Re: Meme: A call for help

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 13:06:28 -0600

[I said:]
> > Can Extropianism win? From my perspective, no, frankly, because like
> > the Marxists, you offer nothing to replace the energies you have
> > removed. In Marxism, they took away the profit-motive and didn't
> > replace it, so nothing got done. If you remove all moralizing and
> > self-righteousness and coercion and victimization and resentment and so
> > on, nothing is left to propel the meme forward. Extropianism isn't
> > quite so morality-free, which is why it survives, but it still has
> > nothing to replace the power-engines it has forsaken.
[Anders Sandburg replied:]
> That was a good point. But extropianism (and transhumanism) can probably
> create new power-engines and ways of focussing human emotions: digital
> communities, divergent versions of humanity, blaming everything on the
> entropians :-) Other examples?

Blaming everything on the entropians is a mutation I've already
witnessed, and really amounts simply to the invention of the phrase

Why do I care about digital communities?
Why would I die for a divergent version of humanity?
What emotional powers are backing these phrases?

Sometimes self-interest isn't enough to propagate a meme! Immortality
and digital communities are very much in my interest, but they don't
take advantage of the built-in *political* emotions, the ones which lead
us to instinctively share our views with others. You have to either (1)
attack the current political system, (2) defend it, or (3) use a memetic
sleight-of-hand to utilize the emotions powering (1) and (2) above.

The problem with Extropian memes is that they involve goals which will
benefit *everyone*, *equally*. You just can't do that and propagate
your meme. There has to be someone to take the fall or it isn't
politics. Frankly, I think the Christians hit on the best solution with
Satan: Pin all the blame on a fantasy entity. The only problem is that
we'd have to lie. Maybe we could demonize death?

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.