Re: Personal survival (was Re: Who Should Live?)

J. R. Molloy (
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 23:09:46 -0800

Michael M. Butler wrote,

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

NP: Simply change "devil take the hindmost" to "devil take the hostile audience."

>>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?

"Fabian"? Sounds like a 50s (incrementalist?) Rock 'n' Roll singer.

I meant that if I (as an extropian thinker) had to decide between spending time and energy (money/resources) on reviving a dead genius versus creating a new and improved super-genius, one with double the talent and giftedness, I'd go for the 2nd Level model. To put it another way, it means that spending $2,000 on a new computer system makes more sense than _squandering_ $2,000 upgrading/reviving a deceased vintage 386.

>>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
>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.

Let me know when you figure it out.

>>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".

Cryonics denies resources to other kinds of science (bionic/human engineering, symbiotic intelligence augmentation, etc.) that could build better humans, which means more talented and gifted humans than the ones you want to rescue from worms. Cryonics "denies" resources to transhuman engineering in that it uses the resources that the other sciences need.

>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?

Yes, but it would depend on what field they worked in. Strict entrance exams probably do more to promote extropy than sloppy ones do.

>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.

Well, I suppose you ought to take that up with Lyndon Larouche, since I don't have much familiarity with his work.

>>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. :))

Thank you for letting me know about your grade. (One never knows. Savants sometimes sound foolish too.)

>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? :)

No, it still seems like a waste of money, and I think I need to become _more_ parsimonious. As for "managed care cost containment" I'll leave that to Hitlery Rottenham-Klinton, a.k.a. Nurse Ratchet, her spendthrift socialist lickspittles, and hen-pecked knucklehead husband.

>>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.

No, not "naturally" mutually exclusive, just mutually exclusive. Sorry about that turn. It helps to keep your eyes on the road. I'll see your next comment, and perhaps raise another.

>>The extropian world can ill afford to believe that it cannot produce
>>talents and gifts than it already has. Cryonics contains the seed of its
>>demise, namely, entropic conceit.
>Well, there seems no shortage of conceit hereabouts. :)

Yes, I can see that.

>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
> a) creating a world that wouldn't mind bringing corpsicles back,
> and probably augmenting them if they're willing, and
>b) creating a world that I (were I a corpsicle) wouldn't mind coming back
>(I.e., "Worth the bother", from both social and individual POV.)

Ummm... I think I'll pass on the "corpsicles" thanks anyway.

>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.

I had not intended to convince anyone of anything. I simply took the opportunity to give myself a good reason to feel vindicated about successfully pointing out the advantages of extropy over cryonics. <sigh>