Re: Arthur C. Clarke on "Human Nature"

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Oct 31 2001 - 13:08:45 MST

On Mon, Oct 29, 2001 at 06:37:47PM -0800, Chen Yixiong, Eric wrote:
> This expresses some of my view on "human nature", but much more forcefully.
> On page 422 & 423 of the book "Greetings, Carbon-based Biceps!", he wrote:
> "At this point, many of my readers would be muttering, "You can't change
> human nature" - as if it exists! Perhaps the only characteristics that
> distinguishes we humans from the other animals is our infinite flexibility
> - and our ability to take for granted changes that once seemed
> inconceivable.

Brings to mind Pico Della Mirandola's grand vision:

At last, the Supreme Maker decreed that this creature, to whom He could
give nothing wholly his own, should have a share in the particular
endowment of every other creature. Taking man, therefore, this creature
of indeterminate image, He set him in the middle of the world and thus
spoke to him:

``We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment
properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever
gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may have and
possess through your own judgement and decision. The nature of all other
creatures is defined and restricted within laws which We have laid down;
you, by contrast, impeded by no such restrictions, may, by your own free
will, to whose custody We have assigned you, trace for yourself the
lineaments of your own nature. I have placed you at the very center of
the world, so that from that vantage point you may with greater ease
glance round about you on all that the world contains. We have made you
a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal,
in order that you may, as the free and proud shaper of your own being,
fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to
descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through
your own decision, to rise again to the superior orders whose life is

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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