Re: feedback and sharing knowledge

Joao Pedro (
Thu, 25 Sep 1997 00:11:12 -0700


Geoff Smith wrote:
> If you are in microbiology, you should know what negative feedback is. I
> learned about negative feedback in high school biology. If you understand
> how the human body regulates hormones in the thyroid, you understand
> negative feedback.

Do you think I mention terms, of my area of expertise, without knowing
what they mean? Like mention below, I couldn't apply the term to
economic systems in the context in which EvMick applied the term. More,
he wrote:
> If any corp starts exploiting...they go broke...(absent government
> meddling)...monopolies are only possible in a controlled economy...can't
> happen in a free market...negative feedback..

I still, today, can't understand why do you (or some of you) think this
would happen. And that certainly puzzled me up a bit. BTW, I still think
monopolies happen in a free-market and I still can't understand why
would negative feedback prevent this and the exploration of the
population by any corp.

Damien Broderick wrote:
> `Negative feedback' is *not* primarily an economics term, but derives from
> systems and control theory and has very general application. It is at
> least 50 years old, and is the basis of all advanced control systems.
> Perhaps it is called something entirely different in your own language, but
> it is defined in most English dictionaries. I keep a dictionary on my
> desk, and another on my kitchen table, and when I see a word I don't know I
> look it up - I don't start by asking other people. If it's not in the
> dictionary, I look in the encyclopedia in my study, and if it's not there
> *then* I have no hesitation in asking.

Like I mentioned before, I know the meaning of the word but I couldn't
find an appropriate application for it in economy, in the context of our
argument, in explaining to me the author's (EvMich) point of view. Like
I said a thousand times, I don't know nothing of economics besides
common sense and applying a term I know from biology (and don't use in
my daily life) to economics and figuring out how things happen in
economical systems according to EvMich's perspective was not up to my
skills. Also, actually disagreeing with EvMick's point was not a good
way to understand what he was trying to say.

I hope this matter is dead and buried (Damien, I know your intention is
good and I'm glad you cleared up some misunderstandings). Ironically
speaking, I think I'm a much better human being now that I know the
meaning of negative
feedback and why corporations won't be able to be in a monopoly
situation because of it.

Chris R. Tame wrote:
> I may be doing you an injustice, but I get the strong feeling from your
> posting that your initial questions were not a serious requst for
> information. One sees this all the time on the net. Someone posts a set
> of elementary questions about libertaranism or free market economics or
> whatever - all of which are actually dealt with in the primary
> literature of their respective subjects. When the poster receives some
> answers he or she then responds with polemical and ill-considered
> arguments, clearly indicating that they were not really making an honest
> inquiry in the first place, but were simply looking for an argument.
> Which is another reason why many people can't be bothered to reply.

I was looking for information but even I wasn't sure about how serious
this information would be.

> If you are really interested in learning about anything READ BOOKS! If
> you think book reading is "boring" you clearly have little interest in
> acquiring knowledge.

There are books that I find amusing to read, there are books I find
interesting to read and there are books I find boring to read (and
usually stop in the beginning). I read several books about aging, a
subject I find most interesting and disturbing but I never read a book
about economics and would probably be bored to death if I would. It's a
matter or choice and personal taste.
I might read a couple of articles on the net about economy, I still have
some doubts I would like to clear out. Perhaps one day I even read a
book about economy!

Geoff Smith wrote:
> If you had been here for longer, you would realize that a large amount of
> volume on this list is new people coming to the list asking the *same*
> questions, making the *same* silly points and mistakes. This diverts
> people's attention from more important topics. I am definitely guilty of
> this crime, and I'll apologize now to all those people who see my newbie
> posts as same old, same old.

Tell me something, wouldn't you like to see the extropian movement
expand itself? Wouldn't you like to see more extropians than there are
now? Presumably, the answer is yes. Do you think you teach other persons
the extropian principles and thought by telling them to read books?
Personally, I have a fame of being a good guitarist, do you think that
when someone asks me how to do a A chord, I tell him/her that he/she is
stupid and should go and look for it in a book? Even more time-taking
questions, do you think I just say that people who ask me these
questions are ignorant and shouldn't even deserve to be by my side? Of
course not, I would like more and more persons to learn guitar and since
I love it, I teach anyone who asks me to, within the limits of my
knowledge, even that I have to give the same answer 10, 20, 100, 500
Now, do you think that you spread the extropian movement by sitting
around thinking: - I'm very smart, the others are ignorants and only
when they, by their own means, know as much as I, will I then see them
as my fellows. Honestly, this is how some of you acted when I asked my
questions, if you really want to make the extropian movement (or any
other ideology) grow, you have to teach people it's principles, many
times. Do you think Jesus Christ (no matter your religion, you have to
admit he was good at convincing people) just answered questions by
saying: - Read it in the bible, it will be out in a decade or so.
It's true that the subject I was asking questions about was not directly
an extropian subject but, even so, you (I take this opportunity to say
that when I say "you" I don't mean all of you but a few who certainly
know that this message is directed at them) showed a lack of will to
teach others that won't lead you nowhere in terms of spreading your
Instead of being a small group of which no-one (at least in Portugal)
has ever heard of, and taking 20, 50, 100 or 500 years to develop
nanotech and life extension, if others would support "our" (this is a
"our" between commas because I don't agree with all your principles)
cause this objectives would much soon be achieved.

> Maybe people are glancing over your posts because you have obviously
> glanced over the introductory message to this mailing list. Joao, people
> are not impressed with your posts because you have obviously not read any
> of the suggested material in the introductory message to this mailing
> list. Your post is not uncommon; on the contrary, posts like yours are
> bogging this list, and people are getting a little tired of answering the
> same old questions, over and over. I'm sure you can understand this.

OK, I went over and read the introduction to the mailing list. First, I
read Dawkin's books suggested in the introduction but that was it.
Second, although there are a few suggestions to asking questions about
anything, I found this:
> The Extropian list is not meant to proselytize, to gain converts.

Personally, like I mention above, I completely disagree.

As a conclusion, like I mentioned in my last message, I won't bother you
again about economics or any issues in which I don't have a good
knowledge (great, I'll just write about aging, at least in that subject
I can take on anyone). I would just like to express this last ideas and
I hope that this matter is over (I'm not afraid to argue with anyone, if
you want to continue, just mail me privatly).

Even so, I think I learned much from this past discussion,

         Hasta la vista...

"Life's too short to cry, long enough to try." - Kai Hansen Reason's Triumph at: