[extropy-chat] Fwd: SURVIVAL: An impulse behind transhumanism?

Russell Wallace russell.wallace at gmail.com
Thu Jun 29 00:27:16 UTC 2006

On 6/29/06, nvitamore at austin.rr.com <nvitamore at austin.rr.com> wrote:
> I'd like to take this a step further.  Can you find parallels in society
> in
> which a movement was developed for the sake of survival?

Well, that's a good question... "for the sake of" is a tricky one.

For example, if you look at the historical aspect of the events described in
the Old Testament, it's clear that the Jewish religion helped the Israelite
tribe survive in that harsh and hostile environment. But did the founders of
that religion have that in mind? Did they think "we should start believing
this because it will give our tribe the cohesion it needs to survive"?
That's not so clear; perhaps they just believed for quite different reasons
that God had given them certain directions, and the outcome is recorded as a
result of a selection filter.

Mind you, perhaps the same applies to transhumanism: Did its founders think
"we need to throw all our efforts behind this idea because humanity has a
finite window of time in which to ascend or pass on"? Or did they have
different motives such as freedom and self-actualization? Not a rhetorical
question - I don't know the answer to that one. (Though I do know that when
I first became interested in AI, back in college, it was on the basis of
"this would be a cool thing for me to do"; at that time it hadn't occurred
to me that progress and survival weren't laws of nature - if these things
hadn't occurred to me I'd long ago have given up and moved on to something
more personally rewarding! :P)

Basically it's not clear to me that the reasons the founders of a
philosophy, religion, political movement etc have consciously in mind often
have much to do with the need for and eventual effect of said movement,
though I'm open to counterexamples.
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