Re: Rationalism [was: Re: RANT]

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Fri Nov 17 2000 - 02:59:23 MST

Max More wrote:
> At 12:55 PM 11/16/00, you wrote:
> > > > Rationalism is a dogma in of itself.
> > >
> > > No, its a process.
> >
> >Every read "The Ayn Rand Cult"?
> You're making a mistake if you identify all of rationalism with the
> practice of *some* of the followers of Ayn Rand (generally the devotees of
> the official Randians rather than the more open-system Kelly-style
> Objectivists). I agree that there are plenty of irrational rationalists. I
> see people preaching reason while being dogmatic and utterly blind to their
> own rationalizations and narrow perspectives. But that's certainly not true
> of all Objectivists, and certainly not true of all rationalists.

I forget the ifs ands and buts of it but Objectivism is not a form of
rationalism philosophically IIRC.

> Ayn Rand did not invent rationalism. Rejecting rationalism as a dogma
> because of your views on Ayn Rand and some of her followers is unfair. Even
> hear of Karl Popper? Or David Hume? Or [insert one of hundreds of other
> rationalists here]?

Popper and Hume made even worse mistakes. Rand did not do at all badly
in many respects. This little mealy mouth creature who calls himself
her "heir" is another matter entirely.
> >Ascending paradigms are those which revolve around spirit and deny matter-
> >descending paradigms are those which revolve around matter and reject
> >spirit. I'm borrowing this from Ken Wilber.

Ken WIlber made some very interesting assertions and laid some
interesting theories here and there but he didn't go very far beyond
that. And there are gaping holes in his writings that were badly
glossed over. Matter vs. Spirit is another silly dichotomy. As Gilder
(who now and then says something quite good) pointed out quite some time
ago, you could see the transformation of our society to center on
information and the continual miniturization of the means of doing work
(micro->nano) and, with nanotech, everything being controlled by
consciousness right down to individual molecules and atoms - all of this
can be seen as very much (if you will) a "spiritualization" of matter.
This has led me to the modern aphorism:

        "The ultimate spiritualization of Matter IS the ultimate
materialization of Spirit."

Think about it. It is a quite interesting point of unification along
two major lines of human striving to transcend their limitations.

> That's a useless distinction then. If you see no reason to believe in the
> existence of "spirit" (in a supernatural sense) then the distinction cannot
> even be made. Most extropians do not believe in spirits, though they may be
> quite spiritual in the sense of having ideals, lofty goals, and a strong
> sense of meaning and purpose. Our views do not revolve around matter but
> around values and goals. (We inhabit material bodies but that doesn't mean
> our paradigm revolves around matter. It actually revolves around much
> higher-level abstractions.) Wilbur's distinction just cannot be made to
> apply to such views. It's like trying to fit most of our political views
> onto the silly one-dimensional left-right spectrum.

Substitute transcendent consciousnes (transcendent of current
limitations continuously) for spirit if you will. Then tell me being
extropian is not profoundly spiritual. It is the ultimate triumph of
spirit (consciousness) over limitations (all the way to the maximum
tinkering in the works that may someday be possible. all the way to
Omega Point perhaps).

- samantha

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