Re: The Extropian Principles

Ben Goertzel (
Sat, 27 Jul 1996 22:24:34 +0800

Extropianism is certainly an interesting philosophy, and I sympathize
strongly with most aspects of it -- this is why I subscribed to
the mailing list.

But I don't get the conceptual connection of Libertarianism with
futuristic technology, complexity theory & spontaneous organization.

After all, is the State itself not a "spontaneous organization? --
a self-organized structure. The State was not exactly set in place
from the outside, now was it -- it EMERGED, just like thought patterns
in a neural network, just like hexagonal rolls in a Benard cell,
etc. etc.

My belief is that while current government structures are in many ways
too restrictive, libertarianism would ALSO lead to an overly restrictive
system. Free markets don't seem to stay "free" -- they seem to drift
into attractors consisting of MONOPOLIES or OLIGOPOLIES. Look at the
software market, which is a free market, but is dominated by MicroSoft
to everyone's detriment. What is needed is some kind of "institutionalization
of experimentation" -- some kind of overall structure to prevent the
spontaneous emergence of repressive governmental and corporate structures.
IN my opinion. But this is a personal opinion which I do not claim to
have derived from scientific principles, mind you...

I think the question of the optimal social structure is an interesting
one, which is probably explorable by computer simulations along the
lines of the commercial SimCity program. I don't think that it is wise
to link one political persuasion (libertarianism) with hi technology
and freedom, to the exclusion of others. Hasn't complexity science
taught us that things are not this simple??

-- Ben Goertzel
University of Western Australia