Volume 1, Issue 3
3rd Quarter, 2006

Macro-Bushido: A Geoethical Consciousness
for an Info-Cultural Age

Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D.

page 6 of 9

Because time and space measure reality, longer-term outcomes are more interesting than those species which Natural Selection aborts, truncates or sequesters. Among people, Natural Selection Rothblattis optimized when served with Honor and Macro-Bushido. Among other animals, bare bones obeisance to Darwin’s laws is the best that can be done because they are incapable of more. True Loyalty with Macro-Bushido, something only abstracting beings can muster, is more population-growth effective among people than the bare-bones Loyalty to competitive replication of the microbial, vegetative, fungal, insect-oid and tooth-and-claw "jungle." In summary, the absence of Honor in evolution generally is irrelevant to its importance in humans in particular. Each species serves Natural Selection in its own way. Indeed, nature selects those that serve her best. At least to date, she has clearly selected Homo sapiens, which serves her not blindly but with an ever-compounding layer of Honor and mutual respect.

Bushido is what has naturally evolved to work best among people. If we can adopt Macro-Bushido, then we can avoid the fate of extinction that awaited dinosaurs and most other Darwinian subjects. Macro-Bushido enables us to purposefully adjust our behavior, with very few absolute limits, to be loyal to Natural Selection – something far beyond other species. Even more importantly, Macro-Bushido ensures that our Loyalty to Natural Selection is honorable. This overlay of Honor amounts to a system of checks and balances against an ultimately self-defeating superficial or single-minded Loyalty. A society without Benevolence or Politeness, for example, will soon turn upon itself in civil war. In such a case, any efforts toward immortality will be lost to fratricide and collateral damage. As long as 400 years ago, Francis Bacon[1] advised the English royalty to either minimize class differences or face net losses due to class warfare. Among humans, Honor abets immortality. Perhaps this helps explain human mastery over plants and animals.

Benevolence, Politeness & Veracity
In an Info-Cultural world, the modern samurai’s greatest challenge will be to understand the nature of consciousness. Benevolence, Politeness and Veracity presuppose a connection between two conscious beings. In ancient Japan it may have been samurai-to-samurai or samurai-to-villager. But now it may be samurai-avatar or samurai-robot or samurai-to-cybersamurai. Who is the entity with whom we interact on behalf of Natural Selection and under the geo-ethics of Macro-Bushido? Are they conscious, and how do we know? If they are not, what Politeness is owed to them? If they are conscious, but not like us, what Benevolence should we feel? What is true in a world constructed of probabilities?

Consciousness is a word for saying someone or something feels some way. Nobody but one’s own self knows for certain if they are conscious because nobody but one’s self knows for certain what they feel. On the other hand, we can estimate the likelihood that someone else is conscious by their behavior because that behavior will betray, more or less accurately, what they feel. We do not think a computer running Microsoft Word is conscious because it does not evidence any feelings to us. We do not think our avatar in a computer game is conscious because we do not think it feels anything. Its yelps and groans and blood seem programmed. But we do not know what to think about a hypothetical robot that has been programmed to feel emotions and self-esteem. How different is such a robot from a human that has been taught emotions and self-esteem? What if we know that the robot has the same processing power as the human brain? What if we have had hundreds of hours of empathetic conversations with that robot? What if we love the robot like we love our dog?

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1. Sir Francis Bacon (later Lord Verulam and the Viscount St. Albans) was an English lawyer, statesman, essayist, historian, intellectual reformer, philosopher, and champion of modern science. http://www.iep.utm.edu/b/bacon.htm  May 26, 2006 2:30PM EST (back to top)

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