ART: Art and the Extropian Condition

David Musick (
Thu, 16 Jan 97 07:48:42 UT

Eliezer has no taste for art; he's too busy Solving the Universe. Will an
appreciation for art and for the beauty of living help Eliezer with his quest
to Understand? I don't know. I, like Eliezer, am profoundly interested in
Understanding Everything. But I am also very practical, and I realize that my
personal enjoyment of living is all that *really* matters; everything else is
just a tool to help me satisfy my hedonism.

I derive enjoyment from a large variety of sources; from my diverse
intellectual pursuits, from various kinds of sensory experience, and from
altering my state of consciousness in various ways. All of them are very
important to me, and they are actually all very related to each other. My
altered states of consciousness often enhance my sensory experiences and my
intellectual prowess. My beautiful sensory experiences often inspire my
intellect and often cause my state of consciousness to be altered. My
intellect helps me understand my sensory experiences better (and how to alter
my sensory environment (the 'physical world') to be the way I want it to be)
and it helps me understand the basic properties of various states of mind I

I am a whole person, and I believe that if I neglected any of these areas, I
would damage all of them together. I *must* experience and create art. I
*must* think and understand and create machines and other systems. I *must*
alter my perspective and my patterns of thought.

Profoundly enjoying my moment-to-moment experiences is my ongoing goal. For
me, this requires careful attention to my sensory experiences, my emotions,
and my thinking. It requires that I challenge myself with new tasks and
endeavors. It requires that I be engaged in improving the quality of my mind,
and it requires that I am developing a clearer and more profound understanding
of all things.

Eliezer is driven towards his far-off goals of Understanding and Knowing.
There is nothing wrong with this. There is one thing that must be kept
constantly in mind, though: All we have, and all we will ever have is this
particular moment of experience; learn to enjoy this particular moment as much
as possible.

It seems like Eliezer may not value beauty, which, to me, seems like an
unfortunate tragedy. How can one who doesn't value beauty be convinced of the
importance of art? To me, a life without beauty is a life without meaning.
Of course, religious fanatics say the same thing about God -- "A life without
God is a life without meaning.". So, we may have as much luck convincing
Eliezer of the goodness of Art as the local preacher will have convincing him
of the goodness of God. It's hard to make a convert out of someone who
doesn't already share your basic values and assumptions.

- David Musick

-- This moment is the Meaning of Life; study it carefully. --