Extropian Optimism

Crosby_M (CrosbyM@po1.cpi.bls.gov)
Sun, 17 Nov 1996 16:52:40 -0500

On Saturday, November 16, 1996 4:13 AM, David D. wrote:
<My perception of the shared extropian belief system (BS) is that there is
an optimism about the future. Not necessarily optimism about the present.
Guatemala? Bosnia? Zaire? Liberia? China? Russia? Urban America? Mexico?
Myanamar? Tibet? Taiwan? Chechnya? Korea? Perhaps this is all part of the
order that leads to the Best of All Possible Worlds.>

On Saturday, November 16, 1996 1:13 PM, Ira Brodsky wrote:
<The key lesson is that life continually presents positive opportunities.
Most people miss those opportunities because they err on the side of

QueeneMuse noted that they mostly lean toward pessimism rather than

This reminds me of some of our collectivist comrades on the list: they are
too psyched up with hatred of evil-doers, sharing the poignant trauma of
watching lots of horror shows around the world, getting high on righteous
wrath, not realizing that those places and peoples are really none of your
business unless you do have business there (e.g., fund raising, relief
efforts, actually living there or growing a business there.)

I'm not saying the problems of the world aren't worth knowing about or
talking about (perhaps, occasionally even joining a demonstration over);
but, tying your personal outlook and alot of your emotions to these
abstract people and places is really a sign that you need to 'get a life.'

The world has plenty of 'evil', poverty and suffering. The world also has
plenty of 'good', wealth and happiness. The dynamic optimist always tries
to eliminate unhealthy emotional dependencies on other people's suffering
by focussing on the positive opportunities, in the process promoting the
wellbeing of others.

As someone's signature says: "You must be the change you wish to see in the
world." (Gandhi)

How do you learn the attitude of dynamic optimism? Well, David Musick's
posts to this list are a good reference. Basically, though, it must be by
trial and error; by seeing first how unproductive pessimism is, and then
discovering the power of optimism. Whether our SIs or digital descendants
will still have to learn this, or whether it can be programmed into them,
is a good question.


"As I am programmed to find incongruity pleasant, let me thank you for the
experience and sincerely wish you well." - A holographic translation &
interrogation device in David Brin's _Infinity's Shore_ (JUST published)