Re: Singularity-worship

Paul Wakfer (70023.3041@CompuServe.COM)
10 Dec 96 23:27:34 EST

On 10-Dec-96 17:34 PST, "Lee Daniel Crocker" wrote:

>>>You can't know that it's insane without knowing how soon I am likely to need
>>>cryopreservation and what alternative investments I can make with my time
>>>and money.
>>Not so! By being on this list and from your posts (also true for everyone
>>here), it is clear that you greatly desire to continue to live to see and
>>experience the very exciting and mentally rewarding future that is strongly
>>suggested by current developments and trends. Putting some significant amount
>>of ones income towards strengthening the "safety net" for ones life, is like
>>insuring against the ultimate catastrophe. A possibility whose consequence is
>>so important that it is virtually "incomparable" with most other personal
>>desires. IMO, the decision to do all one can to save ones life (short of
>>harshly degrading it) is not open to relative weightings of how likely one is
>>to need the "safety net".
>What mystical nonsense. This reminds me of the "if one life is saved,
>it will be worth it" arguments of the statists to justify encroachments
>into personal liberty without a proper cost/benefit analysis of the
>proposition in question.

And then Mr Crocker proceeds to give me (and us) a lecture on values,
measuring, and individualism.

I will forgive the insult, since Mr. Crocker can't know that I have lived and
breathed anti-statism, pro-capitalism, hierarchy of values theory, and
individualism for over 30 years. Of course, he also doesn't know that I won the
1959 Canadian Association of Physicist's Prize as the top graduating physics
student in Canada and subsequently was a professor of Mathematics at the
University of Toronto for many years.

Most of what Mr Crocker says is very fundamental, true, and, I would assume,
did not need to be reiterated on this list. However, there are two major points
where I differ from what Mr Crocker has stated and which make my argument above
not at all "mystical nonsense".

1. Being alive is the irreducible primary to all other values. Without it
obtaining, all others are meaningless. Therefore, it must rationally have the
highest of all possible values in ones hierarchy. This implies that its value
(if comparable at all - see my next point) must rationally be extremely much
higher than the value of, say, going out to dinner and a movie once a week.

2. I am not prepare to agree that all human values are linearly comparable. I
know *my* hierarchy of values contains incomparable trees. If all human values
were comparable, this would imply that everything that one values is comparable
to a certain amount of money. In essence, we would all be "value whores". This
is certainly *not* true of me and I believe that it is not true of *most*
people, certainly of most on this list.

I made no suggestion that values shouldn't be relative to the individual, a
product of his/her unique perspective of reality, and completely under the
individual's control. What I am attempting to do is to compel (verbally) each
individual to re-consider the unique position which the value of his/her life
has in his/her overall hierarchy of values and, consequently, to perhaps wish
to do something which will greatly enhance his/her chances of vastly extending
that life.

-- Paul --

Paul Wakfer phone:909-481-9620 pager:800-805-2870


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