[ExI] NBIC/GRIN Elements as Philosopher's Magnum Opus

natasha at natasha.cc natasha at natasha.cc
Sun Aug 7 01:14:56 UTC 2011

   Considering the tools we use to alter our environment and our own  
existence, it is fun and somewhat appropriate to look back to Alchemy,  
especially the early Taoists in China, who seem to be the originators  
(rather than the Egyptians before the Greeks).   The four elements ?  
earth, water, air and  fire ? appear in many cultures of alchemy,  
although referred to somewhat differently. Of greater interest to me  
is that fifth element ? the quintessence of life.  I am probably  
inaccurate when I borrow this term and equate  it to personal  
identity, althought it works for me in some way I cannot expain.   
Reading a marvelous book I ordered from Ireland _Prelude to  
Chemistry_  (Read 1936), I am delighted to find so many terms that are  
presently applied to methods of life extension (i.e., revivification,  
transmutation), and the lyrical quality of this book is surprising.  
The relationship of the term ?body? is of special interest  in  
relation to the encasement of the elements and also the milestone  
discovery of wine into vinegar.  Hey - it's the body of wine that  
gives it viscosity and umph.  (New bodies for new minds.)  And so on ?  
so, thinking about this and about human enhancement and also NBIC ,  
GRIN, etc.,  seem to be the current philosopher?s stone or egg.  Once  
Kevin Kelly said that technology is out of control,  yet now he sees  
technology as wanting.  While he refers to ?extropy? in _What  
Technology Wants_ (2010), under a new term exotropy. It seems that we  
are once again back to this idea as providing a philosopher?s strategy  
for addressing the technologies of human enhancement and life  
extension/expansion as new types of elements.  Wise too is it that  
extropy does not look for perfection  (As Alchemy did) but for  
continual exploration, improvement, questioning, learning and change.   
Putting a heck of a lot of God-stuff aside, the only thing that is way  
off the mark is the goal of perfection.

   But I wonder, if NBIC, GRIN, etc. are the tools (chemistry?) for  
the life extension/expansion are they somehow equitable to the  
Alchemist?s 4 or 5 elements?  And if so, how the heck can we create an  
appropriate egg polis?



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