Re: Extropians Mailing List - Approval Procedure

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Tue Nov 07 2000 - 16:41:47 MST


In support of the recent admin policy to approve non-ExI members to
the email list discussions, I would like to point out that the
extropians mailing list is property of the Extropy Institute, and
therefore the Institute has every right to administrate the mailing
list as they wish.

In addition,

I see the approval procedure as a healthy experiment. Max and the
Extropy Institute created an environment to express and support
his/their views, to express and support others who have some
overlapping views, and in this mailing list environment that they
have created, they hope to have a constructive and lively exchange
of opinions.

When a person creates something of value, the best thing that they
can do, if they want that thing to be healthy and to grow, is to act
towards that goal. Not acting to place structure or boundaries
around the thing that one cherishes, in my opinion, shows that one
doesn't care very much. And if events over time show the Extropy
Board that their particular "structure" has negative consequences
and doesn't work in the way that they had hoped, at least then they
have some new information of something that they tried that didn't
work, and they can employ a different strategy to nurture the list

Max and the Extropy Board are employing on a larger scale, procedures
that I think are valuable on many scales, especially on small-scale
person-to-person interactions. Extropian person-to-person
interactions have a lot of room for improvement. Sometimes I think
that the technical savvy of many extropians is gained at the expense
of inexperience in the social realm and I encourage many here to
take some courses or study (and practice) from books on the topics
of "interpersonal communication" and/or "assertiveness", and/or
"ways of handling fear anger, and guilt" (just to name a few

Consider this: As extropian-types push their personal potential to
be bigger and better than they are, they will come into contact with
more varied cultures, more varied ages, more varied genders, and
generally more varied people. Therefore, it's more important than
ever to know yourself, know your value-system, express yourself
clearly, know how to ask for what you want, and take responsibility
for your actions. These skills guide a person in being true to
themselves and therefore to act as one with a solid core instead of
acting as a leaf blowing in the wind.

We all know that even when we have created and worked through our
own value system, that then expressing and acting on our own values
can be difficult. That's where the "boundary", "personal rules",
etc. are helpful. Personal boundaries do not create alienation, they
safeguard those products of ourselves for contiguity. The
"container" aound our "offerings" -- whether the offering is a free
email list, a committment to a long friendship, a home for a stray
animal, giving reading lessons to a neighborhood kid, the big task
of raising one's own children to adulthood, or giving one's love to
another human being -- provides a sacred environment for the
offering to be cared for appropriately and to grow.

For me, the more precious is the thing that I'm offering, the more
care and thought that I give to the container (environment) that I
create to help that seed of myself grow. To give up the container
would be like abandoning the thing that I held dear, and it would
not honor the part of myself that created it. No self-respecting
person would readily abandon something that is precious to them.

Here's some tips about boundaries that I found in _Letting the Light
Through_ by D. Richo:

1. Ask directly for what you want. This declares your identity to
others and to yourself.

2. Foster good parenting to yourself, so that you can build an inner
intuitive sense that quickly lets you know when a situation (for
ex., a relationship) is hurtful, abusive, or invasive.

3. Observe others' behavior toward you, safely, without getting
caught in their drama. That way you can decide uninfluenced by
another's seductive or aggressive actions.

4. Maintain a bottom line: a limit to how many times you allow
someone to say no, lie, disappoint, or betray you before you
seriously act on the situation.

5. Change the locus of trust from others to yourself: i.e. you let
go of expecting security, and trust yourself.

Many people are expert at influencing guilt feelings in another
person, and we can also be expert at making ourselves feel guilty. Here
are some thoughts about that (I found this in the same booklet as

a) we have every right to ask for what what we want
b) we have a duty to ourselves to provide emotional and physical
safety. No one has the right to hurt you, even if he/she loves you.
c) there is nothing wrong with making mistakes or changing one's mind.
d) It is up to us, individually, to decide when and whether or not
we are each responsible for taking care of another's needs
e) we can say "no" or "maybe" without pressure in accordance with
someone else's timing
f) we can be illogical, if that's what we want to use for making decisions
g) we can have secrets, and decide how much of ourselves or our
lives to reveal
g) we can explain our choices, or not (i.e. we don't have to
describe or defend if we wish to say "no, I don't want to"
h) we can act non-assertively, and in some cases, that is appropriate too

So, I suggest stepping back, and seeing a larger picture about what the
ExI board is trying to do with the email list, and perhaps that will
temper some of the knee-jerk reactions that I've seen.


(now back in Germany)

Amara Graps email:
Computational Physics vita: finger
Multiplex Answers URL:
"Sometimes I think I understand everything. Then I regain
consciousness." --Ashleigh Brilliant

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