disappointing responses

Perry E. Metzger (perry@piermont.com)
Wed, 2 Apr 1997 11:04:27 -0500 (EST)

I'm somewhat disappointed by the sorts of responses that were sent to
Anonymous' original message about extropians who "talk the talk but
don't walk the walk", and my subsequent message on the same topic.

There were a couple of what I term knee-jerk objectivist responses
(which I was not entirely shocked to see), and a couple of platitudes
like "selfishness isn't measured in dollars".

However, it doesn't appear that many people have been able to
contradict the fundamental premise, which is that many (though
certainly not all!) extropian types don't seem to actively work
towards their long term financial self interest, or their long term
physical survival.

I suppose that since I "knew" the correctness of my position (who
doesn't believe their own ideas?) I was not expecting to learn that in
fact virtually all extropians are taking care of their health and
finances and such. However, I suppose I was expecting something more
spirited than the kind of reply that one could readily have expected
from Ayn Rand when defending her decision to keep chain smoking even
though it was obviously killing her.

I personally try to maintain a very flexible outlook on
life. Dogmatically clinging to one's views because they are one's own
has a great deal of psychological appeal but it isn't very survival
oriented -- one has to be skeptical of one's own views as well as
those of others.

Years ago, when Tim May gave me the "if you're so smart, why aren't
you rich" speech, I took him seriously, accepted without letting my
ego get in the way that I'd been screwing up my finances for some
time, and decided to work on that problem instead of wasting time
posting messages to the net all day. I have not yet entirely succeeded
in my goals in this area, but I've made substantial progress, and
would not have made any had I not recognised that a problem existed.

I would suggest that many people here would be better off consciously
applying Popperian pan-critical rationalism to their own lives rather
than treating wake up calls like the one "Anonymous" posted as foreign
concepts to be rejected by the ego's immune system without

Doubtless, the knowledge that one might harbor behaviors antithetical
to one's self interest is painful -- but are not the consequences of
persisting in such behaviors far worse?