Dynamic Individual Freedom

Sarah Marr (sarah.marr@dial.pipex.com)
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 14:11:35 +0100

Since this concept is generating more on-line conversation than I had
envisaged, it seemed appropriate to respond to some of the points made in
other posts (specifically those by Rich Artym, Peter Voss, Natasha More, and
Dave Sill).

(In reference to a point Natasha made: I'm posting this to both Extropian
and Transhuman lists, as the topic seems to have spread to both lists. I'll
reply to any further posts on the list from which the posts originate.)


I wrote:

>> I think 'dynamic individual freedom' sums up my approach to the subject: I
>> wish to define my own freedoms to suit my own worldview and have the
>> flexibility to manipulate and alter those freedoms as that worldview changes.

And that about sums it up, really.


>Rich Artym:
>The "unlimited" IF that we have been examining here is
>entirely dynamic, completely renegociable at the time of each new
>interaction, not held back by static preconceptions or institutionalized
>rules. That is why we called it "unlimited", because by being dynamic
>it knows no a priori bounds. Needless to say, it's equally correct to
>call it Dynamic, because it *is*.

I, too, cannot see huge differences between UIF and DIF, except that the
former emphasises the 'other' whereas the latter emphasises the 'self'. The
discussions I have had on this list which concern UIF have tended to focus
on external coercion, to look how one is treated by the rest of the
universe, rather than look at one's own ability to interact with that
universe in a self-deterministic way. It's a very subtle, and perhaps purely
semantic disctinction, but a very important one.

For me, transhumanism (and, hence, Extropianism) is about both the
realization of potential and, inspirationally, the transcending of that
initial potential: in essence, being all that one can be and more (no pun
intended). And DIF is a clear expression of that, more so that UIF, because
of DIF's intrinsic references to self-determinism, interaction and flexibility.

>Rich Artym phrases this thus:
>The dynamism is not just
>an incidental part of this concept after all --- it is the single most
>important one, because it is that which allows UIF/DIF (and >IF of course)
>to work within a universe of self-transformation where static schemes are
>rendered obsolete at every turn.

Whilst Peter Voss does a superb job of summarizing the Extropian nature of
DIF, which is well worth repeating here:

>For me it conjures up:
>Dynamic - growth, pro-active, ever changing, transformation
>Individual - independent thought and action, importance of self
>Freedom - more options, (life) expansion, individual rights
>I would add my (extropian) spin of:
>Intelligent - using reason, advanced technology
>Responsible - goal-directed, (libertarian) self-responsibility


>Natasha More:
>I'd rather start fresh and be sure from the beginning that
>when I speak of my unlimited freedoms...

I don't believe one can talk of unlimited freedoms, only self-limited
freedoms, and DIF incorporates that idea of flexible self-limitation.

Natasha More:
>I seek a phrase that sees freedom as more objective...

Any objective definition of freedom (by which I mean one upon which all can
agree) must allow for the subjective realization of that freedom: that is,
it must express freedom as a concept of sufficient flexibility to assimilate
and implement the personal desires of all its proponents, as individuals.
The 'dynamism' of DIF allows for this, in my opinion: it encompasses the
flexibility of self-determination and self-realization required for a
generally acceptable definition of freedom.


>Dave Sill:
>I think it's generally understood that "unlimited" means "not
>externally limited". Unlimited doesn't mean uncontrollable. And if
>you weren't free to give up some of your freedom, your freedom would
>be limited.

Again, this comes down to my desire to emphasise the 'self', and a belief
that 'unlimited' is really a misleading phrasing of 'self-limited'. Rich
Artym says something similar in one his posts:

>by concentrating on the dynamism,
>we may be able to avoid the misinterpretations of "unlimited" that those
>not too well acquainted with UIF have occasionally made.


>Richard Artym:
>Furthermore, and
>this is a pearl beyond price, by pointing out the DYNAMISM of this freedom,
>it becomes inescapable that limits to individual freedom cannot be set in
>a priori manner through jurisdictional restraint.

In a way yes. Although I think it would be more accurate to say that by
pointing out the dynamism of this freedom it becomes inescapable that limits
to individual freedom can be set through jurisdictional restraint only for
those individuals who choose to respect that jurisdictional restraint. And
further, the dynamism of those individuals means they remain free to change
their minds and cease to respect the restraint. Perhaps this is another
subtle difference from UIF: DIF doesn't place the same opprobrium on those
who choose to allow others to restrict their freedom, because the dynamism
overtly recognizes that that acceptance is transient, and hence DIF is never


Natasha More:
>Maximum, I do like. I will have to give it careful thought and see if it
>restrict one's freedoms. I'm not sure that it does.

I don't believe 'maximum' overtly limits one's freedoms. But I believe it
does so implicity, for similar reasons to 'unlimited':

(1) it implies some level of opprobrium attaching to those who for some
reason make a changeable decision to apply limits derived from their
interactions with others,

(2) it does not actively convey the element of self-determinism which seems
to me to underpin not only freedom but the whole transhuman ethos.


I hope the above discussion gives some idea of my reason for selecting DIF
as my 'chosen freedom '. I'd be extremenly interested to hear other views on
this interpretation.


Sarah Kathryn Marr
sarah.marr@dial.pipex.com http://dialspace.dial.pipex.com/sarah.marr/