Re: When was the last time an extropian post changed your life?

Max More (
Mon, 01 Dec 1997 22:01:45 -0800

At 01:52 PM 12/1/97 -0500, Keith Elis wrote:
>The current discontent over the membership proposal may be a sign that most
>people's interest is in the broad transhuman philosophy, and not
specifically in

I see no sign that suggests that to be the case. The discontent expressed
by a few seems to be a mixture of concern among the less well off that they
can afford the new member rate (a concern that can be relieved for those
willing to contribute in other ways), and annoyance by some that ExI wants
to make our email list a member benefit (with regard to posting) rather
than keeping posting privileges open to those who don't support the Institute.

Admittedly, I've been putting off a student membership for several
>months now.

Well, that turned out to be a good move, Keith, since the student rate is
down to $30. Having been a student for many years myself, I appreciate the
financial contraints, and so wish to accommodate students both with a lower
membership rate, and also by allowing students to register for the
conference at half the regular rate.

But one thing is becoming clearer to me: whether or not I agree with
>everything ExI has stated in the Extropian Principles, there is no other
>transhumanist organization as firmly established as ExI, and doing the
amount of
>work ExI seems to be doing (CM if I'm W -- Aleph?). Even though some
aspects of
>spontaneous order suggest a broad politic that I'm not ready to accept, I
see no
>need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

The Justice Department has recently been using the idea of network
economies to justify prosecuting Microsoft. The bigger the network, the
larger the internal benefits. The fact that (small as we are) ExI is the
largest and most active transhumanist organization does give reason for
those sympathetic to its goals to get on board. The more of us there are
together, the more we can accomplish and the better the network functions.
If people hold off joining because they don't want to join organizations
(however that feeling is motivated) then we will have a hard time reaching
a size able to make real changes.

>Given that I have no time/motivation to start an organization on my own, a
>membership in ExI will accomplish a few things for me.
>1. It will give me a concrete hand in the promotion of transhumanism.
>2. It will (now) allow me participation in a list that I *already* look
forward to
>sifting through everyday.
>3. It will allow me to debate the Extropian principles with a little more

Yes, these are perhaps less tangible benefits that discounts on
conferences, etc., yet no less real. Obviously some of these factors will
be more valuable to some, less so to others. Some of us find it important
to support the development and dissemination of these ideas, recognizing
that not only are they beneficial to other people (the Benevolence Motive)
but they also improve one's own chances of long-term survival and
transformation (the Self-Interest Motive).

>Purchasing a membership in ExI does not mean:
>1. I think ExI is the final word on transhumanism.
>2. I am a libertarian, or
>3. I will be a member next year.

Well said, Keith. (1) You can be a member of ExI AND other transhumanist
organizations, and you can not be completely sure about all the principles.
(2) Being libertarian -- as I said a few times lately - is NOT a
requirement of ExI membership, nor of being "extropian". Extropians do have
a general appreciation of the role of spontaneous order and affirm
self-ownership, but the precise economic and political implementation of
those ideas is up to the individual extropian to decide. (See Extropy
Online in about two weeks for my essay on Self-Ownership.)

>In short, there is work to be done, and ExI is shouldering a good part of the
>load. I think we all need to decide why we don't want to join, and work those
>things out for ourselves. Some may think they don't know enough about the
>organization. Hey, that's what this list is for. Ask some questions, ask

Yes! Please do ask, and please do comment on what you would like to see ExI
doing (and how we can make it happen with our resources or by expanding our

>I, too, am very careful about my affiliations and their impact on my
career. There's
>nothing wrong with that. But, if you're a transhumanist, and you think that
>transhumanism needs to pick up some steam, then a contribution to some
>organization seems like a good next step. Some people, like Broderick, are
>doing their share by themselves, and we need more and more people like
that, too.
>Living in the States, and given that I don't have the expertise to write _The
>Spike_ or something similar at this point, I think ExI could use my help.

We certainly could use your help. Thanks, Keith for your constructive message.



Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute:,