Gamma-ray burst, bioengineering, nanotechnology, pandemics, rise of a powerful AGI, supervolcano eruptions, asteroid collision, phase transition of metastable vacuum state, total nuclearisation of the biosphere, ecological collapse. These are just some of the existential risks we are exposed to every second of our short life here on earth without even being aware of their terrifying possibility. “Ignorance is bliss”, as the saying goes and if there is one thing in which humanity will never fail, well, no doubt it is ignorance. People’s instinctive response when it comes to internalizing these heavy truths is to rely on belief systems that are as artificial as they are useless to progress. “In God we trust”, “We believe in the free market”, “Aliens will save us”, “The Holy virgin Mary will redeem us”, “Donal Trump will make America great again” and so on ad infinitum.
All these ravings do nothing but precipitate us into a state that is sub-optimal, to say the least, they makes us appear as infants who have just been exposed to the fabric of the world and learned that, no matter what their need is, is sufficient to just sat there and scream and someone will intervene to satisfy all our needs. In reality, infants are more rational in this behavior than many adults. How? because they use an embryonic form of Bayesian updating to overwhelm the surroinding chaos. They (instinctively) found that [I POOPED MYSELF] & [CRY] leads to better results than just [I POOPED MYSELF]. Obviously the behavior of babies is only a subconscious activity but this semi automatic mechanism contains in itself the greatest truth that we humans could ever aspire to: the more we learn about the world, the more we are able to progress by updating our priors. This is nothing but an informal instance of Bayes’ theorem, which is deservedly acquiring momentum in a broad spectrum of disciplines, from psychology to artificial intelligence and condenses the deepest sense of being a rational agent into a single formula: P(A|B) = [P(B|A)P(A)]/[P(B)].
That the human being is not a rational agent is already proven by uncountable behavioral experiments and mathematical theorems (eg Aumann’s theorem) but this does not mean that we should not aspire to achieve a greater degree of refinement. In conclusion, the moral of the story is as follows: the sooner we accept our place in reality, the sooner we accept to be insignificant and have to strive terribly just to be able to breathe another day, the sooner we stop climbing on the mirrors and face the truth, the sooner we stop to scramble for pointless nonsense like differences in gender and race, the sooner we could apply ourselves in the study of the cosmos and in turning the results to our advantage, learning from mistakes and improving ourselves more and more. To conclude, it will not be Trump, nor Jesus Christ, nor Marxism or nihilism to save you… but a bunch of statistic could!
There are no belief systems, there is only reality.