Identifying with >Hs
Fri, 16 May 1997 00:34:16 -0500 (EST)

On Thu, 15 May 1997, Nick Nicholas wrote:

> I was heavily influenced by Bucky Fullers early books particularly "An
> Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth ". It's a little dated but very
> extropian for it's time.
> This leads me to wonder what motivates people to identify with
> transhmanist groups? Any thoughts?

My experience was that I was already sympathetic to many extropian ideas
upon my first exposure. I was floored by the similarities between myself and
the weirdos in Cali as I flipped though the 10/94 Wired in a grocery
store. The notion of furthering and accelarating human evolution had been
brewing in me for a few years. In '93 I wrote a screen play
about a man and his wife who had themselves placed in cryonic supspension.
When they were revived, the plot centered around the man's decision to
have himself up-loaded, and thus evolve into another species (his wife
suffered water damage and had to be uploaded immediately after thawing).
Had I considered that I may make the same journey as my protagonist, as I
do now, the story would have been much better.

Another important factor in my exposure to extropian memes, was the
industriousness and optimism of the people that Regis wrote about in that
article. At the time I was at psychological/emotional global minimum. It
was inspiring to read of people with whom I shared many ideas (though not
totally-- I was an uninformed collectivist at the time, but Ayn Rand took
care of that silliness), and who were producive and happy, two
crucial things I was not at the time. I'm Much better now ;-).

Yet another drawing factor was my inclination towards the extraordianry
and weird. Such things very often lead me away from the masses. Its a
natural tendency I have that I can trace back to the
first grade. As now I count myself among their ranks, Extropians no longer
seem strange, but we're definately extraordinary!

So my generic profile would be someone who was already sympathetic to >H
memes, an inclination to leave the pack, and has the desire to be productive.
At least in this stereotype, a potential >H already has the neural
architecture that such memes thrive in.

On a side note, I wonder if a healthy human gene pool contains a handful
of alleles that incline their bodies/brains toward novelty. Such
individuals may have just enough reproductive success to keep novelty
seeking alleles in a populations genome, and just enough creativity to
introduce new technologies/memes (at the risk of ostracism (sp?)) that
would increase their fitness either directly, or indirectly by helping the
group. Considering how long hominids used the same tools, such a novelty gene
would probably be a relative newcomer (past 100K yrs?). Just a thought.

Michael Bowling