Re: "Raping the planets" and other PR disasters

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 19:27:00 MDT

"Michael S. Lorrey" <> writes:

> > Are our views "Let's destroy planets!" or are they "Let's create new
> > biospheres!"? You might mean the later, but in most communities you
> > will be misunderstood as the former if you express yourself badly. It
> > is not that the idea is hard to accept that is the problem, it is that
> > the idea itself tends to get overshadowed by how it is expressed.
> This is true, but we might as well develop strategies on how to deal
> with all possible attitudes. Typically your opposition is going to say
> mean things about you no matter how well meaning you are. We may say
> 'create new biospheres' but the opposition will say we mean 'kill off
> alien life forms and impose terran ecology as a form of ecological
> colonialism/imperialism' or they will use images of the Death Star from
> Star Wars blowing up a planet to illustrate how they want the public to
> look at us.

Sure, but you shouldn't hand them their weapons, should you? It is one
thing if they have to deliberately misrepresent us (and that can be
exposed, scoring debate points), another to have to face some idiocy
some transhumanist said on a public list and might be taken to
represent the kind of wiews transhumanists hold ("I'm not saying *all*
transhumanists want to rape biospheres, blow up planets, enslave
indiginous people and do away with all undesirables, but obviously
*some* do and say so in public..."). This is why it is good to have
things like the extropian principles or transhumanist declaration to
back you up, showing that whatever some fool may have said it is not
compatible with the core transhumanist/extropian values. But this is
hard work if there are many quotable idiocies around.

> > We are vectors of cultural change. But if we refuse to notice that
> > people misunderstand us, form prejudiced and erroneous opionons about
> > our ethics, values and ideas and then act on them, then we are not
> > going to be very relevant vectors. Those movements that actually
> > manage to convey what they mean to significant groups will win.
> Well, to a point. No matter how rosy you are, if someone in power sees
> you as a threat, they will hire all the PR goons they can to demonize
> you.

So what? If we suceed as memetic vectors it is unlikely to happen
because our memes have spread into the mainstream, while if we fail as
vectors then we will be a weak and irrelevant group which would make
great scapegoats or targets of a moral panic. Given the lack of
success the presumably powerful military-industrial complex, biotech
industry or internationalist "conspiracy" has had in their propaganda
against opposing views in society, I'm not particularly worried. It is
when you are small and misunderstood you are vulnerable.

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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