RE: How Important is Money?

Rick Knight (
Wed, 25 Jun 97 17:41:45 CST

Max More posted:

I've always thought a pretty good test of intelligence was to ask
someone what they would do with $X, and keeping increasing the value of
X until they can't think of anything else to do with it, except buy 50
Rolls Royce's (as a certain guru did not long ago). I suspect most
people on this list wouldn't have any trouble finding sensible ways to
spend their first trillion dollars.

My addition/clarification to that:

First off, thanks Max for instilling a measure of vision and nobility
into a topic and about which I started getting my ire up.

I would like to add that although the notion of "plenty" may be a
non-issue for some extropians, it is not necessarily a measure of a
person's worthiness or intellect that s/he settles for substantially
less. Rather, it is a limitation of his/her imagination and to that
extent, those with loftier aspirations should graciously allow them to
be or inspire them further.

Although I don't scrutinously follow Bill Gates' entrepreneurial or
philanthropic efforts, it is hard not to regard him ultimately as
short-sighted and somewhat facist, given the incredibly and
precedent-setting resources he has amassed.

I think the mental exercise of what to do with a trillion dollars
could ultimately end up chasing its own tail in the paradigm that some
of us (including me) imagine, where humans are not auto-driven by
greed and acquisition but by vision and a sense of connectivity and
purpose. Motivation by acquisition seems primitive by comparison,
rather like giving the dolphin a fish or the chimp a banana if it does
a learned task. Sure it's where we come from, evolutionarily
speaking, but where are we headed and how quickly? Pretty quickly
considering the global neural network expansion and explosion of
technological innovation.

And where are we headed?

In Star Trek: First Contact, Picard and the 21st century character,
Lily have a discussion about the enormous cost of titanium to build a
ship the size of the Enterprise. It was so encouraging to hear Picard
speak of a world to come that was not motivated by acquisition and
self-centered pursuit, as if Gene Rodenberry (whom I regard as a late
20th century H.G. Wells) continued to promote his philosophy beyond
the grave. Is it naive and altruistic to envision and work toward a
world where many extropian notions of success are rendered moot? And
granted, we have to work within the given paradigm but any
motivational speaker will tell you to start living the way you
imagine, the way you desire. (And that doesn't mean doing irrational
things like buying a Rolls while you are on the welfare "rolls".)

If the definition of extropian includes continually pushing the limits
of what it is to be human, where would considerations such as this
factor in?

I wonder if it would take a trillion dollars to make the Enterprise?