[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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