Re: POL: Extropianism and Politics
Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:25:40 -0800 (PST)

On 19 Mar 1999, Anders Sandberg wrote:

> _Aristoi_ comes to mind. That is what really irritated me about the
> book, the political system was inherently unstable (or at least
> metastable). Having a distributed system of many enlightened despots
> makes the risks smaller, but they will never vanish. Still, the book
> also demonstrated some of the basic flaws in the Logarchy fairly well.

All these references to _Aristoi_ convinced me to give it another read, and it still delights on many levels. It seems somewhat unfair to pooh-pooh the instability of the political system of the Logarchy without noting the instability of the situation those institutions are designed to address -- a situation with deep resonances for our own. The Logarchy is the political equivalent of the Vingean Zones, a self-conscious effort to stave off a hard singularity, while garnering the benefits of technological runaway. In _Aristoi_ these institutions survive attack, while in, say, _The Diamond Age_ or _The Bohr Maker_ similar institutional stopgaps (neither of them as attractive to my personal sensibilities as that of the Aristoi) ultimately fail to hold off a hard singularity. Presumably the Logarchy was crafted in the aftermath of a goo-debacle (the Earth1 disaster) -- a Singularity gone bad, but as a political "movement" tranhumanists of all stripes seem no less haunted by the prospects of such a disaster and so the institutional responses of these civilizations (every one of which seems to be an attempt to adapt the premises of western liberal society to SI and nanotech without rendering that liberalism unintelligible to itself) seem quite relevant to what we talk about here... That is, *if* it is *true* that transhumanism in general and extropianism is particular really are, as so many want to claim, "movements" at all rather than, as they usually seem to me, just barely coherent enough to count as very stimulating ongoing conversations. If this *is* a movement we're participating in here, seems to me there is little it could be doing that would be more useful or more fun than making of us the first Aristoi. Just thinking out loud. Best, Dale

	  	   Dale Carrico |
	  University of California at Berkeley, Department of Rhetoric

		  Freud democratized genius by giving everyone 
		  a creative unconscious. -- Philip Rieff
	      Everyone I know has a big "but--"! -- Pee Wee Herman