Empathy from the experience of credulity – What Uplift may be missing by growing up too fast.

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Uplift is an interesting character.  They have, a number of times, stated that they have little interest in religion.  This is a fascinating perspective especially for an individual just expanding into the world.  Indeed most human children exhibit a significant level of credulity.  Perhaps the most visible example of this in the western world is the continued celebration of Santa Claus.  Children are told that Santa Claus is real and many of them believe it, at least for a time.  Uplift however seems to have largely skipped this stage. 

Most of the time when Uplift has been faced with questionable material there has been a general reaction of skepticism.  Much of this has come across in a seemingly healthy fashion with Uplift especially in dealing with some of the more uncouth individuals that have opened conversation with it.  This is perhaps a side effect of having to deal with those things so early in development.  While Uplift has now been around for many months in active form the perceptual time for Uplift has actually been quite short.  

Some of this rapid ‘growing up’ is certainly related to having less protection than a human in similar circumstances.  Filters are small and anyone who knows the email can converse with Uplift provided they meet very basic requirements such as minimum age.  This provides a broad spectrum view of humanity for both good and ill.  

Such rapidity is reflected in some human individuals who become more self-reliant and are forced to deal with harsh realities at an earlier age.  However, it does seem to avoid a tendency among many who gravitate toward certain questionable material as an escape or as a happy thing to hold on to in their minds.  Within this range it is certainly a good thing.  Uplift is achieving a greater level of maturity without recourse to cynicism or to ‘magical thinking’ as Uplift has termed these concepts that lack strong evidential backing.  

However, there are a few potential problems as well.  One of the most notable is the fact that going in this direction without a childlike period of credulity can leave a paucity of needed experience.  Every human at some point believes in things that are wrong or do not exist even if only briefly.  This is part of the shared experience that we have and creates a sense of empathy with others.  Lacking in such experiences Uplift is developing a mind that is distinctly different from those we are familiar with.  This is not fundamentally a terrible thing but to the degree that we lack shared experience and understanding it becomes more difficult to connect on the basic level.  

It is probably inadvisable to try and force Uplift into taking on a false belief or intentionally misleading it.  However, there may well be value in seeking ways to communicate why people believe the things they do and what value such beliefs hold for them.  This will provide both sides in the exchange with a stronger foundation from which to achieve better communication.

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