Re: look out! long-haired gun loon!

Kyle L. Webb (
Sun, 14 Dec 1997 18:25:36 -0700 (MST)

Kathryn Aegis:
> Kyle Webb:
> >Geez, lighten up.
> No, thank you.
> My reaction to Anton's posting has more to do with my reasons for
> being on this list rather than the fact that he owns a gun. I'm here
> to work with others to find the new ways in which humans will move
> beyond their present state. I'm looking for the new stories that
> will be told, and the new technologies that will take us there.
> If anyone can explain to me how discussion of instruments designed
> solely for the killing and maiming of other humans relates to the
> purpose of breaking out of entropy and moving human evolution along,
> I will listen.

I have no such arguments, but the vibe that I get on this is very similiar
to a number of people I knew in the L5 Society, and the National Space Society.
Most people were fine, but a small minority got to where they couldn't see
anything about the world around save in the light of "how will this get us
into space". They lost all sense of proportion, would attack anyone they
saw as standing in their way, or even just not actively aiding them.
They ultimately became a hindrance to the very goals they
wanted as they so put off anyone else they came in contact with. In fact,
what they resembled more than anything else, were members of a fundamentalist
religion. I doubt that's the way you really are, but it's how you're coming
off on this thread.
Given some of the other off topic and inane dreck that's been posted to the
list of late (leading to the whole argument about restricting the list or
creating a sublist), this thread is by no means that far out there.
I think what's happening is that we've come across a subject you have very
strong feelings about, and yet you don't feel good about stating your
opposition in terms of restrictions on individuals due to the libertarian
nature of much of the traffic on the list, and so you are retreating into
germaneness as it were, as an argument tactic by other means.

> Until then, I find it sickening, and it frightens me in ways I can't
> explain insofar as our future as posthumans. I mean, what are we
> working towards, anyway?

What I'm working toward is a future that will allow me and those I care about
to have long happy lives with all sorts of wonderful new capabilities and
possibilities. I've given up a lot to go along that road. I gave up a career
in the Army. I've spent years with school debts hanging swordlike over my
head to pursue physics when it's been repeatedly and painfully pointed out
that I could pay them down in just a year or two of sysadmin work.
I've moved away from family and friends to chase this nanotech phantom in the
mist ahead of me. But I have yet to lose my sense of humor, and ability to
laugh at the very goals I strive toward.
The day I do, I'll be less than what I was. This is far too important (and
speculative) to take completely seriously.
Along those lines, I refuse to subordinate what I consider one of the best
parts of my humanity. My ability to feel joy, and to take pleasure in the
joy of others. Anton's post was one you fealt strongly about, so you
threw cold water on his enjoyment, and came off as sounding rather puritan.
Again, I doubt that's the way you really are. The written format of mailing
lists tends to give a much stronger tone to what is said than usually is meant.
I'm sure that a good bit of what I write sounds "ranting and raving" compared
to how I mean it. All the more so, since I frequent some very high flame level
newsgroups. If I come across as denigrating you or your feelings, my
apologies. But just like you are sensitive to the gun debate, this excessive
seriousness is an area that I'm a bit sensitive to.

Kyle L. Webb Dept. of Physics + Astronomy University of New Mexico