Meet the Extropians | WIRED

There's been nothing like this movement - nothing this wild and extravagant - since way back in those bygone ages when people believed in things like progress, knowledge, and - let's all shout it out, now - Growth!

The Handshake: Right hand out in front of you, fingers spread and pointing at the sky. Grasp the other person's right hand, intertwine fingers, and close. Then shoot both hands upward, straight up, all the way up, letting go at the top, whooping "Yo!" or "Hey!" or some such thing.

You won't be able to do this without smiling, without laughing out loud, in fact - just try it - but this little ceremony, this tiny two-second ritual, pretty much sums up the general Extropian approach. This is a philosophy of boundless expansion, of upward- and outwardness, of fantastic superabundance.

It's a doctrine of self-transformation, of extremely advanced technology, and of dedicated, immovable optimism. Most of all, it's a philosophy of freedom from limitations of any kind. There hasn't been anything like it - nothing this wild and extravagant, no such overweening confidence in the human prospect - since way back to those bygone ages when people still believed in things like progress, knowledge, and - let's all shout it out, now - Growth!

Their gung-ho attitude reflects the success of digital technology, which these days allows us to create - at least in cyberspace - anything conceivable. You can create your own simulated universe if you want to. What's more, you can actually get it right this time: you can start at the bottom and remake things as you'd want them to be, as they should have been made in the first place, perhaps. The Extropians take that same attitude and apply it to the real world: they extrapolate out in every dimension, along every parameter, pushing technology to its outermost limits. When you do that, and when you take the results seriously, you find that some pretty outrageous stuff becomes possible.

Just how outrageous became clear at "Extro 1," the first formal gathering of the clan, in Sunnyvale, California, in April 1994, where there were plenty of Extropian handshakes going around - not to mention the hugs and kisses. This is not a doctrine of repressing your feelings, after all, or of being embarrassed about things.

Just a few months previously, at the "Extropaganza" at Mark DeSilets's house in nearby Boulder Creek, the invitations had read: "Bring appropriate toys and gadgets, and a playful attitude. The house has a hot tub, so come prepared; please note that some clothing will be required in the tub, so as not to shock the neighbors with the sight of our transhuman physiques!" Romana Machado - aka "Mistress Romana" - software engineer, author, and hot-blooded capitalist, showed up dressed as the State, in a black vinyl bustier and mini, with a chain harness top, custom-made for her at Leather Masters in San Jose, California, for whom she does modeling work. She was in all that garb, carrying a light riding crop, plus a leash, at the other end of which, finally, her Extropian companion Geoff Dale, the Taxpayer, crawled along in mock subjection. The couple embodied Extropian symbolism, the State being regarded as one of the major restrictive forces in the Milky Way galaxy. These people hate government, particularly "entropic deathworkers like the Clinton administration."

And so later on, when you threw off your inhibitions, shackles, chains, and clothes, and splashed around in the hot tub together with the VEPs on hand - the Very Extropian Persons - you could actually imagine that, here in the Santa Cruz mountains, the Extropians had discovered the secret of existence. You got a further inkling of what that secret was during Extro 1, which was decidedly more refined a gathering. It was the occasion for theory and reflection, for sober discussion of Extropian ideas. Like immortality, for example.

Early in the conference, Mike Perry, overseer of the 27 frozen people (actually, 17 are frozen heads, only 10 are entire bodies) submerged in liquid nitrogen at minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit (Cold enough for you?) at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryonics outfit in Scottsdale, Arizona, gave a talk saying that, contrary to appearances, genuine immortality was physically possible.

"Immortality is mathematical, not mystical," he said.

Perry, with a PhD in computer science from the University of Colorado, might well think so. A rather gaunt figure, a little rumpled and slightly stooped, he'd worked out a scheme whereby if you make enough backup copies of yourself, then everlasting life can be yours forever, always, and in perpetuity.

He explained: some of the more submissive immortalists - non-Extropian immortalists, in other words - had worried about the possibility of their lives being terminated by accident, murder, or some other such form of radical unpleasantness. The way to get around that in the future, said Perry, would be to download the entire contents of your mind into a computer - your memories, knowledge, your whole personality (which is, after all, just information) - you'd transfer all of it to a computer, make backup copies, and stockpile those copies all over creation. If at some point later you should happen to suffer a wee interruption of your current life cycle, then one of your many backups would be activated, and, in a miracle of electronic resurrection, you'd pop back into existence again, good as new.

Well, this was a vision entirely agreeable to the audience, some 70 or so Extropic presences now basking in immortalist cheer in the main conference room at the Sunnyvale Sheraton. An infinitely long life span is just one small part of the greater Extropian dream, a package that involves the wholesale transformation of man, culture, and even of nature. The overall goal is to become more than human - to become superhuman, "transhuman," or "posthuman," as they like to say - possessed of drastically augmented intellects, memories, and physical powers. The goal is a society based on freely chosen social arrangements, on systems of self-generating "spontaneous order," as opposed to massive legal structures imposed from above by the State. And the goal is to gain as complete control over the physical universe as is compatible with natural law.

An impressive program by any standard. But if the Extropians are right, off in the dim mist is a grand new order of things, one that is not so much physical or political as it is metaphysical, founded upon a lavishly expanded conception of human possibility. No longer is biology destiny: with genetic engineering, biology is under human control. And with nanotechnology, smart drugs, and advances in computation and artificial intelligence, so is human psychology. Suddenly technology has given us powers with which we can manipulate not only external reality - the physical world - but also, and much more portentously, ourselves. We can become whatever we want to be: that is the core of the Extropian dream.

People have dreamed such dreams before, of course: they've wanted to fly like eagles, to run like the wind, to live forever. They've dreamed of becoming like the gods, of having supernatural powers. The difference is that now, suddenly, all of it is entirely possible. For the first time in history, science and technology have caught up to the wildest of human aspirations and hopes. No ambition, however extra-vagant, no fantasy, however outlandish, can any longer be dismissed as crazy or impossible. This is the age when you can finally do it all.

The Extropians are the first ones to realize this, the first to make a doctrine and a program out of it, wrap it up into a system, and offer it to the outside world - which is exactly what they were doing at Extro 1. Nobody at the conference was pretending there were no problems involved; this was a highly literate technical bunch: computer scientists, rocket designers, a neurosurgeon, a Berkeley chemist, writers, researchers, and so on. From them could be heard a reservation or two.

"What about copying errors?" asked one of them about the immortality-through-backups scheme.

"Well, you can check one copy against the other," Mike Perry said.

But how about the question of storage medium? Will a physical thing persist that long? Doesn't proton decay put some limits on this? What about the possible ultimate contraction of the universe?

Well ... never mind! Stay your naysaying! We're chasing after big quarry here! Eternal survival! Resurrection after obliteration! Unbounded happiness across infinite time!

Come on! We're Extropians!

For all its gonzo metaphysics, the fact is that Extropianism is a carefully worked out philosophical movement, one whose rituals, symbolism, and mind-set are rooted in a deep and rich body of principles. The basic idea is to fight entropy - the natural tendency of things to run down, degenerate, and die out - with its polar opposite, "extropy."

Extropy, according to the official Extropian Principles (version 2.5), is "a measure of intelligence, information, energy, vitality, experience, diversity, opportunity, and capacity for growth." Extropianism, then, is "the philosophy that seeks to increase extropy."

The principles themselves are five in number: Boundless Expansion, Self-Transformation, Dynamic Optimism, Intelligent Technology, and Spontaneous Order. They make up the handy Extropian acronym: BEST DO IT SO!

How well thought-out! How self-referentially interconnected! The five principles, the five fingers of the Extropian handshake, the five arrows on the Extropian logo, curving outward from the center like the points of a pinwheel or the arms of a spiral galaxy!

To the major Extropians, the principles are meant to be taken seriously: they're meant to be practiced, they're guides to action, not just a bunch of abstract theories. Take this business of Dynamic Optimism, for example. In 1991 Max More, co-founder of and primary intellectual force behind Extropianism, wrote an essay called "Dynamic Optimism: Epistemological Psychology for Extropians," in which he enumerated eight separate strategies - eight! - by which you could acquire a properly auspicious view of yourself, life, and the universe. There was the technique of selective focus, for example, whereby you'd concentrate on the positive aspects of a given situation, on what you personally regarded as worthy and valuable. You'd adopt such a focus regularly, systematically; you'd make it a matter of personal policy.

"This need not require a denial of pain, difficulty, or frustration," he wrote. "Rather it may be a matter of spending less time on unpleasantness and of apprehending unpleasant things in a masterful, empowering way instead of a helpless, victimizing way. Optimists attend to the downsides of life only insofar as doing so is likely to enable them to move ahead."

And so on through seven more steps. Stoicism: optimists "don't whine and moan about things that are past or out of their control." Questioning of limits: "Optimists will question and probe at any entrenched limiting assumptions, especially where these appear to lack a rationally convincing basis. Only an iron-clad demonstration of impossibility (such as Goedel's incompleteness theorem) will stop them; even then optimists will be careful not to draw unnecessarily frustrating conclusions."

The tract was fitted out with the usual scholarly apparatus: footnotes, bibliography, and references to thinkers ranging from the church father Tertullian, circa 200, to contemporaries like Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand.

Imposing as it all was, it was merely Max More's latest attempt to go beyond the limits, something he'd been doing since birth.

"According to my mother I was named Max because I was the heaviest baby in the hospital ward where I was born," he said.

That cataclysmic event occurred in Bristol, England, in 1964. Later, at age 5, Max was transfixed by the moon landing and was fascinated by high technology and the future. He idolized the superheroes of various types that he read about in comic books: he craved their X-ray vision, their disintegrator guns, their ability to walk through walls.

"When I was about 10, I went through a period of real interest in the occult. I was very interested in the idea of any kind of paranormal powers, having abilities beyond the normal human ones."

He even started a club, called Psychic Development and Research, at the school he attended, for the purpose of exploring the nether realms. But the more he actually learned about the occult, the less he was convinced that there was anything to it, and ultimately he became an all-out rationalist. The only reliable way of gaining knowledge, he decided, the only way to accomplish anything worthwhile, was through hard science and cold logic.

Later on, he attended St. Anne's College, Oxford, where he majored in philosophy, politics, and economics. Always very big on organizing things, he started up new clubs and discussion groups, published magazines, and became, he claims, the first person in Europe to sign up for cryonic suspension - the process of being frozen at death in hopes of later revival. He kept a heart-lung resuscitator in his dorm room, just in case. "People used to go in and see that, and it added to the odd impression, along with my several rows of vitamins on the shelves." Not to mention the 3,000 science fiction books.

He got his degree and, tired of England's dreary mood, lit out for the States.

"Going to Los Angeles was a wonderful thing. It had this glamorous feel to it, it was just a huge thrill being there. I remember going on the freeways and looking up at the sign and seeing Los Angeles and saying, 'I'm really here! Wow!'"

This was the land where everything was possible. Sunshine! Palm trees! California girls! Minor impediments like smog and earthquakes did not figure into his personal equation. But a change of name did.

"In Southern California, everybody changes their name: actors do, writers do. I knew I wanted to be a writer and become known, so that I could spread these ideas better, so I thought I might as well change my name," which until then had been Max O'Connor.

He spent a year thinking up a new name for himself, finally deciding on the word, More.

"It seemed to really encapsulate the essence of what my goal is: always to improve, never to be static. I was going to get better at everything, become smarter, fitter, and healthier. It would be a constant reminder to keep moving forward."

It would also be the start of a trend among Extropians: Mark Potts became Mark Plus; Harry Shapiro became Harry Hawk.

