Re: the meme war

From: Russell Blackford (
Date: Thu Jul 19 2001 - 01:00:08 MDT

Spike said

>In any struggle for the hearts and minds of the proletariat, a
>significant advantage goes to the side that can reduce its message
>on a bumper sticker. <snip> >Extropianism and transhumanism have no snappy
>little phrases
>to counterbalance the kinds of examples given above. Do we? <examples

As you can see, these dont have the punch of the
>previous set of examples. I can use some help from
>the great collective extro-mind.

If I get inspired I'll tell ya.

Meanwhile, some thoughts. At the moment, transhumanism isn't even on the
radar for most people. Same even with nano, cryonics, etc. Thus lots of
clever phrases would just seem obscure at this point in the meme war.

Then there are ideas that I think really need to be bracketed off in public
debate. I don't see why we should be committed to any closely-defined
particular political viewpoint, for example, even if we are all attracted to
positions that are libertarian in one of the many senses of that word (and
which I'm sure we'll keep discussing). The extropian principles allow for a
range of "open societies" and most people are frightened by libertarian
views, however defensible those views may seem to any of us.

However, there's a lot of point, I think, to getting behind campaigns for
basic political rights such as freedom of speech, religion and conscience,
and adopting the associated slogans. Over the next couple of decades, the
luddites are going to try to suppress technologies and try to drive out
views that they consider "metaphysically damaging" (yes, that is the
expression I keep seeing). In doing so, they will reject the classical
liberal ideal of society. The classical liberal ideal has no room for the
imposition of metaphysical beliefs and is our great strength. If we continue
to live in a society where the classical liberal ideal is, er, respected, I
think the necessary technologies will be developed and marketed by people
with the interest and talent, and will be taken up widely as their
advantages are seen by ordinary people.

Beyond that, since we have to take it one step at a time, I tend to think
that the initial focus of our more positive meme deployment should be on the
idea that extended life is a good idea. That is hard for lots of people to
swallow ideologically (extended longevity - it's, it's <splutter>
*unnatural*), but it also has an obvious attraction. Almost everyone wants
to live longer.

Once we make some headway getting this idea out as a legitimate one, a lot
of other stuff follows.

I like Reason's focus on the longevity meme. I also like Zero's slogan:
"Life is good. Refuse to die." If we could come up with a few more like this
it'd be great.

If Eliezer's work is successful, I guess the meme war is almost irrelevant.
But I don't want to put all my eggs in the one singularity.


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