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I think one of the important points the story tries to make is the way we perceive/react to the idea of free-will vs destiny is very anthropomorphic because we have sequential consciousness. The heptapods have simultaneous consciousness and do not even understand the idea of free-will. They are not troubled by it because it is a purely different way of perceiving the world.

The subtle difference Ted Chaing tried to get at is that humans think knowing the future means we are doomed to enact a choreography; but the hetpapods perceive knowing the future as creating the future.

So maybe in a human's mind, we think of the future as a geographic feature that we are heading towards. And the inability to change where we go to is troubling. But in the heptapod's mind, the future is just an abstract concept they know in their minds, but do not exist yet; and they seek to create it by acting it out.




To me predicting the future is about the implications of abstract ideas carried out in the world.

I take the idea that we are capable of doing a lot of damage with our technology. I reason that once we discover the damage we are doing, we usually do something about it. However, that process of fixing our mistakes is much slower. So I reason that over time we will do more and more damage, because our technology is progressing at faster and faster rates. And the fixes will be implemented slowly. Damage will eventually accumulate and be catastrophic. After some major catastrophe, say a few hundred million people dead, we will then slow down introducing technology into the system and be much more precautious about it. However, even then there will be economists which will argue their way out of it, saying the damage caused by not growing the economy is much worse than any sort of damage caused to the environment.


> The heptapods have simultaneous consciousness and do not even understand the idea of free-will

I'm not at all sure that humans even understand the idea of free will either; I've certainly never heard a definition of it that made any sense. Locke famously observed that

> the question itself is altogether improper; and it is as insignificant to ask whether man's will be free, as to ask whether his sleep be swift, or his virtue square

There's a separate question about whether or not volition is purely deterministic, but people don't value randomness, they value having (many of) the causes of their mental states be internal rather than external, and I don't think they're in much danger of disappointment there.




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