Perry E. Metzger (
Fri, 30 May 1997 11:40:09 -0400 (EDT)

Carl Feynman writes:

> I view participating in this list as a hobby. My first priority is raising
> my kids. My second priority is being nice to my wife. My third priority is
> using artificial intelligence to (voluntarily) separate people from their
> money, which then flows to my corporate masters. Making the world more
> transhuman is somewhere around twelfth priority, just below keeping the yard
> nice.
> I suspect my job, though not directly aimed at making people more godlike,
> has a greater positive effect on the future of humanity than all my posting
> to this list. At least I'm making machines a little smarter and the economy
> a little more efficient.

I have a similar priority view.

Although I'm very interested in a transhuman future and try to orient
myself to take advantage of potential "interesting" developments as
they arise, that isn't what I think about all day long.

I've taken certain concrete steps to try to try to assure my survival
into the future -- I've signed up for cryonics, I try to eat as
healthy a diet as I can, etc. -- and I try to take the probable
direction of the future into account when planning my
actions. However, the fact is, we aren't yet in the final slide into
transhumanity or posthumanity, and for the most part there is very
little to be done about such things on a day to day basis.

Unlike Carl, I have no family, so my family isn't a priority. My #1
priority is remaining healthy and conscious into the indefinate
future, but I've already taken all steps I think can be reasonably
taken in that regard. My #2 priority, which consumes most of my tiem,
is assuring I have sufficient resources at my disposal to do whatever
I feel might need doing in the future. Somewhere way down the list --
far below the point where you can even assign numbers -- comes
"participate in the extropian movement".

Were a massive breakthrough in nanotech to occur next week, I suspect
that my priorities would remain the same, although my means of
achieving them might shift.

I think this is as it should be. As an objectivist (but not a high
church objectivist by any means!) I feel my top priority is caring for
me and those things important to me, and given that I have no
offspring to pay attention to, and no life partner, that pretty much
just leaves me. Caring for myself implies assuring my survival, short
term and long term, and trying to (on a slightly higher level) plan
ahead to make sure I have the resources needed to achieve things I want.

Perhaps sometime I'll discover there is some way I could save the
world, but if its worth saving, its worth saving only if I personally
need it saved, or if a profit is to be earned in the process of saving

What, then, does Extropianism mean for me?

Well, it provides me with an augmented world view and a community of
friends. This has had concrete dividends -- I actually took the step
of signing up for cryonics after becoming surrounded by other
cryonicists, for example. I've gained some perspective and some
entertainment out of the community, and I'm happy about that. So long
as it continues to pay off a bit in this way, I'll continue reading.