[extropy-chat] Re: A view of what politics is

Jack Parkinson isthatyoujack at icqmail.com
Sun Oct 16 05:15:08 UTC 2005

> Jack Parkinson wrote:

> > I posted this before - I still think the best definition of politics is:
> > The
> > relationships between groups! At any level - from office factions to
> > negotiations between superpowers. Politics is only incidentally social
> > decision making. It is wholly about interacting communities.
> Brett Paatsch wrote:
> For definitions dictionarys aren't bad places to start. But if we want
> to understand politics better we need more than dictionary definitions
> we need to start to develop our own political theory.
> I think what I have been doing is expound, in a sort of half arse
> way that I should have more sense about, a political theory.
> Might be worth bearing in mind a theory and a definition are
> a bit different.
> With respect to your offered best definition that politics is
> "The relationships between groups" I'm left with the sense
> that what I want to know is what you mean by "relationships".
> I wonder what you'd think a politician was, as a politician
> is normally an individual not a group.
> I wonder whether you think a person approaching others
> to persuade them to some cause is a politician.
> Perhaps this is the problem with trying to use definitions as
> theories.

I would certainly agree that a definition does not constitute a theory or
plan of action - just a baseline reference check. And yes, I do see a
'politician' as essentially a persuader - any person who attempts to guide
and/or influence the group.

Without wanting to appear too metaphysical - I suggest politics, philosophy
and religion are all the same thing - in that they are all attempts to
the ultimate question: "How shall we live our lives?"

It seems to me that this ultimate question is perhaps not so pressing when
sheer survival is sufficient to provide meaning. That is: you work, you
feed, clothe and educate your family and fill your life with material
comforts. These are life-goals in our 'economics of scarcity' society - they
provide meaning enough for a fulfilled life for most people.

I can't see how this model holds up in a post-human 'economics of plenty'
society with unlimited life expectation. It strikes me that once we get
tired of playing with all our new toys, we might start looking for some
ultimate purpose, philosophy, commitment etc...

In this hugely different world, a moral philosophy - a well-thought out
outlook on life would appear to be highly desirable, if not essential. I
think we need a transhuman moral/philosophic/political theory!

Jack Parkinson

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list