Re: Being more with less (Was: the waves of immigration)

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Fri Oct 19 2001 - 14:27:56 MDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert J. Bradbury" <>
> I think democratic societies, particularly those where we increase
> the communication bandwidth between individuals (so I know what you
> know and you know what I know, without years of debates) may approach
> what Anders desires -- because it seems that it will become increasingly
> recognized that it will be the optimal solution for "being more with
> less". I also think that in such societies force will not be necessary
> to achieve the optimal results. If I decide to remain at the butterfly
> level and Anders decides live at the Aristoi level, then as a rational
> butterfly, I would happily turn my matter and energy over to Anders
> for better extropic uses.
<Big Snip>

> I think this may bring some closure (at least from my perspective)
> to the differing views related to "Extropian morality".
Looks like you are fairly easy to satisfy. ;) How exactly do you understand
the locution 'better extropic use'? Surely the metaphorical contrast with
entropy cannot be taken literally and applied across the board. Are we
supposed to rank the worth of everything in the universe according to the
second law of thermodynamics or in an information theoretic sense a la
Shannon and Bell? Are we always to prefer the more complex piece of music to
the simpler? The more complex work of art to the simpler? The more complex
scientific theory to the simpler? Should we choose to upload a James Joyce
type brain stuffed with the minutiae of everyday life as opposed to
Einstein's just because the former takes more bits to upload? I think we
need to talk about quality here as opposed to merely quantity. But of course
this is to move beyond the metaphor suggested by entropy.
    A tradition that takes serious the quality issue is that of
perfectionism--from Aristotle to Nietzsche. This tradition says that we
ought to rank as better those individuals that best develop their natures or
best embody the standards of some worthwhile activity. Aristotle says that
the best humans are those that developed their rationality to the highest
degree, because rationality is what makes us human. Nietzsche says that the
best humans are those that demonstrate the greatest development of the will
to power. The Rawlian formulation (roughly) is that the best scientists are
those that best develop science according to the standards of excellence of
science. It may be that the negentropy and perfectionist's view are
extensionally equivalent, in which case a healthy pragmatism will allow us
to divide through on the difference here. But I doubt it. Mark

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