Re: extropians-digest V2 #445

J. R. Molloy (
Sun, 12 Apr 1998 08:49:59 -0700

>Date: Sat, 11 Apr 1998 15:48:48 +0400
>From: Eugene Leitl
>Subject: Re: Definitions for
>On Thu, 9 Apr 1998, Randy Smith wrote:
>> I like it, Scott, and that's not to
disparage the other definitions
>> others may have offered, but it kind
of ties in with a Randy-Smith
>> truism: many, if not most, humans
are, in some fundamental way,
>> unhappy. That ultimate state of
self-actualization would seemingly
>If we were not unhappy, there would be
zero impetus to change. No impetus
>to change in an coevolutionary context
guarantees failure before long.
>Hence this is no surprise that the
majority of us is not happy. I am
>pretty happy to be unhappy, actually.
Saves one from being an
>beautifically smiling evolutionary cul
de sac.

Pardon me for butting in, but IMHO the
impetus for change ought to come from
happy, not unhappy people, because
unhappy people may tend to harbor
feelings of envy, spite, or vengeance.
It becomes difficult to trust the
motives of unhappy people. Happy people,
in contrast, already know what it takes
to live life successfully, and can
therefore transmit the knowledge to
others. Happy, self-actualized folks
want to change the world so that 'more'
people can live happily and

Examples of unhappy people who wanted to
change the world: Napoleon, Hitler,
Stalin, Mussolini (and his
granddaughter), Marx, Mao Zedong, etc.

Examples of happy, self-realized,
enlightened people who set out to change
the world include Buddha, Lao Tzu,
Krishna, Gurdjieff, Socrates, Galileo,
Max More, etc.

Those who plan to change the world
either want to share their own happiness
or they want revenge and requital. I'll
put my money on blissful, joyful,
prosperous pundits rather than on
miserable losers and sore heads.
Furthermore, people who know how to
effect change stand the best chance of
enjoying happiness in their own lives. I
believe many people remain unhappy
because they don't know how to change
themselves -- never mind change the

>> would think when one controls matter
on a nanotech scale,
>> self-actualization is only a matter
of twiddling brain biochemistry.

Perhaps so, but then your happiness
depends on continued twiddling of brain
biochemistry forever. Then you become an
addict (not to say a slave) to twiddled

>> There would seem to be gene survival
advantages in the unhappy and
>> self-actualization-seeking human.

Then again, going extinct doesn't afford
much opportunity for happiness. No one,
AFAIK, has ever demonstrated that
self-actualization succumbs to seeking.
It rather arises when seeking ends.

>> As far as utilizing "rational
technologies" to acheive
>> self-actualization" ends, I guess it
is a transition from the
>> "spiritual technologies" previously
used, eh?

Reason without spirit may lead to
apathy; spirit without reason usually
leads to lunacy. Although I neither
decry nor applaud apathy (good bumper
sticker there), I have no use for lunacy
either. I suspect that
self-actualization constitutes more of
an attainment than an achievement... it
has to do with giving yourself
permission to get over all the nonsense
they taught you in school.

>> I have heard that many cryonicists
(and I understand that many
>> extropians are cryos or wannabe
cryos) see cryonics as a chance at
>> another life, one in which they can
fulfill their goals
>> (self-actualize). Comments?
>Unless we can get out of the Darwin
box, which is probably impossible, you
>can't remain in the state of eternal
bliss. We can homeostate us to max
>out the kick we get from being a rat
the rat race, though.

Oops! Sorry. I didn't know that Eugene
and Randy used the term /self-actualize/
to mean /fulfill their goals/. I had
supposed that self-actualization meant
transcending goal-oriented existence. It
appears to me that as a mere human I
can't now comprehend what life will
render to transhumans who survive the
Singularity. But that suits me fine,
since the transhumans will undoubtedly
fully comprehend what life means to
humans. Just as the human embryo
undergoes fish-like and reptilian
phases, so transhumans will likely go
through a human-like phase during their