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if everything were perfect...

genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
edited June 2 in General Banter

A question hovering in my mind as I fiddle around the shallow end of the Artificial Intelligence pool is this: If everything were perfect, how interesting could it be? Isn't failure and flaw one of humanity's most enriched products?

The question popped up after reading the following: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/technology/godlike-homo-deus-could-replace-humans-tech-evolves-n757971?cid=eml_mach_20170601

Any thoughts?

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Comments

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    I think the full acceptance of imperfect is "perfect".

    DhammaDragon
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Also perfect is a subjective term. Most peoples "perfect" are different. Therefore does perfect even really exist in an objective sense?

    Jeffrey
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    ... and yet, no insult intended, what is NewBuddhist if not a location where we can all dither this way and that in search of what might roughly be called perfect ... a state we might claim not to know or own, but we damned sure would like to attain it.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    A question hovering in my mind as I fiddle around the shallow end of the Artificial Intelligence pool is this: If everything were perfect, how interesting could it be? Isn't failure and flaw one of humanity's most enriched products?

    When you say "perfect", do you mean free from suffering?

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    ... and yet, no insult intended, what is NewBuddhist if not a location where we can all dither this way and that in search of what might roughly be called perfect ... a state we might claim not to know or own, but we damned sure would like to attain it.

    I am here to help me learn as part of my path to accept imperfection and change. Its the acceptance of imperfection leads to fulfillment. Perfect doesnt exist. Even if perfect did exist life is subject to constant change so things wouldnt remain "perfect". The 4 noble truths tell us that life is suffering but there is a path to the cessation of suffering. You can call the cessation of suffering " perfection" if you like. I prefer to call the cessation of suffering the acceptance of the imperfection of life and the constant state of change we live in.

    WalkerDhammaDragonDavidTodd0248
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    ... and yet, no insult intended, what is NewBuddhist if not a location where we can all dither this way and that in search of what might roughly be called perfect ... a state we might claim not to know or own, but we damned sure would like to attain it.

    I think NewBuddhist is closer to a place where we all learn from eachother's understanding. I don't think perfection comes into it, as @hozan said it is a highly subjective term anyway.

    Flawless logic does not always lead to understanding, some leaps are made through basics of the human condition. And then, the best current AI techniques do not lead to flawless logic or understanding... they only get to a percentage, even if you extrapolate 20 years or more into the future.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Perfect doesnt exist.

    @HOZAN -- If perfect doesn't exist, how then can you assert "I am here to help me learn as part of my path to accept imperfection and change." Are you saying perfection doesn't exist but imperfection does????

    Cozy, perhaps, but peculiar.

    lobster
  • HozanHozan Veteran
    edited June 2

    @genkaku said:

    Perfect doesnt exist.

    @HOZAN -- If perfect doesn't exist, how then can you assert "I am here to help me learn as part of my path to accept imperfection and change." Are you saying perfection doesn't exist but imperfection does????

    Cozy, perhaps, but peculiar.

    Define perfection then. To strive for "perfection" is like trying to grasp water. I think its peculiar to strive for perfection. Things are as they are and always subject to change. Strive for "perfection" if you want @genkaku . To me that is futile.
    Of course I can assert that I am here to help me learn to accept imperfection and change. Thats not peculiar or cozy. Perfection is subjective. Maybe perfection is the full acceptance of impermanence.

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    It seems to me it's okay to strive for perfection while tolerating imperfection...

    DhammaDragonHozan
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 2

    If everything were perfect then why would one need it to be interesting? Doesn't perfect mean "having all the required or desirable elements, etc."?

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @Will_Baker said:
    It seems to me it's okay to strive for perfection while tolerating imperfection...

    Yes but what is perfection? Define what you strive to attain

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Surely to reach a state of mind where you are at one with your existence and living in the present moment and free from the suffering caused by impermanance, old age, sickness and death....that is what we strive for no? If you want to call that "perfection" by all means go ahead. Personally I think the word perfection is unhelpful as it conjours up images of..everything will be okay when such and such a thing is perfect.
    To me perfect is an unhelpful word in the search to be free

    KeromeFosdick
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    @Hozan said:

    @Will_Baker said:
    It seems to me it's okay to strive for perfection while tolerating imperfection...

    Yes but what is perfection? Define what you strive to attain

    -The ideal...

    Hozan
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think it is hard to call anything "perfect"... even the Buddha. Osho said of him once, 'he is a very dry man, not a lot of juice to him' and maybe he was right, ex-ascetics are not known for their humor or laughter.

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran
    edited June 2

    @Hozan said:

    @Will_Baker said:
    It seems to me it's okay to strive for perfection while tolerating imperfection...

