[extropy-chat] More forwards please

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Thu Jan 11 19:09:16 UTC 2007

Jef Allbright wrote:
> I think there's a slight but significant gap in this expression of
> appreciation for progress.  While I enjoy its romantic and audacious
> approach to the uncertain rewards of human experience, it feeds a
> perception that we (extropians, transhumanists) believe all change is
> good in a kind of blind, negentropic way.

Maybe. But I think we need to consider our position. Rationally we are all
for "good change" and trying to steer change towards desirable outcomes
and avoid bad outcomes. That is something we need to emphasize. But I find
that quite often when you do that you end up in a grey utilitarian mode
where all progress is for making the world more comfy. It tends to lock
you into arguing for a "more-human" rather than a "transhuman" world, a
world where all current human needs are taken into account but where there
is no acknowledgement of the expansion of humanity.

> Chaotic change is our friend to the extent that it provides the raw
> stuff necessary for selection and growth, but it is subjective,
> intentional selection by increasingly aware agents (us) that defines and
> drives toward the "good".

Exactly. But what I'm fishing for here is something beyond chaos, getting
the new stuff. I'm increasingly thinking that there might be something
good about new stuff that has never existed before and might never have
come into being. It could be just a weak aesthetic value, but it could
also be that its contingency and uniqueness gives it a bit of moral value.

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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