"It's a great expression of self-transformation," said Tom Morrow, a Silicon Valley attorney, about renaming himself. "This is how I'm changing myself: I'm going to change the way people think of me - because people think of you, in part, by the way you're named. Also we pick descriptive names, which is a trait the Quakers also shared; they often named their kids with descriptive names like Felicity or Charity. You see that same trait in Extropians. They hold their values so dear, they want to be associated with them more than by just holding them. They want to be known by them.

"And also," he added, "it's a fun sort of thing."

Fun, indeed, would be the sixth Extropian principle, if there were one. It was Tom Morrow, at any rate, who began using the term "Extropy," invented the Extropian handshake, and, together with Max More, co-founded Extropianism, back when both of them were graduate students in philosophy at the University of Southern California.

By the time Morrow and More were getting their master's degrees in the subject, the ideas of souped-up humans that had been percolating through Max's head since childhood had been reinforced by certain doctrines of the Western philosophers, some of whom had advanced like-minded, or at least highly sympathetic, notions. Aristotle, who'd founded logic as a formal discipline and had done pioneering research in biology, professed an ethics of self-realization, the notion of fulfilling one's highest potential. There were the philosophers of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, thinkers like Voltaire, John Locke, and Adam Smith, who claimed that genuine knowledge was in fact possible, that nature was knowable, and that progress was desirable and good. There was Ayn Rand, who put forward the conception of "man as a heroic being," able to perform untold feats of imagination and creation. And above all there was Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century philosopher who explicitly advocated mankind's transforming itself into something far superior.

"All beings so far have created something beyond themselves," wrote Nietzsche. "Do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man?"

There was much that needed to be overcome, that was for sure. Human beings had almost too many flaws, chief among them being the unholy trio of sickness, aging, and death. Beyond that there were vast surfeits of human evil: wanton excesses of fraud and deceit, mindless violence, prejudice, police states, and so on and so forth. It did not make for a pretty picture, especially considering that all of it was rectifiable, totally reversible through human action.

"I teach you the overman," Nietzsche had said. "Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?"

What Max More and Tom Morrow did in 1988 was to start up the journal Extropy. By challenging culturally entrenched notions about the inherent limitations of humankind, they'd show how the species could pull itself out of the mud. Sickness could be wiped out, aging reversed, life spans lengthened, intelligence increased, states replaced by voluntary societies - and all of this in the first issue! The print run was just 50 copies, but even so it was hard to get rid of them.

"We basically forced them on people," said More. "Anybody who might be interested, anybody who was our friend, we tried to get them to take a copy. Go on, just read this!"

Which they did. It was pretty far-out, this stuff - audacious, but strangely stirring in its own way. One issue proposed "a new dating system" to replace the Christian calendar. Why should Extropians - mostly atheists and agnostics - be forced to use a dating scheme based on the birth of Christ? Why not start from Francis Bacon's Novum Organum, the book that in 1620 set forth the modern scientific method, in which case 1990 would be 370 PNO (post Novum Organum)? Or start from Newton's Principia, maybe. Something reasonable.

Along the way there was an attempt to create a nomenclature that lived up to Extropian doctrine. And why not? This was a total philosophy, and so it deserved its own proprietary rhetoric. Soon a whole panoply of extropically flavored neologisms had sprung into existence: Extropia (coined by Tom Morrow), a community embodying Extropian values; Extropolis (from Max More), an Extropian city located in space; extropiate (from Dave Krieger), any drug having extropic effects. There was smart-faced (from Russell Whitaker), "the condition resulting from social-use extropiates: 'Let's get smart-faced.'" And there was the instantly-memorable disasturbation (another Dave Krieger invention), "idly fantasizing about possible catastrophes (ecological collapse, full-blown totalitarianism) without considering their likelihood or considering their possible solutions/preventions."

Further along there was a concerted attempt to flesh out the Extropian dream. Tom Morrow, the Extropian legal theorist, wrote articles about "privately produced law," showing how systems of rules can and do arise spontaneously from voluntary transactions among free agents, without the assistance of Mother Government. He also wrote about "Free Oceana," a proposed community of Extropians living on artificial islands floating around on the high seas.

Still, all of that was mere theory. Back in the real world, Morrow and More established a sort of intergalactic headquarters for Extropians, the Extropy Institute, a nonprofit California corporation. Soon there was also a bimonthly institute newsletter, the Exponent, as well as an electronic mailing list. And in a short time, Extropianism seemed to have acquired all the trappings of a major cultural phenomenon, with a succession of parties, weekly lunches, T-shirts ("Forward! Upward! Outward!"), and even an Extropian "nerd house," called Nextropia, in Cupertino.

Operated by Romana Machado, the aforementioned "Mistress Romana" who in real life works in the Newton division of Apple Computer (she's also the inventor of Stego, a program that compliments traditional encryption schemes - see "Security Through Obscurity," Wired 2.03, page 29), Nextropia is an Extropian boarding house, a community of friends. Just don't call it a "commune."

"The very term makes us shudder," said Max More, who doesn't even live there. "It implies common ownership. Still, for all their journals, newsletters, e-mail lists, and other forms of obsessive communication, it cannot be said that the Extropians are taking the world by storm. Although recent issues of Extropy have boasted print runs above 3,000 and are being carried by some newsstands, total membership in the Extropy Institute was only about 300 at the time of Extro 1, while roughly 350 were reading the e-mail list on a regular basis. But what the Extropians lack in numbers they make up for in sheer brains; at various times people like artificial intelligence theorist Marvin Minsky, nanotechnologist Eric Drexler, and USC professor Bart Kosko (of fuzzy logic fame) have been found lurking on extropians@extropy.org.

Drexler, indeed, is something of a patron saint among Extropians, the reason being that his books, Engines of Creation and Nanosystems, some members feel, chart the path to the Extropian future. Tiny robots working with molecules, the theory goes, will bring us extreme longevity (Drexler does not speak of "immortality"), health, wealth, and indefinite youth.

No surprise then, that at the Extropian Banquet and Extropy Awards Ceremony, at Extro 1, Drexler emerged as star of the show. This was after Hans Moravec (father of the downloading idea) gave the keynote speech; after Romana Machado, in her leather gauntlets, enumerated "five things you can do to fight entropy now"; after Tom Morrow, the attorney, talked about private legal systems; and after Max More proposed his "epistemology for Extropians," according to which all doctrine, but especially Extropian doctrine, was to be considered forever open to inspection, criticism, and improvement.

After that it was trophy time. There at the front of the room, the banquet room of the Sunnyvale Sheraton, up on a sort of ceremonial altar-table, was a line of actual Extropian trophies. Designed by institute member Regina Pancake, they featured the Extropian starburst in a disk of clear Lucite set into a black plastic base. There was the Corporate Award, for example, "to a company engaged in extropically important activity and run in a way unusually conducive to individual incentive, ingenuity, and autonomy." And the winner was ... the Xerox Corporation.

And so on for six more awards, including, eventually, the award for Technical Achievement, which went to Drexler. He, for his part, confessed to a strong bent for Extropianism.

"I agree with most of the Extropian ideas," he said later. "Overall, it's a forward-looking, adventurous group that is thinking about important issues of technology and human life and trying to be ethical about it. That's a good thing, and shockingly rare."

So are these people crazy, or what? The question has occurred to them.

"I had a very interesting conversation with a mental health professional last week," said Dave Krieger. Krieger, director of publications for a software company, had been a technical consultant to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

"In preparation for the panel discussion, the one about warding off dogmatism, I'd given her a few issues of Extropy, including one that has the Extropian Principles in it, and I said, 'Look this over and tell me: Are we crazy? Is this a world view that you or your colleagues would consider to be insane? Or psychologically unhealthy? Or neurotic?'"

Well, not exactly. But, in fact, she couldn't really say one way or the other.

"She said that they encounter so many people with defeatist attitudes, the attitude that they can't change their lives and that they can't improve things, that she could see the benefits of Extropianism."

That was on the one hand. On the other hand, the whole thing was still pretty outlandish. "She didn't want to use the word 'receptive,'" said Krieger. "She didn't want to be quite that strong."

Others, however, were far less restrained. "They haven't convinced me that I'll be resurrected a thousand years from now - not that it matters" said Julian Simon, a University of Maryland economist who has written for Extropy. "But they sure are right about rejecting unimaginative and counterproductive notions of closed systems. Resources aren't 'finite' in any significant sense."

"They're extremists," said Marvin Minsky, about the Extropians. "But that's the way you get good ideas."

As it was, Minsky himself almost joined the institute. "I'd like to be a sustaining member," he told Max More. "The trouble is that since about 1970, when we got our first ArpaNet, I became almost unable to lick a stamp. I will, if necessary, but I'd rather phone you a credit card number." But the institute, unfortunately, had not quite gotten around to that.

It soon will, however. Extropy is an idea whose time has come.

"We see this need for transcendence deeply built into humanity," said Max More. "That's why we have all these religious myths. It seems to be something inherent in us that we want to move beyond what we see as our limits. In the past we haven't had the technology to do that, and right now we're in this difficult period where we don't quite have the technology yet, but we can see it coming."

And if the worst happens and you should die before the technology arrives, the plan is to put yourself on hold for the duration, which is why the major Extropians are signed up for cryonic suspension. Max More, Tom Morrow, Simon Levy, Dave Krieger, Romana Machado, Tanya Jones, Mike Perry - they're all ready to have their heads frozen when the time comes. Tanya Jones, indeed, jokes about having a dotted line tattooed around her neck, together with the words cut here.

And why not? How else to make it over the crest, over the slight hill rise, over the next little bit of technology that's left to climb before we can rush down the other side, to the new tomorrow, when all things will be possible? Some incredible things are going to be happening, if and when we get there.

"I enjoy being human but I am not content," said Max More.

Exactly! That was it! That was the secret, the big Extropian key to the universe: appreciate what you've got, but without being overly satisfied with it. There's always something better - far better! - waiting in the wings. You've just got to get yourself out there.

Who could deny it? And who'd not want to be there, in the grand future, when the VEPs, the Very Extropian Persons, wake themselves up, shake off the dust of past ages, and fly off to the far reaches of the galaxy?

You, too, could join the party - the Extropaganza Maximum! Just remember, when you get there, that it's ... right hand out in front of you, fingers spread and pointing at the sky. Grasp the other person's right hand, intertwine fingers, and close.

Then zoom your hand up, straight up, all the way up!

Upward! Outward! Reach for the stars!

"Yo!"

For more Extropian information, e-mail exi-info@extropy.org.

Continued here:

Meet the Extropians | WIRED

Extropianism | Prometheism Transhumanism Post Humanism

Skip Article Header. Skip to: Start of Article.

There's been nothing like this movement nothing this wild and extravagant since way back in those bygone ages when people believed in things like progress, knowledge, and let's all shout it out, now Growth!

The Handshake: Right hand out in front of you, fingers spread and pointing at the sky. Grasp the other person's right hand, intertwine fingers, and close. Then shoot both hands upward, straight up, all the way up, letting go at the top, whooping "Yo!" or "Hey!" or some such thing.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Contact wiredlabs@wired.com to report an issue.

You won't be able to do this without smiling, without laughing out loud, in fact just try it but this little ceremony, this tiny two-second ritual, pretty much sums up the general Extropian approach. This is a philosophy of boundless expansion, of upward- and outwardness, of fantastic superabundance.

It's a doctrine of self-transformation, of extremely advanced technology, and of dedicated, immovable optimism. Most of all, it's a philosophy of freedom from limitations of any kind. There hasn't been anything like it nothing this wild and extravagant, no such overweening confidence in the human prospect since way back to those bygone ages when people still believed in things like progress, knowledge, and let's all shout it out, now Growth!

