A Hero’s Journey

Life is about the stories we tell about it.

I was once concerned with understanding the truth of things so that I could know what was truly most valuable.

My search for truth lead to understanding that there is an extremely high probability that we live in a multiverse and that eternalism is true.

My definition of the greatest hero was one who eliminated all suffering.

Under this ontology, being the greatest hero was impossible. Therefore I attempted suicide.

I’m still alive, and since reality has refuted that definition of the greatest hero, I must redefine what it means to be the greatest hero.

Seeing the innumerable selection of paths, and knowing that I am all of them, only the most valuable should be chosen.

If I believe with sufficient fervor that sitting down and watching my breath is the path to the greatest heroism, I can be on the path to become the greatest hero. If I believe with sufficient fervor that dethroning Jeff Bezos as the richest man on Earth is the greatest heroism, I can be on the path to become the greatest hero.

The path chosen most often should be the one which resonates most with the soul of intuition. An intuition well sharpened by reason is the greatest oracle in the absence of omniscience. Reason occurs as one’s way-and-belief is refuted by living.

The problem of how much to invest hiding from nature to update way-and-belief and how much to spend believing is a difficult one. We must believe in order to live, but living will cause those beliefs to die.

One might suggest acting with the most clear-headed assessment possible combined with an absolute willingness to die in battle. This leads to the question of what the most clear-headed assessment really is. How much analysis before it is becomes analysis paralysis? Should one charge up in analysis until physically forced to unleash it by circumstance? Or should one take a leap of faith on makeshift wings immediately after the drowned Icarus respawns?

My present belief is that one should be very religiously dogmatic at the path-selection level, but very nimble and loose at the detail level. This is the way that evolution seems to work, the way successful entrepreneurs seem to work, the way successful memeplexes seem to survive generation after generation.

The biological stream reuses the same genetic scaffolding, only tinkering with random mutations and epigenetic regulation; the selection pressures involve many deadly things like tide changes but not the moon going kamikaze against the Earth (by the anthropic principle, it is impossible to find yourself where you don’t exist; you would not exist in a universe where moons spontaneously became angry at life-bearing planets.)

The richest entrepreneurs are unrelenting in their grand vision, but could care less about obeying a rigid business plan or Talmudically micromanaging business operations.

Religions, aesthetics, and philosophies adhere to a general coherence that broadly defines them. This proceeds through the territory, endure centuries and vast desert spans by being locally highly adaptable in space and time.

The problem is when all the little tinkering dust (e.g., people in a dysfunctional economic system, hypotheses in a false alchemy, etc.) can no longer change the system because they have arrived at a local optimum from which they cannot escape. Any slight update of the gradient in that machine learning algorithm just leads to a slip back to that local optimum.

It is the case of having built a leviathan that no cumulative action of it’s individual homunculi can defeat or having a character that no amount of weaponry and armor can level up further.

A random restart is provably mathematically necessary at such a point in a gradient descent mission. In our world, a random restart is a black-swan event.

If we discover that the machine elves that people experience during DMT are real entities with personal knowledge in the same sense that anyone else is a real entity, this would qualify as a black-swan event. If a pop-up window appears informing us that we are in a simulation, this would be a black-swan event.

People have long known about the wildfire-like power of black-swan events so they would often attempt a restart by just inventing one and getting people to believe it. Today, being greatly intelligent, maniacal, disagreeable, and charismatic is not enough. (Historical arsonists such as Muhammad, Alexander the Great, and Temujin come to mind.) Today, it is far less likely that any one individual can come to believe that they have significantly affected other people’s day-to-day lives.

This does not mean that one should necessarily feel bad, since after all, it is an arbitrary definition of heroism which seeks to directly and clearly affect “many people.” At the multiverse level, one affects epsilon “people” anyway.

The very notion of affecting “others” as opposed to “oneself everywhere and everywhence” is a cultural construct. The reductionist physics does not imply bounded souls.

So how should one choose a hero’s journey? The hero’s journey is a calling. If you do not have a calling, you cannot be a hero. Since this is all occurring in the mind anyway, it is important to get the images impressed on the mind to be steps to the sort of hero figure you want to become. A 14th-century bushido master would be out of place trying to be a hero amongst professional video game competitors, and these would be out of place amongst algebraic geometry scholars.

I am not one to give advice, since advice-giving is mostly a cheap attempt to negotiate status, in the same way that talk about morality is.

But I still promote the sensibility of choosing something that has obvious continuity with what you have been doing up until that point, or be very good at crafting meaning on the go — integrating memories from places light-years away. Otherwise, one feels like a disjointed hologram failure. Low status here, low status there, low status everywhere.

I think the latter is a far better strategy. Become good at not minding the seeming wide separation between things, trust that it will all come together at some point in the future light cone.

Sora is a great inspiration here. Visiting many worlds that are disconnected and becoming thoroughly engrossed in their affairs, but attempting to never forget the goal of uniting with his friends.

For humans, there exists Level-1 Signaling, in which one is largely deceived about one’s hidden motives. One then does what was selected for over the course of evolution. Often acting out roles that attempt to signal relative status to those in the proximal environment. Humans negotiate tribal status by emitting signals pertaining to relative intelligence, conscientiousness, in-group commitment, and bodily prowess/health.)

Then there is Level-2 Signaling, in which one engages in a willful selection of a hero’s journey for the fun this provides, like picking out a video game to play next or a movie to dive into. Level-2 Signaling may still consist of growing genuinely deceived about the importance of one thing. However, it is a choice.

It is necessarily a choice now because one cannot unsee the truth.

It is probably true that one is more effective when unaware of choice. If you had never been exposed to a deity besides the Black Dragon God in your local Chinese village, your faith could soar to levels of devotion unattainable to those plagued by a pantheon in their minds.

And this may perhaps be generalizable to why the universe is set up to feel separate, and the reason my experience is not what I would expect an observer-moment in a superintelligence to feel like. I cannot consistently formulate an anthropically sensible argument for why I wouldn’t “already” be inside of a superintelligence, since these are expected to take up the most experiential mass at the cosmological natural selection level, and the objective flow of time is a physical impossibility by Relativity.

[Perhaps just as one can be a better a football player as a naive Level-1 Signaler, one can also serve a useful computational role when unaware of the total algorithm one constitutes (experiential-space is informationally partitioned). The binding of consciousness into separate observations may then serve a useful constitutive role in the architecture of God’s mind.

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