Re: Extropian Principles 3.0: Please comment on new version draft

Damien Broderick (
Fri, 11 Sep 1998 13:13:00 +0000

At 02:39 PM 9/10/98 -0700, Max wrote:

Dan Fabulich:
>>good time to raise questions as to whether it should be called Dynamic
>>Optimism or something else.  I happen to prefer Critical Optimism

>"Dynamic" contrasts with "passive".

The memetic or just plain PR value of such terminology needs to be considered very seriously. I prefer Dan's version over `Dynamic', but `Critical', too, has a heavy freight of at-first-sight negative connotations to many people. It's seen (in my bruised experience) as primarily evocative of carping, whiny, pessimistic, bring-down attitudes. (The fact that such a crucial concept as `criticism' or `critique' is received that way is one of the tragedies of our culture, of course, but it's hard to change attitudes when the very labels you approach people with turn them off... if it's possible to find alternatives without giving away grounds of principle.)

To me, `Dynamic' used as part of a slogan or a key item of terminology, outside of physics, is utterly redolant of bogosity and cretin-demographics marketing (sorry, Max, this is me speaking as semiotician, and has nothing to do with content). Spotty uneducated youths once read pulpy magazines advertising acne cures and Charles Atlas `Dynamic Tension' muscle building courses. Washing powders sparkle with `dynamic enzyme action!!!' (or whatever).

I'd seriously counsel a search for some less damaged word. `Critical' is not it, and nothing occurs to me right now - and I'm not an extropian anyway, so I have no right to say anything more definite than I've said already.

Hope these remarks are not taken badly by anyone - they're meant constructively.

Damien Broderick