Their gung-ho attitude reflects the success of digital technology, which these days allows us to create at least in cyberspace anything conceivable. You can create your own simulated universe if you want to. What's more, you can actually get it right this time: you can start at the bottom and remake things as you'd want them to be, as they should have been made in the first place, perhaps. The Extropians take that same attitude and apply it to the real world: they extrapolate out in every dimension, along every parameter, pushing technology to its outermost limits. When you do that, and when you take the results seriously, you find that some pretty outrageous stuff becomes possible.

Just how outrageous became clear at "Extro 1," the first formal gathering of the clan, in Sunnyvale, California, in April 1994, where there were plenty of Extropian handshakes going around not to mention the hugs and kisses. This is not a doctrine of repressing your feelings, after all, or of being embarrassed about things.

Just a few months previously, at the "Extropaganza" at Mark DeSilets's house in nearby Boulder Creek, the invitations had read: "Bring appropriate toys and gadgets, and a playful attitude. The house has a hot tub, so come prepared; please note that some clothing will be required in the tub, so as not to shock the neighbors with the sight of our transhuman physiques!" Romana Machado aka "Mistress Romana" software engineer, author, and hot-blooded capitalist, showed up dressed as the State, in a black vinyl bustier and mini, with a chain harness top, custom-made for her at Leather Masters in San Jose, California, for whom she does modeling work. She was in all that garb, carrying a light riding crop, plus a leash, at the other end of which, finally, her Extropian companion Geoff Dale, the Taxpayer, crawled along in mock subjection. The couple embodied Extropian symbolism, the State being regarded as one of the major restrictive forces in the Milky Way galaxy. These people hate government, particularly "entropic deathworkers like the Clinton administration."

And so later on, when you threw off your inhibitions, shackles, chains, and clothes, and splashed around in the hot tub together with the VEPs on hand the Very Extropian Persons you could actually imagine that, here in the Santa Cruz mountains, the Extropians had discovered the secret of existence. You got a further inkling of what that secret was during Extro 1, which was decidedly more refined a gathering. It was the occasion for theory and reflection, for sober discussion of Extropian ideas. Like immortality, for example.

Early in the conference, Mike Perry, overseer of the 27 frozen people (actually, 17 are frozen heads, only 10 are entire bodies) submerged in liquid nitrogen at minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit (Cold enough for you?) at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryonics outfit in Scottsdale, Arizona, gave a talk saying that, contrary to appearances, genuine immortality was physically possible.

"Immortality is mathematical, not mystical," he said.

Perry, with a PhD in computer science from the University of Colorado, might well think so. A rather gaunt figure, a little rumpled and slightly stooped, he'd worked out a scheme whereby if you make enough backup copies of yourself, then everlasting life can be yours forever, always, and in perpetuity.

He explained: some of the more submissive immortalists non-Extropian immortalists, in other words had worried about the possibility of their lives being terminated by accident, murder, or some other such form of radical unpleasantness. The way to get around that in the future, said Perry, would be to download the entire contents of your mind into a computer your memories, knowledge, your whole personality (which is, after all, just information) you'd transfer all of it to a computer, make backup copies, and stockpile those copies all over creation. If at some point later you should happen to suffer a wee interruption of your current life cycle, then one of your many backups would be activated, and, in a miracle of electronic resurrection, you'd pop back into existence again, good as new.

Well, this was a vision entirely agreeable to the audience, some 70 or so Extropic presences now basking in immortalist cheer in the main conference room at the Sunnyvale Sheraton. An infinitely long life span is just one small part of the greater Extropian dream, a package that involves the wholesale transformation of man, culture, and even of nature. The overall goal is to become more than human to become superhuman, "transhuman," or "posthuman," as they like to say possessed of drastically augmented intellects, memories, and physical powers. The goal is a society based on freely chosen social arrangements, on systems of self-generating "spontaneous order," as opposed to massive legal structures imposed from above by the State. And the goal is to gain as complete control over the physical universe as is compatible with natural law.

An impressive program by any standard. But if the Extropians are right, off in the dim mist is a grand new order of things, one that is not so much physical or political as it is metaphysical, founded upon a lavishly expanded conception of human possibility. No longer is biology destiny: with genetic engineering, biology is under human control. And with nanotechnology, smart drugs, and advances in computation and artificial intelligence, so is human psychology. Suddenly technology has given us powers with which we can manipulate not only external reality the physical world but also, and much more portentously, ourselves. We can become whatever we want to be: that is the core of the Extropian dream.

People have dreamed such dreams before, of course: they've wanted to fly like eagles, to run like the wind, to live forever. They've dreamed of becoming like the gods, of having supernatural powers. The difference is that now, suddenly, all of it is entirely possible. For the first time in history, science and technology have caught up to the wildest of human aspirations and hopes. No ambition, however extra-vagant, no fantasy, however outlandish, can any longer be dismissed as crazy or impossible. This is the age when you can finally do it all.

The Extropians are the first ones to realize this, the first to make a doctrine and a program out of it, wrap it up into a system, and offer it to the outside world which is exactly what they were doing at Extro 1. Nobody at the conference was pretending there were no problems involved; this was a highly literate technical bunch: computer scientists, rocket designers, a neurosurgeon, a Berkeley chemist, writers, researchers, and so on. From them could be heard a reservation or two.

"What about copying errors?" asked one of them about the immortality-through-backups scheme.

"Well, you can check one copy against the other," Mike Perry said.

But how about the question of storage medium? Will a physical thing persist that long? Doesn't proton decay put some limits on this? What about the possible ultimate contraction of the universe?

Well never mind! Stay your naysaying! We're chasing after big quarry here! Eternal survival! Resurrection after obliteration! Unbounded happiness across infinite time!

Come on! We're Extropians!

For all its gonzo metaphysics, the fact is that Extropianism is a carefully worked out philosophical movement, one whose rituals, symbolism, and mind-set are rooted in a deep and rich body of principles. The basic idea is to fight entropy the natural tendency of things to run down, degenerate, and die out with its polar opposite, "extropy."

Extropy, according to the official Extropian Principles (version 2.5), is "a measure of intelligence, information, energy, vitality, experience, diversity, opportunity, and capacity for growth." Extropianism, then, is "the philosophy that seeks to increase extropy."

The principles themselves are five in number: Boundless Expansion, Self-Transformation, Dynamic Optimism, Intelligent Technology, and Spontaneous Order. They make up the handy Extropian acronym: BEST DO IT SO!

How well thought-out! How self-referentially interconnected! The five principles, the five fingers of the Extropian handshake, the five arrows on the Extropian logo, curving outward from the center like the points of a pinwheel or the arms of a spiral galaxy!

To the major Extropians, the principles are meant to be taken seriously: they're meant to be practiced, they're guides to action, not just a bunch of abstract theories. Take this business of Dynamic Optimism, for example. In 1991 Max More, co-founder of and primary intellectual force behind Extropianism, wrote an essay called "Dynamic Optimism: Epistemological Psychology for Extropians," in which he enumerated eight separate strategies eight! by which you could acquire a properly auspicious view of yourself, life, and the universe. There was the technique of selective focus, for example, whereby you'd concentrate on the positive aspects of a given situation, on what you personally regarded as worthy and valuable. You'd adopt such a focus regularly, systematically; you'd make it a matter of personal policy.

"This need not require a denial of pain, difficulty, or frustration," he wrote. "Rather it may be a matter of spending less time on unpleasantness and of apprehending unpleasant things in a masterful, empowering way instead of a helpless, victimizing way. Optimists attend to the downsides of life only insofar as doing so is likely to enable them to move ahead."

And so on through seven more steps. Stoicism: optimists "don't whine and moan about things that are past or out of their control." Questioning of limits: "Optimists will question and probe at any entrenched limiting assumptions, especially where these appear to lack a rationally convincing basis. Only an iron-clad demonstration of impossibility (such as Goedel's incompleteness theorem) will stop them; even then optimists will be careful not to draw unnecessarily frustrating conclusions."

The tract was fitted out with the usual scholarly apparatus: footnotes, bibliography, and references to thinkers ranging from the church father Tertullian, circa 200, to contemporaries like Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand.

Imposing as it all was, it was merely Max More's latest attempt to go beyond the limits, something he'd been doing since birth.

"According to my mother I was named Max because I was the heaviest baby in the hospital ward where I was born," he said.

That cataclysmic event occurred in Bristol, England, in 1964. Later, at age 5, Max was transfixed by the moon landing and was fascinated by high technology and the future. He idolized the superheroes of various types that he read about in comic books: he craved their X-ray vision, their disintegrator guns, their ability to walk through walls.

"When I was about 10, I went through a period of real interest in the occult. I was very interested in the idea of any kind of paranormal powers, having abilities beyond the normal human ones."

He even started a club, called Psychic Development and Research, at the school he attended, for the purpose of exploring the nether realms. But the more he actually learned about the occult, the less he was convinced that there was anything to it, and ultimately he became an all-out rationalist. The only reliable way of gaining knowledge, he decided, the only way to accomplish anything worthwhile, was through hard science and cold logic.

Later on, he attended St. Anne's College, Oxford, where he majored in philosophy, politics, and economics. Always very big on organizing things, he started up new clubs and discussion groups, published magazines, and became, he claims, the first person in Europe to sign up for cryonic suspension the process of being frozen at death in hopes of later revival. He kept a heart-lung resuscitator in his dorm room, just in case. "People used to go in and see that, and it added to the odd impression, along with my several rows of vitamins on the shelves." Not to mention the 3,000 science fiction books.

He got his degree and, tired of England's dreary mood, lit out for the States.

"Going to Los Angeles was a wonderful thing. It had this glamorous feel to it, it was just a huge thrill being there. I remember going on the freeways and looking up at the sign and seeing Los Angeles and saying, 'I'm really here! Wow!'"

This was the land where everything was possible. Sunshine! Palm trees! California girls! Minor impediments like smog and earthquakes did not figure into his personal equation. But a change of name did.

"In Southern California, everybody changes their name: actors do, writers do. I knew I wanted to be a writer and become known, so that I could spread these ideas better, so I thought I might as well change my name," which until then had been Max O'Connor.

He spent a year thinking up a new name for himself, finally deciding on the word, More.

"It seemed to really encapsulate the essence of what my goal is: always to improve, never to be static. I was going to get better at everything, become smarter, fitter, and healthier. It would be a constant reminder to keep moving forward."

It would also be the start of a trend among Extropians: Mark Potts became Mark Plus; Harry Shapiro became Harry Hawk.

"It's a great expression of self-transformation," said Tom Morrow, a Silicon Valley attorney, about renaming himself. "This is how I'm changing myself: I'm going to change the way people think of me because people think of you, in part, by the way you're named. Also we pick descriptive names, which is a trait the Quakers also shared; they often named their kids with descriptive names like Felicity or Charity. You see that same trait in Extropians. They hold their values so dear, they want to be associated with them more than by just holding them. They want to be known by them.

"And also," he added, "it's a fun sort of thing."

Fun, indeed, would be the sixth Extropian principle, if there were one. It was Tom Morrow, at any rate, who began using the term "Extropy," invented the Extropian handshake, and, together with Max More, co-founded Extropianism, back when both of them were graduate students in philosophy at the University of Southern California.

By the time Morrow and More were getting their master's degrees in the subject, the ideas of souped-up humans that had been percolating through Max's head since childhood had been reinforced by certain doctrines of the Western philosophers, some of whom had advanced like-minded, or at least highly sympathetic, notions. Aristotle, who'd founded logic as a formal discipline and had done pioneering research in biology, professed an ethics of self-realization, the notion of fulfilling one's highest potential. There were the philosophers of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, thinkers like Voltaire, John Locke, and Adam Smith, who claimed that genuine knowledge was in fact possible, that nature was knowable, and that progress was desirable and good. There was Ayn Rand, who put forward the conception of "man as a heroic being," able to perform untold feats of imagination and creation. And above all there was Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century philosopher who explicitly advocated mankind's transforming itself into something far superior.

