Re: Picking horses

I William Wiser (
Sat, 14 Jun 1997 12:10:41 -0700

Michael Butler wrote:
>My current emphasis is on trying to understand human group and power
>psychology, so I can make maximum impact on creating a world that
>1) I'd want to come back to and
>2) wouldn't mind bringing me back.
>I see that, not as the number one problem we face (there are a lot of
>number ones), but as the one where I can make the biggest difference. Our
>goals are parallel; a "rope" approach beats a "chain" approach if the path
>is uncertain.

When I say aging is the number one problem what I mean is that of all
the things that might kill me it is the most certain given current
technology and may be the easiest major problem to fix. It is the one
thing that is not just a gamble but a deadline. If I get to the point
that I can make a really good argument that aging will be solved before
it gets in my way then I will cease to focus on it. For a while I
assumed it would be but then I realize that I was just making an
educated guess not a rigorous argument.

Your current emphasis, rephrased as "what do we do about all the unfriendly
natives," is certainly a candidate for my number two long term concern and
understanding said natives is one of the better steps towards a solution.
I have been studying these natives a little bit each day and I do
feel I am starting to understand them better but not enough to make a
major impact.

If you have a talent in that area I think it's a very good thing to be
doing. I don't seem to have any particular talent and seem to do best at
whatever I spend the most hours on, so I try to prioritize things (and have
logged an unconscionable number of hours doing so). When I do get a chance
to influence others I'll suggest they avoid bickering and focus on taking
care of basics and eliminating aging, unless they have a particular talent
in some other productive area which I would hate to waste.

Other candidates for number two are: accidents (not so bad if you are
careful and optimal solutions require social changes and reengineered
bodies), diseases (this one actually gets lots of attention from
science already), personal violence (not to bad if you live in a good
neighborhood), and environmental and resource issues (which I don't
know a lot about). There are also lots of things that are not problems
to be solved but rather generally useful tools or opportunities.

Wait a minute. Michael Butler, are you the fellow who is working on
increasing cryonics memberships? If so that's great, keep it up.
If you sell people on cryonics (in addition to the fringe benefit of
having them maybe not die) they might actually start thinking about
living a long time and that could get them to start behaving more

I. William Wiser  <>  Longevity Consultant