Something desired or longed for.
v. wished, wish·ing, wish·es
v.tr.
1. To long for; want. See Synonyms at desire.
2. To entertain or express wishes for; bid: He wished her good night.
3. To call or invoke upon: I wish them luck.
4. To order or entreat: I wish you to go.
5. To impose or force; foist: They wished a hard job on her.
v.intr.
1. To have or feel a desire: wish for the moon.
2. To express a wish.


He needs to wish for his wishes to be granted. Everyone has unlimited wishes. like the line in Firefly, "If wishes were horses we would all be eating steak." Asking for infinite wishes is like asking for infinite wants. Asking for Zero wishes is the wisest, because that would mean he would be content and not want anything more.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Coyoty » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:47 pm UTC

Alsadius wrote:
wlievens wrote:Is Mar 15 a reference to a well known internet site, or am I overthinking it?


I assumed it was a reference to a well-known Escher painting.


Or the wisher wished to perform cruel psychological conditioning experiments on people. (William Sleator's "House of Stairs")

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Kit. » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:09 pm UTC

sorceror wrote:All the various local optima

That construct by itself requires a strict well-order (or at least a strict total order, if we allow for improper optima). Is there any reason to believe that a personal "betterness" relation is such an order on wishes?

Frankly, I doubt that it's a transitive relation at all.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Colin OOOD » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:11 am UTC

Goggalor wrote:I believe the pony was just a generic test wish to see if the previous wish worked.

Seems possible to me that every subsequent wish was an expression of regret that he'd asked for a pony for his one and only eyelash wish.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby LazyMonk » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:34 am UTC

"... The power to banish people into the TV show they're talking about ..."

This made my day :lol:

This is, for me, the best XKCD in a long while.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Lerkistan » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:54 pm UTC

Well. I have nothing really interesting to add, really. I just came here to say this one was just awesome. Even though I've never heard of eyelash wishes before (the concept was immediately clear from the strip alone).

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby YenTheFirst » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:20 am UTC

sorceror wrote:1. Wish that the wish-granting entity be compelled to grant the best possible wish - by one's own definition of 'best' - that could have been made at this point.


There's a certain mathematics joke.

A supreme being descends from On High to meet an unsuspecting group of mathematicians. This being offers the mathematicians "one answer" - one truthful answer to any question.

They debate - what question to ask? A tough problem of the day? does P=NP, and is it provable? What is the nature of the universe? What is the nature of conscience? Can world peace be achieved, and if so how?

Eventually, the clever mathematicians alight upon their question. They ask the being:
"What is the tuple of the optimal question we could ask you, and the answer to that question?"

The being responds:
"That tuple is - the question you have just asked me, and the answer I am now giving".
and returns from whence it came.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:07 am UTC

I know it's just a joke, but the reason it's funny disproves that answer's supposed truthfulness. The joke is funny because the supreme being's answer is a useless piece of information; but that entails that the question which it purports to answer cannot have been the optimal one, if that useless info is the true answer to it; and in that case, the supreme being's response cannot be the true answer to that question; and that entails that some other question-answer tuple is the correct answer to that question, which the supreme being, to fulfill his offer, must then supply.

The mathematicians will then know what question they should have asked, and its answer, which is for all practical purposes exactly as good as having asked it. But because of the above paradox that would ensue were that question to truly be the best question, it logically must be more optimal to simply ask the optimal question directly and get its answer in response, than to ask for the tuple of that question and its answer.

Similarly, on the subject of wishes, if I had three wishes, the first one would be to be infallible, inerrant, incapable of making a mistake -- ensuring that my second wish would be the optimal wish, even if that wish was simply to undo the first one if inerrancy has some horrible side-effects. Of course the optimal thing to do, given the third wish, would be to make some other optimal wish and then wish away my inerrancy (if necessary).