"All beings so far have created something beyond themselves," wrote Nietzsche. "Do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man?"

There was much that needed to be overcome, that was for sure. Human beings had almost too many flaws, chief among them being the unholy trio of sickness, aging, and death. Beyond that there were vast surfeits of human evil: wanton excesses of fraud and deceit, mindless violence, prejudice, police states, and so on and so forth. It did not make for a pretty picture, especially considering that all of it was rectifiable, totally reversible through human action.

"I teach you the overman," Nietzsche had said. "Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?"

What Max More and Tom Morrow did in 1988 was to start up the journal Extropy. By challenging culturally entrenched notions about the inherent limitations of humankind, they'd show how the species could pull itself out of the mud. Sickness could be wiped out, aging reversed, life spans lengthened, intelligence increased, states replaced by voluntary societies and all of this in the first issue! The print run was just 50 copies, but even so it was hard to get rid of them.

"We basically forced them on people," said More. "Anybody who might be interested, anybody who was our friend, we tried to get them to take a copy. Go on, just read this!"

Which they did. It was pretty far-out, this stuff audacious, but strangely stirring in its own way. One issue proposed "a new dating system" to replace the Christian calendar. Why should Extropians mostly atheists and agnostics be forced to use a dating scheme based on the birth of Christ? Why not start from Francis Bacon's Novum Organum, the book that in 1620 set forth the modern scientific method, in which case 1990 would be 370 PNO (post Novum Organum)? Or start from Newton's Principia, maybe. Something reasonable.

Along the way there was an attempt to create a nomenclature that lived up to Extropian doctrine. And why not? This was a total philosophy, and so it deserved its own proprietary rhetoric. Soon a whole panoply of extropically flavored neologisms had sprung into existence: Extropia (coined by Tom Morrow), a community embodying Extropian values; Extropolis (from Max More), an Extropian city located in space; extropiate (from Dave Krieger), any drug having extropic effects. There was smart-faced (from Russell Whitaker), "the condition resulting from social-use extropiates: 'Let's get smart-faced.'" And there was the instantly-memorable disasturbation (another Dave Krieger invention), "idly fantasizing about possible catastrophes (ecological collapse, full-blown totalitarianism) without considering their likelihood or considering their possible solutions/preventions."

Further along there was a concerted attempt to flesh out the Extropian dream. Tom Morrow, the Extropian legal theorist, wrote articles about "privately produced law," showing how systems of rules can and do arise spontaneously from voluntary transactions among free agents, without the assistance of Mother Government. He also wrote about "Free Oceana," a proposed community of Extropians living on artificial islands floating around on the high seas.

Still, all of that was mere theory. Back in the real world, Morrow and More established a sort of intergalactic headquarters for Extropians, the Extropy Institute, a nonprofit California corporation. Soon there was also a bimonthly institute newsletter, the Exponent, as well as an electronic mailing list. And in a short time, Extropianism seemed to have acquired all the trappings of a major cultural phenomenon, with a succession of parties, weekly lunches, T-shirts ("Forward! Upward! Outward!"), and even an Extropian "nerd house," called Nextropia, in Cupertino.

Operated by Romana Machado, the aforementioned "Mistress Romana" who in real life works in the Newton division of Apple Computer (she's also the inventor of Stego, a program that compliments traditional encryption schemes see "Security Through Obscurity," Wired 2.03, page 29), Nextropia is an Extropian boarding house, a community of friends. Just don't call it a "commune."

"The very term makes us shudder," said Max More, who doesn't even live there. "It implies common ownership. Still, for all their journals, newsletters, e-mail lists, and other forms of obsessive communication, it cannot be said that the Extropians are taking the world by storm. Although recent issues of Extropy have boasted print runs above 3,000 and are being carried by some newsstands, total membership in the Extropy Institute was only about 300 at the time of Extro 1, while roughly 350 were reading the e-mail list on a regular basis. But what the Extropians lack in numbers they make up for in sheer brains; at various times people like artificial intelligence theorist Marvin Minsky, nanotechnologist Eric Drexler, and USC professor Bart Kosko (of fuzzy logic fame) have been found lurking on extropians@extropy.org.

Drexler, indeed, is something of a patron saint among Extropians, the reason being that his books, Engines of Creation and Nanosystems, some members feel, chart the path to the Extropian future. Tiny robots working with molecules, the theory goes, will bring us extreme longevity (Drexler does not speak of "immortality"), health, wealth, and indefinite youth.

No surprise then, that at the Extropian Banquet and Extropy Awards Ceremony, at Extro 1, Drexler emerged as star of the show. This was after Hans Moravec (father of the downloading idea) gave the keynote speech; after Romana Machado, in her leather gauntlets, enumerated "five things you can do to fight entropy now"; after Tom Morrow, the attorney, talked about private legal systems; and after Max More proposed his "epistemology for Extropians," according to which all doctrine, but especially Extropian doctrine, was to be considered foreveropen to inspection, criticism, and improvement.

After that it was trophy time. There at the front of the room, the banquet room of the Sunnyvale Sheraton, up on a sort of ceremonial altar-table, was a line of actual Extropian trophies. Designed by institute member Regina Pancake, they featured the Extropian starburst in a disk of clear Lucite set into a black plastic base. There was the Corporate Award, for example, "to a company engaged in extropically important activity and run in a way unusually conducive to individual incentive, ingenuity, and autonomy." And the winner was the Xerox Corporation.

And so on for six more awards, including, eventually, the award for Technical Achievement, which went to Drexler. He, for his part, confessed to a strong bent for Extropianism.

"I agree with most of the Extropian ideas," he said later. "Overall, it's a forward-looking, adventurous group that is thinking about important issues of technology and human life and trying to be ethical about it. That's a good thing, and shockingly rare."

So are these people crazy, or what? The question has occurred to them.

"I had a very interesting conversation with a mental health professional last week," said Dave Krieger. Krieger, director of publications for a software company, had been a technical consultant to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

"In preparation for the panel discussion, the one about warding off dogmatism, I'd given her a few issues of Extropy, including one that has the Extropian Principles in it, and I said, 'Look this over and tell me: Are we crazy? Is this a world view that you or your colleagues would consider to be insane? Or psychologically unhealthy? Or neurotic?'"

Well, not exactly. But, in fact, she couldn't really say one way or the other.

"She said that they encounter so many people with defeatist attitudes, the attitude that they can't change their lives and that they can't improve things, that she could see the benefits of Extropianism."

That was on the one hand. On the other hand, the whole thing was still pretty outlandish. "She didn't want to use the word 'receptive,'" said Krieger. "She didn't want to be quite that strong."

Others, however, were far less restrained. "They haven't convinced me that I'll be resurrected a thousand years from now not that it matters" said Julian Simon, a University of Maryland economist who has written for Extropy. "But they sure are right about rejecting unimaginative and counterproductive notions of closed systems. Resources aren't 'finite' in any significant sense."

"They're extremists," said Marvin Minsky, about the Extropians. "But that's the way you get good ideas."

As it was, Minsky himself almost joined the institute. "I'd like to be a sustaining member," he told Max More. "The trouble is that since about 1970, when we got our first ArpaNet, I became almost unable to lick a stamp. I will, if necessary, but I'd rather phone you a credit card number." But the institute, unfortunately, had not quite gotten around to that.

It soon will, however. Extropy is an idea whose time has come.

"We see this need for transcendence deeply built into humanity," said Max More. "That's why we have all these religious myths. It seems to be something inherent in us that we want to move beyond what we see as our limits. In the past we haven't had the technology to do that, and right now we're in this difficult period where we don't quite have the technology yet, but we can see it coming."

And if the worst happens and you should die before the technology arrives, the plan is to put yourself on hold for the duration, which is why the major Extropians are signed up for cryonic suspension. Max More, Tom Morrow, Simon Levy, Dave Krieger, Romana Machado, Tanya Jones, Mike Perry they're all ready to have their heads frozen when the time comes. Tanya Jones, indeed, jokes about having a dotted line tattooed around her neck, together with the words cut here.

And why not? How else to make it over the crest, over the slight hill rise, over the next little bit of technology that's left to climb before we can rush down the other side, to the new tomorrow, when all things will be possible? Some incredible things are going to be happening, if and when we get there.

"I enjoy being human but I am not content," said Max More.

Exactly! That was it! That was the secret, the big Extropian key to the universe: appreciate what you've got, but without being overly satisfied with it. There's always something better far better! waiting in the wings. You've just got to get yourself out there.

Who could deny it? And who'd not want to be there, in the grand future, when the VEPs, the Very Extropian Persons, wake themselves up, shake off the dust of past ages, and fly off to the far reaches of the galaxy?

You, too, could join the party the Extropaganza Maximum! Just remember, when you get there, that it's right hand out in front of you, fingers spread and pointing at the sky. Grasp the other person's right hand, intertwine fingers, and close.

Then zoom your hand up, straight up, all the way up!

Upward! Outward! Reach for the stars!

"Yo!"

For more Extropian information, e-mail exi-info@extropy.org.

More:

Meet the Extropians | WIRED

See more here:

Extropianism | Prometheism Transhumanism Post Humanism

Extropianism – H+Pedia – hpluspedia.org

Extropianism is a philosophy of transhumanism that encompasses the Extropian principles in improving the human condition. It was founded in 1989 and incorporated in 1990 as a 501(c)3 non-profit. It established the modern movement of transhumanism through its conferences and publications. While it closed in 2006,[1] for its time frame, it was largely in support of libertarian political values of democracy such as small government, individual rights, liberty, morphological freedom and the Proactionary Principle. However, many of its members were not libertarian and as an international organization encompassed transhumanists of diverse political backgrounds and views. These individuals share the advocacy of individual rights and the reduction of government. The movement's leading advocates include founder Max More.

Positions include:

Members of the Extropian mailing lists would go on to be involved with Bitcoin, encryption and the beginnings of blockchain, future libertarian and transhumanist projects.[3]

Principles: See Extropian principles

Main: Extropy Magazines

Official history

Flyer for 'EXTRO 1 - The First Extropy Institute Conference on Transhumanist Thought'

Sunnyvale, California, April 30 - May 1 1994

https://github.com/Extropians/Extropy/blob/master/extro1_ad.pdf

Extro1

https://web.archive.org/web/20011211090742/http://members.aol.com:80/T0Morrow/PolyJust.html

Proceedings

2001: Reason.com review

2004 http://www.extropy.org/summitabout.htm

The Vital Progress conference was held in response to the latest moves by Leon Kass.

Review

Vital Progress Summit II was scheduled for winter 2005 but never materialised.

ExI Satellite Meeting in 2005, Caracus, Venezuela ended up launching under the TransVision instead which held many successive events.

Excerpt from:

Extropianism - H+Pedia - hpluspedia.org

TechnoLibertarian Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Welcome to the TechnoLibertarian Wiki

TechnoLibertarianism is the confluence of transhumanism, the belief in technology as a means of solving human problems and advancing the human condition beyond its natural limits, and libertarianism, the belief in the principles of self-ownership and non-aggression as the only means to achieve a moral and ethical society.This wikia has grown out of the TechnoLibertarians group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/technolibertarians/

Technolibertarianism is also known as extropianism, and represents the individualist wing of the transhumanist movement. The Principles of Extropy, originally defined by Tom Bell (aka T.O. Morrow) and Max More, are largely a futurist vision of implementing libertarianism through technology. The left wing, or collectivist wing, of Transhumanism is known as Technoprogressivism or more colloquially, as Borganist. Transhumanism in general is opposed by technophobia, also known as Luddism of which there are also right wing individualists and left wing collectivists. These distinctions can be mapped out for your positions by taking the Worlds Shortest Transhumanist Quiz, and plotted out on the Lorrey Chart as seen here:

The Lorrey Chart, v1.0 depicting the political landscape of technological and personal liberty/self determination.

