Re: Dangers of human self-modification

From: Philip Sutton (
Date: Fri May 21 2004 - 05:45:43 MDT

Hi Eliezer,

You raise an important point about the perils of too-rapid change. It
allows too little time to pick and choose between new options and to
anticipate consequences and to protect past options that you still value
etc. etc.

The funny thing is that the greater the potential for fast change the
more we need to be concerned to also consciously ensure that current
attributes of the system (ourselves, the community, the environment,
etc. etc.) that we still value (or discover that we value when we find that
they could be lost) are able to be carried into the future. It doesn't
surprise me that interest in 'sustainability' is growing just at the time
when we have such power to change the status quo.

Far from this interest in sustainability being purely reactionary or pure
nostalgia or a way of denying the potential of future evolution, I think it
is a sign of wisdom. Let's go into the future and unfold new potential,
for sure, but let's at the same time ensure that this change is
manageable - ie. it doesn't lead simply to system break down - (sanity,
community viability, environmental viability, etc.)

There needs to be some sort of productive inter-relationship between
the processes pursuing sustainability (continuity of what is valued from
the present) and genuine progress (change to achieve new things or
states that are valued).

One way perhaps to get this useful relationship is to actively engage
the capabilities created/unleashed by new technology/innovation to
help make the sustainability processes more effective.

Cheers, Philip

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:46 MDT