On 3/2/2001 Charlie Stross wrote:
>What I'm getting at is the need for a general discussion, not just one
>held between rival camps of zealots.
>And yes, we _are_ zealots. (Clue: I consider myself to be on _your_ side.)
>None is so blind to their ideology as the one who, un-noticing, swims in
>it every day ...
That's true, and in keeping with the general theme of much of my thinking and
writing these days, I think it is very important, as Jeff Davis pointed out
recently, that we distinguish between "discussion" and "debate". All too
often, people rush into conflict with people they identify as "enemies"
without first stopping to consider the philosophical foundations of the
positions they are defending. This is essential given that one of the basic
tenets of the developing "neo-luddite" and "anti-globalist" ideology is the
belief and common accusation that proponents of scientific, technological and
social progress uncritically follow an amalgam of values labeled as
Thus it is all the more important to constantly think about and re-evaluate
the most fundamental ideas, ideals and values that motivate us, as well as to
be an "activist" in promoting progress. Being clear-headed and open about
our basic values and ideas serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it helps
to ensure that we aren't in fact blindly supporting technological
implementation of each new development that science offers and, on the other,
it makes us more effective advocates. The twelve years of Extropy
Institute's history can be seen as an on-going process of evaluation and
re-evaluation of a coherent and explicit set of moral values. The evolution
of the Extropian Principles during that time is, to me, tangible evidence
that we are in fact being self-critical in our approach to the issues that
concern us. Thus, I agree with you, Charlie, that we should celebrate and
welcome criticism of our ideas. We do not want to be or be labeled as
uncritical cheerleaders of technology for its own sake, but rather as
proponents of a coherent and defensible set of values that improve the
quality of life.
Greg Burch <GBurch1@aol.com>----<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide
http://www.gregburch.net -or- http://members.aol.com/gburch1
ICQ # 61112550
"We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
-- Desmond Morris
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