Brian, Life of

From: Carl Bonzer (
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 19:39:49 MDT

Brian and everyone here!

        I tried to CC a message from philosophy but I guess Extropian doesn't allow

        I want to say a quick word about this Natasha-Brian business. Because I
feel Brian has been singled out here unfairly, my comments will be slanted
in his favor, but, combined with the absurd things people have said about
him, that might provide the best overall view. (Also, I'm one of the few
people on this list who has met him in the flesh - what little there is ;)

First, about Brian.

        He's smart, *very* smart. ultra-whiz-kid type smart.

        More than that, he takes intellectual disagreements very very seriously and
assumes other people do the same. He also assumes people are smarter than
they actually are. You often hear people with IQs of 170 (or whatever
Brian's is) constantly talking about how stupid people are. I very rarely
have heard something like this from him (except about his girlfriend, during
the 'bad years' ;).

        What follows? Well, things that others as smart as he is might take as
signs of stupidity Brian takes as *moral* failings. 'If she didn't
understand what I meant by 'reference trauma' [or the evening star bit],
it's not because she's stupid, it's because she's too lazy to look it up'
(i.e., he rules out that the person looked it up and just didn't follow it).
'So if she attributes ill-will to me based on a misunderstanding of
'reference trauma', she's doing it on * purpose*, to piss me off, or insult
me or whatever'. 'How incredibly cruel'!

        So what you all see as an out of the blue insult to a sweet innocent lady,
Brian sees as the natural response to a vicious, malicious wounding by a
human being who has acted *extremely* badly.

Second, *to* Brian.

        You're going to end up feeling like shit if you keep this up. I agree with
everything you've said (from the start of this thread), and think you have
conducted yourself extremely well and I might add brilliantly.

        Nevertheless, you've walked into a close-knit community (which does seem a
little cultoid, but that might not be bad). There's no way they won't be
heavily slanted against you. That's why asses like 'altamira' and Doug Jones
feel like they can chime in without have read the relevant posts-

altamira wrote:
>I didn't see the original posts on the Transhuman List which led up to the
>discussion on this list, which deteriorated to personal name-calling, so I
>can't make any useful comments about the relative merit of the ideas being
>But I CAN say that .....

        When I read that I nearly fell off my chair. What gall! Comments like this
are pretty solid evidence that there's at least something cult-like about
this group. They are not interested in finding out what's correct they're
interested in placing dissenters in a gulag.

        Secondly, although I am at least as astonished as you that people
criticized you for your comment and *didn't* criticize Natasha for hers,
there's obviously a reason for it. I think tribalism or cultishness is one
likely explanation, but the other is simply that these people are from a
very different world than you. Whether it's a better or worse world is not
as relevant as the fact of its difference from yours (and mine). Consider
what you wrote here:

The problem -- at least one -- seems to be that you think there's nothing
wrong with being stupid or lazy or tribal (PLEASE don't miss the "or" -- by
the way, I assume it's mostly the third in the case of Natasha, though I
don't kjnow her well enough to be certain -- note, further, I'm not 100%
certain there isn't some other explanation), and/or -- this is more likely
-- that you think the degree of her misreading of my posts was low enough
that I didn't need to mobilize any such hypotheses. Given that I claimed
(with some evidence) that the degree was indeed high, why not engage me on
that very point: "Brian, you're attributing ill-will to Natasha because you
think she's willfully misreading your posts? I disagree. Here's why: 1. When
she criticizes you for attributing some sort of childishness to her or her
choice of lovers because of the word choice, 'boyfriend,' you have to
understand that our community in LA uses the term 'man-friend' for male
adult lovers.... 2. ...." (etc. -- just an example)

        Do you know how much effort it would take for most people to parse the
logic of this *and* to think about whether your numerous complicated ethical
assumptions are correct?

        Don't get me wrong. I agree with you *completely*. Max's response to you
was not only one-sided, it was amazingly simplistic.

        But consider the other assumption as to the cause. What's easy for you
might be very difficult and time-consuming for others. It might not be a
moral failing, exactly. People vary in what's between their ears, not just
what's in their hearts.

        Also, given that the errors of others might not be obvious or even
apprehensible to most reading your posts, and *also* that they don't share
your view about the badness of error, you can't expect them to have sympathy
for you, or to be willing to cut you slack.

        I think you've been seriously wronged here. If this were our list Natasha
and Max would have been laughed off for their idiocy or laziness. The
reaction you manifested would have seemed tame.

        But you are in Rome! The more you argue the more the cultists will draw
their weapons. Cork it, for your own sake!

        I suggest coming back to the philosophy list!!!!!!

        Now, to altimira, Doug Jones, Max, and Natasha: you clearly owe Brian an
apology. When the members to say nothing of the leadership (!) of an
Institute claiming to do good act in this way, with this degree of stupidity
and insensitivity, it doesn't bode well for the success of that Institute.

        Until I hear some apologies for the way people have treated Brian, I'm
officially an anti-Extropian.

-Carl Bonzer, poet, philosopher, musician, programmer.

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