Great sentences -

Great sentences


The history of the future is the rise and fall of groups claiming to advocate for the future, with advice that just happens to also raise the social status of their affiliate groups.

That’s Robin Hanson, indifferent to Transhumanism.


Great sentences

  1. AP, do you know what this means?

    "Here the minority is not an ethnicity or sexual orientation, but imagined future tech-modified people…"

    • Okay, from a bit of reading I think he's referring to genetic manipulation of humans creating a new class division where the elite will be free from disease, all but immortal, and that sort of thing.

      • Yes, it's Star Trek meets Ayn Rand.

  2. "The federal government is making an unusual proposal. It's suggesting allowing food manufacturers to inject a cancer-fighting drug into fried goodies to counteract a substance in the foods that may be carcinogenic."

    Is the above story an example of transhumanism? If it is, I don't like it. Going by wiki definition of transhumanism, it sounds like fancy name for technocrats and I am 100% against putting experts in charge of our lives because they are mostly clueless.

    • "Suppose a learned academy, composed of the most illustrious representatives of science; suppose this academy charged with legislation for and the organization of society, and that, inspired only by the purest love of truth, it frames none but laws in absolute harmony with the latest discoveries of science. Well, I maintain, for my part, that such legislation and such organization would be a monstrosity, and that for two reasons: first, that human science is always and necessarily imperfect, and that, comparing what it has discovered with what remains to be discovered, we may say that it is still in its cradle. So that were we to try to force the practical life of men, collective as well as individual, into strict and exclusive conformity with the latest data of science, we should condemn society as well as individuals to suffer martyrdom on a bed of Procrustes, which would soon end by dislocating and stifling them, life ever remaining an infinitely greater thing than science.

      The second reason is this: a society which should obey legislation emanating from a scientific academy, not because it understood itself the rational character of this legislation (in which case the existence of the academy would become useless), but because this legislation, emanating from the academy, was imposed in the name of a science which it venerated without comprehending -such a society would be a society, not of men, but of brutes. It would be a second edition of those missions in Paraguay which submitted so long to the government of the Jesuits. It would surely and rapidly descend to the lowest stage of idiocy."

      – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

      • "America wasn't founded so that we could all be better. America was founded so we could all be anything we damned well pleased."

        Thanks, Nich. I agree with Bakunin on this issue, I think, but I am more of a PJ O'Rourke fan myself.

    • For some reason, you've just triggered an ear worm for me: Duran Duran's "THIS is planet earth…"

  3. A common thread of liberty and freedom is always good to have.

    • Mainly from my reading of the wiki article, I don't get the sense that transhumanism is necessarily about endorsing state control, or forcing individual consumption/use, of such technologies.

      • It has to do with the Technological Singularity.

        Hanson is quoted in the entry:

        'Robin Hanson, taking "singularity" to refer to sharp increases in the exponent of economic growth, lists the agricultural and industrial revolutions as past "singularities". Extrapolating from such past events, Hanson proposes that the next economic singularity should increase economic growth between 60 and 250 times. An innovation that allowed for the replacement of virtually all human labor could trigger this event.[3]'

        • Something tells me we'll waste a lot of time and effort on perky breasts and larger penises first.

          • I disagree with your assertion that more perky breasts in the world would be a waste of time.

          • Just cut back on the donuts a bit. :)

          • We already have people wearing embedded chips to use computers, or artificial limbs and so on. We are long past the breasts and penises stage.

          • Well, those of us who spend too much time on philosophy and internet chat probably are. :)

          • Or, you can have my penis when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    • We really only have two 'freedoms'.

      The freedom to work, or the freedom to starve to death.

      Somehow people interpret that 'liberty and freedom' in a kind of vague 'Daniel Boone striding thru the backwoods' way.

      • I prefer Henry David Thoreau.

        • He still had to work for a living.

  4. Ah, thank you!

    (Not that I care, but I'm baffled that someone took time to vote my queries down!)

    • Probably some uppity 101p or above commenter wanting to maintain or raise the social status of their affiliate groups.

    • I'm not baffled by the voting, I see it all the time. You're voted down if they think you may be a conservative.

      • But that's the thing – I was asking a question about a stream of philosophy I don't know much about.

        • I know, it doesn't matter what you say. If, in any prior comment, you said something that may indicate that you might be a conservative, then your comments will be voted down in the future.

