Re: Extropian Principles

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Sep 20 2001 - 02:01:25 MDT

On Tue, Sep 18, 2001 at 09:42:10AM -0700, wrote:
> As a reminder, here are the Extropian Principles as currently defined
> by Max More, from
> 1. Perpetual Progress
> 2. Self-Transformation
> 3. Practical Optimism
> 4. Intelligent Technology
> 5. Open Society
> 6. Self-Direction
> 7. Rational Thinking
> Of these, I think Open Society and Self-Direction are the most relevant
> to understanding the current crisis. The Arab nations lack openness, and
> people are generally not able to direct their own lives, especially women.

Well, the self-direction part is rather variable. The main problem might
be simply that many societies are so consensus-driven that
self-direction becomes hard.

> It is difficult to maintain faith in Perpetual Progress and Practical
> Optimism in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Perhaps with time
> and perspective we will be able to adopt a more hopeful attitude.

To put it bluntly, the attacks were a minuscule blip in the big picture.
In a way this is terribly sad - that human lives can be so irrelevant -
and also comforting - life goes on. The attacks will have long
consequences, but they hardly look like they can stop perpetual progress
(unless we all laze back and let them).

Practical optimism is not something you lose faith in - it is something
you do. A merely optimistic person might lose faith in his optimism, but
when you know your and others happiness is something *you* create, then
even the greatest disasters become merely unwanted challenges.

> The idea of Intelligent Technology has prompted a number of suggestions,
> most of them not very practical. I think part of the problem is that we
> are thinking of how to apply IT to warfare. But the military is already
> expert in that. I think we do better taking a longer term perspective
> and thinking about how to open up these societies and bring them into
> a more Extropian worldview.

Exactly. Intelligent technology has even more civilian and cultural uses
than military. And I would include economics in the term.

As a general rule, trade is an excellent way of spreading/creating not
just wealth, but also ideas and peace. When you trade with someone,
getting into a fight with him is against your self interest, and the
more nations and groups trade and communicate with each other the less
likely they are to get into war with each other. Also, this trade allows
ideas to sneak through old cultural barriers, making people question
unworkable traditions and prejudices. Help set up a free press that
cannot be easily stopped in the Middle East, and things will move even
faster. It will still take more time than we like, but it needs to be

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:53 MDT