Making Sense

by Sam Harris | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 1473560071 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingMmeClintonwing of South Berwick, Maine USA on 2/26/2021
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Journal Entry 1 by wingMmeClintonwing from South Berwick, Maine USA on Friday, February 26, 2021
Review: Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity (Sam Harris). It took me over four months to get through this difficult but awe-inspiring book, composed of transcriptions of podcast conversations Sam Harris shared with a wide range of ridiculously intelligent and educated people from around the world, exploring "topics that range from the nature of consciousness and free will to politics and extremism, existential risk, and the far future of humanity". The early chapters were the most daunting due to my lack of knowledge in neuroscience, artificial intelligence, physics and so forth. But every once in a while, in spite of my love for good fiction and especially for mysteries, I have a need to stretch my mind, and this book is by far the most challenging I have ever done my best to absorb. In the earlier chapters, I often reread large portions simply because it was frequently over my head at first encounter. The research and terminology is vast. Yet, as Harris says in his introduction, the book is "heavily weighted towards questions about the nature of the mind and how minds like ours can best create a world worth living in". The book is not food for thought but a banquet, and were I to quote all the passages I flagged, you would be reading for hours. I found the chapters in the center the easiest to follow and the most provocative in the sense that lucid presentations are made about where humanity is at the moment. The chapter on "The Road to Tyranny" is among my favorites, speaking to the current political climate in the U.S.A. "We're not really free unless we can put matters in our own words. And if we can't put them in our own words, we can't talk to other people, because if we speak the words of the internet or the TV news, other people will recognize that, and they are not really in our company, but somewhere else...Reading is a precondition of conversation, and conversation is something we very much need politically." Wonderful discussions about political correctness, moral outrage as a development in the brain of humans, the biology of good and evil, preventing misery vs. promoting happiness, the problems with the treatment of all transgression in the MeToo movement as equally heinous in magnitude, the huge and currently neglected need to create safety research a part of all AI (artificial intelligence) funding...and so forth. I love this: "What makes me a scientist is that I'd much rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question." There is also a fascinating conversation about whether we might just be living in a simulation; and should that be the case, here is great advice: "...live a really interesting life and do interesting things, so that whoever's running it doesn't get bored and shut you down." I would love to pass this book along to someone who really wants to delve into it.

Journal Entry 2 by wingMmeClintonwing at When Pigs Fly Company Store And Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine USA on Friday, February 26, 2021

Released 1 mo ago (2/26/2021 UTC) at When Pigs Fly Company Store And Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine USA

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