Re: Frankenstein

David D. (
Wed, 09 Oct 1996 22:38:56 -0700

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> On Tue, 8 Oct 1996, E. Shaun Russell wrote:
> If only
> > Dr. Frankenstein had thought things out a bit better before he 'created a
> > monster', then he might have discovered a way to create a rationally
> > functioning, intelligent human being.
> I agree, the story contains a very transhuman vision - but Shelley isn't
> (consciously) trying to tell it. What "Frankenstein" tells *us* is that
> we as creators are responsible for our creations and their well-being,
> but what it tells the general public is that meddling with Things Man Was
> Never Meant To Know is a Bad Thing.

This strikes me as an oddly appropriate metaphor for the works of T. Leary. Should he
have 'thought things out a little better'? Was he responsible for his 'creations'?
(people who took lsd without the accompanying philosophy of set and setting).

This dynamic is also reflected in the differing views Hind and Hanson. Should an
*extropian* (i.e. optimistic futurist philosopher) delve into a meme in depth or just
shoot out ideas, as many as possible, as fast as possible?

This debate goes back at least as far as Huxley and Leary in the late '50's early
'60's.(And much further, I imagine).

My take on this is that there has to be both. A Leary/Hind to generate ideas and a
Huxley/Hanson to delve deep into those ideas.

This also seems to me to be the crux of the 'mailing list quality' debate. Those that
want depth are irritated at those that want breadth.

The optimistic part of me thinks that a balance will be struck and that the depth
proponents will eventually ignore the scattershot ideas they don't have time to persue.
And that the breadth proponents will come to understand that they can't expect someone
else to do all their depth work for them.

The pessimistic part of me is worried that the depth proponents will go somewhere else
and deprive this list of their necessary 'weight'. Necessary in the sense that if I ever
want to see the ideas I value gain any legitimacy or widespread appeal there has to be
some substantial argument to convert the undecided.

David D.

"Slothrop's third rule of paranoia: If they can get you asking the wrong questions they
don't have to worry about the answers."