In a message dated Tue, 14 Nov 2000 11:54:19 PM Eastern Standard Time, Nicq
MacDonald <email@example.com> writes:
<< > The future of science and technology are not mystical, not magick, not>
>>Arthur C. Clarke would disagree with that statement...<<
Where? If it's the line (to paraphrase)about a sufficiently advanced
technology being indistinguishable from science -- you should tried reading
it more closely. A more primitive civilization would mistake the advanced
technology for magic, just like a Bronze Age warrior would think a gun is
magic. For the wielders of said technology, it wouldn't be -- they would know
exactly how and why it works. The future is mysterious to us because we
haven't see it yet.
>>Anyway, since when is our destiny of a mundane nature? This notion has
only been commonly believed for a very short duration of humanity's existence-
I'd also argue that this notion is purely transitionary, a kind of collective
"dark night of the soul" (as a mystic would put it) before our initiation
into the Transhuman existence...<<
During that "short duration," more human progress has been achieved than in
all of previous human history. Apparently, this "dark night" really produces
results! I fervently pray (to a non-existent God) that this never ends.
Before we started stripping the world from its mystical-religious trappings,
we lived huddled in the dark, utterly helpless before the forces of nature.
> A transhuman is not supernatural.
>>We don't know this. I, for one, think that it must be... if this wasn't
the case, we would certainly be awash in signals from alien civilizations and
others that still live tied to their mundane existence, eternally expanding,
conquering, warring... remember, there were numerous second-generation stars
that matured billions of years before our own Sun, and odds are that in a
self-organizing universe many intelligent races could have developed and
eventually reached their own singularity, in which, through technological
means, they advanced to a state that is beyond our comprehension, and could
only be seen as divine. The only way we could even hope to perceive aslight
bit of the nature of such beings is through mystical means. Even the
ever hard-nosed Carl Sagan proposed something to this effect in "Contact",
when he mentioned the idea of a species that had reached a state beyond our
imagination designing patterns in the physical universe that could only be
read through mathematical codes... maybe the Kabbalists are on to
Please. The only way for us to get to understand such a species is for us to
*raise ourselves to that level.* If we have to approach them (assuming the
exist) as ignorant, trembling supplicants, we deserve whatever we get. When
Commodore Perry sailed into Japan with a mighty warship, the Japanese could
have just fallen to their knees and worshipped him. Instead, in a few
generations they had warships of their own. Mystics simply believe their
powers of reasoning are incapable of understanding the universe, and that
only some esoteric means will do it. So far, science keeps kicking them out
of more and more realms of nature, as our observation tools and methods, and
our understanding of the universe, continues to grow. The track record of the
mystics and religionists, to put it kindly, sucks. None of their predictions
has ever come true.
> Capital 'P' Powers are not amazing or incredible, they are merely currently
If they're inscrutable, they very well could be amazing and incredible. You
don't know this- nor do I.<<
Having, in the past, found that events and phenomena that were previously
inscrutable (how did the sun burn, for example) have been logically and
falsifiably explained, one can logically infer that what is now inscrutable
will also, eventually, be logically and falsifiably explained. To believe
otherwise is to deny four centuries of human progress. Now, it is possible
that at some point we might run into a wall that science and reason cannot
knock down -- but if one must have faith in something, I thing faith in
science and reason is more sensible -- they have delivered a great deal more
than the alternatives.
> Mystics read fantasy, extropians read science fiction.
> Get it?
I read both. My favorite genera, in fact, is Science Fantasy- Star Wars,
Shadowrun, the more recent Final Fantasy games, and several of my own strange
Fantasy, in other words. Star Wars is a particular villain of that stripe
(nothing wrong with it for entertainment purposes, although I love the
deconstructionist articles David Brin wrote about it).
>>I'm one of those strange people who sees no contradiction between being
mystical and being scientific (and I don't even need some arcane
interpretation of quantum physics or feel the need to bend the rules of
probability to back me up).
Human beings have the amazing ability of believing dozens of contradictory
things at the same time, and yet remain functionally sane (in fact, that
might be a defining aspect of human intelligence -- AI designers take note).
Doesn't make them right.
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