Individual vs collective ?

Ian Goddard (
Thu, 01 Aug 1996 11:42:57 -0400

Ben Goertzel <> wrote:
> Transhumanism, to me, means going beyond humanity -- but it is not
> necessarily an INDIVIDUAL quest, is it? Can't we think in terms of
> the whole human race transcending itself?

IAN: I can speak for myself, not for others. Others have different
goals. If I want to make my goals the goal of "the whole human race,"
then I will have to resort to skillful persuasion or coercion.
Libertarianism simply stipulates that the only ethical course
of action is persuasion. In fact, nonaggression is also the
course that leads to maximal social benefit.

Focus on the individual does not contradict a focus on the whole,
for, as you keenly observe:

> As I see it, none of us truly has an individual "self" --
> the self is a social/cultural construct. We are all, in
> the end, made up of EACH OTHER.

IAN: As there is no "individual" -- that is, no unit that is what it
is free from external relations -- there is only a unified holistic
identity composed of many faces, each creating the other, thus it
follows that:

1) Focus on the whole is focus on the individual: when I say
X is good for everybody, so DO IT ! ( ;^) ) I focus on my
individual valuation/measurements over that of all others.
(Notice that most megalomaniacs -- hyper egoists aggressors --
speak in terms of 'the whole human race,' and its conquest.)

2) Focus on the individual is focus on the whole: The whole
is composed of the individual many times over. You can
only "reach" the whole if you can reach each individual.

So the "focus on the individual" is not a contradiction of the
unified relational identity that contains each individual.
In fact, advocating decentralized economic planning is
advocating the liberation of the collective identity
expressed as "the invisible hand." Central economic
planning is the advocation of control of the whole
human race by a few individual planners.

But I agree that addressing the collective identity that each
person is, is a necessary feature of any winning meme. In fact,
those memes that speak to the collective identity have proven
to be most successful in their spread.

The majority of people who know of libertarianism but reject
it, do so, in my experiential observation, because they feel
that it does not speak to the collective identity and offer
it, of which I am a part, economic guarantees. The point is
that central planning does offer the guarantee of bankruptcy,
while free markets guarantee improving standards of living,
innovation and consistently lower prices on average.

Law of Identity: A is A, relative to not-A. A = (A + ~A)

Law of Nonidentity: If there is 100% A, there is 0% A. A = ~A

absolute reality: