Offending people (was Re: The Extropian Principles)

Sarah Marr (
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 00:03:28 +0100

At 22:00 21/08/96 +0200, Anders Sandberg wrote:
>On Wed, 21 Aug 1996, Eric Watt Forste wrote:
>> Sex is just one of those difficult issues: no matter what stance you
>> adopt toward it, you're sure to offend someone.
>But as David Musick pointed out, offending people can be a good strategy
>to get past their memetic defenses (my guess is that since *any*
>processing done about something will imprint it in the brain).

I would be exceptionally surprised if people who were _already_ opposed to
one's ideas, ethics, morality, socio-economic theories, etc. would, having
been insulted, become more responsive to, and accepting of, one's position.
How does this break their memetic defenses effectively? Any new memes which
of which they may become aware will forever be associated with deprecation
and insult: they are hardly likely to sally forth spreading the good word of
Extropianism, or any other meme system. And any further discussion will
require an overcoming of exacerbated ill-feeling and distrust.

I suspect that David Musick's experiences with his father are the exception,
rather than the rule. He is in the fortunate position of having a mind which
can accept the viewpoint of another as plausibly valid, even when in
opposition to that view, and hence be persuaded to change his own position,
once engaged in the deep thought originating from a debacle with, say, his
father. But I believe that far more often, insult serves only to entrench
opposing viewpoints, and to close the minds of the insulted to further


Sarah Kathryn Marr