Re: PHIL: Extropy, Boundaries and Suicide

Michael Lorrey (
Sat, 28 Feb 1998 16:56:45 -0500

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> Michael Lorrey <> writes:
> >SInce 'mentally ill' is only defined by psychologists as a state where
> >one's perception of reality differs from the mainstream, I think that
> >this is not a criteria worth considering. By this definition, everyone
> >on this list is quite insane.
> I think you are misrepresenting psychology here. Mainstream psychology
> has no accepted definition of the "mainstream" or "normality" people
> are supposed to conform to (many of the suggested definitions are very
> wide, and it should be remembered that Freud even denied the existence
> of normality), and most definitions of mental disorders have little to
> do with comparisions to a normal state and are instead defined from a
> classification of their symptoms (as revealed unto mankind in the holy
> DSM-IV :-).
> The important question is of course when a state should be regarded as
> a mental disorder or not. Modern psychology is aware of cultural
> differences here (just look into any modern clinical psychiatry book),
> but there are many states that are obviously undesirable even from the
> perspective of the patient. A more general definition would be to say
> that something is a mental disorder if it impairs a person's ability
> to live a normal life - this is where the "normal" appears - but in
> most cases this is a very basic "normal" like "able to interact with
> other people, able to distinguish reality from imagination, will not
> hurt himself". It can be abused, but usually it is fairly clear if
> somebody can function or not. Where to draw the lines is widely
> debated in psychiatry and psychology today, it is not a tacit
> agreement.

ok I'll bite:

Extropians List subscribers could be construed by mainstreamers to:
a) have social dysfunctions indicated by the fact they spend so much time
discussing strange topics on an internet mail list, therefore have
difficulty interacting with people in the 'real' world.
b) have a difficulty distinguishing their internet life from their real
lives (if they have real lives), and in fantasizing about htings like mind
uploading and a mythical transhuman singularity, nanotechnology and jupiter
brains, have difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality.
c) in their wishes to upload their minds (which seems like it would be a
destructive process), support the right to suicide, promote the use of guns
for self defense, and have themselves frozen, they demonstrate a lack of
concern for their own safety and well being, and are likely to hurt

So an active and dedicated extropian could be construed to be quite ill.

> As for this list, I haven't noticed much insanity here. Most
> extropians seem to be able to do reality-testing, so they are not
> delusional. The paranoia level seems fairly normal for the internet in
> the 90's. No obvious mood disorders as far as I can see, quite the
> opposite.

Thats my point. The members of this list are entirely TOO rational and
logical, as compared to the general population. That we can rationally
discuss such theoretical subjects as a transhuman singularity without (too
frequently) going off on almost theological trysts indicates that the
members of this list are not normal.

> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
> GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?