Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: A disturbing proposal

From:Brian Phillips <deepbluehalo@...>
Date:Thursday, February 8, 2001, 1:40
Apology accepted. Take comfort that I find your stated politics and morality
as unappealing as you would mine.
  As far as being crazed...I'm testable as a very bright guy, but I am
"sane" in every legal and clinical sense.  Arrogant yes. Success based on
hard work and discipline tends to do that.
  And oddly enough you are absolutely right about us transhumanist types
..though you should be happy not upset.  Trust us ...lololol. (joke)

Everyone else,
  I have LOTS of homework to do catching up with you kids.  I have decided
that I need to focus the objective a bit more and will work on analyzing the
common and disparate features of Mandarin and English, and then post again
when I have more substantative questions.  You are WAAAAY ahead of me and I
must catch up.


d e e p b l u e h a l o

----- Original Message -----
From: Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg.rhiemeier@...>
To: <CONLANG@...>
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2001 5:30 PM
Subject: Re: A disturbing proposal

> Having read Brian Phillips's statements and the replies of other to my > comment on Brian's plan, I must admit that I understood it wrongly. I > had the impression that he was going to raise his children in isolation > (probably on a secluded farm deep in Montana or Wyoming, with a BIG > stockpile of firearms and ammo to keep "da Gummint" out), especially > because he made a point about his constructed language been spoken by > no-one else; now I know that he doesn't intend that. > > I hereby apologize for my admittedly rude statement. The plan is > apparently not as unethical and monstrous as I believed it to be; > nevertheless I am still very sceptical about it, regarding both its > chances of success and its effect on the children which might be > detrimental (though perhaps not as disastrous as I envisioned it) rather > than benefitiary to the children. > > What he writes in his apologies, though, portraits him as a member of a > stream of mind I know all too well from the Internet and that seems > somewhat deranged to me. What I mean is transhumanists. Transhumanists > believe they could bring fourth the evolution of a "better humankind" or > whatever to call it by technology and highly controversal psychological > techniques, happily employing everything from cloning to bizarre > "super-learning" techniques and constructed languages (pray that Whorf > was dead wrong!) in order to build the Übermensch (sorry about this ugly > word, but is the only way I see to put it). In this, they tend to be > highly distrustful, sometimes approaching the bounds of paranoia or even > exceeding them, about the society around them, usually with a radically > libertarian, anti-civilizational outlook. They tend to believe > themselves to be genius, with the rest of the world thinking they are > madmen. They tend to be arrogant and condescending towards those less > fortunate in life, be it out of their own fault or not. (I have seen > more than one transhumanist proposal to end programmes to the benefit of > the handicapped in favour of research on eugenics and even euthanasia.) > > I find all this *very* worrying. I doubt that it could be carried out > without undermining the foundations of a civilized society. In creating > a new race of superhumans, those who do not belong to the new superhuman > race are cast into the role of subhumans in comparison. It would > produce new incentives for racism if some populations are significantly > smarter than others, or if some people are immortal while others are > not. And the technologies they want to develop in order to create > super-humans carry the potential of abuse to create sub-humans or even > more horrible things. > > I do not insinuate that it is the intention of the transhumanists to > produce such adverse effects. They have not proposed enslaving or > exterminating the unmodified humans yet. But the potential of such > abuse is there. No, transhumanists are no Nazis or anything like that, > but the parallels are disturbing. > > This guy may be far less disturbing and dangerous than I first > considered him to be, but I can't help having the impression that he is > crazed. Not a forensic psychriatry inmate candidate, but quite > unenjoyable to my taste. > > But to go back on topic, my personal view of conlanging is that it > should be done best as a form of art. There is nothing wrong with IALs > such as Esperanto, other that such efforts haven't achieved much and > most auxlang proposals I have seen look rather unconvincing. Most seem > like unaesthetic, lifeless wicker men to me. The fun of inventing > languages, and the best use of it, lies in creating languages as part of > fictional worlds, to explore linguistic possibilities, or just for the > aesthetic values of the language. (These three goals more often than > not interlock with each other, and many if not most of the artlangs > discussed in this list cater to all three.) I disapprove, however, of > engineering languages to guide the way people think to a particular > direction. I am sceptical about this being possible; I do not subscribe > to Whorf's hypothesis or "General Semantics", and I sincerly hope that > it is all wrong. But don't want to see something like Newspeak become > real. > > Jörg. >