Re: PHIL: Extropy, Boundaries and Suicide

Paul Hughes (
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 20:38:00 -0800

Darren Reynolds wrote:

> "True freedom requires a life without boundaries."
> The introductory message to this list claims that Extropians may have an
> interest in "rational ethics (ethics for survival and flourishing)". This
> must surprise a lot of list members, who seem to take a far more
> libertarian view of ethics. Many here seem to take the view that it's OK to
> do what you like, so long as you don't harm anyone else. I challenge those
> people to place a boundary around causing "harm to anyone else". Every
> action a person takes will affect every other person to some small extent.
> You can't live your life without causing harm to someone else. All you can
> do is mitigate the degree of harm whilst promoting your objectives. I for
> one have an interest in the "rational ethics" declared in the introduction.

Darren -

Although your logic is very sound, you are IMHO missing the other side of the
equation. Yes, everything I do in the long run effects everything else. I
know for a fact that my actions and anyone reading these words will be effected
by it - even if it is just taking the time to delete this posting. Since we
have a global constinuency on this list, my actions in turn affect people all
over the globe. Within a few years, probably all 6 billion people, except the
most isolated are in some way effected by me. The same goes for everyone else.

Therefore, even my so called "good" actions could *indirectly* get someone
killed. I could for example decide to spend a little extra time at home
kissing my wife. Had I not chosen to do this, I would have driven down main
street 3 minutes earlier, where I would have forced an otherwise speeding
driver to slow down, because I was in front of him. Instead, I wasn't there,
so he was able to speed through the red light where he killed two pedestrians.

My point: If you try to contemplate the full ramifiactions of your actions you
will wind up in a rubber room and miserable.

My advice: Do anything you want - have fun -lighten up and realize you have as
much right as anyone else to be on this planet and have fun. Not only is it
easier, but in the biger scheme of things you will bring more joy and happiness
to yourself and the people around you, than you other alternative.

Best Regards,

Paul Hughes

"Beliefs are limits to be transcended" - John Lilly

Planet P: