Re: The New Year ..

Anders Sandberg (
01 Jan 1999 13:57:13 +0100

xebec <> writes:

> What can we [as extropians] do to make sure that mankind doesn't
> engage in any large-scale acts of stupidity resulting in massive deaths,
> suicides, or destruction as people fear that above coming date?.
> I do not anticipate any "god-like" events, etc etc.. But what I DO
> anticipate is there may be some people out there (stereotype :
> religious fanatics) who will see that the world has not ended, and
> decide to maybe, uh, take things into their own hands....

Actually, if historical evidence is analysed this kind of people rarely seems to drag others with them. Sure, in 999 a lot of people sold their worldly possessions and began to wander towards Jerusalem, but i can't recall any reports that they in disappointment tried to start the apocalypse or kill off others after that event. The same goes for all other millennialist cults I can recall. There have been a few ugly incidents, but few trying to start the Apocalypse. Usually the response is instead that "Our prayers have given us a respite!" or "Sorry, miscalculated, the date should be the 6th November instead!".

No proof nobody will try immanentizing the escaton, but they are likely relatively few candidates around. We might be lucky that the power technology puts in peoples' hands is still fairly limited, single crazies might become a much dangerous proplem later on.

> I'd like some input on some kind of mass extropian-education we
> can create for people to put aside their chaotic fears, and their
> obsolete beliefs/fantasies that all kinds of bad things will happen
> on this date.

There are many other groups who also have this goal, so joining up with them is a good first step. But the people you would like to reach are also extremely hard to influence (and many of them are likely slightly insane) so education will just save a lot of fairly ordinary people the trouble and anguish of waiting for the Millennium.

> The year 2000 bug doesn't really bother me - the people who are
> in a position to fix this are also most likely smart enough to
> understand
> the reprecussions, and deal with them accordingly when they occur.

Expect some Cassandras to jump that claim :-)

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