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Artificial Intelligence & Death & Goal setting & Health Rincewind on 16 May 2012

Life goals – republished from end 2006

I was just wondering if you people have any long term goals in life, and if so, why you have these specific goals. In other words: what do you live for, what is (or will be) your most long term project spanning decades of your life?

I’m not asking for things like ‘become happy’, but some more concrete stuff. I can understand that you don’t know what exactly your lifework is going to be, but you might have at least a vague direction of where you are going. Or you might not, of course.

A lot of people seem to strive for a happy family kind of thing: marry, get children, get a car, buy a house, work really hard for a random company until you retire, have the occasional family visits and just entertain yourself through it without further goals.

I’m not even sure if these people choose to do this. I think it’s more that it kind of happens to them. The girls asks to have a baby and you might not exactly consider it very well and BAM you’re down the road of the above story. It might also be so that due to failing to reach any higher goals family life becomes top priority. It seems to me that a lot of people lose their hobbies/serious ambitions when they have kids, and eventually start living for the only purpose of giving their family/offspring a good life.

I think this is pretty sad. Why do people bother living for their offspring when their kids might live for their offspring and so forth? Where does this lead to, except far in time. It takes so much time to gain knowledge and skills of some sort already, just getting children and counting on your kids (as last hope) in reaching anything throws all of your expertise (or time to exercise your expertise) away. Why not break the cycle?

So then if you’re not parting with the American dream life goals and if you’re a little more ambitious, the most logical thing would be to have a huge project to spend your life on. I’m thinking of a big science/technology project that takes up decades of your life. It could be anything: a new physics theory, a big invention in some area or starting a thriving company. This could – if you’re lucky, good and know how to exploit it – get the real big cash floating. It’s also pretty much an opium that makes you forget about the elapse of time.

And when you have a lot of money, you can actually hire people to realize your dreams, or at least have help working on it. This makes it so much easier to achieve your end goal.

But in the end, in the end it was just you getting carried away in the game of life. There are so many of these things you can do, invent, you can work yourself up in so many ladders, jobs, you can master so many different expertises. A lot of them are great fun, but the choices are endless.

In the end you might (or might not) have benefitted the world, done something for others, and you might even have enjoyed. But yeah, there you are.

Then we have death, of course. I doubt anyone is afraid of dying (as if it matters how you die), but have you ever been in fear of being dead – the world without your presence, your consciousness lost forever? Personally I am frightened to death when I fully realise the possibility of myself disappearing. It’s so sad that death seems such an unbeatable barrier.

Many of my own projects have grown larger with myself getting older (and I’m young). Even when we’re only talking about hobby projects there are some that have have taken up years now – and these are the projects that I feel pressing on the back of my skull screaming “FINISH ME DAMMIT”. I will have the time to finish these, but what I want to illustrate with this is that if projects keep getting bigger, at some point there just isn’t more time to spend in life to finish whatever business (or life goal) you were up to. You’re going to get to the point of dying. You ran out of time, game over.

It would be great to approach living forever: do the gross of the fun things, finish all the projects you start and work yourself to the top in many different professions. The universe as a huge playground. Sadly immortality is impossible, but the most logical and noble life goal I can come up with is prolonging life to the maximum. Also obviously this includes getting rid of the fragile human body and more importantly finding a way to replace my human brains with more durable hardware. And the trick is doing this without breaking myself or my consciousness, and without accidentily copying myself instead of transferring. There is a lot of work to be done, and I really ought to get starting.

I probably sound like somebody with a bad case of premature midlife crisis. But the truth is that I’m far from that, and I’m ready to get my hands dirty. If you weren’t totally thrown off by this post, then I’d love to hear some feedback and to hear about your life goal(s).

Goal setting Rincewind on 15 Apr 2012

Setting goals in life

It’s important to define your goals in life so you can reason from there what your next step in your life is, and what action to take next. A lot of people don’t have their goals clearly defined, but loosely know what they want from life. For example, someone can be in university and know it is important to graduate, and get a job after. This however won’t cut it anymore if you’re slightly smarter than that, and your goals could look much more extensive, and a lot more detailed, too. Defining your goals in life is a great tool in getting where you want to be in your life, it’s important to keep track of them for everyone, so you always clearly know what you’re doing at any given time, and what to do next.

