Bear with this post, those very few of you who will read this…for though it sounds arbitrary in some instances…it actually makes some sense.
How could you describe what a rose smells like to something that didn’t have the capacity for smelling in the first place? Let’s take, for instance, a computer.
You could program a computer to recognize that a particular scent is associated with a rose, but the question then becomes, how do you describe scent to something that doesn’t possess the ability to experience that? How do you describe to a computer what a scent is? You don’t. You merely program it to associate the two, and by means of association, it can thus be said that a computer can understand the connection of a rose to a particular scent. But it doesn’t know HOW to smell it, so to speak, it just knows that it is that way.
Now, the same can be said of humans. We don’t know HOW to live, or what it’s like necessarily to live (i.e. we wouldn’t be able to describe how to live to something that has no capacity for experiencing it and has never experienced it) but we do know what it’s like by means of association. We know that because, somehow someway, we were born, we live.
To something that has never lived before, and could never live before, how would you describe life? You wouldn’t be able to separate the experience of life from the description of it, and therefore it’s nearly impossible to explain…which means we truly have no understanding of what, exactly, life is. We have ideas of ‘how to live life’ based on what advertisers have sold us, or pop culture has taught us, or our ancestors have learned by means of survival etc… but really we have no clue (in the most basic terms) of how to explain to something what it means.
We know the difference between living and dead, sure. But we don’t know the difference between ‘living’ and ‘can’t exist’. So I suppose you would have to ask what the difference is between something that lives, and something that can’t. And whatever difference exists between the two holds a key to understanding the true description of life as it feels to experience it.
Life would have to be an illusion, because the same way you could program a computer to recognize certain associations, you could argue that we have programming of our very own that does the same thing in regards to ‘living’. Because a computer can recognize that a rose has a certain scent (after you’ve programmed it to recognize a ‘rose’), without even understanding what it means to smell, you could argue the computer technically has developed a sense. In some fashion, it understands what that means, if only because it’s programmed to do so. Perhaps all life is the same way. We don’t know how to ‘experience’ life, because it’s all we’ve ever known. And in that sense, it’s a complete illusion, it’s false, because in order for us to experience life we would have to experience the opposite. Which means that life exists due to two different principles occurring at once, both at the same time opposites and yet necessary in order to even exist in the first place…and thus an illusion.
If we could actually be ‘alive’, why then would we need to, unless we first understood what it meant to ‘not be alive’. (so stupid, but really, think about that.) Why do we have to ‘be’ something, to ‘do’ something, in order to exist? Seems the only way we could actually justify even ‘being’ or ‘doing’ or ‘living’ would mean that somewhere along the line, we actually know what it means not to be in this state. And this is why it’s even able to occur to us in the first place. Seems paradoxical. How can something be real if it has ever NOT been real? (I know, bear with me here). This probably sounds completely stupid, but think about it. How can something exist, without NOT existing at the same time? Sound crazy? Think about it. You can’t have light without darkness, thus you can’t have life without…the opposite. So what is this opposite? What is this part of life, that isn’t life, that we must know about on some level? It’s just like…you know what it means to wake up, because you know what it means to have been asleep. And you know what it means to be asleep, because you know what it was like to be awake. Get it? Yeah, yeah, this is all rambling, whatever…but I feel there is something strong to be said of all of this, something rather mysterious in it as well.
This is going to be something that defines the difference between life and artificial intelligence, I think if what I’m talking about is discovered in some way, that’s a major advancement for both A.I. and understanding ourselves. Because no matter how far A.I. comes, it will never know what it means to live because it technically always has (also, I don’t think it ever ‘dies’)….unless you can discover what we must be experiencing without realizing every day of our lives, and translate that into programming. Perhaps that is the mystery of the soul? Alright enough. You all think I’m crazy now, anyways.