Re: Trans- vs. Non-human

Steve Witham (
Fri, 6 Dec 1996 22:13:33 -0500

>On Dec 5, 11:51pm, Steve Witham wrote:
>} And I wouldn't want to. What I meant was, if "extropy" means anything to
>} me at all, it's the idea of actively pushing for a better future--which
>} requires getting over apologizing for one's particular values--rather than (Twirlip of Greymist) replied:
>Which requires defining what your idea of a better future *is*.

Not sure what you mean. One meaning of "apology" is explanation. One
shouldn't feel required to explain oneself in order to feel worthy of
having a point of view or values. Explanation needs to be a choice--
you can't let other people's demands or lack of understanding be the only
thing that determines what you spend your time talking about.

Of course I believe explanation and defining terms are often grand and
useful things. But in this thread they actually weren't to the point.
(But I will do some of them below since this other issue has come up.)

>from the Church of the Euthanasia believes they're working for a better
>future, which happens to involve the reduction or extinction of the
>human race. Are they extropic? Why not? They're pushing for a better
>I think that's the point.

They probably wouldn't think of describing themselves as "extropian," and
I do. That's a clue. Also, they have gotten past the block of feeling
uncomfortable expressing values, which is something we could learn from.

Anyway, like I said, I don't think it was the original point of contention
on this thread. The thread went something like this (sorry, forgetting

X: Some extropians seem to want to be non-human rather than trans-human.
Y: Trans-human is necessarily non-human to some extent, and you're being
Me: No, by "non-human," X meant lacking important essential human stuff.
That's valuing, not intolerance. To me, extropy means improvement.
Z: You can't call someone non-extropian because they don't share your
Me: I only meant that not-valuing, going along with whatever happens, is
not what extropian means to *me*.

So the original point was whether it's okay (and clear) to use "non-human"
as a derogatory term, without defining what one means exactly. I think
it is, but today (walking down the hall at work) I realized I've seen it
become a sore point in discussion groups before.

I think some people aren't comfortable in discussions where expressing
personal values is okay. Well, it is okay. It's something one has to
learn how to do and how to have the courage to do. There are smooth,
worthwhile, workable ways that those kinds of discussions can proceed.
Furthermore, having habits that make it not okay for oneself or others
to feel comfortable expressing values is a bad thing.

A "Nerd" is the techie equivalent of the soldier whose place "is not to
reason why." Are we nerds? I say let's not make discussions of value
impossible by (inadvertently?) insisting on nerd styles of discussion.

That's the original meta-point. An offshoot is what *I* value, what *I*
consider "essentially human," and what I consider extropic. Well, funny
thing, in this case it's the same as the meta-point. I value the ability
to value. I think valuing is an essential part of being human. Something
that was not able to value the way we do I would consider inferior in an
important way, no matter how advanced in other ways. I think extropianism
is *minimally* about actively shaping the future in light of one's values.
(I.e., it's also about other things that weren't involved in this thread.)

It may seem a very small or obvious point. But I think it is difficult
in practice to realize, face up to, and carry out just that "little" thing,
and I think some of the messages on this thread show that.


"It just keeps going and going and therefore you yourself have to keep
 going and going." --Energizer Bunny researcher