PUBlic Relations

Twink (
Sun, 4 Jan 1998 19:51:27 -0500 (EST)

At 11:21 AM 1/4/98 -0800, Dale Carrico <> wrote:
>> Except among a very small and select group, Extropian/transhuman ideas do not
>> usually receive serious attention. Often they are scoffed at and their
>> purveyors ridiculed -- if not outright ignored. This does seem to be
>> the case with cryonics, though other forms of life extension are slowly
>> gaining ground. MNT suffers from it too, though to a lesser degree,
>> especially if the more outlandish claims are kept under raps.
>> Knowing that many others are already trying to do a good PR job, I
>> would like to suggest trying to recruit a big name actor or actress to
>> the movement. It sounds stupid, but it seems to work for a lot of other
>> movements, causes and ideas.
>But *is* extropianism a movement? And if so what is it a movement
>*toward*? If Demi Moore were to start talking about cryonics or molecular
>nanotechnology on the talk show circuit it is possible that more people
>would sign up for the one, or would invest in the development of the
>other... but just how this would be an advance for extropianism as a
>movement is unclear to me, unless we regard every scientific and
>technological development, as well as every cultural and political
>development in the direction of greater freedom and diversity, as an
>advance for extropianism as a movement. Does extropianism just mean
>civilization, then?

I think there is a great deal of apprehension on this list toward the words
"movement", "ideology" and the like. I don't think it does much good to
do all kinds of handwaving, denying, and neologizing to avoid such terms.

>I am not sure if it makes much sense to think of extropianism as a
>movement, given the forms it seems to exhibit most characteristically over
>the five years or so I've been looking it over. More like a constellation
>of spaces in which a group of people discuss certain idiosyncratic
>preoccupations (most of which I share). Usually stimulating, often
>useful, sometimes deeply pleasurable, but a *movement*?

I think you are too close to it. Step back and you will see the forest where
there were only trees. You might also be able to see some of bad parts of
the movement, and help to make repairs.

>Is it the goal of extropianism as a movement to expedite the arrival of a
>technological singularity, or a particular configuration of future
>technologies, perhaps by way of the information exchange that happens
>here? Is it the goal of the movement to insure that religious or
>ecological fundamentalism don't manage to stifle development of a better
>future? Is the goal to disseminate as widely as possible the diversity is
>good meme, so as to give pause to the first Powers that emerge if it
>should occur to them that mehums look more like ubergoo feedstock for
>their transhuman engineering projects than potentially valuable
>conversational partners? All of these would look like the agenda of a
>movement about the future properly so-called. Maybe having Demi Moore
>talk about these things on Rosie or whatever would have a positive effect
>of the kind you are talking about. None of them seem to have enough of a
>consistent articulate consensus behind them (except maybe the one about
>fearing the damage fundies could do) as the conversations on our various
>fora unfold, though, to suggest that they define the coherent agenda of an
>extropian movement. Not that I think extropianism necessarily *wants* to
>aspire to movementhood, given the rather grisly track record of movements
>in general in this century. It's just that the term gets bandied about
>quite a bit and I'm never completely sure why everybody seems so
>comfortable with it.

I think you look at it too piecemeal. What we need are people not to speak
out for a particular idea, but for "technology as good" for technotran-
scendence, and growth. Having an actor or actress do this would make
the ideas reach even more people.

A format that might come to mind is... A child is dying of some hormone
deficiency. Clone sheep are producing the hormone through the wonders
of genetic engineering. Show this stuff in action. Show the child living
another day. Have the well known person read the copy and cry and
cheer at the appropiate moments.

This might get a lot of the fence sitters on your side and the masses, who
then can be used to bully politicians into not outlawing cloning. It seems
worth a try.

Daniel Ust