Re: SOCIO: Friends

Gregory Houston (
Fri, 07 Mar 1997 03:48:26 -0600

Kathryn Aegis wrote:

> I have concluded that it is very difficult to discuss something this
> personal on a listserve, because one doesn't know the frame of
> reference out of which someone interprets what one says.

So in order to express and understand things this personal with another
person, we must understand where the other person is coming from ... we
must have an empathy for their framework of perception. And in order to
have such an empathy we must draw from similar personal experiences. And
in order to have similar personal experiences we must have similar
interests and values. And though we could never be absolutely similar to
another person, and we would not want to be, the more we have in common,
the more personal we may be.

> I will just
> add that I believe that higher forms of friendship do not depend on
> absolute similarities but on the aspects of sharing that take place
> in space and time. An act of creation through the will of two
> people.

I cannot share with someone, something they cannot recieve. If I were to
meet an alien, an entity who I have relatively little in common with,
our differences will make it nearly impossible for us to communicate.
Our encounter cannot be intimate and personal ... until we make a joint
effort to attune to each other, to by some degree become more like the
other. We must find common ground, and then expand that ground of
similarity until we can communicate freely and personally. I can only
share my thoughts with someone to the degree that they have shared
similar experiences. No matter how much I want to share my thoughts in
space and time with a three month old baby, we will not be able to
communicate deeply until that child has had more experiences similar to
my own. No matter how much I want to share my thoughts with the gingko
tree outside, we will never be able to communicate because we are too
dissimilar. No matter how much I will myself to understand calculus, and
no matter how much a mathmatician wills to communicate it to me, if I
have not first acquired the similar experience of learning algebra and
trigonometry, then such communication is not possible until I have
acquired such experience ... until I have become that much more similar.

The will to share, and the will to communicate, is the will to conform.
The only people who do not need conform at all, are those who do not
need other people, and thus those who have no need to communicate. I
don't know anyone who fits into that category. As long as we seek
emotive or cognitive interaction with others, we must conform to them
and vice versa. The greater that conformity the greater we can interact.
I personally do not like conforming to others more than I need to, and
its not much of a problem since I do not want to communicate deeply with
very many people. I don't need to communicate deeply with the lady at
Burger King to get my chicken sandwich.

No one wants to be called a conformist. So we deny the fact that we are
constantly conforming, becoming more similar to each other in order to
interact more deeply and effectively. Extropians offer people reading
lists, suggested reading. This is because Extropians are seeking
potential Extropians, people who can understand and embrace Extropian
ideas. A reading list is a tool to help people conform. They can read
the books and disagree, and never be heard from, they can attempt to
read the books and find them to difficult to read, and never be heard
from, or they can begin reading the books and find that they resonate
with similar thoughts and experiences of their own, and thus they will
seek more reading experiences to increase their ability to interact with
Extropians. There are a list of qualities which make a person Extropian.
We more or less have these qualities in common. If we did not have those
qualities in common, if we were not similar in that way, we would not be
communicating right now. We would have no will or desire to share in a
creative process within "space and time".

People are attracted to each other and brought together by their
similarities. I go to mechanic because we have a similar interest in
making my car run, though our motives of course differ. I can only
communicate with the mechanic about my car to the degree that we have
had similar experiences with cars. And since I have a superficial
understanding of my car, I will have a superficial conversation with my
mechanic ... no matter how much we both will me to understand. Lets say
the mechanic is a really nice guy and thats all that I required in order
for him to be my friend, we must either find something in common to do
or talk about or else one or both of us must attune to the other in
order to conform in some fashion and thus create similarity. We seek
similarity when we want depth, and difference when we want to expand.
But to expand we must become similar to that which we were previously

Gregory Houston