[ExI] The denial of death, transhumanism, and the abolition of embodiment

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Fri Jun 10 00:05:20 UTC 2011

On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 3:39 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> I think bodies are best described as the interface between our minds and our
> surroundings, and are not necessarily very distinct or bounded objects.
> Picking up a staff changes the dimensions of egocentric space in the brain
> (as shown by neuroimaging);

That's really cool, I didn't know.  Not the least surprising, but very
interesting.  I wonder if holding a staff makes someone feel larger in
a social standing sense as well?  It's also interesting that the word
has also come to mean a group of people who are extending a leaders
capacity to get things done.


> People do a lot of things for social status, including art and technology.
> This motivation would remain. That it might originally have evolved because
> of the peculiarities of human reproduction, family formation and group
> interaction, doesn't mean the motivation would not remain even when the
> evolutionary pressure producing it disappears.

Indeed, it is one of the few motivations I think would be safe to give AIs.

> We are still motivated by
> many drives which recent technological changes have made irrelevant or
> maladaptive

Social changes too.  For example, the psychological mechanisms that
evolved because of violent kidnapping of women from one
hunter-gatherer group to another.

"Natural selection has left us with psychological responses to capture
seen in the Stockholm Syndrome and the Patty Hearst kidnapping.
Capture-bonding or social reorientation when captured from one warring
tribe to another was an essential survival tool for a million years or
more. Those who reoriented often became our ancestors. Those who did
not became breakfast."


Full activation is rare today.   We have a hard time understanding
what happened to Patty Hearst, Elizabeth Smart and less famous cases.
But I suspect it lies behind other human traits, "Partial activation
of the capture-bonding psychological trait may lie behind
Battered-wife syndrome, military basic training, fraternity hazing,
and sex practices such as sadism/masochism or bondage/discipline."


>, such as eating more than we need because of the high risk in
> the EEA for famine.

It's a little unclear how much of the current obesity problem is due
to fructose.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list