Re: FASHION: The Extropian T-Shirt

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Tue, 09 Mar 1999 11:14:11 -0600

Scott Badger wrote:
> Congratulations Eliezer. And you thought we would would reject you?! I,
> too, greatly enjoyed your banner. Just one section concerns me a bit,
> though. Call me skittish or nit-picky, but how do we reconcile the recent
> discussions of how Extropians embrace the principle of "non-initiation of
> force" and your phrase, "WE will drag this planet, kicking and screaming,
> into the awesome and unknowable FUTURE." I wonder how lay persons are
> likely to react to this statement. Might I offer, "WE will lead
this planet
> into the awesome and unknowable FUTURE." I'd buy one with that edit. Keep
> the copyright. What do you think?

Hmmm... <drums fingers on desk>... That's actually a pretty good objection. Maybe an alternate version would be a good idea. Still, as a slogan, I think the first version is slightly better.

What I'm saying is not that we are going to COERCE the world into the future, but that a lot of people, as always, are going to try to hide under the blanket, kick up a big stink, and outlaw every form of technology more complicated than a Whitney gin. We are going to have to deal with technophobia.

One of the things a cause needs is a problem to overcome, and it does help if the problem is political. I'm treading on really thin ice by doing that, but as long as I imply reluctance rather than evil opposition, I haven't crossed the divide into hate-mongering (UNLIKE people who use the term "entropians", by the way). The Extropian quest is not purely technological; we have memes to overcome.

In point of actual fact, the planet WILL go into the future "kicking and screaming" and it will have to be dragged. It always has been.

Which makes a nice reply to the people who walk up to you and want to talk to you about the "kicking and screaming" part. "Oh, no, we don't want to force anyone; it's just that part of the problem is the media getting hysterical about things like cloning and genetic engineering." (If challenged, add "There are legitimate issues, but they aren't raised; there's too much panic-mongering and sensationalism.")

Finally, and most importantly, "lead" isn't quite as vivid as "drag, kicking and screaming". I can't think of an equally good phrase offhand.

--          Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.