[ExI] "Toward a Type 1 civilization" by Michael Shermer

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Fri Aug 8 14:26:44 UTC 2008

On Thu, Aug 7, 2008 at 5:15 AM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> We want representative democracy. The "real sovereignty" should
> reside in the mass of people, however deluded, electing somewhat
> more intelligent and hopefully more thoughtful specimens to debate
> and consider legislation.  I presume we're all on the same page here.

In general terms, yes. Even though of course this leaves out only absolute,
hereditary monarchies, and the devil is in the details. And there have been
and may still exist even peoples opting for different systems that enjoyed
or enjoy nevertheless a widespread popular consensus, leaving others the
options of military intervention or at least cultural imperialism
deliberately aimed at undermining such consensus...

The cultural straightjackets of a number of nations will, to
> be sure, at least give any democracy they embrace a
> distinct character. But what examples do you have in mind?
> For all their "other ways of doing things", the Japanese seem
> remarkably democratic to me.

Japan has copied in a remarkably close fashion constitutional technicalities
from the western world. Yet, out of indirect information and personal
experience I am under the impression that China is much more deeply
westernised these days, as far as the real power structures and society
working are concerned, in spite of the very different "democratic" rhetorics
of the respective regimes.

Please note that this is not a criticism of either country, and that I would
*not* welcome the idea of some more "advanced" governments sending in the
marines to intercede tenporarily in view of a deeper homologation of either
country to some foreign or "univesal" ideal.

> Unfortunately, certain nations in which religion is the dominant
> force will be slow to accept democracy (as opposed to rule by
> priests, imams, or other holy men.  Is this what you were getting
> at?

Mmhhh, say, as in the United State where self-selected and nominated Justice
Priests sitting in the Supreme Court have a final say on the local and
federal legislation based on obscure and unplausible interpreting of a
sacred document enshrined in the XVIII century? Just joking, no offense

You mention Brave New World.
> That Huxley novel is best noted for his use of a "drugged" society
> in which people were (in Huxley's mind) necessarily unfulfilled
> and unhappy despite the drugs.

Brave New World depicts a future political evolution where a global system
is in place making extensive use of available pharmacological, eugenetic,
managerial, psychological, economic, etc., techniques to ensure stability,
the end of history and conflicts, and as much happiness as possible to its
citizens, who are deprived of any (significant) say for their own good and
in order to limit existential and other risks.

I would add, as it is interesting from a transhumanist point of view, that
technology itself is largely employed, but also deliberately *frozen*, as
technological progress is potentially as dangerous to the New Brave World as
self-determination in any meaningful sense would be.

Certainly, Huxley does not approve of such world, even though he falls short
of offering any alternative, but the concern here is that some
well-intentioned, politically correct, "progressive" views may incline in
such direction, and this is why I think the novel has still something to
tell us, namely; "Is this really where we want to go?". And this is also why
for instance I am wary of the attitude of those in our ranks that seem
sometimes inclined to sing an uncritical praise of the goods of
globalisation (I am not referring to anybody in particular, and certainly
not to you).

Stefano Vaj
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