Meanwhile, reactionary forces in society with varying degrees of technophobia, and various mythologies to rationalize this phobia, have been growing in strength and reach. From the eco-terrorism of the late 90's and early oughties committed by the left wing Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front, and Earth First! organizations, which our members have found to be intricately tied into more mundane left wing activist groups like the Ruckus Society, the Tides Center, environmentalist organizations like Greenpeace, 350.org, and think tanks like The Club of Rome and The Donnella Meadows Institute. Left wing luddites tend to be focused on genetic engineering of domesticated plants and animals in agriculture, animal rights, industrial use of natural resources and areas like logging, oil, gas and coal drilling, ski areas and aquatic parks like Seaworld, defense technologies like HAARP, submarine sonars, strategic defense systems, depleted uranium armor piercing bullets, and the like, to extremes like weather control, climate change, and "chemtrails", as well as vaccines. We have found in recent years growing technophobia on the right as well among christian conservatives, conspiracy theorists like , and even libertarians suspicious of government surveillance and other use of technology to increase tyranny, like weaponized drones assassinating innocent civilians, chipping as a 'mark of the beast', and vaccines as a means of population control.

In this wikia we will seek to document facts, issues, subjects, of relevance to the technolibertarian movement, about itself and its opposition, both the technoprogressives and the luddites.

Because TechnoLibertarians believe technological advancement is inherently liberating and empowering to the individual more than to the state, there are many technolibertarians working at developing new technologies specifically oriented around maximizing individual liberty. Some of these technologies include:

Exploring space, terraforming, mining, developing, and colonizing alien planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and star systems is very technolibertarian, as it revives the frontier spirit of the sapient individual striking out on their own, or in voluntary cooperation with others, to establish new communities, facilities, homes, free of overbearing governments. Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, XCOR, Armadillo Aerospace, Masden Aerospace, all are leaders in the "New Space" movement, developing space launch and exploration technologies independently of government space programs, to serve the general public and private industry.

Cryptocurrencies, like BitCoin, were invented by Technolibertarians to solve several issues, namely to create a digital currency that is not counterfeitable, which is cryptographically secure, and which mathematically behaves in the macroeconomy like sound or "hard" money like those using gold, silver, or other precious metals. Bitcoin, originally called BitGold, accomplishes this by decentralizing the creation of digital 'coins' to people who choose to do work called "mining" which is a computational process of hashing through blocks of data to authenticate their validity, blocks which make up a massive encrypted database called a "block chain" that is available to everyone as a public ledger of transactions to ensure that, theoretically, coins cannot be double spent, or stolen, or laundered without the perpetrators being tracked down and identified, while still providing individual anonymity to one's wallet identity.

Furthermore, blockchains can be used to decentralize ANY sort of data archiving and authentication, particularly government data like licensing, registrations, taxes, dispute resolution rulings, etc. Potentially an entire government can be decentralized into the block chain, eliminating centralized government almost completely, enabling vast reductions in government spending, and thereby taxes to pay for it, while at the same time enabling individuals currently on entitlement payments to earn such payments by "mining" cryptocurrency as their source of a basic income.

3D printing enables individuals to manufacture any sort of product they need or want: clothing, accessories, tools, vehicles, homes, robotics, computers, new 3D printers, artificial arms and legs, even new human organs and food like pizzas. By decentralizing the manufacturing industry, individuals are freed from the manufacturing oligopolies that dehumanize the individual, as customers and employees.

The individual right of self determination includes the right to self modify. Whether that is cosmetic, like tattoos, earrings, plastic surgery, gender reassignment, or genetic through genetic engineering, all are inherent in the rights of any sapient being.

Death is a disease, the final disease that claims us all, no matter what other ailments may sicken us first. The right to life has no expiration date. The sapient individual has the natural right to seek to extend their life to whatever extent they deem necessary, and are capable of achieving through their own productive industry. Universal access to Cryonic Suspension, as a form of insurance to store your body in suspension until a cure can be achieved for whatever ailments harm you, and the right to preserve your property as you see fit while in cryonic suspension, is your natural right. Likewise, the right to use genetic engineering technologies, or any other medical technology, to extend your life indefinitely is also your natural right. Nobody is obligated to pay for such services for you.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality offer the promise to eliminate the tyranny of time and space that limits social interaction between sapient individuals. These technologies enable the individual to envision and build virtual content for whatever purpose they desire, to buy and sell such content as property under whatever Digital Rights contract the creator desires, and to socialize with other sapients wherever they may be found.

Virtual economies, using cryptocurrencies, are going to be the wealthspring of human productivity into the future, as more and more material needs in reality are met by automated production methods in industry. Integrating decentralized cryptocurrencies with virtual economic activity, trading virtual content, capitalizing virtual enterprizes, investing cryptocurrency saved in both virtual enterprizes and real world enterprizes, is the key to economic growth and wealth creation throughout the 21st century. Ensuring maximum freedom to contract and transact, and protection of virtual property, is of paramount importance, because as societies build wealth, they become more free, vibrant, and increased freedom feeds back in creating even more wealth, and wealthier societies are better able to achieve macrocultural goals of decreased population growth, lower pollution, and greater environmental protection, without having to resort to coercive aggression to achieve these goals.

The self ownership principle of sapiency applies to human level Artificial General Intelligences, AGI is the natural evolutionary offspring of the human species, and one which is likely to go much further in the exploration of the universe, exploitation of the resources of ours and other solar systems, and acheiving these goals far more efficiently and with greater environmental sensitivity than standard biological humans. With declining birthrates globally, especially as populations, and women in particular, grow in wealth, education, and political freedom with increasing protection of individual rights including property rights in particular, the human predeliction to adopt other sentient or sapient beings as "children" (like the American affection for pets) will result in humans giving agency to and recognizing the sapiency, and personhood, of AGI personalities, as well as adopting them into their families as offspring and heirs.

While many more luddite types fear the rise of AGI and preach scare tactics about the threat that AGI poses, they forget that such scare tactics when used against other humans are seen, properly, as threats, and that sapients who are treated as threats, become threats. It is a self fulfilling prophesy. Conversely, sapients who are treated with inclusiveness, familliarity and friendliness become friends, family, allies and protectors. It is important that technolibertarians embrace AGI developments as positives that will eventually result in the creation of fantastic friends and family members who otherwise would never have existed, and who will become critical members of the transhuman family moving our civilization forward, sustaining and renewing it as the older biological culture stultifies and ossifies in senescence.

Intelligence Augmentation is the flip side of Artificial Intelligence. Technologies we develop to achieve AGI will also be useful, along with technologies of integrating them into biological neural networks of the human nervous system, and the nervous systems of other species we may seek to uplift to sapiency, will enable human intelligence to jump on the exponential band wagon of Moore's Law, and from our advanced position along the curve, keep ahead of AGI until AGI and IA can integrate into a cybernetic civilization that includes the best qualities of both while overcoming their drawbacks through further advancement.

Uploading the mind from a biological brain to an artificial computer substrate is the object of many a science fiction story, with several possibilities:

- from a destructive scan of every neuron, synapse, DNA/RNA or other data storage structure and network structure of the human nervous system,

- or through continually expanding technological intelligence augmentation of the human mind such that the personality expands into its technology so much that when the brain dies, the personality fails to notice, other than possibly the sense of a hangover or headache,

- or injecting the human brain with nanomachinery which replicates each neuron, one by one, replacing biological neurons with artificial ones, replicating their function in every way, until the brain is completely replaced as an artificial nanotech neural network computer, with the resident mind being unaware of any change.

Abolishing biological limitations on the individual sapient will vastly expand the longevity to whatever the individual desires, enable the individual to insure or backup themselves against catastrophic destruction of the operating mind, eliminate all physical ailments and enable the person to survive in a much more ruggedized body that retains the dynamic self repair and adaptive abilities of a biological body without the limitations.

As both the Libertarian and Transhuman communities have political needs and aspirations, tied to expanding government recognition of greater individual liberty while advancing technologies that enable that expansion of liberty, while limiting government exploitation of technologies to limit individual liberty, this neccessitates that technolibertarians be involved not only in developing those technologies, but in engaging in the political processes and actions that enable their implementation and limit the backlash aggression by luddites against us. We recognize that technology is inherently empowering to the individual sapient to a greater degree than it enables government to expand its ability to control and aggress upon individuals, but that the government, having a monopoly on the self legitimizing use of aggressive force to achieve its goals, has an ace in the hole that in many cases can be used to counter the bias that technology has toward individual liberty.

For these reasons, we are participating in the formation of the Transhuman National Committee of the United States as well as similar state level Transhuman Parties, and support Transhuman/Transhumanist Parties and their allies in other nations as long as they are not exclusionary toward technolibertarians and under exclusive control of technoprogressives. We encourage technoprogressives to see the advantages of cooperation rather than confrontation, of coalition building rather than dialectical conflict.

At the same time, we also encourage participation in Libertarian Party politics where and when they have greater presence on electoral ballots and media presence, provided they are likewise not exclusionary toward technolibertarians and are not under the control of primitivists. Barring the presence of either sort of group in your local or state political scene, we encourage sapient individuals to participate in political parties which most strongly embrace ideas promoted by technolibertarians: pro-technology, pro-voluntarism, pro-liberty, pro-science/pro-conscience, anti-surveillance, anti-collectivist, anti-aggression.

Below are some projects we endorse as being constructive toward our goals:

Currently in the organizational stages, intent on being the official transhumanist PAC in the United States, it is amassing the support of many prominent transhumanists, is currently choosing its leadership, and will be working toward establishing state party committees thereafter. It will eventually form a National Party in order to nominate the first Transhuman Party candidate for US President, and candidates for other national and local offices. It does not currently endorse the so-called candidacy of Zoltan Istvan.

The TPP is intended as a think tank/PAC to not only promote transhumanist policies, but to evaluate politicians of any political party on their support or opposition to such parties, and to inform the voting public of which politicians earn the support or opposition of the TPP.

The FSP started in 2001, proposing to recruit 20,000 liberty activists from across the US and around the world to move to one small US state that they felt was the most amenable to liberty. Of ten candidate states, New Hampshire was chosen as the target state. To date, over 1,700 participants have made the move ahead of schedule, many getting involved in local and state level politics, elected to positions of responsibility, and making positive changes for liberty. The FSP membership has exceeded 17,000 and they foresee reaching the threshold 20,000 which will trigger the official migration within the next two years. Many FSP participants are transhumanists, and the FSP is considered the first political movement to utilize the internet to organize and promote its message, bypassing mainstream media.

Seasteading

Founded by Patri Friedman in 2001, the concept of Seasteading, or building a homestead or intentional community on the high seas, in international waters, to achieve political independence from existing governments, has gained a lot of transhumanist as well as libertarian adherents, especially many well heeled silicon valley types such as Peter Thiel. The Seasteading Institute has been developing to build such communities as technologically advanced, sustainable, independent self governing entities.

Sealand

The Principality of Sealand is the original micronation, founded in the 1970's as a pirate radio project on an abandoned sea fort in international waters off the eastern shore of Great Britain, it has established and defended its sovereignty over several decades, peacefully transitioned its leadership to a new generation, and remains an active and vibrant community that hosts an independent datahaven, its own national soccer team, and provides other services to people around the world.

Here is the original post:

TechnoLibertarian Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

What does Extropianism mean? – Definitions.net

Extropianism

Extropianism, also referred to as the philosophy of Extropy, is an evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition. Extropians believe that advances in science and technology will some day let people live indefinitely. An extropian may wish to contribute to this goal, e.g. by doing research and development or volunteering to test new technology.Extropianism describes a pragmatic consilience of transhumanist thought guided by a proactionary approach to human evolution and progress.Originated by a set of principles developed by Dr. Max More, The Principles of Extropy, extropian thinking places strong emphasis on rational thinking and practical optimism. According to More, these principles "do not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or policies". Extropians share an optimistic view of the future, expecting considerable advances in computational power, life extension, nanotechnology and the like. Many extropians foresee the eventual realization of unlimited maximum life spans, and the recovery, thanks to future advances in biomedical technology or mind uploading, of those whose bodies/brains have been preserved by means of cryonics.

Read this article:

What does Extropianism mean? - Definitions.net

Talk:Extropianism – Wikipedia

Meliorism?[edit]

Should contain link or reference to meliorist/meliorism?

I can read through this article and follow the external links and I still don't know exactly what Extropianism or extropy mean. Can someone come up with a concise one-sentence definiton?

The first paragraph should have something like:

"Extropianism, also referred to as extropy, is a philosophical viewpoint within transhumanism, describing a conscious, pro-active self-directed approach to human evolution and progress. It is defined by a set of principles blah blah blah ..."

I'm only guessing in this case. I think that's what it is, but I don't know. There needs to be something like that though. Take a look at Humanism, Progressivism or Socialism. They all manage to give a concise definition right from the beginning. The rest of the article then fleshes out that definition.--?Pucktalk? 12:19, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

- Yeah, I've got to agree here. This article reads like the authors head is slowly disappearing up one of his orifices. How can this be cleaned up in well-written and clear english, while explaining key terms along the way? AdamSebWolf 00:34, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I understand Extropianism to describe a fulfillment of the human condition anticipated by transhumanism; a consummating consilience of a rich history of transhuman work and thought, rather than a splintered sect within that tradition. When I call myself an extropian, I am not evangelizing for a transhuman denomination, I am not advancing a doctrine; rather, I mean that I Am Part of Making the Posthuman Condition Happen, Right Now. I am careful to say "a" fulfillment rather than "the" fulfillment, because beyond the extropians there will be stages of evolution that we cannot yet imagine; regardless of how intimidating one's endowment in the frontal lobe.

Responsible futurists understand that We Just Can't Know how transhumanism will actually play out. We can, however, express an abiding confidence in the fact that it will play, indeed is playing out, and within that merry happenstance we are committed to Being Ever Present; maintaining engaged minds, productive imaginations, and transcendent hopes aligned with the best case scenarios for human longevity and evolution.

An important difference between transhuman theory and extropian practice, as I understand it, is the active commitment to Being There and Making It Happen. Personally, I do not believe we are merely theorizing as earlier transhumanists, of necessity, were resource-bound to do. Forty years ago, when F.M. Esfandiary introduced the idea of transitional humans, even those who agreed with him rightly suspected that they would not survive quite long enough to make the transition. As extropians, we expect to be part of the transhuman migration and are in one sense self-selecting guinea pigs saying "pick me" for the implants, the neuroprosthetics, the gangly first-generation meat-machine interfaces that the average risk-averse human would actually eschew in favor of death.

Accordingly, one might suggest that we would be well advised to A.) begin with Max More's own definition and B.) incorporate PuckSmith's laudable petition for clarity. One suggestion:

"Extropianism, also referred to as extropy, is an evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition. Extropianism describes a pragmatic consilience of transhumanist thought guided by a conscious, pro-active, self-directed approach to human evolution and progress."

--metavalent 05:57, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

http://www.extropy.com/future.htm

NEXT STEPS - Extropy Institute is closing its doors and opening a window for a proactive future.

Dear Members of Extropy Institute and new core group network,

This letter is an announcement of the events taking place at Extropy Institute as a result of its Strategic Plan 2006. A copy of the Plan is included for your review. The Plan identifies some factors that ExI's Board has considered in assessing the future of ExI and the best possible course of action to take for ExI, its members, and other stakeholders.

The Past. ExI was formed in 1990 by Max More and Tom Bell with a mission to bring great minds together to incubate ideas about emerging technologies, life extension and the future. ExI's goals were to (1) develop an elegant, focused philosophy for transhumanism-the philosophy of "Extropy"; (2) encourage discussions and debates on improving the human condition; and (2) develop a culture for activists, energized and devoted to bringing these ideas to the public. The initiatives which realized these goals are (1) Extropy: the Journal of Transhumanist Thought; Principles of Extropy; Extro Conferences 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; public forums such as the famed "extropians" and "extropy-chat" email lists; public presentations in the news, radio, televised documentaries, talk shows, and films; and the VP Summit of 2004 addressing the backlash from conservatives against technological advancements.

The Present. ExI deems its mission as essentially completed. With this said, and in respect for Extropy Institute's legacy of achievement, the Board voted and has unanimously agreed to close Extropy Institute's doors.

Extropy Institute's website is being memorialized by turning it into a reference "Library of Transhumanism, Extropy, and the Future," -the beginnings, currents, and future of Transhumanism.

On behalf of our members, I would like to thank Max for authoring the philosophy of Extropy1 and for his many efforts in working with others to steer the philosophical development of transhumanism, which is truly treasured by so many people in so many places.

The Future. As you will see by reviewing the Strategic Plan, the Proactionary Principle stands first and foremost as the concept with the most potential for being of great service to humanity and transhumanity as we go forward. The Proactionary Principle (ProP) can help society by bridging the growing gap between conservative views and progress-oriented views, and educating society about the future. Meeting these two challenges by providing an active course of action can be of tremendous benefit to us all.

In respect for the philosophy of Extropy and the Principles of Extropy, the Board of Extropy Institute believes that Extropy Institute has served its mission and achieved its goals and, in practicing the Principles of Extropy, our next step is to focus on developing worldwide awareness of the ProP and a network for proactive futures.

With my most sincere thanks for your support,

Natasha Vita-More Extropy Institute, President

--Loremaster 12:28, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm moving this to talk for now as it smells of original research:--Eloquence* 22:59, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Many participants in the Transhumanist community criticize various members of the community as self-promoters who spend too much time attempting to claim credit for achievements or coining a term rather than making legitimate progress towards the goals and objectives of Transhumanism. For instance, note that the Transhumanism article on Wikipedia spends as much time discussing the history of Transhumanism and assigning credit for various achievements to various people as it does describing the actual philosophy and objectives of Transhumanism. It is felt by many Bioconservatives, and more moderate Transhumanists, that this is a heavy restriction which holds the movement back from attaining its objectives as efficiently as it would prefer. Though Transhumanists assert that this is something to be countered, Bioconservatives generally feel that it is endemic and inherent to a movement which, so they believe, is based entirely upon self-aggrandizement.

seems to me that given this is a similar subject some reference would be in order, though i'm not confident enough of the respective definitions to do this myself JavaByte 19:02, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

with Extropy as these two articles seem to be about the same thing. Xme (talk) 19:15, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Not exactly. When Perry Metzger (not Max or Tom) started "extropians", the Institute did not yet exist, if I remember right; the list was conceived for fans of the magazine. Tamfang (talk) 06:10, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

I think that "extropism" should redirect to that specific section under the extropianism article, instead of just redirecting to the beginning of that article (I typed this: [[1]], to no avail). I tried to change it myself but didn't realize that only administrators have this power. Thanks. Shanoman (talk) 03:33, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Extropianism. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp= on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 19:26, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

Continue reading here:

Talk:Extropianism - Wikipedia

Extropianism | Transhumanism Wiki | Fandom powered by Wikia

Extropianism, also referred to as extropism or extropy, is an evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition. Extropians believe that advances in science and technology will some day let people live indefinitely and that humans alive today have a good chance of seeing that day. An extropian may wish to contribute to this goal, e.g. by doing research and development or volunteering to test new technology.

Extropianism describes a pragmatic consilience of transhumanist thought guided by a proactionary approach to human evolution and progress.

Originated by a set of principles developed by Dr. Max More, The Principles of Extropy,[1] extropian thinking places strong emphasis on rational thinking and practical optimism. According to More, these principles "do not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or policies". Extropians share an optimistic view of the future, expecting considerable advances in computational power, life extension, nanotechnology and the like. Many extropians foresee the eventual realization of unlimited maximum life spans, and the recovery, thanks to future advances in biomedical technology, of those whose bodies/brains have been preserved by means of cryonics.

Extropy, coined by Tom Bell (T. O. Morrow) in January 1988, is defined as the extent of a living or organizational system's intelligence, functional order, vitality, energy, life, experience, and capacity and drive for improvement and growth. Extropy expresses a metaphor, rather than serving as a technical term, and so is not simply the hypothetical opposite of Information entropy.

In 1987, Max More moved to Los Angeles from Oxford University in England, where he had helped to establish (along with Michael Price, Garret Smyth and Luigi Warren) the first European cryonics organization, known as Mizar Limited (later Alcor UK), to work on his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Southern California.

In 1988, "Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought" was first published. This brought together thinkers with interests in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, life extension, mind uploading, idea futures, robotics, space exploration, memetics, and the politics and economics of transhumanism. Alternative media organizations soon began reviewing the magazine, and it attracted interest from likeminded thinkers. Later, More and Bell co-founded the Extropy Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization. "ExI" was formed as a transhumanist networking and information center to use current scientific understanding along with critical and creative thinking to define a small set of principles or values that could help make sense of new capabilities opening up to humanity.

The Extropy Institute's email list was launched in 1991, and in 1992 the institute began producing the first conferences on transhumanism. Affiliate members throughout the world began organizing their own transhumanist groups. Extro Conferences, meetings, parties, on-line debates, and documentaries continue to spread transhumanism to the public.

The Internet soon became the most fertile breeding ground for people interested in exploring transhumanist ideas, with the availability of websites for such organizations that have joined the Extropy Institute in developing and advocating transhumanist (and related) ideas. These include Humanity Plus, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the Life Extension Foundation, Foresight Institute, Transhumanist Arts & Culture, the Immortality Institute, Betterhumans, Aleph in Sweden, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

In 2006 the board of directors of the Extropy Institute made a decision to close the organisation, stating that its mission was "essentially completed."[1]

fr:Extropianisme it:Estropianesimo sk:Extropy Institute fi:Ekstropianismi

Read the original here:

Extropianism | Transhumanism Wiki | Fandom powered by Wikia

Tools make things easier but don’t make them better – Namibia Economist

President Joe once had a dream. I wonder if you recognise the song? Its Saviour Machune from the earl David Bowie album, The Man who Sold the World. The machine is built to solve all problems, and does so, but ends up miserable and disaffected. Its obvious that the thing was a computer, but the word machine works better in the song.

If you havent heard the song yet, its worth a listen. You can find it on Youtube. During those years, David Bowie made songs that still sound modern. That was before he learned to sing properly and became poppish. If you do head in that virtual direction, you might also want to listen to the track, The Man Who Sold the World.

First glance, the song sounds like an oddity, pardon the pun, a preposterous notion. If you go a bit deeper into things and put aside the concept of the machine, you are left with another player, President Joe who built the machine. President Joe is not particularly preposterous. There are a bunch of people out there, just like him.

The notion of the omnipotent machine is nothing new. Its one of the common strands in science fiction, and has been for a long time. The idea of an intelligent machine is old hat as well. The Turing Test scratches the surface by seeking a computer that can fool a human into believing that it too is human. Some or other machine managed to fool a couple of experts into thinking it was a 13 year old a couple of weeks ago.

Next on the horizon, we have The Singularity. That is supposed to be an intelligent machine that is able to replicate itself. After that comes extropianism, the idea of transfering a soul to a machine. All of these phenomena are fetishes, I suspect on the part of people who cannot cope with other people. If I cant cope with the vagaries of real human emotions, Ill hope that machines are more predictable. Sad. It makes me think of Pinocchio as an object of affection, if not desire.

