Re: In defense of "Virtual Obsession"

Technotranscendence (
Fri, 27 Feb 1998 20:57:05 -0500 (EST)

At 03:00 PM 2/27/98 -0800, Paul Hughes <> wrote:
>Since several people on this list stated that "Virtual Obsession" was a
>net loss for extropianism, I couldn't *disagree* more. VO did more to
>promote and spread the idea of indefinite lifespans in 3 hours, what
>Star Trek has consistently failed to do in over 30 years. In Star Trek,
>despite the fact that they *already have* the means to extend life
>indefinitly (transporter tehnology), continue to treat life and old age
>as normal, natural and worst of all as "the way it should be". With the
>exception of other races, humans continue to live not much longer than
>100 years. Anyone who knows anything about longevity should see this as
>completely absurd.

I agree on "Star Trek." No insult is too bad for that series.:)

>VO on the other hand did what I call 'conservative infiltration' - which
>is the practice of validating to some degree what another is saying
>before you slowly manipulate them into your own way of thinking. Had
>the show not taken 'religion' at all seriously and instead been
>completely extropian, then it would have lost much of its intended
>audience. Keep in mind that more than 70% of Americans still beleive in
>god in the traditional sense.

I have nothing against this because it is more realistic/believeable
anyhow. The kind of Roak vs. Toohey stuff (a la _The Fountainhead_)
is too much like a caricature, though the father of the dead girl in "VO"
was a bit like a kook -- well beyond your average American.

>My point: **This was not a show for the converted (us).** Its purpose
>was to show the rest of the country that immortality, artificial
>intelligence and uploading are right around the corner. In that regard,
>I think it did a very good job.

I think it has stylistic flaws (bad acting, predictable plot, so so dialog)
and was a bit too long, though, yes, it did, hopefully, introduce a lot
more people to the ideas in a fashion they could accept. A full blown
transhumanist presentation would have turned off some but would
have been taken less seriously by most.

Let's hope it is not the last word but the opening statement in this
more public discussion.


Daniel Ust

P.S.: Does anyone consider what follows antiExtropian?

"...the tragic vision is the only realistic form of true optimism, and the only
sound basis for hope and progress. The anguish of tragedy can come
only from gigantic loss or waste. Such loss presuposes that there is
something supremely valuable and dear to be lost; a worthless and
trivial world cannot contain anything whose loss would be worth
mourning." in Frederick Turner's "Moderism: Cure or Disease?" in
_Critical Review_ 11(2)