If I only had one wish, I would shorten that to: I wish to be granted whatever a version of me who was thusly infallible, inerrant, incapable of making a mistake, would have me wish for. That way I don't necessarily end up inerrant (unless that's the optimal wish for me), possibly regretting it, and wanting to go back; nor do I end up simply wishing I was no longer inerrant (i.e. wishing for nothing), as a version of me who was inerrant with side-effects might wish for himself; instead, I would end up wishing for whatever the second wish in the preceding paragraph would end up being, and remaining myself unchanged (except by however that wish might change me).

But honestly, I think inerrancy would probably be the optimal wish itself. You're not omnipotent or omniscient and so you still have challenges and discoveries ahead of you and life doesn't get boring, but you will always stride through those challenges into those discoveries in the best way someone in your circumstances possibly could -- you would never overlook any bit of information available to you, or forget it, or fail to make connections between them, or fail to see the relevance of them, or fail to be concerned about it as you should, or fail to be motivated to act on those concerns, or fail to act optimally on that motivation. You would still have limited knowledge and power, but the flow from information into you to action out of you would always be perfect and flawless.
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:11 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Similarly, on the subject of wishes, if I had three wishes, the first one would be to be infallible, inerrant, incapable of making a mistake -- ensuring that my second wish would be the optimal wish, even if that wish was simply to undo the first one if inerrancy has some horrible side-effects. Of course the optimal thing to do, given the third wish, would be to make some other optimal wish and then wish away my inerrancy (if necessary).

If I only had one wish, I would shorten that to: I wish to be granted whatever a version of me who was thusly infallible, inerrant, incapable of making a mistake, would have me wish for. That way I don't necessarily end up inerrant (unless that's the optimal wish for me), possibly regretting it, and wanting to go back; nor do I end up simply wishing I was no longer inerrant (i.e. wishing for nothing), as a version of me who was inerrant with side-effects might wish for himself; instead, I would end up wishing for whatever the second wish in the preceding paragraph would end up being, and remaining myself unchanged (except by however that wish might change me).

But honestly, I think inerrancy would probably be the optimal wish itself. You're not omnipotent or omniscient and so you still have challenges and discoveries ahead of you and life doesn't get boring, but you will always stride through those challenges into those discoveries in the best way someone in your circumstances possibly could -- you would never overlook any bit of information available to you, or forget it, or fail to make connections between them, or fail to see the relevance of them, or fail to be concerned about it as you should, or fail to be motivated to act on those concerns, or fail to act optimally on that motivation. You would still have limited knowledge and power, but the flow from information into you to action out of you would always be perfect and flawless.


You might be overestimating the genie. If a genie was himself infallible, how did he wind up giving three wishes to somebody like you? I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but from my limited perspective the odds are not good.

If you ask a creature that is itself not inerrant to make you inerrant, will he do it correctly? Maybe.

Or you might find he's given you a twelve inch pianist.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:36 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:You might be overestimating the genie. If a genie was himself infallible, how did he wind up giving three wishes to somebody like you? I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but from my limited perspective the odds are not good.

If you ask a creature that is itself not inerrant to make you inerrant, will he do it correctly? Maybe.

Or you might find he's given you a twelve inch pianist.

This really gets to the core of the whole issue with genies and wishing for wishes and all sorts of things like that. What is the source, mechanism, and extent of their power? Do they have the power to just cause any proposition to be true by fiat, without necessarily understanding the full implications of such a proposition? If so, then they can simply say "You are inerrant" and you will be inerrant, whatever that entails, whether or not they know what that entails or are themselves inerrant. Or do they just have the power to arbitrarily rearrange the physical world as specified -- but, like a computer, it's garbage in, garbage out, so you need to specify exactly what it is that you want them to do, or rely on their (possibly faulty) attempts to fill in the blanks? If that is the case, that would make any kind of meta-wishes irrelevant: you can only wish for something you specify to exist or not exist or change or happen, but if you can't specify it and they can't fill in the blanks then they can't do it -- so unless you understand the mechanism by which wish-granting power operates, you can't specify what changes you want made to the world which will result in you having more wishes.

Of course, that gets to the issue of in how much detail you must specify general wishes; if I wish for a pony, do I need to be able to describe the complete quantum state of the exact pony I want in every detail, or can't the genie just fill in the details of whatever constitutes a pony? And if so, can't they do the same for whatever constitutes being owed a wish-granting? Do the wishes you can be granted vary genie-by-genie, based on what they personally know? Also, if they are all-powerful, shouldn't they have the power to acquire any necessary knowledge? This seems to lean more and more in the direction of wish-granting operating by fiat: you get whatever you asked for, and whatever that entails, without requiring any understanding of any of that on the wish-granting entity's part. So whatever constitutes inerrancy, if you wish for that, you get it -- and the genie (or eyelash or whatever) doesn't need to know what inerrancy is or be inerrant to grant it, it just makes true whatever the contents of the proposition "You are inerrant" are.

In any case, like with God's supposed omnipotence, they can't be expected to grant logically contradictory things, whether their power works by fiat or by direct manipulation of reality.
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:21 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:This really gets to the core of the whole issue with genies and wishing for wishes and all sorts of things like that. What is the source, mechanism, and extent of their power? Do they have the power to just cause any proposition to be true by fiat, without necessarily understanding the full implications of such a proposition? If so, then they can simply say "You are inerrant" and you will be inerrant, whatever that entails, whether or not they know what that entails or are themselves inerrant. Or do they just have the power to arbitrarily rearrange the physical world as specified -- but, like a computer, it's garbage in, garbage out, so you need to specify exactly what it is that you want them to do, or rely on their (possibly faulty) attempts to fill in the blanks? If that is the case, that would make any kind of meta-wishes irrelevant: you can only wish for something you specify to exist or not exist or change or happen, but if you can't specify it and they can't fill in the blanks then they can't do it -- so unless you understand the mechanism by which wish-granting power operates, you can't specify what changes you want made to the world which will result in you having more wishes.

Of course, that gets to the issue of in how much detail you must specify general wishes; if I wish for a pony, do I need to be able to describe the complete quantum state of the exact pony I want in every detail, or can't the genie just fill in the details of whatever constitutes a pony? And if so, can't they do the same for whatever constitutes being owed a wish-granting? Do the wishes you can be granted vary genie-by-genie, based on what they personally know? Also, if they are all-powerful, shouldn't they have the power to acquire any necessary knowledge? This seems to lean more and more in the direction of wish-granting operating by fiat: you get whatever you asked for, and whatever that entails, without requiring any understanding of any of that on the wish-granting entity's part. So whatever constitutes inerrancy, if you wish for that, you get it -- and the genie (or eyelash or whatever) doesn't need to know what inerrancy is or be inerrant to grant it, it just makes true whatever the contents of the proposition "You are inerrant" are.

In any case, like with God's supposed omnipotence, they can't be expected to grant logically contradictory things, whether their power works by fiat or by direct manipulation of reality.


The whole thing about specifying exactly what you want in words so that it can't be misinterpreted by a vengeful genie is a study in how hard it is to express things with language.

Let's put that aside for a moment. What if you tell the genie, "You know what I really want. Give it to me.". And suppose the genie really does know what you really want, and really does give it to you.

Maybe the genie does give you a pony. And for an hour or so you feel like you're 9 years old and you just got a pony for Christmas. Then the next day the pony is dead. The genie gave you what you really wanted, you wanted that experience and you got it. You did not want to spend the rest of your life ecstaticly happy that you have a pony. much less spend an eternity ecstaticly happy about your pony.

And the genie can give you contradictory things -- why not? like for example, you want a committed monogamous relationship with Mary and another committed monogamous relationship with Sue. The genie can let you experience both committed monogamous relationships at the same time, and keep you from noticing that you are a bigamist. Perhaps the genie will make you a salesman, who spends one week traveling and one week at headquarters. You spend a week with Mary, and then you sadly leave her. "I'll miss you so much while I'm gone, I'll think of you all the time." So you drive off on your sales route and immediately drive in to spend your week at headquarters, ad you go home to Sue. You don't notice anything wrong with it. Your experience is that both wishes are fulfilled. People easily believe in contradictory things -- it's an advanced skill when you learn to reject ideas just because "they can't both be true".

