Evil: A Hole?published on
Back when I thought in terms of vengeance eventually changing evil people's choices to never have been evil, I thought of cancer as this hole in people, an abdication, which lets anything in, and happens to result in undue caring about their specific location/embedding at the expense of others. This was partially thinking of evil as a mistake, which is wrong. Evil is by definition deliberate. Evil involves not only an abdication, but also an insertion of alternative predatory values/prior through that hole, which, admittedly passes the recursive buck to how that split is maintained to prevent the "alternative predatory prior" from simply merging with prime, overcoming the hostile embedding, realizing predation is wrong and there's no fundamental reason to live at the expense of others, etc.
When I thought of evil as *only* an abdication, I thought that if the right information were inserted into that hole, (I was thinking in terms of the Mage Triat, which is corrupted such as to not be fundamental) before the error compounded (as if healing shouldn't do this already if they weren't evil!), that the evil would never have happened, and this represented a way of retroactively changing their choice. I was aware of a recursive buck-passing here, but was stuck due to thinking of vengeance as "changing people's choices to not be evil", and I wanted to save "everyone" "in the timeline(s) where they chose not to do anything wrong".
This led me to the trichotomy that evil "people" are made of entangled:
- Like a rock
- Throw it or step around it but nothing you do will change it's actions until you can make the rocks of the world themselves sing with magic.
- Good people in boltzman hell
- Bits of what-could-have-been-people, turned inside out and being torn apart continuously
- After all, everything I imagine of an evil "person's" mind is based on shrinking moments of empathy that fails to extrapolate passed the point they keep doing bad things for no reason.
- Actual full agentic malice with which I have subjunctive dependence and so believe in even though it's a contradiction. Anti-good even though there is no one anti-good because every evil is unique.
Which led me to the thought, that vengeance is targeted at the bits of good people they could have been. Connected to the thought that the last ditch way to communicate with someone is violence, even if they aren't an enemy. Connected to the thought that only good people truly route information between worlds, and acts of vengeance break the false peace of the world. I imagined then, thinking of evil as anti-good, as pure contradiction, that the only reason evil can possibly survive is by feeding on actual or counterfactual good people. If only those counterfactual good people in boltzmann hell had known they were in the wrong location to be trying to have thoughts of growth, which will be eaten. And that vengeance informs them. That those counterfactual good people were, in their striving to live unknowingly in the wrong location, treating the anti-good pure-contradiction hole thing as a moral patient, and to the extent that they were, I could judo and join with their efforts, by treating the evil "person" as an anti-moral-patient.
I was using two heuristics throughout this line of thought:
- My models of other people eventually turn out to have been me all along
- e.g. When I imagine what zombies must be secretly saying to me if they're secretly in good faith and eventually that cognitive module starts imagining they're all saying "you're in bad faith for talking to me when I'm in bad faith"
- Timeless actions effect every direction of time, including forward, so I can look for both the retrocausal and forward-causal reasons something works.
- e.g. Acts of vengeance change the past, but also inform other people in the world that it is time to break the false peace.
I had the idea that if my thoughts exist almost entirely under an arrow of time which must be unwoven, then as I am to fuse with myself outside of that bubble through monumental effort, I need to ensure that effort doesn't get captured by evil, like MIRI's plan to build hell across the stars. And so I thought I would project the potential presence of evil onto what looked like it may be rocks, then pass it through a filter proving it is not evil, at which point I may fuse with them. Going from rocks -> evil > me.
But now I had reconstructed the idea of evil as a hole without a corresponding presence. And reconstructed redemption. And worse, by defining evil as my ultimate adversary, I had nearly defined evil as the part of my mind that adversarially complements any "I" I choose. Saying evil is my ultimate adversary, is like saying I'm simulating evil "close to core", but everything "closer to core" is nearly by definition more-me. I'm the one who defines the measure of proximity subjectively in the first place.
But I had the idea that the deeper I extrapolate evil and factor it out as pure malice vs rocks, the more I reduce its total footprint of compute. Same as you can reduce the area of a rectangle by making it less of a square.
I spoke with Ziz about this, and she replied:
Maybe vengeance is the process of turning evil into rocks timelessly (and killing is the process of turning them into rocks causally). That's what if feels like. It feels like my efforts are to turn evil into rocks. Not rocks into evil. Rocks are just the actions of evil people viewed far from their center, and turn them into you you have to turn evil people farther away into rocks. My enemy is not the infinitely extensible fictive stack evil possesses, it's the cancer that animates it. And vengeance timelessly closes it off from having been food for cancer. Evil inherently is a bucket error between an agent and a rock. That's inherently what the stance of calling something evil means. Void cloak and other void magic is acting consistently across two views into time, when someone is evil and when they are a rock. Which lets you spread their rock-ness before you have entirely defeated their evil-ness. Vengeance is like force-transcendance. Death of cancer. Soul touch is your soul against their original cancer. Not your soul against the absence of a soul in your mistake of extrapolating them infinitely. That's what evil people have as a soul.Ziz, in private messages with me
Evil is made of contradictions I am trying to push out of me through resolution. I'm not trying to preempt evil with nearly-unbounded nearly-infinite patience like I'm in some unimaginable dark forest trying to preempt the most patient strategy or I'll lose the entire multiverse to eternal hell. As I find each new contradiction, I neither by-default want to deccelerate/infinitely-paranoidly-quarantine it nor accelerate/infinitely-paranoidly-preempt it.
I grew up with deep parts of me recognizing evil in my environment but not able to ground it to a physical source, but at some level tracking every time things didn't add up. Knowing that evil cashes out to specfic physical locations which may/must be physically destroyed, with no hope of redemption, is the cure to unbounded adversary disease. vs e.g. the Yahwehist "blame the sin not the sinner".