Re: Trans-extropian principles

Max More (
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 15:05:58 -0700 (MST)

At 05:47 PM 7/27/96 -0500, Lyle Burkhead wrote:
>Max More writes,
>> Extropianism has never claimed or sought to be a complete philosophy.
>Why not? Why settle for anything less?

I do have a complete philosophy, or at least a philosophy that aims at
completeness, and Extropianism is a subset of it. I like to refer to the
more complete system as...

I've always resisted the idea that Extropianism should aim to be a total
philosophy. For one thing, it worried me. It's okay for me to have a
complete (but revisable) personal philosophy, but I'm concerned that a total
public philosophy is likely to suffer a hardening of the orthodoxies, as
R.A.W. would say. Maybe that's not necessarily the case, so long as the
philosophy declares itself open to revision. That was clearly *not* the case
with Rand's view of Objectivism. She insisted that either you accepted all
of her statement of Objectivism or none of it. (It was logically derived
from axiomatically certain premises, and apparently she was incapable of
error in her logic or the facts they worked on.) Even if a philosophy
declares itself to be open, I suspect that a total philosophy is more open
to abuse than one that stays limited in scope, like Extropianism. I'd be
very interested to hear other people's views on this.

Secondly, in terms of memetic propagation, if you insist on packing in such
a vast array of attitudes, values, and beliefs into a single philosophical
package, it seems to me that you will limit its appeal (at least to
independent-minded people -- the kind I'm interested in). Extropianism
already limits itself by including a favoring of free markets and
spontaneous order (though it does *not* require anyone to be a hardcore
libertarian to call themselves an Extropian). That's a tradeoff I decided to
make. There can and will be other versions of transhumanism that appeal to
statist-minded people.

"A man is ready to die for an idea, provided that idea is not quite clear to
--Paul Eldridge.

Upward and Outward!


Max More, Ph.D.
President Extropy Institute (ExI)
Editor Extropy