Re: Technology (Was: imaging the world)

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Thu Mar 09 2000 - 07:31:47 MST

Anders wrote,
>Where could it have made the turn? I think the only obvious point
>where humanity might have made a truly irreversible choice is the
>development of agriculture. Once you have it, a lot of things change:
>population increase, cultural changes, plagues and cities become hard
>to avoid (?). If we somehow had avoided it and remained
>hunter-gatherers humanity would have remained stable. Now we have got
>onto the change track instead.

I think humanity made a wrong turn when it began to imagine explanations for
mind/brain without having sufficient empirical information. Instead of seeing
itself as one evolutionary awareness, humanity divided itself into warring

>Without cities tyrants will just tyrranize their tribe and their
>neighbours, but clearly tyrrany is older than cities and would still
>have been present in a hunter-gatherer humanity. In fact, when we look
>at our primate relatives we find quite a bit of tyrrany going on, so
>the reasons for tyrrany seems to go back far into our evolutionary
>past. Increased technology and population has just made tyrants more

So, we (all of humanity) need to end the conflict, because otherwise, with
ultra-technology, conflict will end us.

>Superstition (I define it as doing and thinking things there are no
>compelling reasons to think they are correct) is also much older than
>agriculture. If cave paintings were intended to improve the hunt
>magically (as opposed to give instruction or act as decoration) then
>we have at least 50,000 years of superstition. And there have been
>signs of ceremonial burial of neanderthal humans with flowers and
>tools, suggesting a belief in an afterlife around 70,000 years ago.

Yes, superstition continues to the present day.

>Anumals can easily become superstitious when given operant training -
>if you intermittently reward a pidgeon for pecking at a certain
>symbol, and it happens to stand on one leg when it gets a reward, it
>sometimes develop the association "symbol peck + one leg = reward" and
>will always stand on one leg. I expect that we have had superstition
>long before we climbed down from the trees.

Irrational thinking includes, but is not limited to superstition.

>So tyrrany and superstition are really older than Homo sapiens. They
>are not something we chose and fell out from a golden age, but rather
>something we want to get rid of to reach a future golden age.

So, then transhumanism means the movement of humanity past superstition and
tyranny. Technology may be separate from this movement, but not incidental to

The effort to _become_ something may actually have been the beginning of the
wrong turn for humanity. That looks like where the conflict began -- a long time

--J. R.

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