Glen Finney has written,
> Personally, I believe that the road to posthumanity should be as much
>about improving my character as improving my abilities. I don't know if
>corruption lies in only genetics and carbon-based biology, but I do believe
>that consciously choosing who I will become can lead to a more benevolent me.
> With increasing power comes increasing responsibility; I have tried to
>deeply incorporate this meme into my personal meme ecology, and believe that
>for the sake of the future we all should.
Posthumanity transcends belief, or it remains human. The concepts of "should" and "improvement" belong to the world of human perception. Transhumanity leaves all this behind. Benevolence, responsibility, and all other facets of the meme-bound mind evaporate in the pure coherence of that which replaces it with unknowable purity. The timeless and inexhaustible unifying physical principles underlying the ground of being surpass anything now imaginable by humans. <burp>
> Depending on the situation, it may also be true that with the increase
>in power there could be an increase in temptation and oftentimes an increase
>in stress which might lead one to corruption, so in that way power could
>influence character. But I do not believe power to only be a force for
>corruption; for where some stumble and fall, others may rise to the occassion
>and become more than they once were. A jerky coworker upon becoming the boss
>may realize that what once were relatively harmless foibles now can truly
>ruin people's lives, and may decide to straighten up and do better. I
>suppose we could call this gaining maturity. Coming to understanding of our
>true power to affect lives and consciously taking responsibility for that
>power will go a long way to avoiding corruption, as will a realization of the
>possibilty of our own falibility<sp?>.
Just so. Political power tempts the corrupt, and absolute political power absolutely tempts the corrupt. Understanding this allows one to avoid moving in the direction of corruption. Yet humans remain susceptible to socio-genic illness -- the basis for tribal instinct. The real possibility that humans will destroy themselves before posthumans emerge probably exceeds the possibility that posthumans will destroy us all, because posthumans, benefitting from more highly evolved understanding, can escape the destructive tribalism which currently binds humans (including extropians).
> I certainly agree with that first line. In general, I am considered a
>good person, but I have had plenty of random thoughts that were completely
>evil. So what makes me still a good person?
Your ability to accurately identify false patterns created by your brain keeps you centered in goodness (AKA reality).
>I choose to claim the good
>thoughts as my path, and though I embrace the reality that I am capable of
>evil, I choose to leave those thoughts behind me.
Choice itself prevents complete integration with reality. When you do not choose at all, then reality displaces choice, then you and reality coincide.
> I do not plan to transcend desire, but rather to refine it. I believe
>that desire is what gives the universe moral worth. But not all desires are
>created equal, so I will desire to have good desires, and to gain the power
>to fulfil the desire to do good. But to do good, one needs to have an ever
>refined and expanded understanding of reality, so I agree, we will return to
>the place where we began, and know it truly. But then we will continue,
>growing ever onward from that base.
Unavoidably, planning prevents one from transcending desire, because a plan has a goal, and consequently it comes out of desire. Moralism and dualism separate you from direct experience of reality. The desire to do good, IOW good intentions, as every conscientious student of ethics learns, often leads to unintended consequences. Nevertheless, if one knows enough to recognize the biological basis of morality, as Richard Dawkins has expertly explained it, one can simply do what feels right, with the confidence that countless generations of evolution have refined this feeling to match your species' best interests in evolving to higher understanding via more complex adaptive systems (organisms). As I pause to look out the window, and imagine how these words will register with you, it occurs to me that you already know all this, and that this conversation merely serves to signal our mutual understanding by using English as a device of re-affirmation. The most important things in life, we always figure out for ourselves. Language allows us to know that others have the same ability.
>This has been "Deep Thoughts," with
Namaste, I honor the manifestation of knowledge in you. <gets up to go for a walk in the morning sunshine>