Re: the benefits of ExI membership

From: John M Grigg (
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 23:11:19 MDT

I am fascinated by the thread which Ian sparked regarding not getting sufficient "bang for his buck" when paying for a membership. I can understand his frustration but as many have pointed out, this is all about furthering a unique cause to change the world for the better.

Ian wrote:
There are probably those on this list who consider joining the ExI. I
would therefore like to warn them: since you get nothing for your money if you send it to the ExI, you might as well flush it down the toilet. I am certain that you can use that money better...

I have considered joining but have not due to a low salary and numerous bills. Though I could simply not buy one computer game and have almost enough to get a membership. Also, my religious background makes me nervous about joining even though to my knowledge Max would not force me to take an oath of allegiance to the extropian principles with my hand on Sagan's book, The Demon-haunted World. lol!

Ian continues:
Hence, if you are thinking of applying for membership and sending
money to ExI, DON'T DO IT!. Treat yourself to something nice for that money instead. You won't receive anything at all for your money if you send it to the ExI.

Ok, I will go out and buy the new computer game I've been eyeing for a long time now! :) wrote:
Coffee Mugs and T-Shirts damnit!

Exactly! Those folks at PBS sure know how to do a fundraising! They bribe everyone with increasingly cool knickknacks as the donation goes up. Even the Foresight Institute follows their example... An ExI online giftshop with mugs, t-shirts, etc. for sale could possibly raise some decent money. We must get college folk to think it is reactionary to buy it and wear it.... ;)

Greg wrote
Max hasn't received any salary from ExI in a LONG time - certainly since well before you sent in a membership fee. I assure you that Max hasn't made ANY money from Extropy Institute that's worth considering at all.

And to think some people have accused Max of being a cult leader! If he were one his peers would judge him an utter failure! Making little or no money from his organization! And he teaches us how to think critically when confronted with memes!

Considering his athletically cerebral look, high intelligence, wonderful mate and european accent, Max could have really started a cult/secret society that demanded thousands from members to join even the lowest echelon. L. Ron Hubbard would have been envious... The harder it is to join something the more people want in.

Max and Natasha would right now have their own fleet of aircraft, several mansions and an army of servants. They could fund the ExI and any other thing their hearts desired to a grand sum. But dang, they just had to be honorable people! :)

Brent Allsop wrote
I had a similar experience. But instead of complaining like
this, I realized that there simply wasn't enough people working for
this good cause and pursued and tried to find ways which I could help. I finally was persistent enough to get involved and have become the exi web administrator.

Brent actually dares say we should all get involved?? Simply outrageous!! Seriously, Brent is a good example to us all.

Ian wrote:
You may be right for all I know. After all, I joined the ExI primarily because I agree with just about everything it stands for. Unfortunately, I doubt that the ExI will make much of a difference over here in the foreseeable future, and I am very poor. Hence, I will be shallow and materialistic enough to draw the conclusion that if the satisfaction of knowing that I support the forces of good is really all that you get out of an ExI membership, it is not for me. If I were rich I might consider it, but as it is, yes, I do like to get a least something back for my money.

I sort of know where you are coming from. I too am very poor. It would be nice if besides an email greeting and regular newsletter, a new member got an actual "welcome package" in the mail(just a greeting in magazine format and perhaps an audio or videotape from ExI officers) which would show concern for the new member. I know this would cost something but is a nice "real world" touch.

An official ExI decoder ring would also be cool! :) With a new encrypted message in each days extro list!

Ian wrote:
It is hard to feel any community spirit with an
organization that doesn't seem to care about its members, and which doesn't communicate with you, in fact doesn't even reply to your messages.

I feel a ton of community spirit... from the extro list! And I have found ExI officers to be great about answering my emails. They are bright and caring people who just happen to be really damn busy with their professional lives.

Ian wrote
I would like to believe that a membership in for instance the NSS and the Artemis Society also helps support something good and worthwhile. Apart from the warm and fuzzy feeling this knowledge imparts, the benefits of a membership in these organizations also include magazines and access to members-only mailing lists (no coffee mugs or T-shirts). Occasionally, they also send you interesting news via email. Best of all, however, they do all this without you having to send them email messages until you are blue in the face, begging them to do it.

