The Extropian Principles

Eric Watt Forste (
Tue, 20 Aug 1996 21:01:56 -0700

I take it that notions such as "limitless improvement" or "unlimited
progress" necessarily imply self transformation, and that this can be
explained in the accompanying text, right? I can see some advantages of
dropping self transformation from the mnemonic set, but I'd hate to abandon
the idea entirely.

At 8:48 PM 8/19/96, wrote:
>I offer three alternatives, together with suggested mnemonic devices:
>LI = limitless improvement

I do prefer the phrase "limitless improvement" to the phrase "boundless
improvement", but I'm a bit wary of the proposed mnemonic.

I prefer "limitless" to "boundless" because the wording of the BIDOITSO set
still leaves open the deplorable (but oft used) rhetorical tactic of
accusing extropians of boundless optimism. For some reason, "limitless
optimism" seems like a phrase that will tempt our opponents slightly less
often than the phrase "boundless optimism" has tempted them.

I'm wary of this particular mnemonic because extropians are already being
accused of being sex maniacs in other forums. On the other hand, perhaps
this tactic of some of our opponents will just help us recruit new members
more effectively. ;)

>UP = unlimited/unbounded progress/perfecting
> SO? DO IT! UP!!

I like "unlimited progress"... it's frank and to the point, and ties
extropian ideas a little more closely to their classical-liberal roots than
"limitless improvement". Of course, it will lead a lot of opponents to whip
out their tired old arguments against the "inevitable progress" ideas of
Condorcet and the like, but perhaps the fine distinction between the
possibility of unlimited progress, on the one hand, and the old bad idea of
*inevitable* progress, on the other, is something we ought to be discussing
more, since I've seen some confusion about it, and intimations of
inevitability are what the "California Ideology" essay objected to most

I like "unlimited perfecting" because it reminds me of things that I like
about Buddhism (the paramitas), but that's probably a personal taste not
widely shared by other extropians and potential extropians.

Of the three proposed mnemonics for this one, I like UP! DO IT SO! best.

>BE = boundless evolution/enhancement

I don't care for "boundless evolution" at all, because I think it's
important to keep the biologists, who realize that "evolution" is a
value-neutral term.

"Boundless enhancement" is okay, but I prefer the phrases suggested for the
UP mnemonic. The word "boundless" seems to be attracted by a powerful
gravitational force to the word "optimism", and my subjective opinion is
that "unlimited" and "limitless" are not quite so likely to get sucked into
the gravitational field of "optimism".

Eric Watt Forste <>