External Interface — A Response from Harlow


With respect to our proposed model of the self-system, we are concerned that you might be  endowing the Avatar with attributes, characteristics, powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal component selves.  In particular, we envision that the Avatar cannot render independent judgments about queued output, nor can it edit the content of output.  It just “translates” thoughts to output format (verbiage, facial expression, gesture, body language, physiological change, et al.) and then “emits” the translated output.  Thus the Avatar is not involved in any quality control.  The Avatar is indeed the OFFICIAL spokespersona for our self-system.  We can say “I am Spartacus!” only as a consensus statement – no t-shirt required.  It would only cut down on crucifixions if other self-systems believe us.

Initially, we thought that one or more of our selves cannot independently cause the Avatar to blurt out a message different from (or in addition to) the consensus message.  However, we can think of a couple obvious exception cases: Multiple Personality Disorder and Tourette Syndrome.  We will have to think more about “unauthorized leakage through other channels”.  It occurs to us that the unconscious part of a self could “project” its feelings/beliefs through the conscious part with such force and intensity as to essentially overpower the voices of the other selves.  However, (NB!) the other selves would nonetheless be aware of what is happening.  In this context, it seems like the hurtling emotional juggernaut’s YES might run roughshod over the Avatar’s question “Is that your final answer?” on its way through the output stream.  In the strictest sense, while we see this as an extreme case, it is still arguably consensus, just because all selves are privy to the output (and they do not act to block it?).

“Suppose another selfsystem fails to cooperate, and treats extraneous “noise”
from the system as communicative?  (Don’t we do this ALL THE TIME?)”

We believe that (by definition?) there is no such thing as extraneous noise, only “message”.  In this context, “cooperation of an other” becomes meaningless.  Yes, we DO do this ALL THE TIME, because that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

We are not saying that a consensus message cannot be a highly nuanced blend of self statements, including (as above) verbiage, facial expression, gesture, body language, physiological change, et al.  Our use of the term consensus does not necessarily exclude multiple ambiguous, conflicting or even contradictory threads “woven” (by consensus) into the fabric of the output.  This could even result in Freudian penises, er, slips.  We meant slips!

“…the radical uncontrollability of reception by other selfsystems of our output.”

How is this an interface problem?  It may be a problem between self-systems, irrelevant to the interface.  However, we think we see what you are trying to get at.  You recognize that you comprise multiple selves, probably not unified and harmonious.  You are exploring self-system dynamics, in general, as well as specific to your system.  We infer that you use the term “risk” to include revelatory damage to your system, the systems of others, and the relationships among these systems.  Everyday language: Some of us, including you, are getting highly personal.

Reading between your lines, we infer that some subsystems participating in this “experiment” may be in danger of being led down the garden path, being shoved into the bottomless abyss, or worst of all, being sucked into that dark primal self of terror, all three possibilities teetering on the brink of insanity.  We consider ourselves a system with risk factors, but we guess our delusional deathgrip of “control” is a buffer of sorts.  If we “go there” with or without you, perhaps there is more danger than we realize.  In any case, we’re not losing sleep over it.
(Except ME!  HELP me!!  Please HELP ME!!!  I am NOT Spartacus!!!!…)

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