Re: Are you an extropian?

From: john grigg (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 16:44:36 MDT

Nadia wrote:
What I was objecting to is the tendency for list subscribers to
insist on WHAT is or isn't Extropian. I think many things ARE if they are
done with great skill.

It happens too often for my taste, people reminding others to "be more
Extropian". ugh.

I can see the valid points Brian Atkins is making and yet this matter should
not be turned into an ideological witch hunt! :) I have not seen Robert
Owen post in a long time and remember how his "extropian purity" was
questioned. I hope he was not offended and so simply left us. I enjoyed
his posts a great deal.

Bonnie wrote:
The following sentences are from Extropian Principles Version 3.0:
"Transhumanists take humanism further by challenging human limits by means
of science and technology combined with critical and creative thinking."..."
  This document deliberately does not specify particular beliefs,
technologies, or conclusions. "The document doesn't offer a definition of
technology; therefore, it seems safe to assume that for the purpose of
interpreting the document the word is to be defined according to its
generally accepted definition.

The dictionary I have sitting here on the shelf behind my desk (Webster's
9th New Collegiate) offers a definition of technology which I think is
relevant to a recent post by Robert-Coyote which implies that the means used
to grow food crops should not be considered technology. Here's the
definition: technology: the totality of the means employed to provide
objects necessary for human sustenance and comfort.

So, Robert-Coyote, I'm wondering why you think that the means to grow food
in beach sand with no fossil fuel consumed and without adding shipped-in
fertilisers, does not qualify as technology?

Robert, this is what you get for trying to argue with a lawyer!! ;)

Brian Atkins wrote:
simply To be blunt, I think there are a lot of people hanging out on the
list who really are not extropians. Which is fine, since everyone has to be
a newbie at some point and decide for themselves whether or not they really
are or not. But some people seem to be unable to realize the fact that they
are not really extropian at all. They rationalize to themselves that they
are, but in fact the choices they continually make in their lives lead more
down the path towards entropy. So they end up hanging around here, really
not adding much besides noise.

This is an excellent point. I am to an extent one of those people. I
believe in God and the divinity of Christ, though I do not claim an
absolutely sure knowledge of my faith. This is at odds with the humanism in
transhumanism and one of Max's extropian principles on rejection of the

You talk about people continually making choices in their lives that lead
them down the path of entropy. I have done such by not eating and
exercising right on a consistent basis, reducing my odds of making it to the
singularity despite my relatively young age of thirty-three.

I have also failed in not having the level of education I should to really
take advantage of the social and economic opportunities in this expanding
world of ours. When I attended college for two years my eyes were greatly
opened to the world and learned about cryonics and extropianism while
surfing the net on a school computer. I had never before had access to the
net before that.

Despite my regular posts to Cryonet and here, I have yet to get life
insurance and sign up for a cryonics policy with Alcor. I even reached out
to Rudi Hoffman but did not follow up after getting a packet from him. In
my mind getting a cryonics policy I must do to show myself that I am serious
about these things.

As Charles Platt once pointed out on cryonet, some people who sign up for
cryonics are those who feel they did not get a fair shake in this world and
want a chance at a future where "body and soul" will be healed and nurtured,
unlike here.

Brian Atkins wrote:
In my opinion if we don't reserve the noun Extropian for those who are full
fledged practitioners of the philosophy, then isn't that a bit of an insult
to those people?

An interesting thought! Should we have orthodox extropians, unorthodox and
reformed? lol Brian, you should create a purity test for those who want to
see if they are truly an extropian(really)! I could also see Anders or
Eliezer being able to do a good job at this.

I view myself as a "quasi-extropian" and ultimately simply a cryonicist. I
like the non-doctrinaire approach of the cryonics folks. They make room for
me to be myself but then they are more about freezing then philosophy. I
realize obviously, that there is interlap in both groups.

Natasha wrote:
I cannot exclude a person because of one or more characteristics that are
not completely extropian. In fact, I welcome even the slightest chance of
extropy in a person and encourage that growth. Why not?

Perfection is not all that historical myths have built it up to be and
frequently welds into static holding patterns -- inertia.

I like the open armed view of Natasha. Yes, there are extropians and then
those who hang with them who are not, but Natasha's approach will
I think do the most good. As far as I know, I am free to pay my money
anytime and join the Extropy Institute to formally become an Extropian! lol

I realize there is more to being an extropian then just a membership card!
This reminds me of talks in church about being a "doer of the word and not a
hearer only." Had Max organized the Extropian Institute after the New
Testament church model, Brian would probably be one of the ExI apostles! ;)
Especially considering what he shared about himself that is below...

Brian wrote:
Sure, I support ExI and Foresight, each has received $10k from me so far
with more coming soon I hope. I am now supporting Eliezer's AI/Singularity
research indefinitely. I spend most of my time researching investment
strategies and opportunities both in public and private companies. In my
previous life (1997/98) I founded and sold, which helps small
businesses get started on the Web.

Since then I helped start an angel investing group in Atlanta that has
helped many startups here get help. I have many public and private
investments, and as these grow I intend to continue to (hopefully) divert
larger and larger quantities of cash to the above and other
extropian/singularitarian efforts. I will be 26 years old on Saturday.
Someday I may start another business if I become motivated enough, but for
now I am content to let my money work for me. I will admit to periods of
laziness and general comfort-seeking. None of us are machines (in the
robotic sense), we can't just work constantly...But in general I think I am
improving, expanding, and challenging my limits while hopefully doing a
little bit to fight entropy.

Wow, you have really accomplished alot at a pretty young age. I am happy to
see that you are being generous in helping transhumanistic efforts that need
it. Especially on behalf of Eliezer's seed AI research goal. You have
earned your bragging rights as an extropian, no question about that and have
set an example to follow.

I am simply glad that the ExI is openminded in letting folks like me come
onto the list and share and learn with others. It has been a fascinating
experience for me. I look forward to attending the next Extro(it would be
my first) and meeting all my extropian cyberspace friends.


John Grigg

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