Steering the Extropian Ship [was ... Where do cool people go?]

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 09:56:08 MDT

On Mon, 17 Apr 2000 wrote:

> I had asked:
> <<Where oh where did the other folks go?>>

> Ah! The most fervently ignored area of interest under Extropian concerns or
> TransHuman concerns. Most peeps here on the list seem to be convinced that
> they will live for 10,000 years; if not forever. To me its the analog of a
> trapeze acrobat working without a net; courageous but an extra hazard! So
> when will those who are qualified, academically, to publish papers come up
> with some plausible solutions for this 'situation'? Or are we leaving it up
> to Herr God?

I like working without a net (in Russia), it keeps you sharp. Its
like the mental cringe our rocket engineers do every time they
push the lauch button on those big inverted roman candles.

Speaking from experience, the costs of not getting your timing
right can be quite expensive. Actually there seems to be quite
a lot of list related activity for people working in their various
ways at moving things forward. Robin, Anders, Eliezer and a host of
others are publishing papers on the directions in which we are going
and proposing various means for speeding things up. Many of us who
aren't "doing", are thinking about how and when "to do". When we do
do, you won't see us "doing", because like Sasha or Eugene we will be
too busy to talk about it.

I think what you see is a selection effect.

It is worth noting that when you grasp the big picture, the efforts
of single individuals are *almost* meaningless. The trick is to discover
the leverage points where a single individual may exert a small force
and cause a large mass to move(*). Then in the future, we will look back
at those points and say "I stood there", realizing that that advanced
the pace of discovery by maybe a week, or a month, or if you are
very very lucky a couple of years.


(*) Buckminster Fuller, I believe, used supertanker rudder "trim-tabs" as
the analogy for this. Trim-tabs are at the end of a rudder and turn in
a direction opposite to the motion of the rudder itself allowing water
to flow around the rudder, thereby allowing the rudder to be turned
more quickly with less force.

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