Re: Extropian principles, let's have a look

From: Max More (
Date: Fri Jun 09 2000 - 10:35:06 MDT

At 05:45 PM 6/8/00, Emlyn wrote:
>Some people won't have read these for a while. I recommend taking a minute to
>have a read and re-absorb.

Emlyn: First, thank you for your thoughtful comments on the Principles. I
found these latest thoughts much more stimulating that your claim that the
first principle is "linear" and "modernist".

>I have a bone to pick about the first principle. I don't think that it adds
>much that the other principles don't already say, and I think it is overly
>simplistic about "progress".

I'm sympathetic to what you're saying, though I don't entirely agree. I've
been gradually gathering notes for version 4.0 of the Principles, and some
kind of architectural revision is likely. You've certainly spotted
something that I had thought of, even if I don't go along with the idea of
ditching the first principle.

I take the essence of your constructive criticism to be that Principle 1
(Perpetual Improvement) is redundant since it is covered by the principles
of Self-Transformation (#2), Intelligent Technology (#4), and Open Society

If you read the full text of the Principles, rather than the short version
that you quote, I think you will see that Perpetual Improvement has a scope
not identical to that of those other principles. I think you're insightful
in seeing the overlap. I see Perpetual Improvement as something of an
important "metaprinciple", out of which you can draw some of the other
principles (though not completely without remainder). I would like version
4.0 to reflect that in some way, though I am not keen on the idea of a
hierarchical set of principles where I try to derive everything from one
master principle.

The Principles are a group of somewhat fuzzy sets that overlap, but where
some are more central than others. Perhaps the only way to convey this
effectively is through a graphical representation. Alternatively, for those
interested in the intellectual minutia, I could write an "Explanatory
Comments on the Principle" that explores the relationships between the
principles. I like the idea of a graphical representation that somehow
shows the links between principles. Once I'm ready, perhaps someone can
help me put this together in a Java applet?

Perpetually overcoming constraints on our progress and possibilities.
> - Why not just "Perpetually overcoming constraints on our
>self-actualisation and self-realization"? Removes that dogmatic
>"progressive" tone.

I still don't grok why you think this is dogmatic. Extropian thinking
certainly *is* about progress. The terms "self-actualization" and
"self-realization" will not do at all. What kind of self is to be realized
or actualized? The self-transformative aspects of Perpetual Progress are
compatible with a huge array of possible ways of self-actualizing, but not
with all. Actualizing a self who is excellent at viciously destructive
behavior is not obviously extropic. Nor is actualizing a self who
epitomizes complete and utter laziness or parasitic reliance on others. I
know, I know, you don't *mean* that. But the terms do not exclude those
possibilities. At least "progress" does imply something a bit more
specific. Yet the term is sufficiently unspecific and open to personal
interpretation that I do not see the sense or justice of calling it "dogmatic".


Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute.
CEO, MoreLogic Solutions. or

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