>From what I have read by Max and Shawn, corrections will be made so new members will feel very welcome.

Ian wrote:
Let's say that I don't possess any skills whatsoever which could add value. Does that mean that I am not welcome as a member? In that case it would probably be a good idea to write that at the Extropy site as well.

I'm not exactly a ebusiness tycoon or programming whiz myself. lol I believe we each have something unique to contribute to ExI.

Ian wrote
> It is hard to feel any community spirit with an organization that
> doesn't seem to care about its members, and which doesn't
> communicate with you, in fact doesn't even reply to your messages.

Brent Allsop wrote:
This is yet another very good point. I've struggle with this
issue myself. Every week we have many many people wanting to sign up
for the free membership. I bet most, if not all of them feel ignored
like Ian. With some good "fellowshipping" I bet we could make people
like Ian, myself, and everyone feel much more welcome and wanted. How
can we set up a system that, in an extropian way, promotes and
supports this kind of stuff?

Brent brings up a good point here. I think what little attention goes out is given to those who go for the memberships requiring money. A welcome and even a limited newsletter should be sent to them. I have an electronic membership to Foresight and they do this. ExI could learn from them.

Eli wrote:
Also, I must say that I also felt a little ignored when I sent in my $55. A quarterly newsletter delivered via email would go a long way to ameliorate the feeling-ignored factor. And can I renew my voice in the long-standing chorus asking for an Extropian search service? It'd be nice to know if there are any other Extropians here in Atlanta.

E. Shawn Russell wrote:
All the things you mention are currently projects in progress for Extropy Institute. We are admittedly in the process of reorganizing the way we do things on both an operational and organizational level. Anyone who is currently an ExI member, or has been in the past two years, has received a lengthy members' letter informing him/her of these updates to Extropy Institute. (If you fit the above criteria and haven't yet received a letter, it is likely because we don't have a current e-mail address for you...please send it to me in a private e-mail).

It sounds like E. Shawn Russell is the man for the job here! Best of luck to you Shawn!

Max More wrote:
We are in the process of revamping our administration. Those of you who recently received the members' email update (the first in a while) will have heard about some of the projects we have in the works. Not only is E. Shaun doing a tremendous job of taking over membership administration (that's partly why you're now receiving updates), but I recently brought together a group of extropian activists and we're involved in organizational discussions. We are defining quite a few projects and organizing to make them happen. Members and non-members will receive more frequent emailings from us. Volunteers look set to upgrade the web site. Our supportive friends are working on creating a members' database and several other projects that you will be hearing about in the emailings. We're also planning a major gathering, but it will take a few months.

I believe we are moving into a tremendously exciting time. Many people are joining in with me to move Extropy Institute into a new era of activity--one that does not depend so much on me, on any one person or tiny group of persons.

As I read Max's words here I really felt excitement. ExI seems to be turning into an organization which will be even more involving for the membership. I look forward to seeing the upcoming projects come to fruition.

I am two-thirds finished with the novel, "The Cassini Division." It is to my mind one of the best works of science fiction I have ever read. Ken McLeod as a great imagination and way of examining future technological and social possibilities.

I would like to think The Extropian Institute could help head off the sort of conflict shown in this novel rather then being an instigator of it. The novel made me keenly feel the dark possibilities down the road and has seriously disturbed me.

As I read it I got the strange feeling the author was getting some of his inspiration for the outworlders from readings about ExI and it's membership. Did Max inadvertantly make a cameo in the novel as the muscular outworlder who in the zero gee lotus position argued with the main character about their differing views on humanity? Did Ken McLeod see Future Fantastic and get his inspiration from the Max and Natasha interview? I wonder...

Anyway, I am very happy about what is happening now at ExI. I know I need to pay for a membership to give the proper support. Should I be able to afford attending Extro 5 then you can all be sure I will be joining up(or not get through the door)! I give my best wishes to everyone involved.




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