X-Message-Number: 13963
From: "john grigg" <>
Subject: A world without pain
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 14:51:24 PDT

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
In a world where everyone is a trillionaire, the guy with ten trillion
still gets the girl, the better spaceship, the asteroid in the better
neighborhood, more friends, and more opportunities.  The very concept
of "enough" is ridiculous, with no place in Extropian thought.
It is at odds with conservation of mass-energy and the desire to expand.

Keeping up with the Jones' could really get rediculous!

Eliezer wrote:
If intelligence remains voluntary, then those who choose to stay
human will never run out of ways to make themselves miserable.
The _Diaspora_-class uploads will compete for social status, snub each
other, and punish nonconformism; all the tension and fear that humans
now invest in money will simply be redirected, rather than destroyed.  The 
Amish will keep farming.

I recently saw a show on PBS where a researcher who focuses on baboon
social life said that these animals suffer from heart disease and
other ailments due to the terrible emotional pressures they experience
living in their troops.  There is not much physical violence but
the mere threat of attack and further loss of social standing eats
away at them constantly(especially the animals with the lesser social
standing).  The scientist pointed out the corollary between baboons and 

you continue:
I can still hope for a world in which good wins *completely* and
forever, by strictly ethical means, because there might well be
some blatantly obvious way to do it.  That's the miracle of intelligence.  I 
can hope for a world that is totally without suffering, even the suffering 
of existential ennui or boredom, because that is the Standard Sentient Quest 
and there will be immense intelligence turned to making it so.

Still, I would regard the _Diaspora_ scenario - in which pain, death,
coercion, and stupidity still exist, but are voluntary - as a "win".

This reminds me of the Hedonics Imperative website of Donald Pierce(a
favorite of mine).  I would love to live in the world you describe.
I am personally very tired of my own emotional suffering over failed
romantic relationships and failure to reach certain goals in my
life.  The negative thoughts and pain stay with me and is very debilitating. 
  They strike at me like a red hot needle to the head.

I realize you are not advocating people becoming "lotus eaters"
but instead having an extremely resilient emotional makeup so they
can move on, be happy and achieve their goals.

you continue:
It's tempting to say that voluntary suffering would no longer be
my concern, but suffering is suffering.  Even as a posthuman, I'd
probably still care about the Amish.  It's nice to think that theists must 
necessarily have made a conscious choice to turn their back on rationality 
and therefore deserve what they get, but that's just not the way the world 
works.  If you're raised with a particular set of beliefs,
it requires a mental action to modify them, not the other way around.

I think to be fair to the Amish young people, at a certain age(maybe
sixteen?) they should be shown close-up the opportunities in the
larger and posthuman world.  It would than be their choice whether
to leave their Amish community or stay.

I could see some Amish communities adapting to the extent of at
least extending their lifespan but I could be wrong on that.  How
about Amish space colonists?  They might have to go somewhat high-tech
to leave the posthumans behind.

you continue:
At the end of my road lies a world in which suffering has either
been eliminated or decreased to the irreducible minimum, and in
which those who choose are completely free from suffering - free even from 
guilt over the continued existence of that irreducible minimum.

Eliezer, again I must say I look forward to living in that world.
I have a feeling that adversity and pain may not be as easy to escape as you 
think though.

I'm experiencing some serious pain right now!  Missing the Alcor
Life Extension Conference makes me feel sick to the core.  I only
have half the money I needed to attend saved up.  It would have
cost me one grand and I have half that in the bank.  I try to tell
myself there will be other conferences but I feel sick about it
still.  The transcripts/videos of these conferences never seem to
be made available to the public either.

I would love to hear firsthand  Natasha speak on breaking perceptions
about extreme life extension.  I would also like to hear the talk
about the improvements in suspension 21st Century Medicine has made.
Sometimes I feel so frustrated living in Alaska(as beautiful as
it is) when I am so isolated from the incredible things going on
in the lower 48.  I hope to at least in the end hear from some of
you how the conference went but I dearly wish I could be there in person.


John Grigg

P.S. Have fun James!! :)

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