Practical Extropianism

Perry E. Metzger (
Tue, 6 May 1997 11:29:49 -0400 (EDT) writes:
> I've had extropian ideas for a long time and when I found out that
> there was an extropian movement, I thought "Great! There are people
> who think like me! Perhaps are they going to help me grow faster."
> But all I see on web pages and all I read in this mailing list's
> messages are theories or general ideas.

Yeah, a bit of a problem isn't it?

Unfortunately, there are only a few reasonable places to apply one's
efforts as things stand: life extension, self improvement (mental,
physical and resource improvement all come to mind) and political

Life Extension is actually one of the easy places to attack -- simply
switching to a very low fat diet (vegan is easiest), quitting smoking,
and exercising will get you a long, long way. I also take antioxidants
(including vitamin E), a general ironless multivitamin supplement
(excess iron is linked to heart disease), and chromium picolinate. I
may start taking more things as I age.

I also am signed up for cryonics, which is a bit of an insurance
policy. I hope never to have to be frozen, but if something happens to
me, I'd prefer not to be dead.

I also contribute heavily to libertarian political causes, although I
am much less personally active than I used to be. I think at this
point, I do better specializing in my field and contributing a couple
of hours of earnings to Cato than spending tens of hours on amateur

> I think it would be good to be a bit more practical about
> extropianism. I'd really like to read information on where to get
> drugs that can make you think faster or feel a certain way. Such
> drugs are sometimes legal and available to the public, but we just
> don't know about them. Putting an end to this kind of ignorance would
> be beneficial to us. Understanding how the drugs work on us could
> further our knowledge of ourselves and truly make us grow.

I'm not particularly sanguine about the current generation of "smart
drugs" -- thus far, most of the reports people have put out on the
subject have been of the form "well, it might have made a slight
difference, but..."

On the other hand, drugs like Deprinyl (sp?) probably make a long term
difference in preserving mental acuity as we age.

As for other sorts of drugs, well, most people are reluctant to talk
about them, the political and legal situation being what it is.

> What I'm saying is that it may be nice to dream about things, but it's
> better to do things, to apply theories, to build upon what's already
> built. What I'd like to see is an "extropian resource guide" of some
> sort in which one could find information that could be immediately
> used to expand one's physical and intellectual capacities.

Well... perhaps you have a project for yourself. The rest of us might
not be sufficiently motivated, but as long as you are willing to
contribute such a section to the FAQ, please do!

> Sure, I want to be a cyborg, but right now, precisely what can science
> and technology make me?

It can help you extend your life so that you'll be around to enjoy the
benefits of mid 21st century technology.

It can help you get a "safety net" in the form of cryonics in case
nothing else works and you deanimate anyway.

It can help you, if you are clever enough, to grow wealthy and thus
gain resources with which to achieve your dreams.

Unfortunately, it can't do a lot else for you -- yet. We are just
starting to peer into the future -- we haven't gotten there yet.