UPL: The myth of we

Technotranscendence (neptune@mars.superlink.net)
Fri, 3 Dec 1999 17:29:54 -0800

On Friday, December 03, 1999 11:21 AM Robert J. Bradbury bradbury@www.aeiveos.com wrote:
> The problem here that I foresee is that we (as humans) presumably have
> a fairly strong built in respect for other humans (even those we
> consider enemies).

The fact that is has taken pretty strong social conditioning and strict laws to prevent war crimes, mass killings, and the like and also that humans seem to revert to disrespecting other humans whenever they get the chance (recent examples include Cambodia, Turkish treatment of the Kurds, the Sudanese civil war, Rwanda, Zaire/Congo). I wish I could agree with Robert here, but the evidence seems to weigh in the other direction.

And, of course, the 20th century might seem unique in the numbers of people killed, but I think that is mostly due to two things. One is that the technology has gotten better. It's much easier to get around and kill than ever before. The other is the currency of utopian ideologies, such as Communism and Fascism. Utopianism has existed before, though, I believe, this century is the century when it came full flower.

> I don't think this perspective is built in
> by default for other species. If we start uplifting many species,
> we may find ourselves answering a lot of questions about why we ate,
> simply murdered (for sport), or simply destroyed the habitats of so
> many of "their kind".

Hey, who is this "we" here? I'm a vegetarian and I don't recall chopping down any rain forests of late.:)

> I don't think the answer "that we didn't know any better" is
> going to satisfy those individuals. And they may not have the
> "mutual respect" programming that we have that helps prevent
> us (most of the time) from taking out our anger on frustration
> on a particular class of other humans.

See above on the mutual respect issue. Even if this is the case, what Robert is putting forth is that member of an uplifted species might seek revenge on humans, all humans. The answer to this would quite simply be to neutralize those who would do this. When humans become a clear threat to other humans, we should not scratch our heads over moral issues, but take steps to prevent them from being a clear threat.

Of course, any existing thing can be a threat, but I think you all know what I mean here. The uplifted octopus that decides to war on humanity is probably going to get restrained or killed long before he or she can have much of an impact.

I tend to think, too, that an uplifted species will make those few humans who are civilized more so and might even help to civilize the rest, since it will make human differences seem so much less important. Also, I think the positives will outweigh the negatives. An uplifted species whose members proved to be a continual threat to humans would most likely be wiped out long before Robert and I figure out the moral issues involved. That's just how humans are.

> I'll be happy watching (from a distance) one of the other list
> members explain to an uplifted (uncaged) gorilla why it is we
> keep so many individuals who look like him locked up in zoos...

So will I.:) But again, I have yet to cage any gorillas. Som until I do, I feel no guilt over what other humans have done. And if a gorilla wanted to visit the sins of others on me, it better hope it kills me first. I have no qualms about killing in self-defense.


Daniel Ust