In a message dated 10/3/1999 10:37:11 AM EST, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< Indeed, as you say, power may magnify and amplify attributes. But from
whence comes corruption, and why should not humans become transhumans in proportion as they transcend the corruptible influence of genetics and carbon-based biology? IOW, genuine transhumanism can mean overcoming the desire for power, or for anything else. The thoroughly extropic demi-god does not eat galaxies out of lust for power, but rather out of need for the power of galaxies to sustain the humble hermitage which contains trillions and trillions of tranquilly creative transhumans.>>
Personally, I believe that the road to posthumanity should be as much about improving my character as improving my abilities. I don't know if corruption lies in only genetics and carbon-based biology, but I do believe that consciously choosing who I will become can lead to a more benevolent me. With increasing power comes increasing responsibility; I have tried to deeply incorporate this meme into my personal meme ecology, and believe that for the sake of the future we all should.
<<The co-worker who becomes a jerk boss always (secretly) wanted to become a
jerk boss. The seed of power-abuse must already reside in the abuser. Power only
provides the opportunity for latent attributes to emerge and grow, it does not
insinuate any value of its own.>>
Depending on the situation, it may also be true that with the increase in power there could be an increase in temptation and oftentimes an increase in stress which might lead one to corruption, so in that way power could influence character. But I do not believe power to only be a force for corruption; for where some stumble and fall, others may rise to the occassion and become more than they once were. A jerky coworker upon becoming the boss may realize that what once were relatively harmless foibles now can truly ruin people's lives, and may decide to straighten up and do better. I suppose we could call this gaining maturity. Coming to understanding of our true power to affect lives and consciously taking responsibility for that power will go a long way to avoiding corruption, as will a realization of the possibilty of our own falibility<sp?>.
<<If you had a window into the mind of a sleeping saint, you'd see the dreams
criminal. Culture does not consist in geography. Algebra works the same in the
East as it does in the West. "Art is Art, water is water, East is East and West is West. And if you take cranberries and stew them up with applesauce they
taste more like prunes than rhubarb does... Now you tell me what _you_ know." --Groucho Marx>>
I certainly agree with that first line. In general, I am considered a good person, but I have had plenty of random thoughts that were completely evil. So what makes me still a good person? I choose to claim the good thoughts as my path, and though I embrace the reality that I am capable of evil, I choose to leave those thoughts behind me.
<<Power cannot corrupt anything, because, as Glen pointed out, it only
what already exists. What does this say about transhumanists who transcend desire? It says that only choicelessly aware transhumanists shall discover the
way to that which abides ineffably. It says that in order to stride amongst the
stars forever, you will return to the place where you began, and know it for the
first time. Only stories have beginnings and endings. Reality has no beginning
and no end. <burp>>>
I do not plan to transcend desire, but rather to refine it. I believe that desire is what gives the universe moral worth. But not all desires are created equal, so I will desire to have good desires, and to gain the power to fulfil the desire to do good. But to do good, one needs to have an ever refined and expanded understanding of reality, so I agree, we will return to the place where we began, and know it truly. But then we will continue, growing ever onward from that base.
This has been "Deep Thoughts," with