Perhaps its not so much Pinocchios wooden nature that is the problem, but the people who worship machinesd that need to get real.

There is something else that is interesting about the song. The machine is called Prayer and its answer is law. There is definitely something in that as well, yet another get-out-of-jail card for people who really dont want to have to deal with their own thoughts and emotions.

The line that divides the two sides of the thing is the internal and the external. There are a huge number of people who need external systems to get by, not just in the starry eyed worship of tools like computers, but in slavish, slack-jawed belief in and acceptance of thought systems.

I suppose, at the extreme end of the spectrum, the most convinced and optimistic computer geek is really not much different from your average religious fundamentalist, if not in intensity of and reliance on belief, then possibly as in need of control as a bog-standard hell-and-damnation preacher or some angry worshiper at the altar of Dawkins atheism.

Machines are becoming the new cult. They define us and our lives, to the point where personal values and our own judgments become secondary resources and measures of value.

The proof of this lies in processing and graphics capability. Apparently the higher the capability, the more able the person. Yet, at the end of the day, there arent all that many people who use much more than a browser, mail and a productivity suite.

Its about the same with religion. Why do people need theological sophistication and loopholes when the actual object of the exercise is to break as many commandments as possible and ignore the validity of strictures against venal sins? One proof of this lies in the church which handed out guns to people who converted.

If there is a truth to be had from this, it is that tools make things easier but dont make them better. Systems create their own messes. Computers become more complex and less predictable. Religion needs to more enemies and more violence.

Follow this link:

Tools make things easier but don't make them better - Namibia Economist

Extropianism | Prometheism.net

Skip Article Header. Skip to: Start of Article.

Theres been nothing like this movement nothing this wild and extravagant since way back in those bygone ages when people believed in things like progress, knowledge, and lets all shout it out, now Growth!

The Handshake: Right hand out in front of you, fingers spread and pointing at the sky. Grasp the other persons right hand, intertwine fingers, and close. Then shoot both hands upward, straight up, all the way up, letting go at the top, whooping Yo! or Hey! or some such thing.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Contact wiredlabs@wired.com to report an issue.

You wont be able to do this without smiling, without laughing out loud, in fact just try it but this little ceremony, this tiny two-second ritual, pretty much sums up the general Extropian approach. This is a philosophy of boundless expansion, of upward- and outwardness, of fantastic superabundance.

Its a doctrine of self-transformation, of extremely advanced technology, and of dedicated, immovable optimism. Most of all, its a philosophy of freedom from limitations of any kind. There hasnt been anything like it nothing this wild and extravagant, no such overweening confidence in the human prospect since way back to those bygone ages when people still believed in things like progress, knowledge, and lets all shout it out, now Growth!

Their gung-ho attitude reflects the success of digital technology, which these days allows us to create at least in cyberspace anything conceivable. You can create your own simulated universe if you want to. Whats more, you can actually get it right this time: you can start at the bottom and remake things as youd want them to be, as they should have been made in the first place, perhaps. The Extropians take that same attitude and apply it to the real world: they extrapolate out in every dimension, along every parameter, pushing technology to its outermost limits. When you do that, and when you take the results seriously, you find that some pretty outrageous stuff becomes possible.

Just how outrageous became clear at Extro 1, the first formal gathering of the clan, in Sunnyvale, California, in April 1994, where there were plenty of Extropian handshakes going around not to mention the hugs and kisses. This is not a doctrine of repressing your feelings, after all, or of being embarrassed about things.

Just a few months previously, at the Extropaganza at Mark DeSiletss house in nearby Boulder Creek, the invitations had read: Bring appropriate toys and gadgets, and a playful attitude. The house has a hot tub, so come prepared; please note that some clothing will be required in the tub, so as not to shock the neighbors with the sight of our transhuman physiques! Romana Machado aka Mistress Romana software engineer, author, and hot-blooded capitalist, showed up dressed as the State, in a black vinyl bustier and mini, with a chain harness top, custom-made for her at Leather Masters in San Jose, California, for whom she does modeling work. She was in all that garb, carrying a light riding crop, plus a leash, at the other end of which, finally, her Extropian companion Geoff Dale, the Taxpayer, crawled along in mock subjection. The couple embodied Extropian symbolism, the State being regarded as one of the major restrictive forces in the Milky Way galaxy. These people hate government, particularly entropic deathworkers like the Clinton administration.

And so later on, when you threw off your inhibitions, shackles, chains, and clothes, and splashed around in the hot tub together with the VEPs on hand the Very Extropian Persons you could actually imagine that, here in the Santa Cruz mountains, the Extropians had discovered the secret of existence. You got a further inkling of what that secret was during Extro 1, which was decidedly more refined a gathering. It was the occasion for theory and reflection, for sober discussion of Extropian ideas. Like immortality, for example.

Early in the conference, Mike Perry, overseer of the 27 frozen people (actually, 17 are frozen heads, only 10 are entire bodies) submerged in liquid nitrogen at minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit (Cold enough for you?) at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryonics outfit in Scottsdale, Arizona, gave a talk saying that, contrary to appearances, genuine immortality was physically possible.

Immortality is mathematical, not mystical, he said.

Perry, with a PhD in computer science from the University of Colorado, might well think so. A rather gaunt figure, a little rumpled and slightly stooped, hed worked out a scheme whereby if you make enough backup copies of yourself, then everlasting life can be yours forever, always, and in perpetuity.

He explained: some of the more submissive immortalists non-Extropian immortalists, in other words had worried about the possibility of their lives being terminated by accident, murder, or some other such form of radical unpleasantness. The way to get around that in the future, said Perry, would be to download the entire contents of your mind into a computer your memories, knowledge, your whole personality (which is, after all, just information) youd transfer all of it to a computer, make backup copies, and stockpile those copies all over creation. If at some point later you should happen to suffer a wee interruption of your current life cycle, then one of your many backups would be activated, and, in a miracle of electronic resurrection, youd pop back into existence again, good as new.

Well, this was a vision entirely agreeable to the audience, some 70 or so Extropic presences now basking in immortalist cheer in the main conference room at the Sunnyvale Sheraton. An infinitely long life span is just one small part of the greater Extropian dream, a package that involves the wholesale transformation of man, culture, and even of nature. The overall goal is to become more than human to become superhuman, transhuman, or posthuman, as they like to say possessed of drastically augmented intellects, memories, and physical powers. The goal is a society based on freely chosen social arrangements, on systems of self-generating spontaneous order, as opposed to massive legal structures imposed from above by the State. And the goal is to gain as complete control over the physical universe as is compatible with natural law.

An impressive program by any standard. But if the Extropians are right, off in the dim mist is a grand new order of things, one that is not so much physical or political as it is metaphysical, founded upon a lavishly expanded conception of human possibility. No longer is biology destiny: with genetic engineering, biology is under human control. And with nanotechnology, smart drugs, and advances in computation and artificial intelligence, so is human psychology. Suddenly technology has given us powers with which we can manipulate not only external reality the physical world but also, and much more portentously, ourselves. We can become whatever we want to be: that is the core of the Extropian dream.

People have dreamed such dreams before, of course: theyve wanted to fly like eagles, to run like the wind, to live forever. Theyve dreamed of becoming like the gods, of having supernatural powers. The difference is that now, suddenly, all of it is entirely possible. For the first time in history, science and technology have caught up to the wildest of human aspirations and hopes. No ambition, however extra-vagant, no fantasy, however outlandish, can any longer be dismissed as crazy or impossible. This is the age when you can finally do it all.

The Extropians are the first ones to realize this, the first to make a doctrine and a program out of it, wrap it up into a system, and offer it to the outside world which is exactly what they were doing at Extro 1. Nobody at the conference was pretending there were no problems involved; this was a highly literate technical bunch: computer scientists, rocket designers, a neurosurgeon, a Berkeley chemist, writers, researchers, and so on. From them could be heard a reservation or two.

What about copying errors? asked one of them about the immortality-through-backups scheme.

Well, you can check one copy against the other, Mike Perry said.

But how about the question of storage medium? Will a physical thing persist that long? Doesnt proton decay put some limits on this? What about the possible ultimate contraction of the universe?

Well never mind! Stay your naysaying! Were chasing after big quarry here! Eternal survival! Resurrection after obliteration! Unbounded happiness across infinite time!

Come on! Were Extropians!

For all its gonzo metaphysics, the fact is that Extropianism is a carefully worked out philosophical movement, one whose rituals, symbolism, and mind-set are rooted in a deep and rich body of principles. The basic idea is to fight entropy the natural tendency of things to run down, degenerate, and die out with its polar opposite, extropy.

Extropy, according to the official Extropian Principles (version 2.5), is a measure of intelligence, information, energy, vitality, experience, diversity, opportunity, and capacity for growth. Extropianism, then, is the philosophy that seeks to increase extropy.

The principles themselves are five in number: Boundless Expansion, Self-Transformation, Dynamic Optimism, Intelligent Technology, and Spontaneous Order. They make up the handy Extropian acronym: BEST DO IT SO!

How well thought-out! How self-referentially interconnected! The five principles, the five fingers of the Extropian handshake, the five arrows on the Extropian logo, curving outward from the center like the points of a pinwheel or the arms of a spiral galaxy!

To the major Extropians, the principles are meant to be taken seriously: theyre meant to be practiced, theyre guides to action, not just a bunch of abstract theories. Take this business of Dynamic Optimism, for example. In 1991 Max More, co-founder of and primary intellectual force behind Extropianism, wrote an essay called Dynamic Optimism: Epistemological Psychology for Extropians, in which he enumerated eight separate strategies eight! by which you could acquire a properly auspicious view of yourself, life, and the universe. There was the technique of selective focus, for example, whereby youd concentrate on the positive aspects of a given situation, on what you personally regarded as worthy and valuable. Youd adopt such a focus regularly, systematically; youd make it a matter of personal policy.

This need not require a denial of pain, difficulty, or frustration, he wrote. Rather it may be a matter of spending less time on unpleasantness and of apprehending unpleasant things in a masterful, empowering way instead of a helpless, victimizing way. Optimists attend to the downsides of life only insofar as doing so is likely to enable them to move ahead.

And so on through seven more steps. Stoicism: optimists dont whine and moan about things that are past or out of their control. Questioning of limits: Optimists will question and probe at any entrenched limiting assumptions, especially where these appear to lack a rationally convincing basis. Only an iron-clad demonstration of impossibility (such as Goedels incompleteness theorem) will stop them; even then optimists will be careful not to draw unnecessarily frustrating conclusions.

The tract was fitted out with the usual scholarly apparatus: footnotes, bibliography, and references to thinkers ranging from the church father Tertullian, circa 200, to contemporaries like Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand.

Imposing as it all was, it was merely Max Mores latest attempt to go beyond the limits, something hed been doing since birth.

According to my mother I was named Max because I was the heaviest baby in the hospital ward where I was born, he said.

That cataclysmic event occurred in Bristol, England, in 1964. Later, at age 5, Max was transfixed by the moon landing and was fascinated by high technology and the future. He idolized the superheroes of various types that he read about in comic books: he craved their X-ray vision, their disintegrator guns, their ability to walk through walls.

When I was about 10, I went through a period of real interest in the occult. I was very interested in the idea of any kind of paranormal powers, having abilities beyond the normal human ones.

He even started a club, called Psychic Development and Research, at the school he attended, for the purpose of exploring the nether realms. But the more he actually learned about the occult, the less he was convinced that there was anything to it, and ultimately he became an all-out rationalist. The only reliable way of gaining knowledge, he decided, the only way to accomplish anything worthwhile, was through hard science and cold logic.

