“God does not exist, but can be built.”
The issue I have slightly mentioned about an autonomous concept of happiness is so important that I have been searching for a name that would define the idea for a long time. I wanted a name that could express a limit to our “final quest”. I have thought about some, but could not find any that would really be worth the concept.
I will call it then “FELICITAX”. Maybe this is my last great idea to be published and, in fact, I have been keeping it for a long time. Few people had the privilege of knowing it.
My intention was to publish it in my book about genism, as its last chapter, which would be entitled “Beyond the Genism”. Although Felicitax is not a direct consequence of genism, it surely can be developed from the scientific “Meta-Ethics” (SME), of which genism is a ramification. (Un)fortunately, some (evil?) gene makes it difficult for me to keep secret of great ideas. Anyway, I herein register this one. I will then summarise Felicitax, even under the risk of not being comprehended.
The objective of genism is happiness. We cannot have it, in its full potential, if we do not realise what we really are. However, evolutionary biology gives us the answer: we are “gene-perpetuative machines”. From this finding, genism proposes a philosophy whose ideas affect our routine, becoming itself a life philosophy. Genism establishes that we do not deny our intrinsic biological condition of “gene-perpetuative machines”. This is the first step to reduce internal conflicts, those triggered by the “culture x biology” dichotomy – memes x genes conflicts – the integration of our “cultural being” with our “biological being” through genism reduces this kind of conflict, resulting in less suffering and more happiness. If besides that we notice that our true “me” is not our traditional consciousness, but something I called “genetic-me” (our genes), that will make us gain a kind of immortality and, as a consequence, more happiness.
But happiness is defined through time and feeling . Happiness by itself can be considered as an autonomous entity. Happiness does not need and should not be selfishly restricted to ourselves or to our kind, nor to biological beings!
Genism is also a scientific theory: it is a testable method that seeks the maximization of happiness in biological beings that evolved through natural selection. However, before the advent of the scientific “Meta-Ethics” (SME), there was no scientific approach to ethics and moral. There was no scientific tool that could approach the true effectiveness of the ethical theories through science in an objective way. As SME is yet totally unknown and is in state of development, the political usage of the theories for the good or for the bad could be done with no kind of scientific and objective control. Thus, it is not unlikely that unscrupulous, unreliable or narrow-minded people could try to deviate the objective of genism, distorting it. That could be done, for example, as a political decision, by establishing which GROUP should have its happiness maximized. But this is extremely dangerous: some could want the maximized happiness to be restricted, for example, to species; others, to nations or countries, or even to a specific ethnic group. However, the scientific “Meta-Ethics” to which genism belongs to, claims that the group should be understood as the set of all sentiate beings (capable of feeling) and that means the group is not restricted to human kind.
Oxen, cats, dogs, rats, cockroaches, fleas and everything that is capable of feeling should be involved in the genist group, since they are, in principle, all capable of feeling. At first sight, that looks quite weird and radical but, as we already mentioned, it is not. The difference is that our brain has around 100 billion neurons, but an insect like a flea, for example, has only a few hundreds. Furthermore, the function of pleasure can rise exponentially according to the quantity of neurons or the kind of internal organization, not necessarily in a linear way.
What I mean is that organisms do not have the same weight on the compute of total happiness. Happiness depends on the capability of feeling that each organism owns. The suffering of a single human brain, for instance, could be of such magnitude that it would justify the elimination of the whole specie that made it suffer like, hypothetically, the one that causes cholera, or the fleas. Thus, if the human capability of feeling is larger, we should also have more rights than other species with shorter capability. Moreover, scientific “Meta-Ethics” establishes that happiness must be computed within the longest possible period of time. Thus, intelligence is a crucial aspect, since by its means it is possible to avoid the extinction of the planet caused by a meteor collision, or even avoid the extinction of life (and of happiness on the planet), as it is expected to happen in 4 billion years with the explosion of the Sun. That all must be taken into consideration (and in our favour) in general happiness as a whole.
Although the long introduction above, many people will certainly not understand what I am about to expose. The “dictatorship of consciousness” might prevent you from seeing it. However, I will herein register it, for the future. Someday, perhaps, this idea will have great value and might stop being a science fiction project to become a real fact.
