Re: Extropic art: symbolism, interpretation & association

Tue, 18 Mar 1997 21:27:29 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 3/18/97 11:49:49 PM, Max More wrote:

>[T]o clearly be extropian writing it must
>embody extropian attitudes. Otherwise "extropian" would be utterly without

To the contrary, one can meaningfully define "Extropian writing" so as to
include writings that do not embody Extropian attitudes. An anthropologist
studying Extropian culture would almost certainly include in her sample set a
variety of writings--such as those that routinely appear on this list--that
constitute mere chatter or jest. She could quite justifiably call these
"Extropian writings", as they reveal much about Extropian culture (if not

(Note, however, that this does not imply that *anti-Extropian* writings must
qualify as "Extropic writing" under a source-base definition. I set aside
that issue for now, recognizing it as problematic but no more so than
potential disputes about whether or not an artwork embodies Extropian

>Similarly, Extropic Art is art that embodies extropic ideas and values.

This claim need not hold true under the source-based definition that I've
described. Extropic Art would, on such a view, win that label because it
issues from people who call themselves Extropians. Example: I write
instrumental music as a hobby. An anthropologist might well include such
music in a collection of "Extropic Art", even though it carries no particular

>Regardless of views on this, it seems perfectly clear to me that Extropic
>Art *does* admit of definition and understanding. Such a definition need to
>go into details, but to avoid some kind of definition is obfuscating and
>mystifying -- certainly *not* extropic traits!

Oh, I agree absolutely. The point of my comments has been to offer an
alternative approach to the problem of defining Extropic art. A
source-based definition can give fairly clear boundaries, I think, and avoids
mystification. Nonetheless, I for now remain agnostic about whether one
ought to embrace a content-, intent-, or source-based definition. It suffices
, for present purposes, to understand that "define it by content or not at
all!" constitutes a false dichotomy.