Re: Art (was Re: Skeptics Take on the Extropian Concept)

Hal Finney (
Mon, 2 Mar 1998 10:11:50 -0800

I think some of the motivation for the debate comes from an attitude
which is not often stated but underlies the hostility towards artistic
endeavors. It can be expressed baldly as:

The discovery of penicillin has done more to increase the sum total of
human happiness than all of the great literature, paintings, and other
forms of art, combined.

And similarly with other scientific discoveries. The idea is that art
is fundamentally a form of entertainment, something to occupy the mind.
But the real changes in the world, the ones which will totally reshape
human society over the next century, come from science and technology.

All the transhumanist art in the world is not going to turn us into
transhumans. Only technology can do that.

I'm not saying I share this attitude, but I think it is good to express
it in bold and even offensive terms just to get it out in the open and
let people respond.