Toward a Mythos of Extropy

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
There once was a fellow named Pope
who made love to an oscilloscope.
The cyclical trace
of their carnal embrace
had damn nearly infinite slope.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
In my eyes, the major hurdle for an ideology of extropy, aside from the complexity of course, is the new age connotations already attached to the term. A bit stale and too readily scoffable.

"Extropianism" as it is currently conventionally conceived seems to be a new age, transhumanist ideology of pushing human consciousness and human welfare ever further. Extropy itself doesn't seem to be a scientifically embraced term, at least not nearly so much as entropy is. Perhaps there are similar terms that I am unaware of.

Really I'd be interested in an understanding of extropy that isn't centered around humanity, but of which humanity constitutes a sort of developmental frontier. It evokes a sort of Deleuzian imagery, of some outwardly crystalizing stack of layers of complexity, but such conceptualizations now strike me as venturing more into a poetic realm than a scientific one.

That said, it is my understanding that Deleuzian philosophy proper is about the pragmatic engineering of concepts, which I would argue ought to be field tested within a more scientific framework. That is, does this concept help advance an understanding of data? Does it inspire further methods of procuring further data?

How is humanity a frontier of extropy? Speaking from the current extent of my knowledge, it seems the human brain - namely the cortex, and I'm inclined to say some portion of the frontal cortex - constitutes a sort of biological state of the art. Of course, such advancement may not be so easily localizable, and may rather consist of the connections between areas than of given areas themselves.

And perhaps the hard problem of consciousness may be shelvable for now. Perhaps we may consider a sort of differential fabric of neuronal circuitry, these empirically distinct neurons differing phenomenologically from these, these circuits from those, etc. in such a way as to be less bogged down by how such pathways translate into experience. Perhaps an epistemological shift is in order. Perhaps, dare I say, experience is itself a spandrel.

Or at least the question thereof may be shelvable until further breakthroughs provide illumination.
 

Clinamenic

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Still too early in my understanding of the nervous system to be sufficiently scientific in these conjectures, but if neuronal activity functions in an executive manner upon the whole of physiological activity across the organism, can we not arrive at an understanding of neuronal activity as stochastically developmental?

Subscribing, here, to the premise of evolutionary biology than stochastic behavior tends not only toward the survival of the organism, but also and seemingly primarily toward the reproduction of genes. That is to say, the latter seems to take precedence over the former, in cases where the two interests diverge.

Could consciousness be considered a purely immanent organ? The administrator of the very neuronal activity that is itself executive of wider physiological function? But an administrator of imperfect, if even developing, awareness?

Is that a useful conceptualization, that is would it unlock potential insight into data, or inspire new methods of procuring data, that would otherwise remain locked if we were to not to employ such a conceptualization? Of course, my knowledge of neuroscience is still at far too early a stage to offer anything substantial here.
 
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Clinamenic

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But to get back to extropy, an understanding of the physiology of cognition ought to, in principle, allow us to refine our conceptualization of extropy most broadly. That is, such an added understanding will better allow us to delineate a sort of development of the ordering of matter, through mere physiology and into intelligence.

It seems that the lack of such an understanding is what may be preventing, or contributing to the prevention of, a noology from becoming a properly empirical science.

If a noology, here considered a field of neuroscience, were to become properly empirical, which is only a value judgement based on the premise that science should be steered toward applicability and that empiricism is axiomatically grounded in reproducibility and thus more communicable, a good bulk of subjective existence stands to be thoroughly demystified.

Perhaps the central frontier of such progress would consist of neuronal activity becoming an algorithmically interpretable medium of information. As far as I know, which is little, there already exist brain-machine interfaces that manage to codify neuronal activity in non-trivial ways.
 

Clinamenic

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There is also a sort of Lovecraftian aspect to extropy, if we consider it a development that is uncentered around humans.

Although it does seem like, as far as we can observe, the superhuman extent of extropy would not be of a radically different biology, but rather of an extension of and beyond humanity. In a manner similar to how the artificial may be considered an extension of and beyond the natural, rather than radically distinct from it.
 

Clinamenic

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Even without the Lovecraftian spin, there is something palpably frightening about extropy, if approached from a perspective of tender humanism. The notion that intelligence itself isn't partial to humanity.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
My stance on this, for the record, is radically diplomatic. That is, where the interests of intelligence and humanity seem to essentially diverge, my efforts shift from harmonious advancement to diplomacy. Where diplomacy is infeasible as far as I'm concerned, I would feel obliged to protect humanity even if it entailed an entropic destiny. Perhaps the ultimate fear of mine, but then again I suppose such a prospect ought to be accepted from the offset.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
All the more reason to bolster human intelligence, to ensure that it can keep up with its own creation, or at least the fruit of its midwivery.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Perhaps the central difficulty of an overarching paradigm of extropy would be that such a paradigm would have to traverse some number of existing paradigms that, themselves, may not warrant such radical revision. A conceptual framework of heterogenous logic and valuation, in keeping, as far as I can tell, with the assertion of Godel's incompleteness. A complete theory of extropy may, then, have to be conceptually inconsistent.

Consider bridging the logic of thermodynamics with evolutionary biology. Is there a way to coherently connect the two logics, one of energy equilibrium and one of reproduction of genes? Or can the former subsume the latter? On the face of it, it seems it can.

I'm inclined to investigate adenosine triphosphate and its metabolism, connecting it macroscopically to the musculatural expenditure of energy (edit: assuming such chemistry can be ascertained within our vital nutrition), and microscopically to the molecular thermodynamics entailed therein.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
T'would be a monument of logic, building such a conceptual framework.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Shifting gears from a scientific epistemology to a gnostic one, what would be the point of such a mythos? To inspire, to circulate passion back into advancement of science and human welfare. To prevent the suboptimal expenditure of psychic labor, all in the spirit of extropy.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Excitement to witness the future, to be involved in something meaningful and larger than oneself. Some things to consider when seeking to inspire.

Perhaps to the dismay of @luka, I am considering a side-stepping of psychedelia, which would in principle be an effective means of widening one's existential aperture. However, similar to the term extropianism, such prospects seem a bit dimmed by the connotations of "New Age".

That said, if psychedelia continues to become normalized to a meaningful cultural extent, perhaps it is back on the table.

In my case, LSD managed to inspire and enable fulfillment I hadn't known possible, but I understand it is a major leap for many to take. I just needed it as a jump-start, which may be enough for others, provided a therapeutic environment is established.
 

Clinamenic

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In any case, alternative pathways should be paved, a mythos of a more endogenous nature, unreliant on foreign substances but perhaps supplementable by such.

A narrative exploration may be in order, requiring muscles I haven't flexed in a while.
 

luka

Well-known member
do you still believe in science? not even californians are that naive surely. everything is fiction. top to bottom/
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
I think its the most useful framework out there, that I'm aware of, for systematically and reproducibly advancing knowledge, for what those two qualities are worth.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
That said, its filled with people who can't see beyond it, or at least refuse to.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Total science I find just as repulsive as the total gnosis you seem to advocate sometimes.
 
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