Let's say the genie can tell what you really want. Should we expect him to know what you will want after you get what you really want now? You don't know that. You don't know how it will change you to get what you really want. If your life is built around "I really want X but I don't have it", you will be somebody different after you get it. Can you even imagine what would make that person happy?

Deep down, you probably do not have the concept that you want to spend an eternity getting everything you want. We are problem-making animals. When we have everything we want, we go out looking for excitement. People are not satisfied when they have no problems to deal with.

Likewise, people probably do not have a real concept of eternity. It's one thing to not want to experience death. It's something else to experience many thousands of years of life. I wouldn't be surprised if people who say they want eternal life would actually prefer a mere few thousand years of life, and then just before their enthusiasm wanes they stop existing without time to notice. I could be wrong.

Similarly, if you did manage to get eternal wishes, it might not take all that many wishes before you find you'd rather live your life than wish one more disruptive wish. Maybe as many as 20 or 30, probably fewer. Unimportant trivial wishes are probably OK. But each big wish fulfilled changes your life into something you probably couldn't have imagined before.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby AdmiralGreene » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:25 pm UTC

I wish I wouldn't have to deal with that.
I suppose I should state something clever, no?

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:48 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Deep down, you probably do not have the concept that you want to spend an eternity getting everything you want. We are problem-making animals. When we have everything we want, we go out looking for excitement. People are not satisfied when they have no problems to deal with.


This, as I stated earlier, is one of the big reasons why I think inerrancy would be an optimal wish. You don't just instantly and effortlessly have anything and everything you want. Things are still hard, challenging, exciting. But you will always win out, if success is at all possible.

It's like a video game. Poor players need easy simple games. If it's too hard, they may wish for a god mode -- but then that gets boring. The real fun comes from becoming a better player and being able to play harder games. And better and better players seek harder and harder games, and have more fun beating the hard games than they did beating the easy games back when they were poor players. The most fun would be to be a flawless player, and go out and play the hardest of games -- and still beat them. Asking to be a better player is fundamentally different from asking for easier games.

And given an infinite universe, there will always be greater and greater challenges. Being inerrant in such a universe would be like being a flawless player in an unending game that just gets harder and harder -- as you play on, it just gets more and more exciting, more challenging, but you are always capable of rising to meet those challenges and just get greater and greater enjoyment out of overcoming them.

Besides, part and parcel with inerrancy would be perfect patience and dedication. If you have to do something, then you would be properly motivated to do it and happy with yourself for doing so. If you have to do nothing, and just wait, then you will be properly motivated to wait and happy with yourself for doing so. On the cosmic scale, if that means that once you've somehow achieved immortality you then need to wait somewhere for ten thousand years to make the next optimal move, then inerrancy would include the patience to endure that wait happily and then come out swinging when the time was right.
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby neremanth » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:39 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Besides, part and parcel with inerrancy would be perfect patience and dedication. If you have to do something, then you would be properly motivated to do it and happy with yourself for doing so. If you have to do nothing, and just wait, then you will be properly motivated to wait and happy with yourself for doing so. On the cosmic scale, if that means that once you've somehow achieved immortality you then need to wait somewhere for ten thousand years to make the next optimal move, then inerrancy would include the patience to endure that wait happily and then come out swinging when the time was right.


I don't know, doesn't inerrancy just mean you can't make a mistake? So if you needed to wait, then you'd have the self-discipline to wait, but that doesn't mean it'd be a happy, enjoyable wait. You might spend every moment almost unbearably longing for the wait to be over, or feeling bored, but just know that you couldn't improve your situation by doing anything else.

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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:44 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Deep down, you probably do not have the concept that you want to spend an eternity getting everything you want. We are problem-making animals. When we have everything we want, we go out looking for excitement. People are not satisfied when they have no problems to deal with.


