Re: META: Getting the facts straight

From: Max More (
Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 - 00:19:20 MDT

Hi Stan (and any observers still on board).

Thanks for your quite reasonable comment. I'm deliberately restraining
myself from any further replies on this issue, since I don't want to fan
any flames. However, since you introduce a *new* point that I want to
address, and since you are clearly being constructive, I am responding this
time. I'm also taking the opportunity to thoroughly review and address the
initial incident that combined with other forces to lead to the present

First, if Brian defended me and Extropy Institute from attacks that I never
knew about, I want to express my real appreciation. Although I didn't like
the way Brian started this discussion a few days ago, I do see how he might
have been upset at my not posting a clarification earlier. I've already
apologized for that. I've reviewed the messages and see that this is what

I really don't know whether I first started using "ultrahuman" due to
Brian's usage of months before. His usage in the message I found, was just
in passing. In fact, here is that usage:

>I do see the need to mark a difference with the beliefs of
>typical humanists, but tend to think something like
>"ultra-humanism" (not definitionally perfect), or "telo-humanism"
>(definitionally more accurate, but uglier) would be better.

When Brian next used the word shortly before the conference, I did not
remember his prior usage from months earlier. I only knew that I has been
using it for a while. However, last year when Brian pointed out that he had
used it first, I exchanged some private messages with him. He did not make
it out as much of an issue and we had a good-humored exchange. I did urge
him to post my private note the list. He didn't seem to see it as that
important. I think that was my misinterpretation. Now I see that it did
matter quite a bit to him and that he really felt that *I* should post it.
Here are two of my mails to Brian:

>Hi Brian,
>Sorry, but I haven't been home much at all, and have 424 messages sitting
>in my in-box. I'm working at two jobs, and have the media decending on me
>for much of this weekend. I'm dealing with some urgent stuff (like the IRS
>and INS!), so I'm way behind on replies. Forgive me and please bear with me.
>I had hoped you would use my personal response to you about the
>"ultrahuman"/"ultrahumanism" matter to post something to the list. Since
>it's hard to find the time (it's now 3am and I should have been asleep long
>ago...), perhaps I will simply post my private reply to the list this
>weekend, since I recall you said that was also okay with you.

9/10/99 (same day reply to Brian's earlier message)
>Okay, a quick direct reply to this one. I would urge you to quote whatever
>you like from my private message to you to clarify this issue. I think,
>BTW, that you have nothing to apologize for. The foolishness that the
>person on the Transhuman list came up with was entirely his problem, not
>your doing.

I *did* say that I would get around to sending the message myself if he
didn't. I did not do so. As I agreed readily before when I first checked
this, I screwed up here. It was due to an overload of work, the mails
getting deeply buried (my in-box these days has over 1,100 messages sitting
in it..), and my not realizing that it was as important to Brian as it in
fact was. I had left it to Brian because, unfortunately suffering from
perfectionism, I feel like it I'm going to say something, I have to do in
thoroughly, not off-handedly. As usual with perfectionism, it would have
better for me to fire off a couple of lines of clarification (rather than
the long thing that I'm now writing!).

I had no idea that my slip up led to a build-up of resentment (mostly not
in Brian, at least initially as far as I can tell). I didn't know that any
of that growing hostility was going on or else a light bulb would have gone
on in my head: "Oh, this better go to the top of my priority list!"

Stan, what's new in what you said is that Brian was concerned that my
comments had given the impression that *Brian* stole the idea from me
("from the web page" is what you said). I don't remember or see any
evidence in those messages that I thought *this* was an impression that
needed correcting. I though I was supposed to correct a much less serious
impression--that Brian might have sounded unduly proprietary, along with
the impression that I had used the term first. Brian had written:

>and I realized I might have given the impression of being
>annoyingly proprietary about the term "ultrahumanism," which, at some
>unconscious level, perhaps was how I felt, given the timing of my email!

As far as I can tell, Brian said nothing about me needing to correct an
impression that *he* had "stolen" the term from me. If I can thought that
was the issue, I would have been far less likely to let other matters swamp
it. So, Stan, please understand that my perception of what I was supposed
to correct was quite different from yours. (I'm not even sure if what
you're describing was Brian's impression at the time, or one formed later.)

Overall, I think much of the conflict resulted from differing
understandings and perceptions, both at that time, and more recently. I do
still think that Brian's initial comments about Extropians were far
off-base and unreasonable (not just mistaken). However, I now better
appreciate his frustration and see that he had allowed his thinking about
me and Extropians to be poisoned by some people who really have in for us.

So, I'm not apologizing for my comments on Brian's anti-Extropian messages
of a few days ago. I stand by those completely and by all I have written on
that. But I do understand, accept, and regret my own contribution to this
whole chain of events. If there hadn't been people with poisonous
intentions out there (which I do *not* think included Brian at that time),
this nasty episode would not have happened.

Like Stan, I am not interested in talking about the "ultrahuman" issue
further. My record as a creative thinker speaks for itself. I do not need
to take anyone's ideas. I don't feel any need to persuade those who are
determined to think ill of me. I *do* want to give the above input now that
I've reviewed past messages and can separate the real issues from the
collateral damage. I continue to have deep disagreements with Brian (many
probably stemming from his Platonism) and I continue to stand by my
responses to his recent comments about Extropians. The couple of you who
think I owe an apology for my recent comments will be disappointed. Those
of you who look for me to recognize where I originally fell short and
thereby contributed to the chain of events may be satisfied.

Now that I've bored everyone to tears with the length of this post I'll
shut up and hope not to see any need to address the issue further.
Obviously some people will be impossible to satisfy. Those are not the
people to whom this is addressed anyway.



Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute.
CEO, MoreLogic Solutions. or

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