Re: Help! Leisure or Extro-Holocaust?

Derek Strong (
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 13:25:53 -0700

Holly Pearson writes:

Dear Extropians,

I am on of you. I am intelligent, hard working and in my deepest
yearnings an extropian to the core. Despite this I am falling behind.
I am
dying (slowly). Despite my best efforts at maintaining a healthy body,
quick mind, balanced diet, and adequate regiment of exercise,
anti-ozidants and smart drugs - I AM BURNING OUT. I am hitting, like a
wall, the limits of my biology and psychology/neurology. I can no
keep up with the demands the free-market is placing on me. At the rate
everything is accelerating, things can only get worse for me. I will be

lucky to be alive in 5 years - I will run out of energy far sooner.

I reply:

Please explain this. I know it's not considered polite to ask, but just
how old are you?

Holly continues:

Despite working over 50 hours per week and spending another 10 keeping
up with science & technology trends, I am still falling behind
economically. I expect the skills I have now will be obsolete by the
end of 98.

Falling behind what? If you are intelligent and hard-working, you probably
have many skills. I seriously doubt that all of them will be obsolete by
the end of '98. What do you do professionally?

Holly continues:

I no longer have the time nor energy to gain new skills at the rate
required by todays free-market.

Explain for me, if you will, exactly what rate is "required" by the
free-market. Required for what? To be wealthy? To maintain an income of
X dollars per year? To service your current debt? To live in the style to
which you've become accustomed?

One of many solutions to being overworked in order to maintain your
lifestyle is to change your lifestyle. If it's too hard for you, it might
be time to simplify. There are *many* ways to simplify without dying. And
there are many ways to continue to use the skills you already have without
allowing yourself to become completely obsolete.

Holly continues:

I will probably be obsolete within 2
years and dead with 5 unless something very *fundamental* changes from
free-market hell which is killing me.

Even before hearing more details about your situation, I simply can't
believe that obsoletion and death are the only alternatives on the horizon
for you without a huge change in the "free-market hell." What about the
things you have the power to change? (And I'm not talking about improving
your skills.)

Holly continues:

Now this is pretty sad when I share your extropian dreams of a better
future while at the same time being increasingly being denied
opportunity from achieving them.

You have yet to demonstrate that the free-market is denying you anything.
We are all (more or less) in the same boat right now with regard to
immortality, uploading, nanotechnology, and a host of other expected future
changes. I.e., right now, *none* of us has the wealth (individually or
collectively) to make them happen. In the meantime, although acquiring
increasing wealth is certainly a good strategy for positioning yourself to
take advantage of those changes as they become available, it is not the
only strategy.

In particular, the most important aspect to *any* plan for getting there is
simply to *stay alive*. If your lifestyle is driving you into the grave,
then it's time to change your lifestyle. (I hope that any of the many
people on this list who have looked into simplified lifestyles -- such as
self-contained van/home units -- will pipe in with some information about
how it is possible to live more simply, cheaply, and happily.) If you are
over the age of 50 (40 for men, I'd say), then you should give serious
consideration to diverting some of your money to making cryonics
arrangements for yourself. (Folks in those age groups run a significant
risk of missing the advent of nanotech and biological immortality no matter
HOW wealthy they are.)

Holly continues:

I am a human being and I am an extropian.

These are both heavily in your favor, but no guarantees of success
whatsoever, free market or no.

Holly continues:



...and so does every other human on this planet who wants to live and
have a better future.

I will leave to others to address the usage of the word "deserve" here.
Meanwhile, let me just say that, semantics aside, I generally agree with
you. You SHOULD be able to make it, and I want you to. I don't know if I
want EVERY human to make it, but certainly the vast majority of them. You
have a chance to make it, still, and it will probably be the free market
that makes it possible for you to get there.

Holly continues:

Look, I want to evolve as much as the next person - but I should have
the right to grow at *my* pace.

It is not a "right." Nevertheless, you are free to grow at your own pace.
Everyone is free in this way, and in fact if you look around you will see 5
billion examples of people growing at their own pace.

Holly continues:

Dont you get it? I am evolving as
fast as I can! But the free-market (an autoevolutionary and human
invention if there ever was one - and one which almost everyone on this

It's not an invention any more than evolution is an invention. Spontaneous
order is just that -- spontaneous.

Holly continues:

doesnt give a DAMN about *my* pace. EITHER I ADAPT TO *ITS* PACE

This is not so. There is not one pace which doesn't lead to death. More
positively, there are many, many paces which can lead to living and

Holly continues:

As the Bionomics Institute as so poignantly pointed out The
free-market follows the dictates of biological evolution where the
strongest, smartest and fittest survive(end quote).

I've never like the phrase "survival of the fittest," and in fact I think
it is downright wrong. A better phrase would be "survival of the FIT."
Watch "Wild Discovery" on the Discovery Channel sometime and you will see
that there are many, many strategies which lead to survival of a species.
One of the keys is strength, but there are many types of strength. Ability
to adapt to an environment is the main one. If your environment is too
harsh, remaining FIT means finding a way to adapt to it. Whether you do
this through the Carniverous Teeth and Claws strategy, or by burrowing
yourself a little cave in the side of a mountain and eating berries, the
point is to adapt. For you, that may or may not mean acquiring new skills.
It may mean nothing more than changing your focus.

Holly continues:

Now if that is not a Fascist dictate what the fuck is?!

I reproduce part of Greg Burch's excellent post:

Unless one is discussing a party of armed psychopathic bigots
intent on world-scale violence with a program of pseudoscientific
eugenics, the word "Nazi" is hyperbole of a sort that does no
credit to a writer.

Holly continues:

Again, help - I want to live! I want to live in the amazing future
that is unfolding. Shouldnt everyone get an *EQUAL* chance to live
in the future?

Wow, that's quite a question.

Should? If I were George Carlin, I'd say should is a BAD word. At the
very least, it's not very useful, and doesn't add much information due to
the incredible number of questions it begs.

Everyone? No. Not all humans are good and worthy by my standards. Are
you forlorn that Hitler didn't make it, and doesn't have the opportunity to
see this bright future? To me, most humans are worth saving, but certainly
not all of them.

Equal? Depending on you define it, total equality of opportunity is either
impossible, or already the case.

Live? I'd like to see biological immortality be a given, but we are far
from that. I can't think of a faster way to get us there than a thriving
free-market economy.

Live Well? Define "well." If you mean, be biologically immortal and have
enough to eat, then yes, I'd sure like to see that be a guarantee in the
future, but again, we're not there yet, and you haven't shown that a more
centrally organized economy will make it more likely.

Holly continues:

Otherwise arent extropians nazis - either by choice or by default?


Holly Pearson

No, no, and no. Again, see Greg Burch's excellent post for more insight
into this question.

I don't know you, Holly, but it sure sounds like you're engaging in
personal disasturbation here. Is it really that bad? If so, remember in
all your railings against the "tyranny" of the free-market that we really
*don't* live in a totally free-market economy yet. If you've got problems
you can't handle, there are governmental handouts and concessions to be
had. Even if that were not the case, I think most free-market proponents
here still see value in charity, and believe that you would have many
options for obtaining charity even if there were no government or church to
get it from.

I sincerely hope your world brightens up for you.


Derek Strong aka Derek Ryan
Webmaster, Extropy Institute