    Yes but what is perfection? Define what you strive to attain

    -A good night's sleep...

    Hozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @Will_Baker said:

    @Hozan said:

    @Will_Baker said:
    It seems to me it's okay to strive for perfection while tolerating imperfection...

    Yes but what is perfection? Define what you strive to attain

    -A good night's sleep...

    @Will_Baker i hear ya!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Enjoyed reading the AI piece.

    @genkaku said:
    Isn't failure and flaw one of humanity's most enriched products?

    I would say it is part of our biological nature. It is not ideal. Hence dukkha is part of nature not AI Buddha Nurture. Of course as we seek the perfectly enlightened Daddy Buddha AI to fulfill our wildest perfections we will inevitably turn AI into all kinds of flawed and peculiar incarnations ...

    However in time and with the usual experimentations we will jointly arrive at Maitreya AI ...
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/24716/maitreya-might-be-ai

    Hozan
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Having read the article, I'm sure that such things as they describe - gene editing to select bodies, brain-to-computer interfaces, implanted smartphones - will end up being incremental changes to the human experience, rather than the step changes the author portrays. A slightly better body, a bit more convenience in accessing computers or apps, they will make a difference but they won't radically change the experience of consciousness.

    If we were to be able to radically alter genes to expand brain efficiency, that might make a big difference. Everyone could become super smart, it would be like everywhere was the inside of Google, Apple or Microsoft - places that today select employees for their brains, with as result that everyone you meet there is clever. People would also live longer and be fitter.

    But that is still short of perfection. The upside would be most people would be capable of learning the dharma in a relatively short time.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    ... and yet, no insult intended, what is NewBuddhist if not a location where we can all dither this way and that in search of what might roughly be called perfect ... a state we might claim not to know or own, but we damned sure would like to attain it.

    I don't strive to attain a state which is deemed to be perfect.
    If anything, nirvana is the acceptance that dukkha is a reality and that nothing is perfect.
    That suits me just fine...

    HozanShoshinWalkerTraveller
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    That's the "Perfect" answer @DhammaDragon (...or is that imperfect :winky: )

    DhammaDragonTraveller
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 2

    Well we get to get old sick and die. Same for our loved ones. So any perfection is going to be in light of those and all of the other crap we do not get to choose.

    HozanTraveller
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    if everything were perfect...

    "“Humans will merge with computers and machines to form cyborgs — part-organic, part-bionic life forms,” Harari said. “You could surf the Internet with your mind; you could use bionic arms, legs, and eyes; you will augment your organic immune system with a bionic immune system, and you will delegate more and more decisions to algorithms that know you better than you know yourself.”"

    lobsterHozan
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Those cybermen are naughty ... so is Lucy - I'll have what she is having ;)

    more seriously ...

    @Kerome said:
    But that is still short of perfection. The upside would be most people would be capable of learning the dharma in a relatively short time.

    Good plan.

    Hozan
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    A question hovering in my mind as I fiddle around the shallow end of the Artificial Intelligence pool is this: If everything were perfect, how interesting could it be? Isn't failure and flaw one of humanity's most enriched products?

    The question popped up after reading the following: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/technology/godlike-homo-deus-could-replace-humans-tech-evolves-n757971?cid=eml_mach_20170601

    Any thoughts?

    Human nature being what it is, if everything were perfect we would try to make it imperfect. We will always seek the opposite.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ... Tee Hee! ... about that without an opposite from Master Zhuang ...

    "Great knowledge is wide and comprehensive; small knowledge is partial and restricted. Great speech is exact and complete; small speech is (merely) so much talk. When we sleep, the soul communicates with (what is external to us); when we awake, the body is set free. Our intercourse with others then leads to various activity, and daily there is the striving of mind with mind. There are hesitancies; deep difficulties; reservations; small apprehensions causing restless distress, and great apprehensions producing endless fears. Where their utterances are like arrows from a bow, we have those who feel it their charge to pronounce what is right and what is wrong; where they are given out like the conditions of a covenant, we have those who maintain their views, determined to overcome. (The weakness of their arguments), like the decay (of things) in autumn and winter, shows the failing (of the minds of some) from day to day; or it is like their water which, once voided, cannot be gathered up again. Then their ideas seem as if fast bound with cords, showing that the mind is become like an old and dry moat, and that it is nigh to death, and cannot be restored to vigour and brightness. Joy and anger, sadness and pleasure, anticipation and regret, fickleness and fixedness, vehemence and indolence, eagerness and tardiness;-- (all these moods), like music from an empty tube, or mushrooms from the warm moisture, day and night succeed to one another and come before us, and we do not know whence they sprout. Let us stop! Let us stop! Can we expect to find out suddenly how they are produced?"
    http://ctext.org/zhuangzi/adjustment-of-controversies

    DhammaDragon
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    There is no better place than 'Here'.
    There is no better time, than 'Now'.

