Re: The endgame is near -- my comments

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Sep 19 2001 - 01:58:14 MDT

James Rogers <> writes:

> 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.

You make some good points except for one thing. We are not just *extropians*.
We are also people who are justifiably upset, concerned and intent on making
some sense out of what is happening. In the process we will, among other
things, play amateur analyst and amateur general and amateur diplomat attempting
to make sense of it all. This is not a total waste. It is one way of seeing
multiple aspects of the situation and coming to some grips with it. It
probably is a waste and a large one to tell people they should not do this
because they are *extropians* or for any other reason. This is a community and
the community is reeling a bit like a lot of communities. Helping it find
its grounding in the kind of community it is is certainly good. Dunning it
for reeling isn't.

> 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.

What, you expect us all to be in super-genius mode in every aspect of our
communications even in areas we are not specialists in but that have just
intruded big-time into our lives? Who the heck are you to put down people
for this?

> 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.

Please explain to me how I can reach my goals if the internet is turned into
high security no-hacker land, open source software is all but outlawed, the
very computer hardware enforces the most brain-dead of IP laws, the government
sees everything I write, say and do 24x7 and other nasty possible reactions
to 9/11. Some of what is likely in the near and long-term as fallout can
have a very large effect on my work and on the work of most of us here.

Explain how we can turn our backs effectively on the world and work to
create our "philosopher's stone" be it AI, SI, MNT or whatever and expect
to actually be able to have any result be a real improvement in that real
world we have studiously ignored?
> 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.

Perhaps "winning the game" is the game to paraphrase an old saying about beating
the system. I have asked this before here and not received a very satisfactory
answer. Exactly why do we believe that our goals, our endgame, is the
one that should and must win and that we must make sure it does regardless
of what the people at large want or even know about? In a way we are trying
to sneak in our "final solution" as a fait accompli. On the one hand it looks
beautiful and obvious. On the other, most of us admit that we have no idea
whether it will mean we all "win" or whether we all simply become obsolete
and are wiped out of existence. Yet we should be gung-ho to produce this
whatever-it-is and whatever-it-does-to-us. Well, life is not something
that begins only after the Singularity.

- samantha

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