[extropy-chat] Pretranshumanist

Acy James Stapp astapp at amazeent.com
Wed Oct 19 20:22:31 UTC 2005

Welcome Brandon. I was at SOE but left before you started, still in
Austin though. I think you'll find the group here an interesting and
(mostly) pleasant bunch :)

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Brandon
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 1:26 AM
To: 'ExI chat list'
Subject: [extropy-chat] Pretranshumanist

I figure I would make a post to introduce myself. I don't know if that
is standard behavior on this list, but since its standard behavior in
most social groups I'll fire away.


My name is Brandon Reinhart. I am 27 years old, I live in Austin, Texas
and I design and engineer massively multiplayer computer games and world
simulations. I am currently employed by a startup company working on a
new project, but prior to that I worked at Sony Online Entertainment.


I am a secular humanist and critical atheist. I consider myself to be
"pre-transhumanist." The values, ethics, and goals of transhumanism
reflect my own views, but I do not consider myself a master of the
material or its component arguments. I'm learning and I'm making use of
the resources provided by many members of this list to do so. In my
early life I was exposed to viral fundamentalist Christianity and as a
result I've developed a cautious mental immune system. (Reference USENET
archives with my name for a few posts I made while infected.) I'm
working through several documents and arguments a night, spending time
thinking about the points of view and how it relates to my own
understanding of technology and the direction of human progress.


I held several transhumanist beliefs before I became aware of the term,
such as a belief that death is the result of preventable halting states.
I have never been satisfied with the agenda of either American political
party and so I am in the process of building my own complete
socio-political philosophical view.


I had no idea what extropy was until I read "Iron Sunrise" by Charles
Stross -- a book I bought because I liked the title. I didn't realize
people had a name for technology heavy views like mine. Researching
extropy led me to research humanism, transhumanism, etc. It helped give
me a vocabulary I could use to identify my values and further develop
them. Tools I can use to get inside my own head. Kick ass!


I am hesitant to accept the historical exponential view of evolution.
This is one of the things sitting in my meme filter awaiting
development. The predictions of a technological singularity that might
occur within my lifetime is not something I currently accept, because I
cannot accept it without further research and thought. 


I have a blog at www.extropica.com <http://www.extropica.com/>  that I
worked on briefly earlier this year and have picked up again. At the
moment it doesn't have a goal or focus. It is largely regurgitation of
concepts I've read, because writing an idea helps me contemplate and
understand the idea. Eventually, I would like that page to become a more
directed sounding board for my views (as I become more able to
articulate them).


I'm playing around with building a personal concept map in Visio:



Non-Normative UML


Core beliefs are represented by classes. Belief values are represented
as class members.


Dashed arrows indicate correlations of the type "reasonably leads to."
In other words "rationalism reasonably leads to humanism." "Humanism
reasonably leads to altruism." The atheism arrow is backwards.
"Reasonably leads to" relationships aren't qualifications for a given
belief, but are more like a road map of how my own development works.
Humanism, for example, creates the context and logic for me to be
altruistic. That isn't to say that altruism depends on humanism. 


I need to do a lot more work on this, but this is kind of how I think. I
like to make graphs of concepts and write out or visualize my ideas to
try and internalize them. Now if only I could get an integrated agent to
help me do that!


Brandon Reinhart

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