Re: ; - )Neanderthal Miracles

Dr. Rich Artym (
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 01:02:55 GMT

In message <>, Max More replies to Eugene:

> >Once the entire background situation changes qualitatively, sex is obsolete.
> In an evolutionary sense, probably. But already sex is used mostly for
> pleasure and self-expression, not procreation. Making a universal statement
> like "sex is obsolete" requires you to make more of an argument. Why should
> everyone stop having sex (in whatever future form) just because *you* don't
> see it as worthwhile in your future life? Would you do away with all other
> pleasurable and expressive activities if they are not tied to survival or
> material gain (if these are the values you see as central for uploads)?

I don't think Eugene actually meant that. It's not that he didn't see
it as worthwhile in his future life, but that he couldn't see how it could
be relevant at all to the life of *any of us* once we have transcended the
hormone-driven needs of our current bodies. Since sex is nothing without
hormones (well, nothing short of totally ridiculous :-), I can certainly
see Eugene's point. Indeed, the point is so strong and simple that to
find an argument why sex might survive the transition isn't easy. One of
the few arguments I can conjur up is that it might be retained as some
sort of artform or minimalist therapy for those that have religious or
ideological reasons for not accepting the new body controls. I don't see
why most other people would willingly deny themselves the freedom to move
beyond sexual response (and hence sex) when the opportunity arises.

> Rather than saying "sex is obsolete" in the changed conditions of the
> future, I think it more reasonable to say that sex will be optional. We will
> be able to choose whether, when, how much, and with regard to who/what we
> feel sexual urges.

But surely that's exactly what Eugene is saying! The horse was superceded
by the motorcar because the horse was made obsolete as a transport system
by the car's far better functionality. The horse wasn't made extinct nor
illegal to own, and it's still an option to commute to work on it, only
it's far more trouble than it's worth as transport. The analogy with sex
isn't all that distant, as its possibilities are so limited.

> Becoming posthuman to me means not abolishing everything
> about being human (though somethings may be good to abolish) but making them
> a matter of choice, and being able to refine them.

Indeed, but sex seems such a very poor candidate for refining! In the
presence of immensely superior physical and mental pleasure systems, how
is sex going *not* to become obsolete? How is it going *not* to be seen
eventually as "that unhygenic thing our ancestors did before they left
behind their primitive animal urges"? After all, it is *very* similar
to mutual grooming in its binding function, and we've transcended that.


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