Re: Gardening is Extropian (was) Are you an extropian? Re:Voluntarysimpli...

From: Emlyn \(hotmail\) (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 17:46:30 MDT

> "Emlyn (hotmail)" wrote:
> >
> > Extropian principles: I was just rereading them in recent days. I agree
> > them all, I think, except the first:
> >
> > 1. Perpetual Progress - Seeking more intelligence, wisdom, and
> > effectiveness, an indefinite lifespan, and the removal of political,
> > cultural, biological, and psychological limits to self-actualization and
> > self-realization. Perpetually overcoming constraints on our progress and
> > possibilities. Expanding into the universe and advancing without end.
> >
> > Of course, I like a lot of the sentiment. Yet, it reeks of modernism;
> > perpetual progress? more intelligence and wisdom? Perpetually overcoming
> > constraints on our progress, advancing without end? All very linear
> > as simple as A to B:
> >
> > A: Where you are now --------------> B: Glorious Posthuman future
> >
> > Can't we do something a little better, a little more sophisticated, than
> > this?
> What do you think is 'more sophisticated'? Do you propose that we should
> luddism or technological or economic regression? We know where we want to
> to, anything other than a straight line is mere dalliance. What is the
> People are DYING every day. The longer we delay progress, the more people
> will die in the future.

Yep, point taken. The problem is, when you are heading for the future, it's
very hard to predict where you are going to end up. So a straight line
course is very, very difficult to plot. You can try to plot a course to
where you want to be, but this can take you somewhere excedingly strange if
you are too committed to it; it is hardly ever likely to take you to where
you envisioned yourself going (for a reference, see all of life).

As I see it, extropianism is much more about people heading off in all kinds
of interesting and often unintuitive directions, those people trying to take
in some imput every now and then to see if things are working out for them.
A good example is body modification; that's not going to be anything about
"progress", well, the technology will be, but not the uses. The Extropian
ideal as I see it would be people taking these on as they see fit, and
"advancing" (really changing) in wildly different directions based on that.

Another example might be social "progress". The world hasn't really made
much that could be called social progress in the last couple of millenia,
with the "average citizen" living a shorter, poorer, less meaningful life
than ever in history (actually, there is some debate a to whether the
average agrarian society citizen, a peasant, lived a worse life, but that's
a wobbly tangent). What society has managed to do is to accomodate 6 billion
plus people in a more or less (less?) stable fashion; we (well, not actually
"us") have paid dearly for this.

So social "progress" is an extremely ill defined term. But social change is
important, and we see Extropians suggesting such quite often, suggesting
quite different avenues.

Intelligence and wisdom as single scores which can be raised or lowered is
cool for Dungeons and Dragons, but a piss poor concept for real life.
Multiple definitions of intelligence; well we'll not get into that argument
here maybe, but you've got to concede that in the future of intelligence
enhancements, you're not going to be choosing "make me smarter", you are
going to be making trade-offs and choosing styles of intelligence. And
Wisdom; well, I can't really work out what that exactly is (being after all
a rather foolish young man), so I'm not sure how you increase or advance or
progress it.

So I don't "endorse luddism or technological or economic regression"; what I
don't agree with is that we have strictly forwards and backwards directions
(advancement and regression). It's just a damned lot more complex than that,
and we'd better understand this point before "moving forward", lest we end
up somewhere really crappy. (resisting the urge to Hitler out)

Life extension? No question. You live longer, that's progress. I'm cool with
that. Remember, I'm Davros.


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