Re: Powerful Extropian Memes

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Wed, 10 Mar 1999 14:11:06 -0600

Max More wrote:
> ExI has recognized the importance of this point and at least started to do
> something about it. While I understand the sheer reactive, emotional appeal
> of Eliezer's line about the rainforests, it's a terribly harmful thing to
> say. At Extro 3 we had a session on market-based high environmentalism, and
> Greg Burch has some excellent writing on his web site on this topic. I
> would like to see a specific section for extropian thinking on the
> environment on ExI's web site.

Sheesh, you can't win. Write pessimistic extrapolations and you get dinged for being a humorless nanosurvivalist; write humor and you get dinged for being politically incorrect. Write full-scientific-mode articles and you aren't memetically attractive; write slogans and you're unfairly taking advantage of emotions. And did I mention that I get dinged for competing with my fellow Extropians?

I know perfectly well that Life As We Know It is by no means whatsoever designed so that winning is possible. In fact, my current goal is only to LOSE in INTERESTING WAYS... even though a unprejudiced evaluation of the probability branches reveals that, on the whole, maintaining belief in the possibility of positive action results in better outcomes for those Universes in which this is possible. But then, WE are Extropians! WE make the Universe INTERESTING! Isn't that better than the Principles? (*)

Anyway, the point is that anyone who reads the banner, in the proper context of "remove industry" followed by "crush rainforests" should get the correct message, i.e. "WE can make the Earth a paradise, but frankly the environmentalists are starting to ANNOY us."

In fact, given the political correctness of environmentalism, some form of sarcasm is needed to avoid triggering the anti-bogosity filters that have evolved in our target audience.

(*) = Close captioned for the humor impaired: Each of the statements is in the style corresponding to that mentioned in the paragraph above. I am NOT being serious.

--          Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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