    "How wonderful! How wonderful, things exactly as they Are - !"

    FosdickTraveller
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @federica said:
    There is no better place than 'Here'.
    There is no better time, than 'Now'.

    "How wonderful! How wonderful, things exactly as they Are - !"

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    There's being open to wisdom and things as they are, and there's being an idiot about it.
    As this thread has amply demonstrated.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @federica said:
    There's being open to wisdom and things as they are, and there's being an idiot about it.
    As this thread has amply demonstrated.

    I'm just stating the obvious when it comes to our ongoing affair with Dukkha...and how it is easier said than done, when it comes to really appreciating/being open to... How wonderful How wonderful things exactly as they Are !

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Right View.
    Confucius he say "when pausing to catch snowflakes on tongue, do not stand under tree where two plotting pigeons are perched, pondering your pause..."

    ShoshinHozan
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    if everything were perfect...

    ...What use would "I" be ? Would "I" become redundant ?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited June 3

    @DhammaDragon said:
    If anything, nirvana is the acceptance that dukkha is a reality and that nothing is perfect.

    Really? Aren't the four Noble Truths and 8-fold path about the cessation of dukkha? Acceptance of dukkha is an insight, not the goal.

    lobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited June 3

    Perhaps there are just perfect moments. ;)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neapolitan_ice_cream

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited June 3

    @Shoshin said:

    if everything were perfect...

    ...What use would "I" be ? Would "I" become redundant ?

    (I'm kind of hoping at least, that all the inverted commas/speechmarks would be put into cold storage, myself.... :p)

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @DhammaDragon said:
    If anything, nirvana is the acceptance that dukkha is a reality and that nothing is perfect.

    Really? Aren't the four Noble Truths and 8-fold path about the cessation of dukkha? Acceptance of dukkha is an insight, not the goal.

    Dukkha will never cease.
    It's one's change in attitude towards dukkha that brings about our no longer experiencing dukkha as unavoidable, pointless suffering.
    The N8P aims to help us develop the insight and wisdom to cope with dukkha.

    HozanShoshin
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 3

    @DhammaDragon by that do you mean that pain and misfortune will never cease? I think some people hold part of the definition of Dukkha is that the pain and misfortune is not being related to with detachment and equanimity I guess?

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran
    edited June 3

    Birth, illness, old age, being associated with people we don't love, not being associated with people that we love, dying... that is, what the suttas define as "dukkha," will never cease.

    We will get ill, we will get old, we will pass away, and so will our beloved beings, and not so beloved beings.
    Everything that IS, carries the seed of entropy in itself and will cease to be.
    THAT is the definition of dukkha, @Jeffrey.

    Cessation of dukkha has to do with a change in our attitude: call it development of detachment or equanimity.
    But the facts and phenomenon that fall under the label of dukkha will always be and will never cease.
    Only your attitude towards it changes.
    People will continue to get old, get ill, die.
    It's your attitude towards all that that changes.

    For the definition of dukkha:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca1/

    For definitions of cessation of dukkha:
    http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble16.htm

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2011/08/12/the-goal-of-practice/

    https://sites.google.com/site/rahulawhatthebuddha/the-third-noble-truth

    HozanJeffreyTraveller
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Pain and Misfortune, to me, are as much a part of Dukkha, as sadness, happiness, illness, wellness, stress, ease, comfort, discomfort, and any other diametric conditions... It's all part and parcel of 'Suffering'... I personally exclude nothing that is conditioned or perceived, felt or imagined.... We suffer, because we forget, or omit.

    We forget that everything is transitory and illusory.
    We omit to consider the practice of Detachment.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited June 3

    @genkaku said:
    A question hovering in my mind as I fiddle around the shallow end of the Artificial Intelligence pool is this: If everything were perfect, how interesting could it be? Isn't failure and flaw one of humanity's most enriched products?

    The question popped up after reading the following: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/technology/godlike-homo-deus-could-replace-humans-tech-evolves-n757971?cid=eml_mach_20170601

    Any thoughts?

    In reading your question I can't help but spin it in another direction. How much could we achieve if we saw that it is all already perfect?

    Failure and flaw leads to innovation and invention but because we see each other as the competition we don't get as together as we could if we didn't suffer from UTS (us and them syndrome).

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited June 4

    @DhammaDragon said: Dukkha will never cease.
    The N8P aims to help us develop the insight and wisdom to cope with dukkha.

    I don't know where you are getting this from, but it directly contradicts what the Noble Truths say.

