Re: Heston Speech

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Fri Feb 23 2001 - 22:19:05 MST

On Friday, February 23, 2001 12:02 PM Steve Nichols
> >> I tend to look down on political theory ... and prefer to judge issues
> >> a case-by-case, situationalist (posthuman aesthetic) way.
> >I don't look down on political philosophy, though I look down on certain
> >wrong political philosophies.
> No political theory is completely correct ... and all are formed out
> of past events so might not be relevant in the future. If a theory cannot
> be continually modified ... then it is dead meat. And if it is continually
> modified, then it cannot ever be formulated ...... so why bother?

This can be said about any theory or idea. You seem to be assuming either
knowledge is final and perfect or it's totally unacceptable. Why science?
Why technology? Why case-by-case rejection? Why anything?

> >By what means does one "to judge issues on a case-by-case, situationalist
> >(posthuman aesthetic) way?" That would seem to mean to me an implicit,
> >tacit political philosophy as opposed to an explicit one.
> Yes.
> >The latter is easier to examine.
> Fossils are easy to examine, this is true.

Just because something isn't explicated, doesn't mean it's alive and
thriving. I tend to think that making assumptions visible and tacit
knowledge more verbal, one is better able to examine it.

> >(Also, I think such "case-by-case" thinking is just how
> >the average person and politician approaches matters.
> Of course it must be ..... politicians in practice find they cannot
> stick to their cumbersome political theories.

I think what is more likely is they find their rhetoric prevents their
desire for more power or to get along from coming to fruition. The same
applies to nonpoliticians. Being able to ignore principles gives one an
easy out when they become a nuisance to getting along with other people or
avoid a bad conscience. It's easy to say, "Stealing is wrong" and then when
one takes home office supplies from work justifying that as not really
stealing and pointing out how we must judge each theft on a case-by-case
basis before deciding if it's truly theft.:)

> >This is how we get
> >people who say they are for freedom of expression, but against expression
> >they or well established find offensive, such as people who against
> >making anti-Christian art.)
> Not sure what you mean here, but certainly, a priori offence at
> anti-Christian
> art is a 'political' theory rather than a case-by-case aesthetic

I don't think of this as a "'political' theory." Perhaps a definition is in
order here. What do you mean by political theory?

> Principles or guide-lines are "soft rules" as opposed to "hard rules",

I think it's a little deeper than that, but I don't want to travel down the
path of Objectivist first principles or the wider Objectivist view of
principled thought and action. Others already have explicated those points

> I have deliberately never tried to compile any "Posthuman Principles"
> though because I *do* distrust (or rather, see little point in) UNIVERSAL
> catch-all linguistic formulations that are independent of any empirical
> or evidence.

But isn't that a rule in action above? You seem to be using as your rule
"empirical test[s] or evidence" as your touchstone, so you are not really
throwing out theory, just saying you are.

> I suppose it is inevitable that we make up Posthuman
> *suggestions* from time to time, but maybe shouldn't try to pretend that
> such suggestions are immune from change and somehow true for all
> time or permanent .. that would be self-defeating for a radical futurist
> agenda! And if the extropian principles are updated every year, then
> they cannot be very principled principles anyway ... far too short term ..

I don't pretend to defend the Extropian Principles. Nor do I think one
should collapse them or other transhumanist writings into principles in
general. This would be an overgeneralization.


Daniel Ust

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