Re: Moo/Boo! Was: Agricultural Skyscrapers
Tue, 3 Feb 1998 08:53:59 -0800 (PST)

On Sat, 31 Jan 1998, Peter C. McCluskey wrote:

> ( writes:
> >2. Vegetarianism is extropian because it broadens and complicates our
> >ethical perception of the world.
> Complicating our perception doesn't sound like an extropian goal.
> I only accept complexity when it's an unavoidable consequence of
> my other goals.

I thought that extropy in its classical formulation was precisely a
measure of intelligence, information, energy, vitality, experience,
diversity, and opportunity for growth, and so that the
broadening and complicating of ethical perception would pretty
self-evidently be extropian. It's an ethical analog to pancritical
rationalism. It is an embracing of the moral richness of the
world. To say that you "accept" complexity when its "unavoidable"
suggests that it is scarcely a value at all. I agree that it is possible
to overcomplicate situations from time to time, with the consequence that
you are, say, sometimes more hesitant to act or less confident in acting
than you need to be. But this seems like a reasonable tradeoff for
cultivating the widest possible appreciation of the world. One of the
reasons I am a vegetarian is that I found the world became more
interesting and more beautiful when I started thinking of nonhuman animals
less as putty and more like peers.

> >3. Vegetarianism is extropian because it is an ethical laboratory in which
> >we can think about proper political and ethical relations between
> >radically different kinds of beings *before* a singularity-like-event
> >forces us to do so.
> A good argument for thinking about it, but with no obvious relevance
> to what we eat.

I said vegetarian practice was an ethical *laboratory*, by which I meant
the kind of thinking that happens when you try things out in practice as
well as in thought. A person who decides to become an ethical vegetarian
faces lots of unexpected decisions -- what about fish? leather? wool?
medical services? etc. -- that have a special urgency and clarity that you
are not likely to face simply thinking about these things in the abstract.

Best, Dale