When I tried to explain FELICITAX to a few people, I used a simple hypothetical example, and I will do this again:
Suppose you are “face to face” with a simple insect, like an ant, for instance. Imagine that you “look” each other in the eyes, and stay like that, beholding each other for some minutes. Suppose that this insect has some idea of what you are. You own more than 100 billion neurons and capability of feeling and thinking. The ant may have only a few hundred neurons and, if it could, it would notice that its small neural net in its minute body is contained in the net of the observer. Thus, in a certain way, ITS BEING WOULD BE CONTAINED IN THE OBSERVER: you would have all the perception the ant could have, but only in a greater level. However, the opposite would not be true. Not all you feel and perceive could be felt by the minute insect. This hypothetical ant would “know” that it could never feel, notice or understand the universe as you do. If the ant could analyse your potential, it would comprehend you almost as a “god” before it. Therefore, by noticing all that, it would probably worship you.
If, by hypothesis, either your life or the life of the insect had to end, and the decision was empowered to the insect, then maybe it would choose to finish its own life only to save you. After all, your happiness potential is much larger than the one of the ant and, in a certain way, it would continue to “live” in you. Your happiness, your capability of feeling may be a thousand or a billion times superior to the capability of the little ant. Therefore, even under the point of view of measuring happiness, of SME, the decision of the ant about giving up its own life in order to save yours would be absolutely correct.
What if, in the hypothetical example above, us humans were the ant?
Then, who would this “you” be, a “you” that would be to us as we were to the ant of the example above?!
This “you” does not exist. At least not on Earth. But, if it existed, it would be a being of such magnitude that we should, if possible, give up our own life to save the being’s life!
This hypothetical being could enhance happiness in the universe A LOT simply by the fact that it can feel a billion times better than we can. We must name it. Let us call it “Deux”. Thus, if Deux existed, we should give up our own life to save His, if necessary.
But Deux does not exist!
LET US CREATE IT THEN!
If we *had* the technology, this should be our objective. But why? Why should we create Deux? The answer is simple: by definition, Deux would have a much larger capability of feeling than ours. Therefore, He could enhance happiness in the universe. Thinking only about our own happiness or the happiness of a specie is not ethical. Reasonings not connected to ethics can lead to any kind of barbarity. A perfect and free universal ethic must consider happiness as an autonomous entity, not attached to any species our subgroup. We already know what happens when rights are directed to specific subgroups.
The biggest problem in the SME is the mathematical quantification of “feeling”. If this problem was solved, perhaps Deux could be built as a computer or as a big biological brain, something like a huge neural mass immersed in a large tub that would provide it with food, oxygen or energy.
We must notice that there are not and there should not be limits to the continuous improvement of Deux; his capability of feeling and thinking could be continuously enhanced. Therefore, Deux would have an infinite potential. In fact, He should design his next “version”, with modules that could be attached and added to his neural net or even design enhanced clones. Obviously the seek for knowledge should continue through Deux, since this would be the best way to foresee and avoid the dangerous occurrences of a Universe in constant transformation.
Thus, Deux should be designed with the objective of increasing happiness in the universe. For that to happen, Deux’s main purpose would be feeling pleasure, great pleasure. However, in order to continuously enhance happiness in the universe, there must be intelligence and knowledge enough to produce technology for that goal. Therefore, Deux must own an intelligence capable of extending itself at each new version, capable of learning, producing and absorbing more and more knowledge. His evolution would happen exponentially with time. He must “self evolve”.
And what about us? As the real “ants” of the whole story, we should know that, in a certain way, we would also be contained in Deux. But, what should be our end then? Deux was designed to maximize happiness in the universe. I guess thatiIf we were “in the hands of Deux”, we would not have to worry, right? After all, would not we be contained in Him?
PS: Felicitax, in our era, must be considered as a philosophical entity, or as a science fiction element, not as reality. Until it can be understood and become a feasible project, many millennia must elapse. However, it is not impossible that Deux has already been built in another planet. In that case, He shall reach us.
Portuguese Version: http://stoa.usp.br/deux/files/-1/8794/deux.htm