Since one of the "hallmarks" of an Extropian perspective is the promotion of conclusions reached from a rational analysis, it is interesting to note those cases where they is a lack thereof.
I have traveled, somewhat more than perhaps many individuals, and as a result have had an opportunity to observe first hand the differences in many cultures. Interesting observations involving the areas in which cultures differ might include civility, politeness, fear or attraction to strangers, organized religious systems, educational level, richness of history, mystic beliefs, as well as the more obvious such as average and range of wealth within a culture. Cultures differ significantly in these areas and for the most part we ("Westerners/Anglo-Euros") on this list are grossly unaware of these differences.
When doing some of the background research on the recent nuclear weapons discussion I ran across the following:
I don't consider it a particularly well written discussion but it seems to cover much of the recent and historical action between Iran & Iraq, touching upon the history of the oil industry and commenting on population growth and military perspectives. It includes some interesting pointers to more significant sources. Interestingly enough, the article would appear to make some of Saddam's behaviors seem "rational".
The food for thought that I would like individuals to
consider is the degree to which non-rational thought
(i.e. programmed beliefs) is promoted in countries
with a strong religious agenda. If the article is correct, these countries have both (a) the economic resources; and (b) the potential for population growth to provide an ever increasing threat to the expansion of rational philosophical systems.
Whether or not these potential threats will materialize in very concrete forms before the singularity is very difficult to say. It is however something that we should beware of -- for it is potentially much more significant threat to our timeline than crops being uprooted or debates regarding germline engineering or the neverending "l"ibertarian vs. "L"ibertarian discussions.