Re: Tools, toys? (was Re: Why preserving BioDiversity is Extropian(was re: Environmental Degradation

den Otter ()
Sun, 15 Feb 1998 20:19:23 +0100

Michael M. Butler <butler@comp*> wrote:

> With respect, _my_ well being is not my ultimate goal. I have loftier
> aspirations.
> I'd rather uplift the whole race than beat them to the finish
> line. :)
After you've made it safely to the finish line you can still uplift the rest,
*if you so desire*. Acts of benevolence are rooted in self-interest because
they make you feel good and/or are an investment (what comes around goes
around). Nothing wrong with that, btw, the ones you help still get the same
benefit. Btw, isn't "enlightened self-interest" (egoism with foresight ;) one of
the extropian values?

> Also, your argument about crisis driving solutions is indeed a
> characteristic of human action patterns. I suggest it support's de Bono's
> rubric that "the primary purpose of thinking [in terms of the mass of
> humanity--MMB] is to abolish thinking [and get back to the comfort zone
> ASAP--MMB]".
So we have no disagreement?

> Trotsky and many terrorcrats agree. That doesn't make you wrong, but it
> does mean that you should take a close look at who your eschatological
> bedfellows are.
Well, if some people with bad reputations agree, so be it. I don't condone some
of the other beliefs of the likes of Trotsky, but I *am* interested in the way
are, no matter how sad or disgusting the truth is. If Stalin says "blood is red" I'm
not going to disagree just because I don't like him as a person.

> Me, I plan to develop the field of _Elective_ Eschatology. :)
Which is?

> Very well: I declare that my well-being is influenced positively by
> increased diversity in my environment. Prove to me that I err. :)
This statement doesn't contradict any of my claims, so I don't see
any point in investigating your true feelings ;) Your highest goal is
well-being. For some (irrelevant to this discussion) reason you (claim
to) get positive stimulation from more diversity. Consequently, you
will try to prevent the loss of diversity and/or try to increase diversity.
Regardless of the broader implications, your motivation is basically
the same as that for eating tasty food: it makes you feel good.

> I would argue that everything else is *not* a tool--it is _raw materials_;
> but some of it is reserves, and some of those are raw material for
> experiences that I can't have if it is destroyed (the Grand Canyon, Mount
> Fuji, Jack Russell Terrier puppies, pet ferrets, potential lovers,
> Barringer Meteor Crater, my wonderful nieces and nephews, etc. etc.).
I think we mean basically the same thing; whether you call it "tool", "raw
material", "resource" etc, it all means "stuff that allows you to reach certain
goals (staying alive & feeling ok)". I fully agree with you that it would be a
shame to lose *certain* aspects of diversity, including nature. My point was
that many of these things, among which biodiversity, are *not crucial to our
survival*, certainly not once we've entered "singularity" (whatever it may be).
Also, we can only *guess* what their value is to future intelligences (hopefully
us ;) since we can only guess at how hyperminds think.

Apart from this, I don't beleive there will be substancial damage to the world's
(bio) diversity before we reach techno-ascencion, so it's more of a theoretical
question. Once uploaded, you can virtually store/modify/delete all species of
earth, and then some. Extinct species can (almost certainly) be re-created from
the existing genepool and some general info. Piece of cake for a Jupiter brain ;)

> If everything else is a tool, then all you are is a user.
Is that a dirty word?

> Go ahead, prove I'm wrong. :)
Only if you can prove *me* wrong first ;)

P.s: things like the HIV virus and Jeffrey Dahmer are extra diversity too, but
surely you don't want them around too much? Therefore, more diversity is not
always good.

> Peace,
Same to you.