Paradise Within A Paradox (was Extropian Form Letter)

E. Shaun Russell (
Sun, 1 Dec 1996 17:25:15 -0800 (PST)

Well, I've silently perused this thread for a few days now, and
although there have been many thought-provoking and intriguing points on
most the contributor's parts, I think the thread is a paradox. Eliezer has
made up a long and detailed letter --it is good-- but I must ask: why? If
the purpose of the letter is to convey extropy to the general population,
then you are out of luck. People will read the first few sentences, put the
letter down, then turn on their television sets to watch the Yankees play
the Mariners. Note that I said *general* population. I have no doubt in my
mind that many people will understand the letter as it stands now --and
agree with it, to boot-- *but* I seriously wonder how many will bother
finding out more about extropy.

There have been many posts throughout the past three months dealing
with *how* to convey extropy to "the general population". Indeed, I have
made quite a few contributions to these posts. I could reiterate my views
but, being the liberated individuals that we are, everyone will have
different thoughts on the matter. It all comes back to the question: "how
can us extropians show humanity the necessity of individual progress?"
(anyone recognize that question?). Sure, Eliezer has a letter full of
information and straight-forward 'memetic engineering', but will people
really *want* to read that letter? I, for one, am doubtful...realistically

Kennita brought up an excellent point: people aren't going to cause
change if they like things the way they are. People who like watching the
Yankees play the Mariners are going to continue watching the Yankees play
the Mariners. There are literally *millions* [generalization] of people who
potentially would like to change 'THE WAY THINGS ARE', but not many are
willing to put out the effort to *do* it. Every day when I read the
newspaper, I see articles devoted to some object of mass emotional pity.
People in North America cry when they see the suffering in Bosnia, but when
asked to do something about it, they'll respond: "well, *I'm* too busy" or
"you can't change the world." Let's apply this general 'meme' to how
extropy would be viewed. When told that they could help solve many of the
world's woes by investing in nanotechnology or uploads, they'll respond: "I
don't have the money" or "I don't know enough about it". To no end will
they [again, generally] see the profits. When told about space colonies,
they'll argue over the world's problems or economy.

This thread is inevitably a paradox. What needs to happen is for
people to find the profits of extropy on their own. Don't take that the
wrong way...I still think we should do all we can to promote it. Now here
is the crux of the post (the paradise within a paradox, so to speak): we
*can* show people how to find it on their own. I said I wasn't going to
reiterate on my old posts, but I guess I lied. I have said this numerous
times, but I *know* that art is a sure way to increase people's awareness of
extropy. But not *just* art, anything that causes people to question. It
is the need to question that sparks potential, it is potential that
eventually becomes kinetic. People need to learn the profits of being
open-minded, *then* we can do our part by showing and explaining the points
of extropy. Que sera sera...

Ingredi Externus!

-E. Shaun Russell

~~~:~~~> E. ternity E. Shaun Russell
:~~> E. xpansion
:~~~> E. xtropy Extropian poet\musician

-Cautiously realistic, yet dynamically optimistic-