Re: Information Overload

Anders Sandberg (
Thu, 30 Jan 1997 14:56:28 +0100 (MET)

On Tue, 28 Jan 1997 cyberedward@ICDC.COM wrote:

> It is not clear
> to me if the Extropians have this perception of an ecological crisis or
> the view that man must exist within a biological community.

Beware of the word 'must', it is easy to write but does it have any
backing in reality?

To me it seems possible (and very undesirable) that humans could do away
with most of the Earths ecology and still survive in a suitably balanced
and impoverished biosphere, with a few species providing food (and some
pests). See _A Torrent of Faces_ for such a dystopian scenario.

Another possibility would be to move away from our current biology
altogether, and becoming nanotech solar-powered autotrophs in space; the
ecology of Earth would be irrelevant (and increasingly alien to the

So while living in a biological community is optional, I think most
people on this list agree that it is desirable to preserve biological
diversity for its own sake (and other reasons).

> In
> INFO-PSYCHOLOGY Dr. Timothy Leary wrote that "Ecology is the seductive
> dinosaur science that will lead most of the post-human species to
> conform to terrestrial conditions, become reasonably comfortable,
> passive, robot-conditioned cyborg innsectoids directed by centralized
> broadcasting systems. " He goes on talking about adapting to a cyborg
> existence.

The problem is that Leary didn't think far enough. Why become *reasonaly*
comfortable? Why does total comfort have to exclude a great ecosystem?
And why would the insect-cyborgs be desirable or even efficient? I think
most extropians agree that it is quite possible not only to tear down all
limits to human growth and achievement, but also to the spread and
diversity of life in the universe. The world isn't just the Earth, after

> Daniel Quinn views this outmigration
> of humans as sorcery, thinking that humans cannot exist outside of the
> biological community.

What about many city dwellers? They do not live in the biological
community (at least not in the sense Quinn seems to refer to it), but
still thrive (Personally I have not felt the need to leave the city for a
long time; I appreciate the beauty of life in the form of the small
ecosystems that exist in the city instead).

> The Extropians seem to me to be like the
> futuristic intellectual province envisioned in Hermann Hesse's GLASS
> BEAD GAME of the 24th century.

:-) Perhaps an apt analogy. An occasional dose of reality is always

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y