A lot of people update their goals on a regular base, so they can steer themselves in certain directions. Of course, certain parts of your goals can be static and not be in need of an update for a while. I’ve written this post to share a layout for goal setting with some basic goals present which are important to most people.

‘My’ goals in life


* Health *
Trying to keep good health, and fix problems in health when they arise immediately.

Working on my health by going to the fitness center weekly, and running in the local park on a daily base.

<training scheme>

Eating as healthy as possible, namely:

Growing physically stronger the longer I’m working on my health.

Avoiding death everywhere.

* Safety *
Making sure I’m in in a safe living environment (house or apartment) and stay out of trouble.

Evaluate my safety on a regular base. Ask myself how safe I feel at home.

Ignore most threats and respond to ‘attacks’ of any sort with my full capacity. My full capacity will grow the longer I work on my other goals.

Practicing martial arts for self defense.

* Freedom *
Freedom is valuable so be careful not to let anyone take your freedom away. Staying out of prison, and out of psychiatric hospitals, is an important part of keeping your freedom.

Financial independence and staying out of debt are an important part of guarding your freedom too.

* Making money *
Becoming as rich as possible by running a website with ads on it.

Getting a job that pays more than x.

* Intelligence *
Continuously increasing my intelligence and learning things about the subjects involved in these goals of mine.

Reading a scientific magazine online (www.newscientist.com) and increasing my knowledge as a computer programmer.

* Human skills *
Improving my voice intonation and learning how to communicate with my body better.

* Hobby *
Working on a Tesla coil and programming a strategy game in my free time.

* Trans-human *
Living on in a different trans-human form after (or before if possible) death.

Explanation of goals

I think it’s important for everyone to work on their health. Being healthy comes with increased productivity compared to bad health, and being healthy is important for overall productivity. Not dying is an important part of health too, but that’s basic instinct really. Being healthy is important if you want to go after the girls too, so write that sporting scheme down already.

Second is safety. If you’re not in a safe situation, you can do whatever you like but you’re always being threatened by your unsafe situation which will take everything you have away if it gets the chance. It will undermine all your other goals if you’re in an unsafe situation or when you’re unhealthy, these two goals really are the most basic goals everyone should set for themselves. One way to increase your safety is to practice self-defense, this will teach you to fight off physical attackers.

Freedom doesn’t come easy for everyone, and when you have it, there are lots of possibilities of losing that freedom again. Freedom is necessary if you want an environment you can freely work on your other goals in. For example, if you go to jail, you lose that freedom and you won’t be able to work on whatever you were doing. Another threat to freedom are psychiatric hospitals – lots of things can go wrong in life, and psychiatrists can easily lock anyone up into a psychiatric hospital in my country, which is almost as bad as going to prison. So, stay out of problems with psychiatry, too!

Debt brings lots of problems, and you could pretty much lose everything you have when you go in debt. You could lose your home, your money, and could even go to jail for it. Therefore part of keeping your freedom is staying out of debt.

Making money is an important goal for most people, because it is necessary to pay the bills. Of course, there are various ways to make money, so write down your most nifty ways of making money here, and work it out in detail. Personally I’m trying it with this website.

Increasing my intelligence is an important goal for me, because I want to keep growing as a person and keep developing myself, and the smarter I am, the more productive I will be, so it contributes to my other goals strongly. In order to keep my English and science knowledge at a decent level, I read scientific magazines, this works wonders. Me as a computer game programmer personally also want to grow as a programmer and want to keep increasing my programming knowledge.

I want to increase my human skills, by improving my voice’s intonation and want to learn how to communicate in gestures and with my body, additional to spoken language. These aid my other goals as well, in dealing with other people it helps greatly to intonate your voice well and to use body language.

I want to keep hobbies, so I made that one of my goals. My hobbies are written down under it.

I have always wanted to stay alive and not die, so it’s become a goal of mine to survive death and to live on afterwards.

This is just a basic draft of how your actual goals could look, so think of what your goals are yourself and write them down in a similar manner, preferably with some of the default goals as laid out here incorporated in them. I’m curious to what your goals are in life so feel free to share them in the comments!