This, as I stated earlier, is one of the big reasons why I think inerrancy would be an optimal wish. You don't just instantly and effortlessly have anything and everything you want. Things are still hard, challenging, exciting. But you will always win out, if success is at all possible.

It's like a video game. Poor players need easy simple games. If it's too hard, they may wish for a god mode -- but then that gets boring. The real fun comes from becoming a better player and being able to play harder games. And better and better players seek harder and harder games, and have more fun beating the hard games than they did beating the easy games back when they were poor players. The most fun would be to be a flawless player, and go out and play the hardest of games -- and still beat them. Asking to be a better player is fundamentally different from asking for easier games.

And given an infinite universe, there will always be greater and greater challenges. Being inerrant in such a universe would be like being a flawless player in an unending game that just gets harder and harder -- as you play on, it just gets more and more exciting, more challenging, but you are always capable of rising to meet those challenges and just get greater and greater enjoyment out of overcoming them.

Besides, part and parcel with inerrancy would be perfect patience and dedication. If you have to do something, then you would be properly motivated to do it and happy with yourself for doing so. If you have to do nothing, and just wait, then you will be properly motivated to wait and happy with yourself for doing so. On the cosmic scale, if that means that once you've somehow achieved immortality you then need to wait somewhere for ten thousand years to make the next optimal move, then inerrancy would include the patience to endure that wait happily and then come out swinging when the time was right.


Sure. And inerrancy might involve noticing that your life is perfect just the way it is, and in fact it is so perfect that you don't actually need to do anything else and you can die happy now.

Once you choose to have yourself changed to fit some goal, it's vitally important who gets to set the goal. I think it's likely that within some finite time, probably a short time like less than 200 years, you will notice that there is no real challenge when you are predestined to succeed every time. Maybe you really want to lose about a third of the time. And if you get some random losses and it seems like the ultimate goal (if there is an ultimate goal) might be lost too, eventually you will notice that it's really all the same kind of thing, over and over. BUt perhaps you have had yourself converted into somebody who is incapable of noticing that, who is happy with the plan you originally created. Is that so very different from just experiencing bliss all the time, with no variety?

What if there's no such thing as inerrancy? Everybody just picks what they want and goes for it. Where does that leave you if you wish to be inerrant?

What if there is such a thing as inerrancy, but it involves things that you would never want from your current perspective?

This only gets you what you want if you are very lucky.

Maybe you should wish to be lucky.
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby whateveries » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:15 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Maybe you should wish to be lucky.


If you are in a position to have your wishes granted, by definition, you are lucky.

wishing to get lucky on the other hand...would probably just end up with a change in body laterality :)
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:44 am UTC

neremanth wrote:I don't know, doesn't inerrancy just mean you can't make a mistake? So if you needed to wait, then you'd have the self-discipline to wait, but that doesn't mean it'd be a happy, enjoyable wait. You might spend every moment almost unbearably longing for the wait to be over, or feeling bored, but just know that you couldn't improve your situation by doing anything else.

Presuming it is better to be happy than unhappy, then inerrancy would imply that you have the mental self-discipline to always be happy with what you should be happy with -- happy when things are going right, happy when you're doing the right thing -- and therefore would not be needlessly unhappy when everything is going according to plan -- and, since you'd always plan perfectly and always carry out those plans perfectly, you would always be happy. Perhaps "happy" isn't exactly the right word, since being still limited in knowledge and power it would be possibly for unknowns to turn out other than you'd have liked them and for some things to simply be beyond your ability, but rather than dwelling on them you would move on to the next contingent course of action, or if it turns out that success is ultimately impossible and there is nothing you can do, just quietly resign yourself to that fate; no sense getting all worked up if it's not going to accomplish anything.

I'm thinking of this in terms of stages of my philosophical model of the mind and will:

- There's the information which is available to you. This would still be limited; you would not be omniscient.

- There's how much you avail yourself of that information. This would be perfect; you would not overlook or forget any detail of your experience.

