PHIL: Extropy= >Enlightenment

Twirlip of Greymist (
Sat, 17 Aug 1996 15:27:57 -0700 (PDT)

Well, the Braintennis at Wired has been interesting. There may be
disadvantages to having Extropianism as the posterchild of
transhumanism: we attract all the newage. How this list manages to so
much purer than alt.extropians or such Web discussions I don't know.

But Mark Stahlman's vituperation did help me crystallize my perception
of all this more, as reflected in my post, and I've been cohering some
more old thoughts, which I shall now share with you, hoping that I am
not mutating the original label too far myself.

"Extropianism need not be wedded to specific technologies, such as
nanotech or cryonics, or even to such speculations as the Singularity.
Extropianism is an attitude, like the Enlightenment. In fact, in my
view Extropianism _is_ the Enlightenment, upgraded to incorporate new
key concepts. Adam Smith's markets and Darwin's evolution [spontaneous
order] in addition to Newton's physics; computers and cellular automata
in addition to clocks; self-modification in addition to
self-understanding, now that the former is more conceivable; and atheism
and anarchy instead of Deism and benevolent despotism. And belief in
universal education by the state, once a key progressive element of the
Enlightenment, has been abandoned in disillusionment. Otherwise the
core is the same: acceptance of criticism, respect for individual choice
and diversity, and the materialist and liberal/libertarian worldview and
politics which scientific criticism and personal freedom have spawned."

I'm pretty sure this isn't incompatible with Extropianism. Am I
diluting the latter too much, though, such that the above should be
called 'neo-Enlightenment' or something, or am I on target?

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

"Chinese? _Chinese?_ Can't the flaming idiots recognize a flight of
UFOs when they see one?"
-- Julian May, _Intervention_