I've been wading through the posts on this list for the last week, most
filled with the heady opinions of armchair warriors (dove and hawk alike),
while keeping my opinions on the matters of the world to myself. But
instead of offering my opinion on the terrorism incident, I'm going to give
my opinion of this list's opinions in a general sort of way.
This list has totally lost its perspective. As extropians, who *do* have a
long-term agenda last I checked, there are two ways to address this
particular threat, a threat that is far more complicated than any simple
analysis will solve anyway. The first way is to eliminate it in an
offensive fashion, actively destroying it so that it has minimal ability to
damage us. The second is a defensive mode, minimizing the ability of the
threat to harm us if it chooses to engage us. But like in so many things,
reality decides these things for us by and large.
The reality is that extropians have no real business discussing offensive
measures because, quite frankly, extropians have negligible impact on the
massive engine of inertia that is government policy, particularly with
issues like this. The world turns as the world turns. Offering platitudes
as to who/what/when/where should be attacked in the Middle East is nothing
more than emotional masturbation, and offers nothing constructive that could
be construed as defending an extropian future. I could get this on a dozen
other sites, and the quality would be better in some cases. There *is* some
causality at work here; if extropians actually had something of substantial
value to add in this regard then they might also be in a position to
influence it. But from where I sit, we are often indistinguishable from a
high-rise yuppie or a trailer park yokel, value-wise.
Which leads me to my second point: hunkering down and spending our time on
things that matter. If we can agree that as individuals and as a group we
can not effectively and rationally attack this particular threat to an
extropian future, then it is imperative that we think of how to accomplish
our goals in the shadow of great threats (and the forces that counter them)
for which we have limited preemptive offensive capabilities. And by
"rationally", I mean taking a long-term view with your ultimate goals in
mind. This is a far more constructive approach for a number of reasons.
First of all, it is relatively easy for an individual to ensure their
survival and the perpetuation of their goals. Second, the passive nature of
these measures take little focus away from our primary goals. Third,
security and safety is a network effect; the people around you are safer for
your individual effort and may reciprocate.
My last and most important point is that extropians are in the business of
creating the ultimate trump cards, technologies that can permanently render
the threats we are facing obsolete. There are escalating issues and
competing forces today which threaten to severely blunt our goals, thereby
rendering us helpless to stop even greater threats than those which most
people think about. The endgame is upon us, and we are in a race against
those that would stop us; if we fail or even slow down too much, we will die
eventually. My goal in surviving isn't to survive another day, but to win
the game. Destroying terrorism isn't a win, but merely a draw; spending
effort doing so in no way ensures my long-term survival and may indeed
hamper it. It is therefore imperative that energy be devoted to actual
solving the problems that we can solve rather than pissing in the wind over
short-term issues that are largely beyond our control. In the long run,
maximizing productivity towards our goals is the winning strategy, not
engaging in brush fires, even big ones, that would be cheaper to avoid.
Even if we can solve some problems it doesn't mean doing so is an effective
use of effort and resources given a particular set of goals and a very
finite quantity of time.
If I die, it will be of precious little comfort to me that everyone else
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:52 MDT