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IMO it's not merely that gene therapy will make us more moral. The advent of naturalised telepathy via technology may induce a shift in the nature of decision-theoretic rationality. If I can feel your preferences and desires as my own, then wantonly harming you will seem, not just immoral, but stupid.

The (supposedly!) discrete classical neurons of the central nervous system form a hive mind - at least when we're not in a dreamless sleep. But beware cheap imitations. An ant colony - or even a hyperconnected population of skull-bound brains - is not a true hive mind IMO.

Phasing out the biology of suffering worldwide will entail enriching our empathetic understanding of other sentient beings. Not least, humans must overcome the profound cognitive deficits in perspective-taking capacity that underlie the horrors of factory-farming and eating meat. I suspect posthumans will regard their ancestors (i.e. us) as little better than simple-minded cannibals.

Fortunately, the options of mood-enhancement and empathy-enrichment are not mutually exclusive. One (fanciful?) possibility would involve widespread use of long-acting empathetic euphoriants, for example safe and sustainable analogues of MDMA (Ecstasy). But drugs are at most a stopgap. I think the development of full-spectrum superintelligence will entail genetic enrichment of our capacity for empathetic understanding, augmented by the "naturalised telepathy" of tomorrow's information-technology. Today, empathy typically entails sharing each others miseries. Posthuman empathy will most likely entail sharing others' pleasures.


Natural selection has stumbled upon psychophysical phenomenal colour states. These states are not inherently representational. But natural selection has harnessed them so they now tend, in the awake brain, to track certain causally co-varying patterns in the organism's environment. The capacity to recognise these patterns (simplistically, differential electromagnetic reflectancies of macroscopic objects) bears on the differential reproductive success of the genetic vehicles in which phenomenal colours are periodically instantiated. This explains why such states have been selected. It doesn't explain their intrinsic phenomenal nature. So natural selection doesn't in any but a shallow sense explain states such as redness (or, it will be argued, value). It explains why some such states have been selected rather than others. It doesn't explain why any kind of experience has the phenomenal properties it does. Nor does it explain why experience exists at all. If telepathy had existed, evolutionary psychologists would doubtless offer excellent explanations and mathematical models of why telepaths had been selected over non-telepaths. Telepathy, we would tub-thumpingly be told, could thus be explained "naturalistically", not as some divine gift of God. Yet the phenomenon itself would still be utterly mysterious. - the Hedonistic Imperative - David Pearce

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