[extropy-chat] Serenity: "...make people better."

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Thu Oct 13 18:07:59 UTC 2005

While watching Serenity last night, I recalled concern on this list
over the sentiment against "making people better".  But that seems to
be a misinterpretation of the context of that line.

* Don't want someone else to "make people BETTER" - standard Luddite

* Don't want someone else to "MAKE people better" - the way the line
  was apparently actually meant.

Making people better without their consent - "meddling", as another
character in the movie put it - fundamentally warps the definition of
"better" in this case.  It only needs to be "better" in the eyes of
those doing the making - which, as evidenced in the movie, can be very
much worse in the eyes of those remade (even if things do not
malfunction, but especially if they do: those doing the making are not
directly affected, thus they have less incentive to get things right).

I have noticed, in conversations with luddish people, that the true
concern is not actually over "better", but over "make".  When presented
with the possibility of completely voluntary self-improvement, they may
fluster a bit, but they rarely have any true objection to that.
(Unless the improvement is so useful that many people adopt it, forcing
the rest to either adopt it or be competed out of jobs and starve.
I would counter that, if any improvement does prove itself to be that
useful, then maybe *at that time* compelling it would become
acceptable.  After all, this is the model that basic schooling and
education followed, and few people today question the compulsory
education of children.  There is some debate as to the best specific
means of education, but the end goal itself rarely faces disagreement.)

Just an observation.

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