Re: The Future and Nihilism (was Re: >H RE: Present dangers to transhumanism)

J. R. Molloy (
Sat, 4 Sep 1999 12:43:20 -0700

Robert J. Bradbury wrote,
>Justified in what sense? If we reject the idea that we are here
>to survive & reproduce, it seems perfectly *self*-justified to
>say I am here to have fun. Taking a different viewpoint --
>"I am here to contribute to my fellow [trans]human" seems
>much more difficult for me to justfy (to myself).

"We're here to help others.
What the others are here for, no one knows." --Brock L. Lee

>You're in over my head here, since I've yet to read either of them
>(though Russell is in the library), I'd have to defer to Max.
>My philosophy pursuits always seem to get side-tracked pending
>other nearer term stuff. I suspect I'll end up doing the cram
>course the week before I'm scheduled to upload, then just
>as I'm about to step into the transfer chamber, it will hit
>me -- "Oh no, this process is pointless too!"

Logically, existence cannot have a purpose, because teleology assumes an entity external to the goal meta-system under consideration. IOW, all of existence must define for itself the categories of its own teleology, since existence includes all that exists. The concept of "meaning" makes sense only to the separate agents who define it (for themselves or others). People who object to circular definitions in cosmology fail to appreciate that all language systems define thier semiotic terms with other terms.

>> > If you are talking about something that would
>> > violate the laws of entropy I would have to
>> > disagree.
>> Why?
>The simplest answer is that if I disavow some basic laws of physics
>John Clark will have my head on a silver platter. A more complex
>answer is because a big chunk of what I've been researching the
>last two years (what are the limits to computing [intelligence])
>rests on the idea that you can't violate entropy. So I've got
>a vested interest in SIs having limits. I would probably believe
>that SIs have a better chance of tunneling out of this universe than
>violating the laws of entropy. Finally, on the slippery slope
>from classical physics to magical physics, I find it satisfying
>to draw a line that says -- "This is as far as I go buddy"
>(said with a John Wayne accent).

Complex adaptive (extropic) systems don't necessarily need to violate entropy. Rather, they feed off it. The process of entropy can eventuate in the complexity of chaos, which provides intelligence with more intricate patterns in which to organize itself and so to manipulate the environment more powerfully. Without entropy, the multiverse becomes static, dead, changeless. Entropy supplies the raw material, so to speak, for life to ride to higher levels of complexity.

I think Transhumanists become their own worst enemies in proportion as they fail to transcend philosophy to embrace science, especially the science of subjectivity.

        .--,       .--,
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"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." --Albert Einstein