          Say something negative about Harper and watch your votes go up.

          • When I don't like what someone's saying, I usually just imagine the words in the voice of either Sam the Eagle (self-righteous) or Cartman (angry).

          • Don't get me wrong, I'm not the one voting you down. I'm just talking about my own experience.

          • That wasn't directed at you, to be sure. And I honestly don't care about the silly thumbs. I tend to only vote up if I'm going to, because voting down just feels too negative.

          • I don't care much about the thumbs either. However, the thumbs can be useful to tell where the readers of a blog lie on the political spectrum.

          • "My comments are voted down before I start writing them."

            And you wonder why you are dismissed, along with your fellow travelers, as merely noise?

            Instead of watching Star Trek, perhaps try reading Stephen Hawking? Time travel isn't here quite yet.

          • Could it be that you take criticisms of Harper's actions as an attack on his person? Could you really be that partisan?

          • I don't think you understand what I was saying. We're talking about the thumbs in the corner of each comment box.

            You seem to have taken the opportunity to call me a partisan just because I mentioned Harper's name. Thanks for that.

          • dude: 1) you identified your self as a conservative; 2) you are rather sensitive for someone that make a practice of calling people liars and accusing other of bias when you disagree.

          • 1) Yes, I'm a conservative. Very astute.
            2) If someone is biased, or someone is lying, I'll say so. So far, I've not said such a thing today, so you seem to be out to lunch. Like Andre, you seem to have a hard time following the conversation. Try harder.

          • 2) who said anything about you calling people a liar today? and you don't just throw it around when 'someone is lying'. indeed here is a link to a recent occurence when you called me a liar and then had to retract it:


            3) yeah saying sh*t like "You seem to have taken the opportunity to call me "that partisan" just because I mentioned Harper's name. Thanks for that. Such a friendly place this is." is whiny as hell.

          • Like I said, you seem to have a hard time following the conversation.

  5. Who are they SUPPOSED to affiliate with?

  6. LOL! Story of my life…

    • Oh, by the way, congrats on the 100p! You must try the blackberry daiquiris, and don't forget the your fedora.

      • Never mind the fedora. Bowler hats still 100p. P wise, pound foolish.

      • Thank you! How many points until one becomes a senior editor at Maclean's?

        • Three billion.

          • Ah…It's like air miles then…glad i didn't register yet.

          • there is also that tricky previous experience at the NP hitch too.

      • indeed congrats Sean… well done.

        • Thank you – though I think it's more of a testament to my time killing abilities than anything else. :)

    • Is it true they have an open bar in the 100p club?

      • Thanks! Haven't found the open bar yet, but the set of Castro anniversary steak knives was a nice surprise.

  7. I'm already transhuman. It's not so great really. Being able to levitate using only the power of my mind is fun though.

  8. I think you've long since wandered off philosophy.

  9. "I tweet, therefore I am. It's a corrective to the creeping sense of unreality that accompanies being in a room full of people who don't get my sense of humour or my cultural references – who don't get, in short, me.

    Anyone who can say why artists are compelled to do what they do – write poems or stories, draw sketches or make sculptures and share them with the world – will probably be providing an answer to the question of why we update our Facebook status or post photos that prove the details of our lives at times like these. " Globe/Mail Dec 21 '09

    From Lisan Jutras article a few days ago. Just seemed like something you would be interested in, Potter. I like how Jutras compares artists writing a book to people tweeting. I also enjoyed reading about how Jutras goes online to escape the unreality of normal life.

  10. Uh, I'm pretty sure s_c_f was making a joke.

    • Okay, then I apologise unreservedly.

      Please forgive my response s_c_f .

      However, if he's going to channel Rodney Dangerfield I think his schtick needs some polishing.

      • Yeah, it was a joke. Apology accepted.

        I refuse to assume liability for damages if my jokes are not funny.

        • And you wonder why you are dismissed, along with your fellow travelers, as merely noise?

    • In the spirit of l'esprit de l'escalier:

      I think not, said Descartes, and promptly disappeared.

  11. Heh. James, you're a fellow Calgarian, right?

    • Well, I live here now. Again.

      I'm not married to the concept though.

      • he he. now that was funny. and worth a thumbs up.

  12. I agree that the sentence is a good one.