Re: The image of transhumanism

den Otter (
Sun, 05 Jul 1998 23:51:39 +0200

Dan Clemmensen wrote:
> den Otter wrote:
> >
> > ==============
> >
> > Some key points are:
> > --Image may be important, but ultimately what counts is survival
> > and flourishing. The actual goals should not be compromised too
> > much for PR reasons (this reminds me of the story of the three pigs
> > and the big bad wolf; pigs one and two don't take the Coming of the
> > Wolf (Singularity/Y2K/WW3 etc) too seriously, and make their houses
> > of bad materials. The wise survivalist pig takes a lot more trouble
> > to build a solid house, and doesn't give in to peer pressure from
> > the other pigs, that scoff at his work. Of course we all know what
> > happens afterwards... ;-)
> >
> The story has always been badly misinterpreted. If the first two
> pigs had been effective in turning away the wolf, the third pig
> would not have had time to complete his house and the wolf
> would have plucked him kicking and screaming from his half-built
> house.

Actually, because the houses of pigs one and two were so flimsy, that the wolf lost hardly any time dealing with them. More importantly, the wise no. 3 pig had planned well in advance, and had his house ready on schedule, well before the wolf's campaign.

> To stretch analogy far past its breaking point, we really need
> society as a whole to keep on about its business while the
> futurists work out how to make the transition to the posthuman
> condition. In return for the service of maintaining society,
> the futurists should try to help the remainder of humanity to
> make the transition, not scoff at them as a bunch of clueless losers.

"The rest of society" isn't doing their "service" for *us*, just like plants don't produce oxigen for our sake. Progress is a byproduct of individuals' self-interest. Most people on this list already contribute (more than) their fair share to society (either actively through their work, or passively by consuming and paying taxes etc.), so we don't "owe" sociey any more than anyone else. Most of us are already spreading the meme whenever we can. It's out there. People can either adopt or reject it, but that's *their* responsibility, not ours. And yes, rejecting a meme that could considerably improve your condition *is* stupid.

Besides, the influence of the futurist isn't *that* big. Society will either destroy itself or succeed with or without their help, it's beyond any person's or (small) group's control.

So, instead of worrying about society/humanity, we'd better worry about our own condition first; that's where you can make the *real* difference.