[extropy-chat] The Masses (was Re: The Limits of "Property")

Joseph Bloch transhumanist at goldenfuture.net
Fri Sep 8 22:14:48 UTC 2006

It was indeed a quip on my part, but hopefully one with a larger point.

That is, I wasn't speaking for the content of this list (over which I 
have no control, naturally), but to the general level of discourse 
within Transhumanism (and Extropianism) in general.

There is, IMNSHO, a tendency for >H email lists to veer off into the 
most obscure points of philosophy, making the most erudite discussions 
of medieval monks about the nature of angels seem downright homey. The 
average person (gasp!) is simply not going to find such discussions 
accessible, and that does >H a disservice.

Mock all you want about the need to appeal to the masses, but it is 
precisely those masses who want to shut down research into most of the 
technologies that >H espouses. Transhumanist organizations are laughably 
under-supported and under-funded. That's because we are pitifully 
under-represented. And that is never, ever going to change unless we 
start bringing in new people. Not just people from the rarified 
intellectual elites, but ordinary folks. Because there are a LOT more of 
them than the elites, and numbers, frankly, mean power of all sorts; 
economic, political, social...

We need to ditch the sort of intellectual snobbery which has been one of 
 >H's hallmarks for years. Don't understand Bayesian logic? Begone! 
Can't produce a pages-long essay on the problem of Identity in the 
context of quantum mind-uploading? Maybe you'd be better off among the 
peasants in the *sniff* World Future Society.

So, no; I'm not saying the Extropy list should be any different than it 
is now. I'm saying that Transhumanism in general should be a lot more 
accessible than it is now. Less erudite and more practical.

Chortle about gimicks all you like. If they help to open peoples' minds 
about what we are, what we want, and help to convince them that what we 
want isn't the work of the Devil, then I say let's do it. We've been a 
fringe of a fringe of a fringe too long.


Mike Dougherty wrote:

> On 9/7/06, *Joseph Bloch* <transhumanist at goldenfuture.net 
> <mailto:transhumanist at goldenfuture.net>> wrote:
>     And people wonder why Transhumanism and Extropy don't appeal to the
>     masses...
> What people?  Are we supposed to be concerned about the masses?  I 
> really am not trying to be snarky (it's a natural skill)  Seriously 
> though, is this list supposed to be a place for like-minded 
> Transhumanists and Extropians to discuss ideas amongst themselves - or 
> is this a place to encourage "the masses" to understand the philosophy 
> using sanitized language and small words?  I do believe it is 
> important to know the audience before attempting to deliver a point.  
> If you were just throwing out a quip and I missed the tone, then "i 
> get it now"  - if not, can you direct me to another resource for the 
> etiquette of this list?  (ex:  I don't remember a specific suggestion 
> for top or bottom posting.  My last post was top- out of habit.  
> Unless there is a preference I usually try to bottom-post to lists so 
> i remember to trim the quotation)
> To make a further comment about appealing to "the masses" - perhaps 
> people would like it more if we renamed it iTranshumanism and 
> iExtropy.  Or you know, if the iPod is not the thing, maybe capitalize 
> on how much people love plasma Television and make it Plasmahumanism, 
> or maybe drop the redundant letters and just call it Xtropy.  You 
> know, people generally love gimmicky stuff like that  :)
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