Risk averse imortalists? (was Re: [extropy-chat] re: embedded in open hearts (Meta/EP))

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Wed Apr 13 06:50:24 UTC 2005

While the reply below is interesting my motivation for the question was 
a bit different. To what extent does our rational self interest, 
especially extended to the possibility of indefinitely long life. make 
us less willing to stand up to variously sized evils that are not 
directly threatening to our life?   I would expect a tendency to keep a 
bit lower profile than the population at large and to take less risks.  
Yet I know from experience such conservatism is by no means universal 
among us.

- samantha

On Apr 12, 2005, at 10:02 AM, Hal Finney wrote:

> Samantha writes:
>> Is there any level of evil that you would stand up against even if to
>> do so would quite likely put your life in jeopardy?  Sometimes I 
>> wonder
>> if we are not at a distinct disadvantage against those who may
>> willingly put themselves in harm's way for what they believe is
>> sufficiently important.
> Keep in mind that other people don't just rush out at the spur of the
> moment and put their lives on the line to stand up to evil.  It takes a
> long process to get one's mental frame of mind into shape to be ready 
> to
> make this sacrifice.
> This is much of what military training is about.  The whole process is
> designed to shape and mold young, malleable minds and prepare them to
> make these kinds of sacrifices.  They are trained to habitual obedience
> to orders by constantly requiring them to complete trivial and 
> difficult
> tasks.  At the same time, they develop a strong espirit de corps and
> attachment to their fellow soldiers, who become their brothers in arms
> and de facto family.  It is these factors which lead the soldier to
> stand and fight rather than to run when he first comes under fire.
> It's likely that you or I could be equally well molded into soldiers 
> for
> the Extropian cause, if the proper circumstances arose.  We are social
> beings; the mere fact that we are here together on this list, engaging
> in social discussion, proves that.  We crave interaction and the 
> society
> of others.  Military and terrorist training play on those human needs
> and use them to turn people into self-sacrificing killers.  Humanity 
> has
> thousands of years of experience in exactly how to achieve these goals.
> Chances are that most of us could be transformed in just this way.
> Hal
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