Re: New X-humanist forums (was/is: Not all >H'sareExtropians(was RE: >H SLASH: Current topics.)

From: Brian Manning Delaney (bdelaney@infinitefaculty.org)
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 15:10:03 MDT


Max More wrote:

> Brian: I'm not finding this discussion productive, and you seem also to
> find our respective views too far apart to want to continue, so I'm going
> to try to discontinue this discussion by keeping this response brief.

Same with my response -- actually, mostly I just want to correct
something at the end, but a few comments first.

(For the record, it isn't so much that our views are far apart,
it has more to do with the "far apartness" of our communicative
styles. I love trying to bridge wide gaps between my views and
someone else's, when that person is willing, and when
communication isn't utterly painful.)

> I will comment on your left-right point, just
> to say that I found your Bush example only
> reinforces my point about the uselessness of the
> left-right division.

No. It reinforces the incompleteness of it. You seem to think
its incompleteness is a sufficient argument, or nearly so, for
its uselessness. This is odd, since no conceptual category is
ever complete (even the "Absolute," as those wacky French
Hegelians would argue).

Further, you misunderstood the point of the Bush example (though
I didn't spell it out well). It does not simply revolve around
fiscal matters, it is a point about one's identification with
society, and with the government that is of and by that society.

[....]

> It would make far better sense to say that
> Extropians favor decentralized, market-based,
> voluntaristic, emergent-order solutions to
> social coordination issues than centrally-imposed
> solutions. That's much more specific and
> informative than "right-wing". There are many
> people and groups described as right-wing who
> favor centralized control in numerous situations.

Yes, of course, IF my goal were to characterize Extropians in as
economical a way as possible. This was NOT my goal, however, as
I thought I made clear, repeatedly. I've been interested in
capturing an essential part of Extropianism that isn't
sufficiently emphasized in discussions about Extropianism
(indeed: seems incorrectly _minimized_), and the existence of
which poses some interesting sociological and political
questions.

Draw a circle. Call it "Extropians." Draw a circle called
"Right-wing people" (in the sense of individualistic, as I meant
to convey with my Bush example). The Right-wing circle engulfs
the Extropian circle pretty much completely, even if there are
HUGE parts of the Right-wing circle that are outside the
Extropian circle. (I'm aware that there are a few people who
consider themselves leftists and also quasi-Extropian, but there
number is tiny, to the point where they're outliers.)

To spell this out in more detail, I'd need to do a lot more
work, of course. For one: explain the difference between society
and government, and the respective differences in the way that
libertarians, and non-libertarian right-wingers view the
relationship of society to government. I think the case can be
made that libertarians and Christian right-wingers have a lot in
common with respect to their view of the relation of the
individual to society, but differ as to the role of government
intervention. (Actually, a more local unit of social grouping
would have to be brought in as well: the community.)

But that's a long, long story that probably isn't worth
addressing.

>> Hm.... this discussion probably isn't worth
>> continuing much further.

> Agreed. You think the individuals you
> communicated with had "irrational" (not just
> mistaken) views about circumcision. I did not
> participate in those discussions and so will not
> say anything more about this. It hardly seems of
> much relevance to transhumanists.

? Circumcision certainly is not relevant to X-humanists (afai
can see), but anti-Semitism would be, which all that's in
question, yes?

About "irrational": if someone who doesn't seem mentally or
educationally deficient says something incorrect, when it's
clear that the person has looked at evidence which clearly
points in a different direction than their conclusion, they are
not being rational.

> >You don't seem "to have ears" for this discusion (to speak
> >Nietzschean). So I think I'll stop here.

> Accusing me of being unwilling to listen is pointless.

Goodness! Not what I'm doing at all. Max, a quick memory scan
tells me you've quoted Nietzsche several times in the last two
or so months alone. Further, I recall your having a lengthy
quote from _Zarathustra_ on one of your Web pages several years
ago (about the ‹bermensch, I think). Thus, it didn't seem
unreasonable of me to assume -- incorrectly, it has turned out
-- that you've read enough Nietzsche to know what "having ears
for a something" means. In fact, the metaphor occurs in various
forms several times in _Zarathustra_ alone. It has NOTHING to do
with willingness to listen, or with intelligence. Rather, it's a
question of being "tuned" in the appropriate way, which is a
matter beyond rational accessibility (Nietzsche's point in using
this, and similar, metaphors). All I meant was: you and I are
from different subcultures. Sorry if my assumption was
unreasonable (or if there's another reasonable interpretation of
hte Nietzsche metaphor, which I can't see, but I might have
missed it!).

You picked Churchland as the UCSD philosopher youl wanted to
work with. I picked Pippin. That might some it up best.
Different worlds. We might need a better universal translator.

> I could do the same to you. It won't get us
> anywhere, so I will not do so. Some of your other
> comments seem unnecessarily inflammatory, but
> I refuse to be inflamed.

Max, please check your assumptions, per the Nietzsche ex.

> If we are to discuss political and economic
> differences among transhumanists, why not take
> the emphasis away from general criticisms and
> instead ask which specific policies and procedures
> will best further our shared trans-humanist
> goals while respecting our personal values?

Because:
1) I don't accept the relevance of any distinction between
personal values and specific policies;
2) I think general criticisms are extremely healthy for any
group, especially a new and growing one;
3) I find the questions interesting, and the exploration thereof
extremely illuminating; and
4) I think general criticisms -- if they are received
open-mindedly -- are likely to have an extremely beneficial
effect precisely on the formation of policies and procedures.

I'm disappointed that you've responded in such an uncharitable
way to my criticisms (though I can blame myself, partly, for
setting the tone initially, corrected though the content shortly
thereafter was). But I know very few people who respond to
criticism well (these few don't include myself).

> Onward!
>
> Max

Inward! :)
Brian



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:08 MDT