[ExI] Prudes, Protestants, Progress, and Profit

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue May 20 01:50:51 UTC 2008

Kevin writes (in that awfully named "English-speaking Google News and Myanmar...")

> Thomas wrote
> > Something I don't understand about U.S.
> > It's quite a bit of hypocrisy, is it  not? When
> > a really vast amount of the internet is about
> > sex and much of the porn is right from the U.S.
> > Why conceal it then? 
> Hypocrisy it is. The worst of it is that almost every
> American I talk to about it agrees that it's silly, yet
> the condition persists.  Everyone is infatuated with
> sex and doesn't want anyone else to know it -
> almost ashamed to admit to liking sex. 

Outside the West, it's noticed that we are not just
preoccupied with hiding from sex. It strikes people
from Asia and Africa that we tend to demean fun
of any kind.  Our oldest traditions, e.g. our religions,
are not only "against sex" (except under authorized
conditions for the express purpose of procreation)
but also seem to have something against simply having
a good time.

For example, Catholicism and especially Protestantism
strongly tend to regard having fun as being frivolous.
Running around and having fun is for... children.
Well---okay,  *after* a hard day's work where
things got done and stuff was produced, well, then,
yes, some fun is okay as a justified reward.

Now I do *not* think that it's just a coincidence that
the West has also been preeminent in the last five
hundred years. This attitude towards serious work
and against frivolity can pay off in terms, again, of
getting stuff done and technical progress and all.
Isaac Newton *deliberately* painted his rooms
red, just so that it would put him in an irascible
mood every day, so that he could be more productive.
No fun for Mr. Newton. And he did accomplish a
great deal for us.

But as Extropians, our goal, as always, should be to
have our cake and eat it too. Let's be as productive
as possible as much of the time as possible, and, in
the immortal words of Maxwell Smart, be "loving
every moment of it".  What has sex (or violence, for
that matter), ever done for progress, or for bottom
line profit?

Lee, studying math diligently and loving it

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