[extropy-chat] Ok I get the hint!

kevinfreels.com kevin at kevinfreels.com
Fri Mar 10 19:33:59 UTC 2006

Robert has some VERY good points here. I am one of the outsiders. I am not part of the clique and never had the benefit of a college life. Instead, I am entirely self-taught. 

It is important for you to know that although you are not the genius that some here seem to be, you still have a contribution to make. For example,  I would hate to imagine Charles Darwin, med-school drop-out, keeping his ideas to himself.
This list has a variety of people from all walks of life. Each of these people has their own talents, and their own problems. You will find that some here suffer from an inability to remain silent. They must point out every thing that doesn;t make perfect sense to them so that they can improve their own self-esteem. This is not altogether bad. In fact, critical review is necessary. But you have to be tough to handle it and learn to use it constructively.

You will also find that there are some excellent people here. One I think very highly of is Robert. A couple years ago I threw out the idea of manufacturing meat  rather than getting it from animals. Several people proceeded to tell me how ignorant I was and how I needed to go back to school. Robert came to my defense and I was very pleased. Then this article came out last year. http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/scitech/release.cfm?ArticleID=1098 
I felt vindicated. But what is really troubling was that I had let the incident affect my own self-esteem and had went back to lurking for a time.  Robert is wonderfully patient and willing to entertain some ideas that are way outside of the mainstream. But at  the same time, this leads to a lot of dead-ends. Sometimes I wonder how Robert can research and post on so many different subjects, keep track of his references, and still find time to "feed the trolls" as it is called around here. 

After this article, I realized that my thoughts are no less important than those of a "genius" and that education can sometimes actually get in the way of real learning. This is not to knock the educational establishment. It is necessary as most of the new science and technology is built on the work of others. In fact, so few breakthroughs come from anywhere else, that it is easy to understand how some are lulled into a belief that their education makes them superior. 

My advice is to critique your own work before you post it. Make sure it really is something that you are willing to subject to ridicule. Swimming with sharks can be a truly educational, exhilarating, and rewarding experience. Just be careful about the bait that you jump into the shark pit with. 

Kevin Freels


  I agree with Gina.  There is nothing wrong with being somewhat different, particularly if one is trying to explain and communicate different thoughts.  One of the problems in communicating with people is in recognizing that you are ultimately trying to get the other person to recreate in their mind the equivalent of the neural connections that you have in your mind -- and we are using very cumbersome methods (speaking "symbol, symbol, symbol, ..." to the other person) and hoping that they can develop an understanding similar to that which we have.  In the particular case under discussion it looks like you created a logical disconnect among some list members because you were attempting to serve as an interpreter between one "reality" (extropianism/transhumanism) and another reality (based upon 'faith'?) using language (science & physics) which can have problems in both realms.  (At least that is my subjective impression based on brief readings of some of the conversation.) 

  The ExI list is a rather rough and tumble environment because most of the people have a strong background in science and rational debate (as well as pick a whole host of other topics).  So if one frames a communication which is significantly in departure from the common knowledge base it leads people to "creative"(?) speculation about what the communicator may not understand, be misinterpreting, etc. 

  As a side note, I'm still rather pissed about the general direction the list seems to be taking which is that you can join the "club" if you scored 800's on your SATs at the age of 16 or have a degree from Caltech but god forbid you should walk into the club and demonstrate some ignorance or ideas which conflict with the "club reality". 

  Do not be completely offended Anna, there are at least a few of us here who may wonder how various people connect the dots from time to time are open minded enough to ask whether or not there might be some wisdom in those pathways. 

  Perhaps what we need is an extropy(transhumanist?)-novices list...
  As things appear now the "club" is never going to transition from a "clique" to a robust educational and transformational vehicle (IMO).  If that is true, then there should be warnings and/or messages posted on the mailing list signup pages and in the monthly notices that this isn't "really" about "chatting" unless the chat topic happens to be one which interests the "clique". 

  (if you respond to the last couple of paragraphs, you may want to change the Subject...)



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