Re: Are you an extropian? Re: Voluntary simplicity

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2000 - 21:12:46 MDT

Wayne Hayes wrote:
> I tend to lurk more than post here, but if I were to try to sum up
> extropian values in one sentence, it would be this: to create and
> harness technology for the purpose of extending the length and
> improving the quality of human life.
> That seems to be a noble and practical goal, until one delves deeper
> and asks: why?
> The answer is obvious, and can be expressed by saying the same
> thing in even simpler language: we want to live long, healthy and happy
> lives.

Perhaps. There may also be other reasons. For instance, there may well
be people who want life extension and such available to others, but who
fully intend to commit suicide once that goal is accomplished - i.e.,
they want to create an extropian future, they'd just rather not live in
it themselves for whatever reason. They would still be extropians, and
the rest of us would benefit from their (finite) contribution just the

(In order to emphasize the logic here, and de-emphasize any emotional
FOO = extropian
BAR = live long/healthy/happy lives)

Therefore the set of people who want to BAR is not the same as, nor a
superset of, all FOOs. Therefore, BAR can not be ascribed as a logical
trait of such, though it is probably the case that it is an attribute of
most FOOs. One may well be FOO in support of doing non-FOO (though
hopefully not anti-FOO) things; that does not, in itself, change the
fact that the non-FOO activity is non-FOO, and extensive discussion of
such might in fact be annoying to people in a place they thought was for
the discussion of FOO stuff (for instance, how to make the world more
like FOO ideals)...unless, of course, the discussion is linked back into
FOO things, for instance "how to use this seemingly non-FOO activity to
support FOO stuff," or, "are there a lot of people who like FOO stuff
who also like this non-FOO thing?"

(Though note the dicussion has to be and *stay* linked into FOO things;
merely linking it into how to BAR is not, by itself, enough, and if it
strays into non-FOO for the sake of non-FOO, then it has become off
topic. Thus, "I want FOO things so I can BAR so I can do non-FOO
things," is only on topic in "I want FOO things so I can BAR." But, "I
want to do FOO things and non-FOO things and here is the balance I
strike," speaks to the balance - if it is a balance, no matter how
heavily weighted towards either side, and not, "I want to devote my life
to non-FOO things, so I'm not doing any FOO things." I think the
objection was that this thread was becoming this last one. This is not
to say that non-FOO stuff is, in itself, necessarily bad - just that it
is misplaced here.)

> You must also face the sobering fact that you may simply die before
> life extension techniques become available. If that's the case,
> hedging your bets and living life to it's fullest NOW (keeping a
> watchful eye on, and hopefully supporting, extropian values) is
> certainly in line with being extropian.

Perhaps. But merely living life to its fullest *without taking even
such minimal action as making reservations for life-insurance-funded
cryo* (unless you sincerely believe that life extension will be
available to you before you would need cryo, sufficient that you will
never need cryo) disagrees with most definitions of extropy that I have
heard. Giving only moral support is also termed "lip service", and is
known as a way to claim to be - and perhaps even honestly believe one is
(or delude oneself into thinking one is) - supporting something when one
is not, in fact, supporting it.

This seems, in general, to be one of the problems with new ideas like
those we discuss here: people believe in them, and believe that their
belief by itself will cause the ideas to become reality (perhaps by
getting them to randomly mention it to someone who can do something
about it and would support the idea, without seeking said person out).
If only such were true... <depressed sigh>

(Yeah, yeah, I know: once nanotech and cybernetics are here, and once
human psychology is far better understood, one could build a literal
daydream machine that *would* get these things going just because
someone thought of it. ^_- )

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