Re: Understanding Extropian Principles

Chris Thompson (
Thu, 29 May 1997 08:03:03 -0700 (PDT)

---Rick Knight <> wrote:
> Peter McCluskey wrote:
> "If you expect Extropian investments to be motivated by
> don't understand Extropianism very well."
> I could treat this statement as a "what's so" or as a personal
> judgment but I'll opt for the former, reminding you that in my
> original post, I was *asking* for understanding so, if the
quote was a
> censure, it was redundant.
> I would expect no human concern to be completely altruistic.
> still got the survivalist trigger somewhere in our brain that
> narcissism at the forefront of our consciousness. However, if
> humanity were in a life raft adrift at sea, I'd hope that an
> would be the person most adept at navigating, protecting from
> elements, and rationing the food and water. S/he would be the
> that would better assure the survival of the group because of a
> natural tendency toward leadership, optimism and use of

Leadership is not Altruism. Helping others is not Altruism. Charity is
not Altruism. Altruism is self-sacrifice. Altruism would be if an
Extropian were to stay on that sinking ship, to make room for humanity
on that life raft. At the extreme, It is pressure to "Do the right
thing for the good of society." Saving the world isnt any good to me
if I'm not around to see it. Read "Atlas Shrugged". That's Altruism
taken to the extreme.

> And yes, I think it's quite opportunistic to invest in
something that
> makes money for you and is not benefiting and could be harmful
> society. I've drank gallons of it over my life probably, it
> great with pizza. Now, I consider it a treat. But many people
> it like water. After the smoke has cleared and our society has
> upon the scourge of smoking and it becomes the habit of only
> weakest and feeble-minded, we will move our focus to the next
> probably more important level in collective health
consciousness: junk
> food. There is a tie between what we eat as a culture and how
> behave. Garbage in, garbage out.

Is coke bad? surely. Is diet coke bad? I feel so. Although I wont open
the "Aspartame is bad" Jihad here. Does that make Coca-Cola a bad
investment? I dont think so. Where does Social Responsibility become
Altruism? Would I invest in "We sell crack to kids, Inc."? No way.
R.J. Reynolds? Nope. Anheuser-Busch? Questionable, but maybe. From
there it gets cloudy. How about McDonalds? They sell fat-laden burgers
that are bad for you. Lamborghini? Their cars invite fast, unsafe
driving. Mead? They cut down lots of trees to make paper. Maybelline?
Animal testing. Viacom? They own MTV which plays Ganster Rap which is
bad for kids. Wal-Mart? They sell firearms, and the aforementioned
Coke, and beer, and cigarettes.

> Right now, the soft drink companies (as well as the tobacco)
> are establishing international markets with people who are
> to have their products but are totally oblivious to the
> health wise and environment wise as well (can you imagine all
of China
> with Coke with dispensed ice in plastic/paper cups?)
> So, no, altruism need not be the primary goal of an Extropian
way of
> thinking but it certainly should be pressing on the minds of
> that are claiming a post human destiny and it should show up in
> lifestyle. You don't evolve just one part of your existence,
> evolve the whole thing: mind, body and spirit. If Extropians
have no
> concern of the latter, it's an incomplete and imbalanced
> and I should continue my search for a more full-spectrumed
approach to
> conscious, biological and social evolution.

I wish you well in your search. I reject the concept of Spirit, if it
was offered with a Religious or "Soul" or Karma definition. If, on the
other hand, you use my definition of 'Spirit' which is the inherent
inalienable power of a human being to choose and plot their own
destiny, to make conscious and informed choices to seek out happiness,
then I am more comfortable. Can I imagine China with coke in paper
cups? Easier than I can tolerate a China being told, "We wont sell you
this, we know what's good for you." You say altruism need not be a
goal of extropianism. We must have different definitions. My
definition, and I'd wager the definition used by most extropians, is
the one offered up by Ayn Rand. Altruism is self-sacrifice. Altruism
is bad. Charity? Social-conscious? perhaps. My comments above speak to

The farthest I can distill the concept down, at least my
interpretation of Extropianism and it's views on Objectivist
philosophy, is that Man is his own end, and his own justification. I
cannot and will not define myself against some altruistic, sociopathic
ideal to which I cannot obtain.


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