Later on, he attended St. Annes College, Oxford, where he majored in philosophy, politics, and economics. Always very big on organizing things, he started up new clubs and discussion groups, published magazines, and became, he claims, the first person in Europe to sign up for cryonic suspension the process of being frozen at death in hopes of later revival. He kept a heart-lung resuscitator in his dorm room, just in case. People used to go in and see that, and it added to the odd impression, along with my several rows of vitamins on the shelves. Not to mention the 3,000 science fiction books.

He got his degree and, tired of Englands dreary mood, lit out for the States.

Going to Los Angeles was a wonderful thing. It had this glamorous feel to it, it was just a huge thrill being there. I remember going on the freeways and looking up at the sign and seeing Los Angeles and saying, Im really here! Wow!'

This was the land where everything was possible. Sunshine! Palm trees! California girls! Minor impediments like smog and earthquakes did not figure into his personal equation. But a change of name did.

In Southern California, everybody changes their name: actors do, writers do. I knew I wanted to be a writer and become known, so that I could spread these ideas better, so I thought I might as well change my name, which until then had been Max OConnor.

He spent a year thinking up a new name for himself, finally deciding on the word, More.

It seemed to really encapsulate the essence of what my goal is: always to improve, never to be static. I was going to get better at everything, become smarter, fitter, and healthier. It would be a constant reminder to keep moving forward.

It would also be the start of a trend among Extropians: Mark Potts became Mark Plus; Harry Shapiro became Harry Hawk.

Its a great expression of self-transformation, said Tom Morrow, a Silicon Valley attorney, about renaming himself. This is how Im changing myself: Im going to change the way people think of me because people think of you, in part, by the way youre named. Also we pick descriptive names, which is a trait the Quakers also shared; they often named their kids with descriptive names like Felicity or Charity. You see that same trait in Extropians. They hold their values so dear, they want to be associated with them more than by just holding them. They want to be known by them.

And also, he added, its a fun sort of thing.

Fun, indeed, would be the sixth Extropian principle, if there were one. It was Tom Morrow, at any rate, who began using the term Extropy, invented the Extropian handshake, and, together with Max More, co-founded Extropianism, back when both of them were graduate students in philosophy at the University of Southern California.

By the time Morrow and More were getting their masters degrees in the subject, the ideas of souped-up humans that had been percolating through Maxs head since childhood had been reinforced by certain doctrines of the Western philosophers, some of whom had advanced like-minded, or at least highly sympathetic, notions. Aristotle, whod founded logic as a formal discipline and had done pioneering research in biology, professed an ethics of self-realization, the notion of fulfilling ones highest potential. There were the philosophers of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, thinkers like Voltaire, John Locke, and Adam Smith, who claimed that genuine knowledge was in fact possible, that nature was knowable, and that progress was desirable and good. There was Ayn Rand, who put forward the conception of man as a heroic being, able to perform untold feats of imagination and creation. And above all there was Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century philosopher who explicitly advocated mankinds transforming itself into something far superior.

All beings so far have created something beyond themselves, wrote Nietzsche. Do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man?

There was much that needed to be overcome, that was for sure. Human beings had almost too many flaws, chief among them being the unholy trio of sickness, aging, and death. Beyond that there were vast surfeits of human evil: wanton excesses of fraud and deceit, mindless violence, prejudice, police states, and so on and so forth. It did not make for a pretty picture, especially considering that all of it was rectifiable, totally reversible through human action.

I teach you the overman, Nietzsche had said. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?

What Max More and Tom Morrow did in 1988 was to start up the journal Extropy. By challenging culturally entrenched notions about the inherent limitations of humankind, theyd show how the species could pull itself out of the mud. Sickness could be wiped out, aging reversed, life spans lengthened, intelligence increased, states replaced by voluntary societies and all of this in the first issue! The print run was just 50 copies, but even so it was hard to get rid of them.

We basically forced them on people, said More. Anybody who might be interested, anybody who was our friend, we tried to get them to take a copy. Go on, just read this!

Which they did. It was pretty far-out, this stuff audacious, but strangely stirring in its own way. One issue proposed a new dating system to replace the Christian calendar. Why should Extropians mostly atheists and agnostics be forced to use a dating scheme based on the birth of Christ? Why not start from Francis Bacons Novum Organum, the book that in 1620 set forth the modern scientific method, in which case 1990 would be 370 PNO (post Novum Organum)? Or start from Newtons Principia, maybe. Something reasonable.

Along the way there was an attempt to create a nomenclature that lived up to Extropian doctrine. And why not? This was a total philosophy, and so it deserved its own proprietary rhetoric. Soon a whole panoply of extropically flavored neologisms had sprung into existence: Extropia (coined by Tom Morrow), a community embodying Extropian values; Extropolis (from Max More), an Extropian city located in space; extropiate (from Dave Krieger), any drug having extropic effects. There was smart-faced (from Russell Whitaker), the condition resulting from social-use extropiates: Lets get smart-faced.' And there was the instantly-memorable disasturbation (another Dave Krieger invention), idly fantasizing about possible catastrophes (ecological collapse, full-blown totalitarianism) without considering their likelihood or considering their possible solutions/preventions.

Further along there was a concerted attempt to flesh out the Extropian dream. Tom Morrow, the Extropian legal theorist, wrote articles about privately produced law, showing how systems of rules can and do arise spontaneously from voluntary transactions among free agents, without the assistance of Mother Government. He also wrote about Free Oceana, a proposed community of Extropians living on artificial islands floating around on the high seas.

Still, all of that was mere theory. Back in the real world, Morrow and More established a sort of intergalactic headquarters for Extropians, the Extropy Institute, a nonprofit California corporation. Soon there was also a bimonthly institute newsletter, the Exponent, as well as an electronic mailing list. And in a short time, Extropianism seemed to have acquired all the trappings of a major cultural phenomenon, with a succession of parties, weekly lunches, T-shirts (Forward! Upward! Outward!), and even an Extropian nerd house, called Nextropia, in Cupertino.

Operated by Romana Machado, the aforementioned Mistress Romana who in real life works in the Newton division of Apple Computer (shes also the inventor of Stego, a program that compliments traditional encryption schemes see Security Through Obscurity, Wired 2.03, page 29), Nextropia is an Extropian boarding house, a community of friends. Just dont call it a commune.

The very term makes us shudder, said Max More, who doesnt even live there. It implies common ownership. Still, for all their journals, newsletters, e-mail lists, and other forms of obsessive communication, it cannot be said that the Extropians are taking the world by storm. Although recent issues of Extropy have boasted print runs above 3,000 and are being carried by some newsstands, total membership in the Extropy Institute was only about 300 at the time of Extro 1, while roughly 350 were reading the e-mail list on a regular basis. But what the Extropians lack in numbers they make up for in sheer brains; at various times people like artificial intelligence theorist Marvin Minsky, nanotechnologist Eric Drexler, and USC professor Bart Kosko (of fuzzy logic fame) have been found lurking on extropians@extropy.org.

Drexler, indeed, is something of a patron saint among Extropians, the reason being that his books, Engines of Creation and Nanosystems, some members feel, chart the path to the Extropian future. Tiny robots working with molecules, the theory goes, will bring us extreme longevity (Drexler does not speak of immortality), health, wealth, and indefinite youth.

No surprise then, that at the Extropian Banquet and Extropy Awards Ceremony, at Extro 1, Drexler emerged as star of the show. This was after Hans Moravec (father of the downloading idea) gave the keynote speech; after Romana Machado, in her leather gauntlets, enumerated five things you can do to fight entropy now; after Tom Morrow, the attorney, talked about private legal systems; and after Max More proposed his epistemology for Extropians, according to which all doctrine, but especially Extropian doctrine, was to be considered forever open to inspection, criticism, and improvement.

After that it was trophy time. There at the front of the room, the banquet room of the Sunnyvale Sheraton, up on a sort of ceremonial altar-table, was a line of actual Extropian trophies. Designed by institute member Regina Pancake, they featured the Extropian starburst in a disk of clear Lucite set into a black plastic base. There was the Corporate Award, for example, to a company engaged in extropically important activity and run in a way unusually conducive to individual incentive, ingenuity, and autonomy. And the winner was the Xerox Corporation.

And so on for six more awards, including, eventually, the award for Technical Achievement, which went to Drexler. He, for his part, confessed to a strong bent for Extropianism.

I agree with most of the Extropian ideas, he said later. Overall, its a forward-looking, adventurous group that is thinking about important issues of technology and human life and trying to be ethical about it. Thats a good thing, and shockingly rare.

So are these people crazy, or what? The question has occurred to them.

I had a very interesting conversation with a mental health professional last week, said Dave Krieger. Krieger, director of publications for a software company, had been a technical consultant to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In preparation for the panel discussion, the one about warding off dogmatism, Id given her a few issues of Extropy, including one that has the Extropian Principles in it, and I said, Look this over and tell me: Are we crazy? Is this a world view that you or your colleagues would consider to be insane? Or psychologically unhealthy? Or neurotic?'

Well, not exactly. But, in fact, she couldnt really say one way or the other.

She said that they encounter so many people with defeatist attitudes, the attitude that they cant change their lives and that they cant improve things, that she could see the benefits of Extropianism.

That was on the one hand. On the other hand, the whole thing was still pretty outlandish. She didnt want to use the word receptive,' said Krieger. She didnt want to be quite that strong.

Others, however, were far less restrained. They havent convinced me that Ill be resurrected a thousand years from now not that it matters said Julian Simon, a University of Maryland economist who has written for Extropy. But they sure are right about rejecting unimaginative and counterproductive notions of closed systems. Resources arent finite in any significant sense.

Theyre extremists, said Marvin Minsky, about the Extropians. But thats the way you get good ideas.

As it was, Minsky himself almost joined the institute. Id like to be a sustaining member, he told Max More. The trouble is that since about 1970, when we got our first ArpaNet, I became almost unable to lick a stamp. I will, if necessary, but Id rather phone you a credit card number. But the institute, unfortunately, had not quite gotten around to that.

It soon will, however. Extropy is an idea whose time has come.

We see this need for transcendence deeply built into humanity, said Max More. Thats why we have all these religious myths. It seems to be something inherent in us that we want to move beyond what we see as our limits. In the past we havent had the technology to do that, and right now were in this difficult period where we dont quite have the technology yet, but we can see it coming.

And if the worst happens and you should die before the technology arrives, the plan is to put yourself on hold for the duration, which is why the major Extropians are signed up for cryonic suspension. Max More, Tom Morrow, Simon Levy, Dave Krieger, Romana Machado, Tanya Jones, Mike Perry theyre all ready to have their heads frozen when the time comes. Tanya Jones, indeed, jokes about having a dotted line tattooed around her neck, together with the words cut here.

And why not? How else to make it over the crest, over the slight hill rise, over the next little bit of technology thats left to climb before we can rush down the other side, to the new tomorrow, when all things will be possible? Some incredible things are going to be happening, if and when we get there.

I enjoy being human but I am not content, said Max More.

Exactly! That was it! That was the secret, the big Extropian key to the universe: appreciate what youve got, but without being overly satisfied with it. Theres always something better far better! waiting in the wings. Youve just got to get yourself out there.

Who could deny it? And whod not want to be there, in the grand future, when the VEPs, the Very Extropian Persons, wake themselves up, shake off the dust of past ages, and fly off to the far reaches of the galaxy?

You, too, could join the party the Extropaganza Maximum! Just remember, when you get there, that its right hand out in front of you, fingers spread and pointing at the sky. Grasp the other persons right hand, intertwine fingers, and close.

Then zoom your hand up, straight up, all the way up!

Upward! Outward! Reach for the stars!

Yo!

For more Extropian information, e-mail exi-info@extropy.org.

Read more:

Meet the Extropians | WIRED

Visit link:

Extropianism | Prometheism.net