Re: Public Relations?
Sun, 4 Jan 1998 20:54:28 -0800 (PST)

On 4 Jan 1998, Anders Sandberg wrote:

> > But *is* extropianism a movement? And if so what is it a movement
> >*toward*?
> If we regard extropians as people who agree with the extropian
> principles (as opposed to the more diffuse transhumans), then the
> principles seem to imply that in order to achieve more extropy it is a
> good idea to spread the meme (spontaneous ordering requires more than
> one actor, and so on). So extropianism will become a movement of some
> kind, due to the implications of the principles.

The Extropian Principles seem to function more like a fuzzy center of
gravity than a *foundation* for the widespread activities that are
undertaken broadly-speaking under the sign of extropianism. My impression
from discussions in extropian fora is that most people take more
personally their investment in formative texts from the recommended
readings list than their commitment to the principles per se. This is why
we so often find people arriving at one of our fora and exclaiming that
they have been "extropians" all their lives, even though they (still)
haven't gotten around to taking in the principles themselves. And given
the level of generality at which the principles are pitched and the
emphasis on individual critical assessment in the principles, this would
seem to be as it should be.
But this leads me to think that the extropianism that takes the
principles as its point of departure is not exactly the same thing as what
people seem to mean by an extropian "movement," with a coherent public
agenda. Elsewhere, Max More describes PCR as a "metacontext for memetic
progress," and it seems one could describe the Principles as a
"metacontext for individual flourishing in the face of dynamic
technological change". This does not seem to me to be the stuff from
which *social* movements are culled. The principles as they stand seem to
me too complex, too suggestive, too open-ended to be reducible to a bumper
sticker, to cash out into a readily intelligible and coherent political
agenda. I can't think what it would mean for extropianism to "sweep the
world" -- which is what most movements hope for themselves. I wonder just
what you mean when you glibly offer up the spectacle of extropianism, "the
meme". Just what would that be? "Best do it so"? With *all* that that
implies? With all that that is open to? As I said before, maybe all this
is just to say that extropians don't really properly aspire to be a
"movement" at all. I just want a clearer sense of what they do mean when
they *say* it.

Best, Dale