RE: Chess and Go study

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Dec 14 2002 - 20:16:45 MST

Well, there's a lot to say and I don't have much time to type tonight...

The most remarkable thing, I think, is the loss of the ordinary distinction
between voluntary & involuntary...

You're doing something, and it's not *exactly* as though you're "possessed"
by some other force who's controlling you (the "divine inspiration" idea),
yet it's also not much like ordinary conscious thinking, where you proceed
step by step and are aware of the choices you're making and the boundaries
between one decision and the next. One act flows into the next which flows
into the next, as if there's a larger pattern into which each of your acts
fits, and which is guiding your actions.... "Happiness" isn't quite
right -- the visceral sense of pleasure may rise and fall during the
experience but isn't a key part of it --

of course, this state has fuzzy boundaries. Sometimes it's not much more
than "being really on a roll with what you're doing" and other times it can
verge on a mystical ecstatic state...

others have written about such things at greater length and with more
eloquence!! Alas, I must now go and unpack some more boxes; we just moved
into a new house. At least my oft-neglected flesh container will get some
exercise ;->

-- Ben G

  -----Original Message-----
  From: []On Behalf Of Arona
  Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2002 9:43 PM
  Subject: Re: Chess and Go study


  Ben , would you mind telling me more about your experiences with that
state ? It fascinates me !!!!

  Thank you =)

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Ben Goertzel
    Sent: Sunday, December 15, 2002 2:11 AM
    Subject: RE: Chess and Go study

    I know the "flow" state you're talking about, but I've never experienced
    while playing chess or any other game...

    I can get there improvising music, writing, or doing math, or very
    occasionally programming...

    You have to have a mastery of the details sufficient that even abstract,
    difficult combinations of details are "automated" for you. Then you can
    think, create, act in terms of wholes rather than details...

    Unfortunately, most humans don't get into this state *ever*, and most of
    who can access it sometimes, can only access it for certain types of
    or in certain circumstances.

    The ability to get into a "flow" state in a wider variety of
    and contexts will be one of the advantages of having a mind that's more
    fully adaptive and self-modifiable (such as an AI mind, an uploaded
mind, or
    a neuro-digital hybrid mind).

    -- Ben G

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