Re: Extropian Religion

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Sun Jul 02 2000 - 16:43:17 MDT

>From: Brent Allsop <>, Tue, 27 Jun 2000

I thought that your message was a little bit odd, especially for this
mailing list, so I tried reading between the lines a little bit to
understand better what are the things that you are looking for.
Here, I quote some of what you said, which I found surprising.

> What Jane blue-collar and Joe six-pack (and frankly, me too)
> need is some organization that tells us, or at least helps us
> know what it is we should be doing in order to be good and
> have a shot at achieving salvation and exaltation.
> All of us don't yet have the money, intelligence and so on
> that is required to truly be Extropian. Yet we can't do it
> all without everyone and even true Extropians can't
> successfully do anything alone.
> (at least until they receive some intelligence/consciousness
> amplification which get's them beyond such needs) over and
> over with the same old party line of what is really required
> to gain salvation and exaltation, and to create a true heaven
> absent of evils like separation, suffering, death....

Is it true that you want someone to tell you what you should be
doing? Or are you saying that you would like clearer messages on
practical ways that one can currently live that helps put one on
some sort of "extropian footpath"?

One of the strong tenets of many of the people in this group is to
think for oneself. That's one reason why I found your message a
little bit odd. It would be really tough to sell the idea to many
here that they should form an organization that teaches one to
follow a particular path, and only being told to do so.

I'm trying to understand what you mean by "salvation" and
"exaltation". My dictionary defines salvation as: "spiritual
rescue from sin and death; redemption," and my dictionary defines
"exaltation" as: "rise in status", dignity". Is that what you mean?

I don't understand what you mean that "we all don't have the money,
intelligence.. etc." You are reading this email list. Apparently
some of the ideas appeal to you. You've thought about them in
relation to your own life, and you are living your live a certain
way that has some resemblance to some the ways of life that are
discussed here.

And this sentence: "Yet we can't do it all without everyone and even
true Extropians can't successfully do anything alone." But "do it
all" ? What are you thinking that we should be doing, that we can't
successfully do on our own? (Maybe the cryonics and related


O.K. In my reading between the lines, I was grasping that maybe you would like to see something concrete that teaches some of the extropian ideas easily and quickly, especially at a level that kids can understand: maybe like "extropian comics".

But moreover, I was sensing from your message that you think it would be helpful to have the kinds of structures that religions provide, in order to have the satisfaction that we ("we" is a loaded word, BTW) are following a particular path, and in addition, have some reward at the end (?) that we did well following that path.

I think that I have some understanding of the comfort that some religions can provide when a person's life is having difficulties. And I think that I have some understanding of the security that one feels when one is following a particular path.

However, it makes alot more sense to me to use my own abilities to find my own ways of comfort and my own lifepath that suits me. I can't presume to have the arrogance to know what would be good for someone else, since I am not in their shoes. All I can do, in order to be helpful to someone, is to say something about some of the ways of "spiritual life" that I have found that I like, and then leave it at that.

I'm not religious or mystical, but I am spiritual-- in my own way. I frame the events in my life in stories and myths and glue the events together in ways that place me in the present. I'm deeply introspective and a keen observer, and I often look for meaning in the symbols around me. This way of living gives me a rich inner life that can be quite supportive.

I'll define a couple of terms:

_Mythology_ can be roughly defined as stories that serve to unfold part of the world view of a people and/or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomena. Myths can coordinate the living person with the cycle of his/her own life, with the environment in which he/she's living and with his/her society.

_Religion_ can be roughly defined as the service and worship of the supernatural or deity(ies). The deit(y)ies worshiped are usually those described in a myth. Unfortunately, many people interpret _literally_ the myths, instead of seeing them as merely symbols... (but please, I don't wish to get in a religious war, so if you don't like this sentence, just ignore it.)

Two kinds of mythologies are always acting in our lives: the personal mythology and the cultural mythology. At some point, the two converge, and one might even consider that one's personal mythology is our culture's mytholgy in microcosm. These two mythologies are occurring, even when one is not aware of it, and one of the things that I always try to do is to be aware of my personal mythology, and gently guiding it, if necessary.

Being aware of our personal mythology means being aware of our personal and collective origins. We are the product of a millennia of the accumulation of culture and of the maturation of the human race. The experiences, the events, the stories of this millennia are all around us. Being aware of our personal myths also points us in the direction that is our own path.

Knowing about my personal mythology is helpful to me in two ways. 1) I don't like knowing that I am unconsciously living in ways that are defined by someone or something else. I want to examine that item, and be aware of it, and know that it is good for me (or not).

In addition, 2) a millennia of humans have experienced some of the same experiences that I have. I can look to their experiences, their stories (written in symbolic form in the myths), and apply those symbols to my own life. This latter approach helps me to feel connected to the people on Earth- to the people in the past, but also to the people in the present, which can be quite supportive since common threads exist in the ethnic groups' myths and folk-stories all over the world. By reading and understanding the stories in their symbolic form, one can find ways of addressing an issue that have been tested over time and that seems to work. If I like it, and it makes sense to me, then whether it's the "right" or "wrong" explanation doesn't matter. All that matters is that it works to helps me gain some perspective that is useful for my life.

Myths are just one way that I build my inner life, but it is a pretty important way, so I wanted to share my thoughts about it.


******************************************************************** Amara Graps email: Computational Physics vita: finger Multiplex Answers URL: ******************************************************************** "Sometimes I think I understand everything. Then I regain consciousness." --Ashleigh Brilliant

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:33:51 MDT