QUOTE: Bey on extropians

Steve Witham (sw@truesoft.com)
Sun, 2 Nov 1997 20:37:40 -0500

Here are 2 quotes from essay called "Primitives and Extropians",
found at http://www.elnet.com/~lrobin/frames/bey/primitiv.htm
by Hakim Bey, author of The Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ).

"reprinted from Anarchy: a journal of desire armed #42, Fall 1995."

Even when Bey paints us as an extended Jetsons family falling into
Cogswellian traps, I like how he paints. Anyway, the quotes:

By contrast, the anarcho-extropian or futurians are also forced to
reify the eschaton--since the present is obviously not the utopia of
techne' they envision--by placing perfection in a future where
symbolic mediation has abolished hierarchy, rather than in a past
where such mediation has not yet appeared (the ideal Palaeolithic of
the primitivists). Obviously for the extropians, mediation per se
cannot be defined as "impurity" or as the invariable source of
separation, alienation, and hierarchy. Nevertheless, it remains
obvious that such separation does in fact occur, that it amounts to
immiseration, that not all technology is "liberating" according to
any anarchist definition of the term, and that some of it is
downright oppressive. The extropian therefore lacks and needs a
critique of technology, and of the incredibly complex relation
between the social and the technical. ...


I must admit that my own taste inclines neither toward Wilderness
World nor Spaceship Earth as exclusive categories. I actually spend
far more time defending wildness than "civilization," because it is
far more threatened. I yearn for the reappearance of Nature out of
Culture--but not for the eradication of all symbolic mediation. The
word "choice" has been so devalued lately. Let's say I'd prefer a
world of indeterminacy, of rich ambiguity, of complex impurities. My
critics, apparently, do not. I find much to admire and desire in
both their models, but can't for even a moment believe in them as
totalities. Their future or eschatology bores me, unless I can mix
it into the stew of the TAZ--or use it to magic the TAZ into active
existence--to tease the TAZ into action. The TAZ is "broad-minded"
enough to entertain more than two, or even six, impossible ideas
"before breakfast." ...