Re: Phil: The VALUE of life & individualism vs self-sacrifice.

Ken Kittlitz (
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 10:09:26 +0000

At 05:28 PM 2/14/97 +0100, you wrote:
>Certainly there is truth in these words. When life itself is valued as the
>highest ideal, other ideals become secondary to it, and there might lie the
>basis for the success of the many opressive state systems we disussed in
>earlier threads.

I think you raise a valid point -- many Extropians oppose the naturalistic
fallacy ("it's natural, so it must be good"), and rightly so in my opinion.
However, it may be that we commit at least one instance of it by assuming
that life (or at least, *our* lives, are worth preserving -- we're
pandering to the survival instinct ;->

>I myself have had no fear of death yet, and the only reason for myself i
>can imagine would be, if one day i would start a family, for whom i need to
>be 'around'. I find it hard to understand why anyone would stay alive for
>selfish reasons, but i assume there are many who would.

But isn't wanting to "stay around" to look after one's family firmly in
line with what Nature (our genes) want us to do?

For me, much of life's attraction stems from the belief that the universe
can be a wonderful place to experience and interact with. Is this selfish,
in the bad sense of the word? Possibly, but I figure much of the
accusations of "selfishness" directed at people who want to extend their
life spans stem from the naturalistic fallacy. We're accustomed to a ~100
year life-span being "natural", and attempts to exceed that may rankle
(some people, definitely not me!). But this is just an artifact of our
genetic programming: few would argue that a 50 year-old who has raised
his/her children to maturity is selfish for wanting to live another 30 odd
years. Similarly, if the maximum human lifespan were 500 years, those who
committed suicide at age 300 so as "not to be selfish" would probably be
seen as very odd indeed.

That being said, if I were some sort of vampire-like creature that had to
kill or hurt innocent people in order to survive, then accusations of
selfishness would be better-founded. But if someone continues to interact
with others in a manner that is acceptable to those involved, why shouldn't
they be able to strive for an indefinite life span?

>>My personal reason for striving towards a posthuman state is to eliminate
>the 'control' nature imposes on the living individual. To put that control
>(over my life, death, emotions) more into the hands of the individual.

I agree completely.
Ken Kittlitz
Kumo Software Corp.
Ideosphere Inc.