Philosophies of life rooted in centuries-old traditions contain much wisdom concerning personal, organizational, and social living. Many of us also find shortcomings in those traditions. How could they not reach some mistaken conclusions when they arose in pre-scientific times? At the same time, ancient philosophies of life have little or nothing to say about fundamental issues confronting us as advanced technologies begin to enable us to change our identity as individuals and as humans and as economic, cultural, and political forces change global relationships.
The Principles of Extropy first took shape in the late 1980s to outline an alternative lens through which to view the emerging and unprecedented opportunities, challenges, and dangers. The goal was and is 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 the confusing but potentially liberating and existentially enriching capabilities opening up to humanity.
The Principles of Extropy do not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or policies. The Principles do not pretend to be a complete philosophy of life. The world does not need another totalistic dogma. The Principles of Extropy do consist of a handful of principles (or values or perspectives) that codify proactive, life-affirming and life-promoting ideals. Individuals who cannot comfortably adopt traditional value systems often find the Principles of Extropy useful as postulates to guide, inspire, and generate innovative thinking about existing and emerging fundamental personal, organizational, and social issues.
The Principles are intended to be enduring, underlying ideals and standards. At the same time, both in content and by being revised, the Principles do not claim to be eternal truths or certain truths. I invite other independent thinkers who share the agenda of acting as change agents for fostering better futures to consider the Principles of Extropy as an evolving framework of attitudes, values, and standards and as a shared vocabulary to make sense of our unconventional, secular, and life-promoting responses to the changing human condition. I also invite feedback to further refine these Principles.
Extropy The extent of a living or organizational systems intelligence, functional order, vitality, and capacity and drive for improvement
Extropic Actions, qualities, or outcomes that embody or further extropy
A Note on the Use of "Extropy"
For the sake of brevity, I will often write something like extropy seeks or extropy questions You can take this to mean in so far as we act in accordance with these principles, we seek/question/study Extropy is not meant as a real entity or force, but only as a metaphor representing all that contributes to our flourishing. Similarly, when I use we you should take this to refer not to any group but to anyone who agrees with what they are reading. Rather than assuming any reader to be in full agreement with every one of these principles, this usage instead imagines a hypothetical person who has integrated the principles into their life and actions. Each reader is, of course, at liberty to reject, modify, or affirm each principle separately. What this tentative, conjectural approach to the Principles of Extropy loses in terms of compelling emotive power, it gains in terms of reasonableness and openness to innovation and improvement.
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