Re: "Raping the planets" and other PR disasters

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 21:08:06 MDT wrote:
> It may be that these ideas are difficult for people to accept and do
> bring to mind the environmental catastrophes in the past. But I don't
> think we should necessarily tone down our views as a result.
> Nobody is going to be taking Mercury apart in the next decade. But 50
> or 100 years from now, it may be possible and desirable. At that point,
> society's social views will probably have changed at least as much as our
> own views have changed from those 50 or 100 years ago. There is no way
> to predict whether future society will be radical environmentalists or
> "pave the universe" developers by our own standards. I don't think we
> have to be that careful to couch our views in a manner which is acceptable
> to this month's mores.

Actually...yes, we do. It is this month's mores that determine whether
the researchers who would bring about the future we desire get funded
or have their careers shredded. It is this month's mores that determine
which topics we can speak openly about (and maybe even talk some
businesses into selling us the equipment for), and which we have to hide
from society's "moral police censors".

You're right in that most of what we want is likely to come about
regardless of this. But I, for one, would like to see it come faster -
bring on the Singularity tomorrow rather than a few decades from now.
And I suspect I am not alone: the sooner our goals are achieved, the
more likely any one of us will live to see it...and if we live to see
immortality, we live to see a lot of other things.

The average human of 1900 might well be utterly repulsed by what 2000
turned out to be, as judged by the standards of 1900, to the point where
that person would work to make 2000 more like 1900, quite likely in ways
that we as residents of 2000 would find objectionable.

Imagine if you were in that situation, except that you had not yet been
to 2000; you merely knew what it would be like. Imagine that you were
living in 1900 along with the one who wanted to make 2000 like 1900.
How would you convince that person to cease their deleterious efforts,
or at least just to not round up a bunch of friends and have your
pro-2000 attitudes branded a public menace punishable by death?

Add 100 years to both sides, and you won't have to imagine as much...

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