I wouldn’t want anyone to come away from this post with the sense that maybe suffering doesn’t matter after all. That would be nuts!
I wouldn't want to be flippant or dismissive about human suffering, addressing it is certainly a worthy project.
But from a more detached perspective suffering might be seen as a necessary part of a holistic system. As just one example...
There is currently no evidence that we will ever liberate ourselves from the nuclear threat through a process of reason alone. What is needed to make this threat real to us, real enough so that we will act, is suffering. Pain.
Our bodies are built around pain mechanisms which provide essential information regarding what to do and not do.
I truly don't know, but suffering may not matter that much. It depends on how one sees the big picture. If I live on Earth for a hundred years, and in heaven for a billion, then that would put my human suffering in a quite different context. (PS: I'm not religious, just philosophical.)
What truly gives our lives dignity and meaning is to contribute, whether directly or indirectly, to cultural excellence.
This seems a reasonable path that one might choose to tread, but it doesn't seem to qualify as a universal truth binding upon all of us etc.
One answer he’s (Singer) drawn towards invokes the common wisdom that our lives are more meaningful insofar as we contribute to something larger than ourselves.
Bonding with something larger than ourselves does seem essential, contributing less so. All this contributing business seems built upon the assumption that people are what matter most. People are one thing we can bond with, not the only thing.
That which is larger than ourselves the most is the entire universe, and perhaps way beyond that too. What is it that we self absorbed tiny creatures think we are going to contribute to that? Humility might suggest we content ourselves with experiencing it.
Key to this interpretation is Huddleston’s observation that our objective "best interests" may come apart from both what we want and from what we believe to be in our interests.
A counter argument might be that what's in our best interest is to somehow transcend, however temporarily, the tiny prison cell of "me and my situation", "me and my situation", "me and my situation", or "I Me Mine" as George Harrison put it.
Jesus advised, "Die and be reborn". While I have no idea what he meant when he said those words, to me they mean, let go of abstractions like "me", and embrace the vast real world beyond the little symbols which point to it.
Thanks for your kind words, appreciated. How about this?
If anyone on the forum wishes to present themselves as being qualified to judge the quality of my posts, they can make a credible case as follows:
Meaning no disrespect to anybody, just trying to respond honestly...
I don't intend to ask the EA team for feedback because they have as yet not demonstrated (as above) that they are qualified to evaluate my posts, and it is they who implemented the silly voting system. And, they have already threatened to ban me over points I very explicitly did not make, as can be proven just by actually reading the post in question.
In addition, while I have no data to back this up, my sense from 27 years of doing this almost daily is that many or most members here are somewhere around a half to a third my age. If true, I don't see why I should automatically judge them qualified to generate useful reputation data on my participation here.
All that said, I am having some good exchanges such as this in the comment section, which I appreciate. So for now I'll stick to that, and let others write the posts.
Seems like a pretty excellent analysis, best I can tell.
I would like to add this prediction. The technology continually evolves, which is indeed interesting. But the people using the technology remain largely unchanged. So if one is bored on, say, Facebook, one will likely eventually be bored in VR as well, because it will be the same people doing and saying the same things, over and over again.
This post series would have become far more detailed if it had continued, which it will not. It's no biggie. I have the information involved, and others are free to find it on their own should they so choose.