The fundamental principles of reality: Can most people actually handle the truth?

From: Marc Geddes (
Date: Sat Aug 14 2004 - 04:50:05 MDT

Um.. O.K, you guys might be interested to know that
I've gotten some extremely harsh and disturbing
comments back from various (non-transhumanist) people
since posting that philosophical platform on my

(Note: I'm not referring to any of you guys. You
guys were fine with it. I'm talking about e-mails
from non-Transhumanists)

People are calling me 'fascist' , a 'nutter', a
'scientologist religious fundamentalist' . Other
comments from random strangers are that I'm 'insane',
the philosophy is 'bollocks' etc. (These people seem
to have a pretty limited limited repertoire of insults
my the way).

I realize that I'd didn't put any well-developed
arguments in my 'platform', but it was only intended
as an intro with links for people to follow up the
ideas. I was simply trying to summarize my current
understanding of the fundamental principles of reality
as succiently and briefly as possible.

I'm mystified as to why I should get such a reaction.
Is there really anything in the piece I wrote which
even remotely suggests 'fascism'? I really really
don't get it.

I have to wonder whether most people can actually
handle the truth. Reality is reality. I believe that
although the pool of knowledge is infinite, more
complex ideas are built from simpler ones. At the
base of the infinite 'knowledge tree' it's a
reasonable supposition that there are a finite number
of general fundamental explanatory principles. After
the fundamentals have been grapsed and sufficient
evidence presented, it would seem reasonable to
declare that we now have a 'theory of everything' in
the specific sense of understanding the fundamental
explanatory principles.

But the question I now have to ask myself is whether
most people are capable of handling the truth.
Reality is reality, but I've noticed that when one
points this out and keeps insisting on it, people just
seem to get angry. Will human irrationality prevent a
successful Singularity from ever occuring? Will the
'mob' one day storm the offices of Sing Inst? I'm
sorry to say that I now think that that is a very
definite possibility :-(

Eli and co need to be careful. Very careful. I've
tried to point this out repeatibly. The 'truth' is a
very dangerous thing to actually state too much of.
I'm increasingly beginning to realize that most humans
are NOT rational beings. They run mainly on emotion.
It's kinda been a depressing realization for me.

We can kinda get a totally false sense of progress and
optimism hanging out on the transhumanist lists. The
transhumanist lists are generally filled with really
great open-minded people (like you guys on SL4!) who
are at least *vaguely* rational and respectful. But
neither these lists nor the people who inhabit them
are at all representative of the wider net community.
I often like to spend time on lists with people who
don't have a rational mind-set, just to cure myself of
unwarrented optimism from time to time.

So what I would say to you guys at Sing Inst as advise
for the future: Be careful. Be tactful. Be
'economical with the truth' if you have it. Don't let
nativity about human nature ruin your chances of
pulling off a successful Singularity.



"Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
                                      - Gen. John Stark

"The Universe...or nothing!"

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