Re: Designer Symbiots

Robert Owen (
Sat, 09 Oct 1999 23:03:33 -0400

Ken Clements wrote:

> Dear Extropians,
> It seems to me that we could get started in the process of modifying
> human beings by starting with [ X ].

Being a newcomer, I always look for posts like yours to provide insight into the motivation of members of a movement, and where the group is actually at with reference to the practical application of its Ideology.

> Could we get going this way?

What your statement suggests to me is [1] a feeling of impatience with the groups actual progress; [2] a rather telling admission that so far the group has not discovered any practical way of implementing its program.

As I understand it, Extropianism is a progressive social movement whose primary intention is to produce a qualitatively different "mode" or "type" of intelligent existence. But I do ask myself, as you are apparently also are asking yourself, "how do we get this thing off the ground, and if we ever do, will it fly?" In other words, after translating the ideology into a program, can it really be implemented? Or is the well-intentioned hope for real human progress doomed to die, as all such plans have expired, from excessive idealism?

It's a crucial question to ask now that the "Myth of Progress" has become a pervasive cultural icon: is human progress possible?

"Help me, Oh my Soul, to accept the limits of the possible."

I am certainly NOT attempting to identify Pindar's limits; but I do know that "infinity" is a useful mathematical fiction, rather like zero. They are features of abstract systems of notation, but like /-1 can never exist in the way we do. The boundary situation is there, the hard edge.

Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA