Does knowing you’re a robot help?



CSH: We’re talking about perceiving the irrational basis of your desiring, about perceiving that your motivator is irrational, about seeing that the set of commands that drives you is not a proper basis for living—and not being able to do anything about it. Because it constitutes you so deeply that it’s un-eraseable.

Jesse: Not to mention you got a good chunk of it just from genes, which you definitely don’t have any control over.

CSH: But, we have to agree that seeing the basis of your lack of autonomy has some value.

Jesse: Disagree!

CSH: It’s helpful to know that you’re being driven mechanically!

Jesse: No. Not really.

CSH: It’s helpful to know that urges are mechanical and not self. It gives you an advantage over the guy who’s completely bewitched by his robot. It gives you a level of transcendence outside your robot to know that you are one. Admit it. When you watch your robotic action happen from the outside, you have more power than a person who is completely sleepwalking inside of his character.

Jesse: I feel less empowered than I did before I started these exercises. Significantly less. I feel hopeless. I’ve gained insight into how little volition I have.

CSH: Do you feel like you’ve lost something as a consequence?

Jesse: Yes. Before I thought that maybe I had some say in what’s going on, but now I’m like “uh-uh.”

CSH: You feel like you’ve been robbed of agency.

Jesse: I feel like I’ve been robbed of the illusion of agency.

CSH: Well, then, if it’s an illusion—congratulations. You’re saying, “I’ve seen the truth” yet you’re complaining about it.

Jesse: Yes.

CSH: Ye shall not complain about seeing the truth.

Jesse: What ever happened to the virtue of living a happy delusion?

CSH: That’s the gay science.

Jesse: If we’re stuck with delusion, why not make it a pleasant one?

CSH: That’s the gay science. “You know it’s a game, so make it a good one.” Why not?