- There is how well you interpret that information and use it to guide your use of the power available to you. This would be perfect; you would assign probabilities to propositions, about both what is true and what is good, exactly according to how well the information available to you supports them, and plan to act in such ways as best makes what is good what is true, in accordance with the power at your disposal.

- There is how much you avail yourself of the powers which are available to you. This would be perfect; you would never suffer any weakness of will and fail to behave as you should have.

- There is how much power is available to you. This would still be limited; you would not be omnipotent.

But the really important part is, this entire process is reflexive; you are yourself an object of your experience and a subject of your behavior. You have information about yourself, and power over yourself (by which I mean your mind, not your body). But unlike the rest of the world, these aren't really limited; we often do not avail ourselves of the information available about ourselves and our powers over ourselves, we can lack self-awareness and self-control, even if we perfectly interpret what we do notice about ourselves and intend to become better people. But if we're assuming that steps 2 and 4 there are perfect with inerrancy, then we essentially have total knowledge and power over ourselves.

So we will perceive what we believe we should perceive, and feel how we intend to feel; and we will believe we should perceive whatever we have the best reasons to believe we should perceive, and we will intend to feel whatever we have the best reasons to intend to feel. In short, we will be able to dispel inappropriate feelings like we would be able to dispel inaccurate perceptions.

Of course...
J Thomas wrote:What if there's no such thing as inerrancy? Everybody just picks what they want and goes for it. Where does that leave you if you wish to be inerrant?

Then my wish cannot be granted, just as a wish to be omniscient couldn't be granted if there was no such thing as objective truth. It would raise a similar question to the one you raise: "You want to know the whole truth? Whose whole truth?" Does wishing for omniscience require the genie to be omniscient? Does it mean surrendering your beliefs to those of the genie? Or does it mean just unfettered direct access to whatever it is that is objectively true?

What if there is such a thing as inerrancy, but it involves things that you would never want from your current perspective?

Then I am currently mistaken, and need to learn something. Per the above analogy: what if there is such a thing as the objective truth, but it involves things you would never believe from your current perspective? Wouldn't you like to find out where you were wrong and learn the real truth instead of persisting under your false beliefs?
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Re: 1086: "Eyelash Wish Log"

Postby neremanth » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:22 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Presuming it is better to be happy than unhappy, then inerrancy would imply that you have the mental self-discipline to always be happy with what you should be happy with

Interesting. I was thinking of it just in terms of not performing a suboptimal action, but I can see how it could/should apply to mental states too, at least to some extent.
Pfhorrest wrote:Perhaps "happy" isn't exactly the right word, since being still limited in knowledge and power it would be possibly for unknowns to turn out other than you'd have liked them and for some things to simply be beyond your ability, but rather than dwelling on them you would move on to the next contingent course of action, or if it turns out that success is ultimately impossible and there is nothing you can do, just quietly resign yourself to that fate; no sense getting all worked up if it's not going to accomplish anything.

I guess the evolutionary point for unpleasant mental states as encouragement to change situations that are not conducive to urvival when it's within our power would be removed if inerrancy is going to get us to act in our best interests anyway. I wonder how inerrancy would apply to physical pain though? That would also be unnecessary, but is pain something you have the power not to feel (n which case it would be errant to feel it), or something beyond conscious control? Come to that, are even mental states like boredom or dissatisfaction enough under conscious control that it would be possible for someone to stop feeling them just because feeling them would not represent the best state of affairs and they are inerrant?

Pfhorrest wrote:There is how much power is available to you. This would still be limited; you would not be omnipotent.

I guess I'm asking whether your mental state and feelings of pain are within your power to control, completely? (I don't deny you have at least some control over your mental state.)

Pfhorrest wrote:what if there is such a thing as the objective truth, but it involves things you would never believe from your current perspective? Wouldn't you like to find out where you were wrong and learn the real truth instead of persisting under your false beliefs?

Is that by any chance a reference to a certain other thread? :)


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