RE: Chess and Go study

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Dec 15 2002 - 14:36:59 MST


What you have to understand is that there are a lot of different states of

What we think of as "ordinary waking consciousness" is more diverse than is
ordinarily accepted. But beyond that, there is a huge variety of states of
consciousness, which modern psychological science has done a very poor job
of exploring. Buddhist psychology and other non-Western approaches to the
mind have done a somewhat better job, but their analyses are often
"corrupted" by being oriented toward the exaltation of one or another state
of consciousness as "superior" (and their analyses are often quite hard to
understand for reasons of cultural difference).

LSD is a very flexible psychoactive agent, and can lead to a lot of
different states of consciousness.... But LSD trips do not tend to lend
themselves to concentrated coherent creative activity, though they may more
likely be helpful in laying the unconscious groundwork for future such

The "flow" states that we're talking about are in some ways closer to
LSD-trip states, and in some ways closer to variants of the ordinary waking
state that involve concentrated attention. You could think about flow,
LSD-trip, and ordinary concentration as being on three vertices of a
triangle in "state of consciousness space."

"Enlightenment" is surely yet another state of consciousness ... or,
presumably, a collection of states of consciousness. Perhaps the
"enlightenment" state of consciousness brought about via Buddhist meditation
is actually different in many ways from the "enlightenment" state brought
about through shamanic practice ... etc.

Naturally, a nonhuman mind will have access to different states of
consciousness than we will. And thru self-modification it will be able to
create fundamentally new states of consciousness with a lot more fluidity
than we can, with our fixed neural architecture.

As for whether Eliezer is in a permanently enlightened, flow or
LSD-trip-like state of consciousness -- I'm not in his head, but even so I
have to admit I laughed a bit when i read this. Having met Eliezer a couple
times in person, I did not get that impression!! However, I am sure his
"normal" state of consciousness has its own special flavor, and perhaps that
flavor is a little further away from the "human centroid state of
consciousness" than most...

I find that English has almost no words or phrases to describe various
states of consciousness & their qualities. For example, my state of
consciousness during the last 2 months is quite different than it ever was
before -- and I know exactly how, internally -- but to sum up the change
I've undergone in words, would require writing an essay, not a sentence (and
I don't intend to write that essay right now... )

-- Ben G
  -----Original Message-----
  From: []On Behalf Of Arona
  Sent: Sunday, December 15, 2002 8:08 AM
  Subject: Re: Chess and Go study

  Yeah, it's like being given access to something that's always been there.
  As if one is allowed to see something, be part of something that is always
  It always allows me to solve whatever problem I was struggling with. One
thing that can
  be unsettling is the transition back to normal state. It can last 1-10
minutes, or a day sometimes.
  Also, I'm not always sure what I really saw while in that state. The only
way to check
  is to look at my code or whatever I wrote or did while in that state.

  << Eliezer don't read the following paragraph or if you do, be so kind as
to give me a break>>

  I kinda feel there is definitely some sort of correlation between LSD and
that state. I never did
  any. I however did some mushrooms (too much in one go) and hated it coz
the world was gone.
  I do not remember anything scaring me more than that. And I'm not prone to
fear. But I did not control
  my thoughts well enough, all hell broke loose. I did mushrooms once more
after that, to beat the fear and
  kinda succeeded. I will however try to stay away from hallucinogenic for
the rest of my life. Thank you very much !!!!
  I however am glad I tried as I never looked at anything the same way after
that =)

  << Eliezer you can carry on reading >>

  Coming back to that peculiar brain state, I feel like I'll never get used
to the 'switching back'.
  It's so severe that I can be a danger to myself or people around me. I'm
effectively unaware of
  the world for a while. So I always try to make sure I do not get in that
state in the wrong places.
  Also, life's a bit dull when coming out of that state. I immediately want
to rush back in. It took
  me many years to realize that being in that state all the time might be
what various mystics
  call 'enlightenment'. The longest I've stayed in that state was during
1990 or 1991. I did not sleep more than
  2-4 hours average per day for that whole year. I ate chess, dreamed chess,
saw people as chess
  pieces, related everything in life to chess. I never played the same
again. I do not even play anymore,
  apart from the occasional game. Nowadays it happens almost invariably
while designing objects.
  Various papers at talks a lot about that
state. You probably know that
  site anyway...

  PS: Could it be that Eli is in that state permanently ? I'm serious.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:41 MDT