Re: The Point of No Return

E. Shaun Russell (
Tue, 10 Dec 1996 15:18:39 -0800 (PST)

On 09/12/96, David Musick wrote:

>What I am wondering about is if there is such a "point of no return" for
>advanced intelligent life, such as ourselves. Is there a level of
>advancement beyond which highly intelligent life is impossible to destroy?
>Right now, we are vulnerable. Can we ever move beyond that? Is such a
>state of invincibility even possible?

Sure. Why not? The problem a lot of extropians (and indeed, people
in general) seem to stumble upon is the prescence of 'infinite
possibilities'. The fact that *anything* is feasible is both a good thing
and a bad thing; good, in that there is always further to go and more to
know, but bad in the sheer enormousity of the concept. What people have a
tendency to do is worry about certain 'abstract' possibilities such as the
unforeseen or unavoidable cataclysms. Sure, it's possible that a huge
asteroid will crash into the earth, sending both rocks reeling into the sun.
So much for human progress then. Just like earthly disasters such as
Pompeii or Atlantis. *But*, if we all spent time worrying about all the
tragic possibilites, we would be no wiser than the doomsayers on the corner
of the street.

A state of invincibility *is certainly possible*. The biggest
problem facing our rise to this level is our current vulnerability. The
prospect of immortality is hindered by the so-called 'accident curb'. The
current prediction is that if we surpass our biological worries, within 400
years we'll be knocked off by some sort of accident. That doesn't mean I'm
going to stop striving for immortality and invincibility. If I die on
accord of some accident in a few hundred years, then there is not much I can
do about it. If it is truly an accident, it will probably be unforeseen. I
can't spend my time worrying about the unforeseen or unavoidable, I'd rather
focus on making the tragic possibilities more *avoidable*.

In essence, I don't believe that there is a point of no return.
Where one person falls (if he truly must), I hope there will be another
person there to try to make up for it; but of course, I don't think any
person will have to fall...I'm optimistic, but also realistic.

Ingredi Externus!

-E. Shaun Russell

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

-The past is the only inevitability-