Re: The most compelling argument against extropian ideas

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 23:54:15 MST

On Wednesday, March 28, 2001 2:20 PM Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > >Youa are mad, if you think tha it's good to be a cyborg.If
> > >you want to be do it yourself, but don't give the chance to
> > >other people, who don't know what to do with their lives
> > >and they think it's fun.Because IT'S NOT! Whay do everyone
> > >wants to be a computer? Why do everyone tries to put an end
> > >to humanity? I can't really understand, but you will win!
> > >You idiot! Bye!
> OK, analysing something like this is in itself an exercise in
> silliness or too much seriousness. But I think it reveals something
> about the memes we have to struggle against, and I am a tired swede
> for the moment :-). The core of the confused mail seems to be that 1)
> being a cyborg is not fun, 2) extropianism seeks to turn everybody
> into cyborgs.
> 2 is based on the common view that any ideology has to prescribe
> behavior for not just its adherents but everyone else too. While we
> might have views on universal principles, I don't think any currently
> existing branch of transhumanism seriously proposes imposing itself on
> non-transhumanists (it would go very deeply against the same
> individual autonomy and freedom that transhumanism tries to
> enhance). It is basically the classical liberal view that there is a
> private morality for everyone; after we have settled on the public
> morality needed to keep our societies working it should not be
> extended into the private moral sphere. But many people are so used to
> ideologies claiming the right to regulate everything and everyone,
> that they have a hard time recognising just how tolerant transhumanism
> is.

I'm not sure if that's exactly what the person was at. She or he wrote,
"don't give the chance to
other people, who don't know what to do with their lives..." I don't think
she or he was implying Extropians, transhumanists, etc. would force other
people to become cyborgs or what have you. Instead, I think she or he was
bringing up the point of enabling other people to do something that might
not be wise in the long run. You know, like handing a loaded gun to someone
who's feeling suicidal.

I think anything we do enables something bad. There are always unintended
consequences. It's not a matter of choosing a risk free course, but merely
the best course we can given our limits. There are certain easy situations,
such as the example I use above, but most are not like that. And most
people, given enough freedom, can make good choices most of the time and the
costs of their bad choices can be limited [mostly to the bad decision maker]
in a free society. So, it's self-correcting. Plus, it allows people to
find out stuff they wouldn't under other systems. (People often forget,
knowledge is not static, pre-existent arrangements of atoms of information.
It must be built.) But this is just libertarianism 101 again.:)


Daniel Ust

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