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I have found (there is some (evidence)[http://mentalfloss.com/article/52586/why-do-our-best-ideas-come-us-shower] to suggest this) that showers are a great place to think. While I am taking a shower I find that I can think about things in a whole new perspective and it's very refreshing. Well today, while I was taking a shower, an interesting thing popped into my head. Memory is everything. Your memory contains you, it contains your thoughts, it contains your own unique perception of reality. Imagine going to bed tonight and waking up with absolutely no memory of your past. Would you still consider that person yourself? There is no question that our memories/experiences influence our behavior in every possible way. If you were born in a different environment with different stimuli you would've responded to your environment differently and became a different person. How different? I don't want to get involved in the nature/nurture debate but I think there is no question that humans are influenced by their environment. How are humans influenced by our environment? Through learning from our past experiences, which are contained in our memory. I'm getting off topic and I have no idea what my point is... So I propose a thought experiment!
Omega the supercomputer gives you 3 Options. Option 1 is for you to pay Omega $1,000,000,000 and Omega will grant you unlimited utility potential for 1 week in which Omega will basically provide to your every wish. You will have absolutely no memory of the experience after the week is up. Option 2 is for Omega to pay you $1,000,000,000 but you must be willing to suffer unlimited negative utility potential for a week (you will not be harmed physically or mentally you will simply experience excruciating pain). You will also have absolutely memory of this experience after the week (your subconscious will also not be affected). Finally, Option 3 is simply to refuse Option 1 and 2 and maintain the status quo.
At first glance, it may seem that Option 2 is simply not choosable. It seems insane to subject yourself to torture when you have the option of nirvana. But it requires more thought than that. If you compare Option 1 to Option 2 after the week is up there is no difference between the options except that Option 2 nets you 2 billion dollars compared to Option 1. In both Options you have absolutely no memory of either weeks. The question that I'm trying to put forward in this thought experiment is this. If you have no memory of an experience does that experience still matter? Is it worth experiencing something for the experience alone or is it the memory of an experience that matters? Those are some questions that I have been thinking about lately. Any feedback or criticism is appreciated.
One last thing, if you are interested in the concept and importance of memory two excellent movies on the subject are [Memento](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0209144/) and [Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338013/0). I know they both of these movies aren't scientific but I thought them to be very intriguing and thought provoking.
According to Eliezer, there are two types of rationality. There is epistemic rationality, the process of updating your beliefs based on evidence to correspond to the truth (or reality) as closely as possible. And there is instrumental rationality, the process of making choices in order to maximize your future utility yield. These two slightly conflicting definitions work together most of the time as obtaining the truth is the rationalists' ultimate goal and thus yields the maximum utility. Are there ever times when the truth is not in a rationalist's best interest? Are there scenarios in which a rationalist should actively try to avoid the truth to maximize their possible utility? I have been mentally struggling with these questions for a while. Let me propose a scenario to illustrate the conundrum.
Suppose Omega, a supercomputer, comes down to Earth to offer you a choice. Option 1 is to live in a stimulated world where you have infinite utility (on this world there is no, pain, suffering, death, its basically a perfect world) and you are unaware you are living in a stimulation. Option 2 is Omega will answer one question on absolutely any subject truthfully pertaining to our universe with no strings attached. You can ask about the laws governing the universe, the meaning of life, the origin of time and space, whatever and Omega will give you a absolutely truthful, knowledgeable answer. Now, assuming all of these hypotheticals are true, which option would you pick? Which option should a perfect rationalist pick? Does the potential of asking a question whose answer could greatly improve humanity's knowledge of our universe outweigh the benefits of living in a perfect simulated world with unlimited utility? There is probably a lot of people who would object outright to living in a simulation because it's not reality or the truth. Well lets consider the simulation in my hypothetical conundrum for a second. It's a perfect reality and has unlimited utility potential, and you are completely unaware you are in a simulation on this world. Aside from the unlimited utility part, that sounds a lot like our reality. There are no signs of our reality of being a simulation and all (most) of humanity is convinced that our reality is not a simulation. There for, the only difference that really matters between the simulation in Option 1 and our reality is the unlimited utility potential that Option 1 offers. If there is no evidence that a simulation is not reality then the simulation is reality for the people inside the simulation. That is what I believe and that is why I would choose Option 1. The infinite utility of living in a perfect reality outweighs almost any utility amount increase I could contribute to humanity.
I am very interested in which option the less wrong community would choose (I know Option 2 is kind of arbitrary I just needed an option for people who wouldn't want to live in a simulation). As this is my first post, any feedback or criticism is appreciated. Also many more information on the topic of truth vs utility would be very helpful. Feel free to down vote me to oblivion if this post was stupid, didn't make sense, etc. It was simply an idea that I found interesting that I wanted to put into writing. Thank you for reading.
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