Re: Solutions

Dan Fabulich (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 22:06:43 -0400

At 06:05 PM 9/14/97 +0200, you wrote:
>Could we maybe, sort-of
>turn all the political threads into problem-solving-oriented discussions?

Sure... Let's start by refining what we mean by "problems," or which
problems need to be solved.

Extropian Problem 1: Global pain, suffering and death.

Speaking personally, I have adopted an extropian philosophy in order to
solve this very problem. Extropians, as we all know, are intensely focused
on overcoming death: we are very interested in advances in immortality,
cryonics, and the declining cost of living. T.O. Morrow defines extropy
as: "a measure of intelligence, information, energy, life, experience,
diversity, opportunity, and growth. The collection of forces which oppose
entropy." I assert that most extropians have made the elimination of
global pain, suffering and death their main concern. I certainly have.

Long term solutions:

a) Develop immortality through technology.
By eliminating death, you solve this problem completely.

b) Patience.
Rapidly escalating productivity will bring wealth for all.

Near term solutions:

c) Eliminate gov't barriers to entry in all industries. or
License laws, high taxes, and price controls create monopolies by
obstructing small business.

Oppose oppressive and totalitarian governments.
I can't say that I entirely endorse all of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, though it is a good start... After about Article 22 it
starts to contradict itself. Does anybody here know of a better list of
human rights which extropians might support worldwide?

Employ the poor.
By hiring the poor, you help another while they help you. So if there's
something that you wanted done and you have a little money to spare, hire
someone who's poor. Pay them in cash. Think about this the next time you
see someone holding out a cardboard sign that says "Will work for food."

Extropian Problem 2: Extropy is not well accepted by most people.

I'd venture to say that any extropian who has ever tried to explain the
philosophy to someone else has run across the same problem: most people
consider Extropian principles ethically bankrupt, despite the fact that
they are grounded in utilitarianism, rationality, and a firm commitment to
life. Some common reactions I've gotten:

Boundless Expansion - Anybody who thinks we can go on expanding forever has
no regard for the precious remaining resources available to us. Self
Transformation - Modifying the body is morally wrong. Smart drugs are
dangerous and unethical. People ought not live forever. (I get this last
one a lot; that one really puts me in a bad mood.) Dynamic Optimism -
People are normally in favor of this one, until I tell them about the other
principles, which is when they conclude that my optimism is based on
ignorance. :( Intelligent Technology - What if our creations try to kill
us? Creation is reserved for God. Intelligence is for human beings with
souls only. Spontaneous Order - Spontaneous Order is Social Darwinism,
which is morally reprehensible because it has no regard for human dignity
or equality. We have a moral obligation to participate in government and
to give away our resourses to those who need them more; libertarianism/
anarchocapitalism denies this obligation and is therefore morally bankrupt.
Out of control technologies are dangerous. And in general: Sounds like
science fiction. You don't realize how delicate our ecosystem/economy/soul
is. Technology is the tool of the rich.

Convincing people to accept extropy, IMHO, is actually far more difficult
than eliminating world strife. :/

However, I have been kicking around a thought which might make an effective
memetic trick... It would involve justifying extropy in terms of
Christianity. While I think this might work memetically, I don't like the
means by which it would work. It would be much like the Church of Virus,
only it would have one critical memetic tool which Virus neglected:
assimilating with the mainstream. Unlike the Church of Virus, Christianity
based on extropy would pretend to be plain-vanilla Christ worship... But
it would have a twist. It would emphasize the intricate relationship
between God and complexity, God as the incomprehensible force of
self-organization. It would mandate extropy by affirming it in the name of
Christ. Christ was a rebel... Methuselah lived hundreds of years... David
slew Goliath with a sling, after all... You get the idea.

Links which might relate: (There are surely others.)