[ExI] Human Experimenting

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Fri May 22 15:49:32 UTC 2009

On Fri, 22 May 2009, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

> 2009/5/22 Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com>:
> > A sensitive and difficult issue. Are many libertarians
> > today ready to allow someone to knowingly and with full
> > consent sign himself into slavery? My opinion: we're
> > not ready for that yet; but someday, yes. In other
> > words, IMO no libertarian group, no matter how select
> > and on how small an island, should go ahead with something
> > like that, at least for a generation or two.
> As a general principle, are libertarians opposed to a group making
> decisions binding on its members? Selling oneself is a good example of
> this. A person desperate for money might freely ("freely"?) enter into
> a contract with another party allowing that he will be tortured for
> the rest of his life. Should such contracts be banned as morally
> wrong, or not?

Since I don't consider myself a libertarian (words, words... some tell 
something, some tell nothing), I may not be fully qualified to answer 
those questions (as they were directed to libertarians). But on the other 
hand, I have grabbed keyboard and I am in command now :-).

Personally, I am wary about granting humanity too much freedom. As I see 
it, we are trying to override our animal instincts with various forms of 
conditioning - and results are mixed. If Aliens had books, maybe we could 
have been mentioned in one or two of them, but not necessarily because of 
our progress. Those who think we are successful, think again. We (modern 
humans) are here for about, say, 200000 years. And we have written records 
for at most 10000 years, AFAIK. And most of this success have been really 
made during last 100 years (well, maybe 200, not really important). IMHO, 
we have been very, very (really) lucky. I can easily imagine how we are 
falling off the edge (in most cases, by mixture of our own stupidity or 
indolence, and Universe's so called "cruelty" which should be regarded 
more like a universal law). Much harder to see how we are staying on it.

Morality is just another form of conditioning. In better world, it would 
be not a problem if I decided to become someone's slave (either for free 
or for money). Actually, I can hardly imagine me doing so, but let's 
imagine I did. Morality would not exist in such world, no need for this. 
In our world - big problem. This may not be solved even after tens of 
generations. There are certainly some limits to conditioning, we have just 
not hit them yet (I hope so).

BTW, our ability to do correction to our conditioning on our own is 
strikingly similar to modifying genetic code and "taking evolution in our 
own hands". Something I should explore one day, if time permits. But it 
seems obvious, that this self-correction should be done with extreme 

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list