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

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Jun 09 2000 - 10:51:29 MDT

Max More <> writes:

> At 05:44 AM 6/8/00 , you wrote:
> >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 stuff;
> >as simple as A to B:
> >
> > A: Where you are now --------------> B: Glorious Posthuman future
> Emlyn: You've lost me here. How is "perpetual progress" a linear
> progression from point A to point B? The whole idea of this principle is to
> communicate the idea of a *process* of continual improvement, *not* the
> reaching of some final endpoint of posthumanity, utopia, or whatever.
> Did anyone else misunderstand this? If so, I need to rewrite it to avoid
> that idea. However, I do think it should be clear as it stands.

When I discuss transhumanism in Swedish, I tend to use the word
"utveckling" (literally translated it becomes "out-unfolding"), which
has the meaning of development, evolution, progress, growth,
generation etc. (you can see that Swedish lacks the synonyms of
English :-). The nice thing is that it conjures up an image of not a
linear progression, but rather something unfolding and developing into
many directions at once.

I think it is important to stress the divergent nature of
transhumanism. One of the most common misconceptions about it both
among outsiders and some transhumanists is that it has a clear 'plan'
or 'goal' that everybody must strive for. It is rather pointing
upwards, but not demanding that everybody rush off in the same way or
using the same means.

> Besides this misunderstanding, what exactly is your objection in calling it
> "modernist". Modern as opposed to what? Is this a bad thing? If by
> "modernist" you simply meant a linear move from the present to a final
> point of perfection, then I've already shown that to be a misconception.
> Did you mean something else?

Maybe this relates to the postmodern criticism of modernism (defined
as the stream of thought initiated by the enlightenment)? Even if much
of it is just a reflex attack against anything labelled as modernist
(after all, postmodernism defines itself by being post modernism),
there are some relevant criticisms of the bad sides of modernist
thought and culture that are worth considering.

In our local philosophical discussions we have discussed how to borrow
the best parts of postmodernism and combine them with transhumanism,
without losing the enlightnment push. As Waldemar began one of his
essays: "We have hi-jacked postmodernism! Fly us to the Omega Point!"

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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