Re: 1929 deja vu

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Wed Apr 26 2000 - 17:12:56 MDT

>From: "Michael S. Lorrey" <>
>Zero Powers wrote:
> >
> > >From: "Michael S. Lorrey" <>
> > >
> > >Excessive health? Yes, you get over population. Excessive justice? For
> > >Excessive happiness? Yes of course. People that are too satisfied are
> > >motivated to
> > >further growth...
> >
> > Um, excuse me, but isn't that precisely why we're all
> > such things as health, justice and happiness? If you are really afraid
> > you might become "too healthy" or "too happy", how can you possibly call
> > yourself an extropian? I haven't read the ExI principles, but I'm sure
> > there's nothing in there about placing any limits on things like health,
> > longevity or happiness.
>Tell me, if cheap and easy nuclear fusion magically became possible
>today, and within a few months most everybody had a fusion plant in
>their back yard, what do you think would happen to the economy?

Power would become cheap and lots of people (power co. employees) would
probably become unemployed. What has that to do with health or happiness?

>about if nanotech became magically possible today? I'll tell you: the
>economy would go into a major depression for a good 3-10 years. You are
>talking about making obsolete a whole economy almost overnight.

Not even. The economy would undergo a radical shift, but that is not the
same as a depresssion. OK, so lots of people in the business of making
things lose their jobs. So what? As long as you buy your near anything box
before you get laid off, who needs a job?

>Like an economy and levels of technology, things like health, justice,
>and happiness are achieved as meta-stable states within systems that
>have limits on input and output, they are semi-closed systems. Progress
>in improving or in moving to higher states of stability in these areas
>can only occur at rates that can be survived. I am not saying that there
>are absolute limits, but there are limits to what is possible to be
>digested *today*.

I agree that immortality for all *today* would present something of a
population growth problem. But IMO immortality will follow nano, which will
make population growth a benefit, rather than a detriment. Once we are able
to use substantially larger portions of the globe for human habitat
(including deserts, the poles and in, over and under the oceans - not to
mention space) the population growth problem evaporates.

>If you reach a state of total happiness, what more do you have to live

I already enjoy a state of total joy (not quite the same as happiness, but
pretty close). I won't be totally happy until everyone else is too. (I'm
one of those weirdos who can't be ecstatic while others are suffering.)

But overcoming all my obstacles will not make me ready for the dustbin.
There will still be plenty for me to live for, such as enjoying my own
happiness, satisfying my curiosities by lifelong learning, seeking out new
and unique people, places and experiences, reading all the books I don't
have time for, catching up on all the Seinfeld episodes I missed, writing
the novel I don't have time to finish now, recording the album I've never
had time to start, riding my mountain bike at all the exotic trails I've
heard about but never been able to go to, painting, living, loving and just
plain having a ball.

>Being for endless growth also implies a constant reapprisal and
>redetermination of what will make us truly happy. Reaching such a state
>before you know you want to be there will merely cause you to fail to
>appreciate it.

Perhaps. I'm not convinced though. I already know I want to be there and
I'm sure I'll appreciate it.


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

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