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

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Sun Aug 7 03:06:50 UTC 2011

Darn. Sorry for emali hub using "?" for grammatical keys. I fixed it from


From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of
natasha at natasha.cc
Sent: Saturday, August 06, 2011 8:15 PM
To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
Subject: [ExI] NBIC/GRIN Elements as Philosopher's Magnum Opus

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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