Re: Public Relations

Brian Atkins (
Mon, 05 Jan 1998 16:10:39 -0500

I think it might be nice to have an Extropian organization that
would perform functions similiar to the ACLU. i.e. fighting
things that we think need to be fought. It could double as
a lobbying organization.

I see posts on this list all the time about how various
governments pass stupid laws and otherwise trample on things
that we like or want- why not try and fund our own organization
for stopping these problems? wrote:
> On Sun, 4 Jan 1998, Twink wrote:
> > I think there is a great deal of apprehension on this list toward the words
> > "movement", "ideology" and the like. I don't think it does much good to
> > do all kinds of handwaving, denying, and neologizing to avoid such terms.
> This may be, tho' for me it is not so much that I am apprehensive about
> movements or ideology, as that I think these words have meanings and I'm
> simply not sure extropianism as I see it functioning in the world behaves
> particularly *like* a movement. If it wants to be a "movement", I'm
> curious to see just what its agenda finally amounts to.
> > >I am not sure if it makes much sense to think of extropianism as a
> > >movement, given the forms it seems to exhibit most characteristically over
> > >the five years or so I've been looking it over. More like a constellation
> > >of spaces in which a group of people discuss certain idiosyncratic
> > >preoccupations (most of which I share)....
> >
> > I think you are too close to it. Step back and you will see the forest where
> > there were only trees. You might also be able to see some of bad parts of
> > the movement, and help to make repairs.
> I don't know what you mean when you say I am too close to it. Certainly I
> agree with you that this is a discussion about seeing the forest as well
> as the trees. I don't see how I'm diagnosing "bad parts" of the
> "movement," and I can't see how to recommend "repairs" when my question is
> about what extropianism is functioning *as* in the first place. As a
> clearinghouse for ideas about technological development and life-extension
> practices, extropian fora seem to function admirably well.
> > [snip] What we need are people not to speak
> > out for a particular idea, but for "technology as good" for technotran-
> > scendence, and growth. Having an actor or actress do this would make
> > the ideas reach even more people.
> "Technology is good" is as good a transhuman slogan as WIRED's recent
> "change is good" -- that is to say, it is no good at all. Good technology
> is good. Foresight in the face of exponential technological development
> is good. Extropians seem to have a more robust sense than even most
> conventional technophiles of just how sweeping technological
> transformation may soon get (even if you are wary about the likelihood of
> a singularity), and this puts us in a position to make a real difference
> in preparing the world for these changes and ameliorating the worst of the
> damage they might cause while embracing their benefits. *This* insight is
> worth building a movement around, imho.
> > A format that might come to mind is... A child is dying of some hormone
> > deficiency. Clone sheep are producing the hormone through the wonders
> > of genetic engineering. Show this stuff in action. Show the child living
> > another day. Have the well known person read the copy and cry and
> > cheer at the appropiate moments.
> This would likely be of benefit (although I have some issues about the
> unquestioning instrumentalization of nonhuman animal species in scenarios
> like this), but I fail in any case to see how it is more than incidentally
> "extropian," if "extropian" denotes a movement with a discernible agenda
> beyond broadly humanistic optimism with a background in sf. How would
> propaganda favorable to cloning connect up with right to die legislation,
> competing security agencies, jupiter brains, and the like? Cloning
> doesn't need extropianism, except insofar as cloning is a stepping stone
> toward something like a singularity. This is why I agree with you that
> this is a discussion about the forest *and* the trees where extropianism
> as a movement properly so-called is concerned.
> > This might get a lot of the fence sitters on your side and the masses, who
> > then can be used to bully politicians into not outlawing cloning. It seems
> > worth a try.
> I can't for the life of me figure out what fence-sitting amounts to in
> regard to what extropians want *as extropians*. Who are the
> fence-sitters? Those who think the future won't happen? Those who don't
> realize the changes are going to be big ones? Or the ones who aren't
> actively in the labs and boardrooms doing the research and drumming up the
> capital to incubate these changes? By all means, it's worth trying to
> keep cloning legal in the face of unreasoning fear. That would be a good
> thing. But is that enough on the face of it to make it an *extropian*
> thing?
> _______________________________________________________________________________
> Dale Carrico |
> University of California at Berkeley, Department of Rhetoric
> _______________________________________________________________________________
> It is impossible to make significant change by force.
> The only way to make significant change is
> to make the thing you want to change obsolete. -- R. Buckminster Fuller
> _______________________________________________________________________________
> "Death, where is thy sting-a-ling?" -- Noel Coward
> thing. Is that enough on thge face of it to make it an extropian thing?

The future has arrived; it's just not evenly distributed.
                                                       -William Gibson
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