Re: Curtains, Action, some good spoofs, in you please!

Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 22:20:43 MDT

Amara very generously credits me with having helped pursue a line of
Extropian lightbulb jokes--too generously, perhaps, since I do not recall
having penned any of the very funny jokes that she listed. But I can offer
interested parties a short essay on the importance of humor to Extropian
thought, available at <>. Here's
the start:

* * *

On the Importance of Silliness

Extropianism enjoys a symbiotic relationship with our most vital values, such
as the will to survive and our love of intelligence. Such native meme-sets
run quite deep in humans, and seem likely to play an important role in the
cognition of transhumans to come. That Extropianism cooperates with our most
fundamental goals makes it useful, satisfying, and justifiably popular. We
should thus take Extropianism very seriously.

The Threat of Memetic Mutation

Memes evolve, however. We should thus also take seriously the threat that
Extropianism could mutate into something that does not promote our
fundamental values. Such a mutation-- call it "Hextropianism"--might slip
past our defenses disguised as Extropianism proper only to attack our
cognitive ecologies. A mildly parasitic form of Hextropianism would merely
feed off of victims. A virulent "Hextropian" cult, however, risks burning
through an ill-prepared population like Ebola through a ward of infants.

How can we protect ourselves against dangerous mutations of beneficial memes?
Fortunately, Extropianism already incorporates many safe-guards, such as an
appreciation of reasoned criticism, advocacy of the scientific method, and an
intelligent and skeptical constituency. To stay ahead of competing mutations,
however, we must continue to research additional prophylactics. With that
goal in mind, I suggest that we consider how humor protects against virulent
ideological mutations.

* * *

T.0. Morrow

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