RE: continuity of self [ was META: Sept. 11 and Singularity]

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Sep 20 2002 - 08:19:27 MDT

> > To clarify, by "people and organizations in a position of privilege"
> > I don't mean the (say) approx. 10% of the world population in a
> > relative position of privilege. I mean the, what, <1% who "have
> > power" over the rest, and who I fear are close-to-chronically addicted
> > to such power (and its corresponding belief that one is not doing well
> > unless others are doing worse, or any other number of metaphors for
> > higher/lower status). My concern rests both on that entrenched if
> > incorrect belief and the real-world power such entities have (to e.g.,
> > shut down research or mobilize public opinion against it).
> >
> I realize that. The above I believe applies just as much to
> them. I suspect some of them will be among the first to
> understand the benefits of true abundance and shifting
> consciousness. I think you do many of them an injustice when
> you assume they are only given by addiction to power and are
> only happy when others are doing worse.
> - samantha

Well, as it happens I've known a handful of very wealthy people (by which I
mean net-worth $100M - $5B+), and my experience with them is, not
shockingly, that their psychological makeup is about the same as anyone
else's. Some of these have been friends, others just brief acquaintances.

Now, these people I've known have been businessmen, not politicians. In one
case, however, the individual involved exerted a great amount of political
power in his home country. Mostly these are people aged 40-50, not Internet
multimillionaires... some from traditional business domains like
manufacturing, others from finance, telecom, etc.

I would say that Samantha is right -- these wealthy biz people I've known
(who may NOT be a representative sample) are by and large MORE tech-savvy
than the average American, and are by the nature of their business concerns,
quite interested in and aware of global trends. Their wealth is certainly
not threatened by abundance in any direct way.

In terms of a psychology of "not doing well unless others are doing worse,"
it seems to me that these folks do gain a lot of ego boost from their wealth
and social position. But they're also intensely involved in vying with
*each other* for those business deals that you need a huge amount of money
to get into.... Competition with each other is probably a way bigger
feature of "super rich guy psychology" than strutting about their superior
position over the vast bulk of others.

I think it's very unlikely that the "ruling class" is going to try to shut
down research on abundance-oriented technologies in any way. Rather, they
will hire smart, savvy folks (like us ;) to figure out ways that they can
profit from such technology -- e.g. by owning the manufacturing and
distribution networks. But only once the technologies get very close to
launch, because among all businessfolk there is a lot of skepticism of
research ideas until they've become real.

-- Ben G

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