Re: Big government (Was: Re: Anthrax addendum.)

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Wed Oct 17 2001 - 08:42:30 MDT

From: "Alex F. Bokov" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 10:14 AM
Subject: Big government (Was: Re: Anthrax addendum.)

> Above all, remember that government is not a fact of life, not a force
> of nature, just another institution that we built, and that we will
> dismantle once it has completely outlived its usefulness.

This statement points to the emergence of big government, and I wonder how
many people think that governments are mere artifacts of human invention,
which can be replaced (by what?). Big government, like metropolitan urban
sprawl, emerges not at the whim nor the will of the people, but rather as a
result of forces that scientists do not yet fully understand. For background
on this, check out the following book, which argues that government (among
other things) emerges extropically (via self-organization and spontaneous

<<A new book sets out a radical theory about urban development,,74-2001350094,00.html
Nobody designs truly great cities. They just spring up. As if by magic, they
develop distinct districts that endure from century to century. Think of the
silk quarter in Florence, or Savile Row in London. A city seems to pulsate
with its own rhythm, as if it is a living, breathing organism.
Steven Johnson would argue that, in some senses, it is. He would say that the
superorganism of the city mirrors the superorganism of the ant colony, in
which a collection of individually stupid insects somehow becomes a
mesmerising, organised whole. Both are examples of emergence, a phenomenon
where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Another commonly
touted example of emergence is consciousness [AKA, self-awareness] which
appears to arise spontaneously from the fact that billions of nerve cells
(neurons) in the brain are firing off signals to each other.
In a new book, called Emergence, Johnson, an American author best known for
arguing that computer graphics are as culturally important as books or films,
aims to coax the topic out of science laboratories and into the mainstream.>>

Self-organization, spontaneous order, and adaptive behavior impel the
evolution of cities, ant colonies, the Internet, and human brains. So, if one
looks closely, one may discern that governments emerge similarly, and that
they could metamorphose into something else again. The ability to ignore or
discard government would entail becoming truly transhuman, it seems to me, and
that is something politicians will oppose mightily. So transhumanism will have
to make politicians extinct. But first we'll need to debunk religiosity, the
most regressive force now operating in society.

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:14 MDT