Chapter 4: ((The Value of Life))
To now linger here for an additional auxiliary discussion, first observe that the dynamics which have caused the ability to feel positive/negative are responsible for all love, hatred, itchiness, fun, lust, pride, anger, remorse, and so on. These dynamics were responsible for all “sensations,” or theoretically all punishment and reward — or all personal relevance.
The realities of existence mandate that sensations might ultimately prove positive to the personal entities that both have existed and will exist, in a cumulative sense, though for the little that we know, negative sensations might actually prevail. The theoretical way to assess this would be to add every unit of positive sensation which has been and will be experienced, and deduct every unit of negative sensation which has been and will be experienced. This summation would theoretically quantify the net positive or negative “value” associated with sensations over time, or define what this enormous subject as a whole is ultimately “worth.”
Though it’s commonly assumed that the emergence of “life” was somehow “a positive development,” first observe that from this model existence is completely irrelevant to all perfectly instinctive examples. Theoretically it was only with the emergence of the personal entity, or sensations, that significance could also exist. And though extensive and impartial research would be required in order to effectively estimate how positive or negative personal existence has been in the past, it’s distinctly possible that the emergence of the personal entity both has been, and will presumably continue to be, an enormous cumulative tragedy.
Given cumulative future sensations, however, if existence does ultimately represent “a great tragedy for future life,” observe the following implication. Here it would be beneficial to this coming subject as a whole, if it did not actually occur.
We may never have much ability to accurately estimate the amount of positive and negative sensations that “future life in general” will experience, or even have much ability to “end life on Earth.” Furthermore the incentive to actually attempt such a thing, would not ultimately exist — “future sensations as a whole” are not specifically the sensations of “anyone.” But it is possible that future existence ultimately represents a horrible tragedy for this subject, and quite regardless of whether the presented definition of “good” is used… or any other. If future existence as a whole will indeed be “punishing” to this enormous subject in general… then nonexistence would be beneficial for it regardless.
While we’re “out there,” however, one might also suggest that a better plan from this scenario than termination, would be for humanity to somehow improve conditions so that positive sensations would ultimately predominate.
Though positive sensations are indeed superior to no sensations from this model, speculation that humanity might have such a positive effect… is certainly suspicious. Rodents and other mammals apparently do experience sensations, and cumulatively these sensations should be many orders beyond humanity’s. And while I can’t say whether or not insects generally experience sensations, perhaps they do. Furthermore the birds above and the fish below seem quite conscious — so perhaps their sensations would need human help as well.
If we are given that the balance of sensations for life on Earth generally tends to be negative, might humanity then improve this situation for sentient subjects in general to the point that future positive sensations would predominate? And do so given the relatively short future that humanity should be expected to have? And furthermore, even if humanity did have the ability to markedly promote positive sensations for existence on Earth over time to the point that these sensations would predominate, the incentive to actually impliment this “enormous general good,” would presumably still be missing. The presented model states that incentive exists for us to expend resources in order to promote the welfare of the sensations which we personally experience, not the sensations of future existence in general.