[extropy-chat] transhumanism=doomsday cult b.s?

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Wed Jan 31 12:26:52 UTC 2007

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 wrote:
> note that you frames these statements with negative wording, but each
> one can also be worded positively. Example (same order - I just
> filtered out the noise):
> A movement of free thinkers.
> A realistic option for an afterlife, compatible with scientific knowledge.

I think it is important for us to be aware that both as a movement and
individually we probably have a kind of superposition of the negative
aspects and the positive ones. Yes, we are a movement of free thinkers but
we are also to some extent a refuge for mutual reinforcement of fringe
ideas. Yes, we are analysing technological transcendence but at the same
time there is a taint of millenniarist thinking. And so on. Ideally we can
keep the bad and cultish sides down, but we should never count on them
being absent just because we are so wonderful.

I doubt any movement of ideas has succeeded without a bit of the cult
psychological dynamics. But many movements have failed due to it too - we
need the (quasi-) spiritual driving force, but we need to avoid creating
the social feedback loops that make the important things the movement and
not the ideas or practical realization.

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

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