[extropy-chat] The Immortal Class: Admissions Criteria

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Tue May 16 08:44:59 UTC 2006

On May 15, 2006, at 9:26 PM, Metavalent Stigmergy wrote:

> Hope this is an appropriate branching of this particular thread.
> On 5/15/06, spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:
>> What bothered me far more was Bill McKibben's talk.  Since I  
>> haven't the
>> exact quote, I will need to approximate or paraphrase.  McKibben  
>> thought we
>> need to cut the libertarian notions and acknowledge the propriety of
>> subjugating our wildest transhuman ambitions to the greater human  
>> community.
>> Did I get that about right, summiters?
> I don't think that's too far off the mark.  Although I do have to
> admit, it's a pretty messy proposition to begin thinking about
> guidelines for the Admission Board to the Immortal Class of 2029.

What is "greater" about the mass common opinion that there is no  
choice but to begin to fall about time we get much sense and to die a  
few decades (if we are lucky) after that?   The world is not the  
world we souped-up chimps evolved to handle.  It moves faster and is  
more complex.  There is no turning back.  We take control of our own  
subsequent development in a variety of ways or we perish.

Immortal?  Why is increased longevity thought of as immortality?   
What is wrong with wishing to live as long and in as good health as  
possible given our science and technology?   How can it be right to  
ration life itself?

> What are the criteria for admittance into the emergent class of
> immortals?  Just money?  There are lots of rich idiots out there and I
> don't know if conventional market economics -- which have worked GREAT
> for the most recent centuries of advancing and distributing Good Stuff
> in general -- are the right way to let the market decide in this case.

This is a ridiculous objection.  The likely technology will only be  
expensive in its very early and experimental stage.  if it is largely  
based in medical nanotech then it is likely the technology will be  
easy to mass produce cheaply.   Even if it was and remained expensive  
then why is it more objectionable that a relatively rich person  
bought better health and longer life than if they bought anything  
else which the masses of humanity cannot afford?   What business  
would it be of yours if a person who could afford the means paid a  
person who could provide the means to have a longer and healthier  
life?  By what right would you interfere?   Isn't the right to life  
and to pursue a more full life as basic as it gets?

> I'm right with Hal in terms of finding ways to make a profit off of
> observed tendencies and I think that *some* kind of market should
> decide, but I wonder if the same market that moves everything from eye
> bolts to iPods is the right kind of market for the Immortality
> Commodity.

What else do you have in mind that would not introduce physical force  
into the situation?

> Perhaps college and university admissions are an interesting model.
> Most are needs-blind, not based (solely) on economics; rather based
> upon the aptitudes, interests, and general direction of the applicants
> life.  Not every psychology will adaptive to greatly extended life
> spans.

How on earth would we be able to model this before people actually  
did experience longer lives?

> Returning to the rich idiot scenario, perhaps idiots an important part
> of a diverse, posthuman or extropian society.  In any case, who
> defines "idiot"?

Being rich and staying rich is not as easy as you may presume.

> What if I'm a relatively harmless, fairly well-read, and happy hermit?
>  Do I lose points for lack of face-to-face interaction?  Who do I have
> to impress and what norms do I have to comply with?  Is it enough to
> contribute the occassional provocative thought, demonstrate authentic
> respect and interest in the provocative thoughts of others, and
> periodically prompt interesting, original, or compelling discussion?
> Or do I need to exhibit the advanced bureaucratic organizational
> skills of a PhD, and nothing less?

It is enough to be able to afford the means that someone else is able  
to provide.  Nothing less preserves the rights of the people  
concerned without a tyrannical interference by the politicized  
opinions of others.

> What are the Guidelines for Admission and who is on the draft commitee
> to create them?  Whoever it is, it's probably time to get rockin' ...
> that is, if work is not already well underway.

There is no such committee and while there is breath in me I will  
work that there never will be.

- samantha

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