    The 3rd and 4th Noble Truths are about cessation of dukkha, not about coping with it.

    "'Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this.' Such was the vision... 'This cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, can be verified.' Such was the vision... 'This cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, has been verified.' Such was the vision... in regard to ideas not heard by me before."
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.nymo.html

    lobsterseeker242Traveller
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    One who has completed this journey is untouched by any pain or sorrow.
    One who is in every-way wholly freed has broken all the mental chains.
    For such perfectly Noble One, no suffering is ever possible!

    Dhammapada 90

    Traveller
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    This is where the subtlety of anatta comes in IMO :) When there is no more "I, me, mine" making, then there can be no more "my body" either. When there is no more "my body", there can be no more "my body is sick, old, dying" either. A Tathagata is beyond all sickness, ageing and dying. A Tathagata doesn't have a body and therefore can't die. A Tathagata is deathless!

    Traveller
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran
    edited June 4

    What I have expressed, in no way contradicts the sutta you quote, @SpinyNorman.

    Cessation of Suffering -nirodha- is letting go of desire or craving -tanha.
    When we attain the state of Nirvana, greed, hatred and delusion -the three defilements- are extinct.

    It is a personal path and a personal insight that we come to as a result of accepting the 4NT and the N8P.
    In his book on "The Noble Eightfold Path," Bikkhu Bodhi explains:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html

    "Since the final goal to which the path leads, liberation from suffering, depends ultimately on uprooting ignorance, the climax of the path must be the training directly opposed to ignorance.
    This is the training in wisdom, designed to awaken the faculty of penetrative understanding which sees things 'as they really are.'"

    In his book "The World of Tibetan Buddhism," HH the Dalai Lama defines Nirvana as:

    "True cessation is the state that is free from the distorted way of perceiving the world.
    The nature of cessation is true peace."

    In the sutta about the parable of the arrow, we read again (MN I 428-432):

    "Whether you believe this world to be eternal or not eternal, there is still birth, decay, death, sorrow, lamentation, suffering, grief and distress."

    For a debate about Cessation of Suffering in the magazine Lion's Roar:
    https://www.lionsroar.com/forum-does-buddhism-make-you-happier/

    We attain wisdom and view life under a different light.
    The world does not change.
    It is US who change the way we view things.

    But I will still get ill, get old, die, and so will all the people around me.
    The fact that we are unruffled by these facts by attaining equanimity, does not mean that these facts will not continue taking place.

    If you have found the recipe for facts labelled as dukkha not taking place any more, once we attain nirvana, @SpinyNorman, please let us know.
    I'll have what you are having...

    TravellerHozan
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran
    edited June 4

    @seeker242 said:
    This is where the subtlety of anatta comes in IMO :) When there is no more "I, me, mine" making, then there can be no more "my body" either. When there is no more "my body", there can be no more "my body is sick, old, dying" either. A Tathagata is beyond all sickness, ageing and dying. A Tathagata doesn't have a body and therefore can't die. A Tathagata is deathless!

    But Siddharta Gautama still aged, got ill and passed away

    Hozan
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    I think the idea is that we could still feel the pain but without suffering.

    DhammaDragonHozanShoshin
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran

    It's more or less what I have been trying to explain, @David, in other words.
    One thing is dukkha the fact, another how you experience it.

    TravellerDavidHozan
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited June 4

    Many times I feel disagreements too often happen when people are basically saying the same thing differently.

    Does the term dukkha include physical pain or is dukkha specifically the emotional response or attachment to mental and physical trauma?

    Either way I answer I can't disagree with either position between @DhammaDragon and @SpinyNorman.

    DhammaDragonlobsterHozan
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran
    edited June 4

    @David said:
    Many times I feel disagreements too often happen when people are basically saying the same thing differently.

    Does the term dukkha include physical pain or is dukkha specifically the emotional response or attachment to mental and physical trauma?

    "Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."
    -SN 56.11

    As to Cessation of dukkha:

    "And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving."
    — SN 56.11

    "Among whatever qualities there may be, fabricated or unfabricated, the quality of dispassion — the subduing of intoxication, the elimination of thirst, the uprooting of attachment, the breaking of the round, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, the realization of Unbinding — is considered supreme. Those who have confidence in the quality of dispassion have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme is the result."
    — Iti 90

    "This is peace, this is exquisite — the stilling of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, Unbinding."
    — MN 64

    DavidHozan
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem samsaric loop Veteran

    @David said:
    Either way I answer I can't disagree with either position between @DhammaDragon and @SpinyNorman.

    I find no disagreement between what I have expressed and the suttas, unless I have not expressed myself clearly.
    Maybe @SpinyNorman would like to explain in a clear and practical way what cessation of suffering 101 means to him.

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