Personal survival (was Re: Who Should Live?)

Michael M. Butler (
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 14:18:05 -0800

Feel free to distinguish your viewpoint from "devil take the hindmost" to a hostile audience some time. :)

>I don't think living extropians should squander
>the resources of their world on the dead, even if the dead have convinced
>some people that they believe in extropy.

Say what? You lost me here, chief. Let's assume that someone has and is paying for a suspension contract and the associated life insurance policy or other hunk of money.
Calling that "squandering" is pretty high-handed; are you a Fabian? Or, if that's not what you meant, what did you mean?

>I think a more extropian program would clone terminally ill ultra-talented
>and gifted people (that the world can "ill afford" to lose), because a
>younger version of a deceased genius could pick up where the old one left
>off, and do so much more quickly, given the advantages provided by more
>recent technology and intelligence augmentation.

Let's see now, could this be an idea that no one has ever thought of hereabouts?
Or could it be sufficiently charged that those who have thought of it don't talk about it?
Hmmm, let me think, let me think.

>Furthermore, cryonics seems entropic in that it denies
>that life may create even more talented and gifted people.

How? I fail to see how a personal desire to take a long shot on not becoming worm food has anything do to with any such "denial".

Or perhaps you're talking about the people working in the field. Is going to MIT and dropping out, or going to Julliard and then becoming a taxi driver, any less such a denial? What do you propose doing about those sorts of people--they "squander" the attention of the school staffs, don't they? Hmm, stricter entrance exams?

BTW, for some reason your comments seem reminiscent of Lyndon Larouche's argument that [paraphrased] "the proper population of Earth is 20(+) billion, since it will maximize the number of geniuses alive at one time". Not saying it *is* the same, but it smacks of it to yours truly.

>capable of reviving dead genius could create even greater genius, and
>consequently would have no reason to perform resurrections.

As a foregone conclusion, this is of course self-fulfilling. _You_ wouldn't revive _me_; I'm not even genius grade. (Thanks for the heads up. :))

BUT--not even if all it cost were equivalent to the cost of today's Life Flight helicopter ride and a couple of days in the ICU? say, twelve grand? That *is* parsimonious of you; have you considered a career in managed care cost containment? :)

>After all, it
>makes no sense to rebuild a 1950 machine, when you can create a better and
>more powerful new one to replace and surpass the old one in 2050. Cryonics
>can only hope to revive talented and gifted people, but transhuman extropy
>seeks to surpass, exceed, augment, and transcend what has gone before, no
>matter how talented and gifted.

And the two are naturally mutually exclusive? Somehow I missed a turn. Let's not restore the old warbirds (or augment them)--everyone in the future should be fly-by-wire from the keel up? This is a viewpoint, I grant. See my next comment.

>The extropian world can ill afford to believe that it cannot produce greater
>talents and gifts than it already has. Cryonics contains the seed of its own
>demise, namely, entropic conceit.

Well, there seems no shortage of conceit hereabouts. :)

Permit me to say that I find the twin challenges created by cryonics, or _whatever "ambulance to the future" it mutates into as technology improves_, to be

  1. creating a world that wouldn't mind bringing corpsicles back, and probably augmenting them if they're willing, and
  2. creating a world that I (were I a corpsicle) wouldn't mind coming back to.

(I.e., "Worth the bother", from both social and individual POV.)

I am completely willing to grant that one or both of these may not come to be. Nevertheless,
nothing you've said so far convinces me that my using those two issues daily as ethical-political guide stars is in any way entropic or conceited.

Sorry (sin),