Refuseniks

Human-Enhancement-Survey_1-01With reference to Jade Nekotenshi’s comment here, the graph to the right taken from this survey, methinks, reveals another key application of the so-important primitives-barbarians dichotomy.

See, if you don’t have these technologies, that just classifies you as “primitive”. That’s a term of art, not a value judgement. Every sophont race was there once, and with thought, effort, and will, can rise above it.

Not wanting them, on the other hand, that classifies you among the “barbarians”, and indeed with every “bigoted, knowledge-resenting, knuckle-dragging regressive” stereotype listed in the Big Book of Offensive Terms for Offensive People. Which are value judgements.

It’s the latter, as per said survey, that they’d hypothetically be sneering at us over, not simply our not having teched the tech yet.

Ignorance isn’t only pardonable, it doesn’t need to be pardoned, only cured. Gnosiophobia and its associated family of pathologies, on the other hand…

6 thoughts on “Refuseniks

  1. What I’m most curious about is how they’d respond to a couple of particular edge cases:

    That tiny, tiny wedge who responded “Don’t Know.”
    That segment of the population for whom the eldrae’s own condescending arrogance on the matter towards “barbarians” is itself the deciding factor. (“It’s not the technology itself I’m worried about, per se; it’s the fact that I’m likely to turn into someone like you / would have to put up with people like you for all eternity.”)

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    • On the former, that depends on why they don’t know. Lack of knowledge (or insufficient time to consider the question) is curable. Rejection of it (or apathy) are culpable.

      On the latter: that’s called “cutting off your nose to spite your face”, and is a form of perverse and wilful insanity. Especially in the extreme form “I’m going to commit suicide and cede an arbitrarily long lifespan because I don’t like your attitude towards people who do exactly the crazy thing that I’m about to do.”

      Well, bless your hearts. Don’t let the mortality hit you in the ass on the way out.

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  2. I pretty strongly suspect that Douglas Adams was right:
    1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
    2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
    3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

    Though I’ll acknowledge there are a minority who remain willing to embrace new things throughout their lives and will probably end up running the world fifty years after immortagens are invented.

    And then there’s the guys who realize they can’t compete with those kids and their newfangled technology unless they figure out how it works too.

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  3. Y’know, there’s another element here: when we, as humans, write someone (or their society) off as barbarous and benighted, we tend to assume that judgement applies “forever”. But for us, “forever” means “for their lifetime, or mine, whichever is shorter”. For eldrae, and other immortals (or even very long-lived ephemerals), “forever” really means “forever”, or at least within delta of it. So I’d guess that when they judge someone as benighted, it’s less likely to be “they are bad forever, hate and avoid” and more likely to be “not worth my time now, I’ll come back in a century or so and see if you’ve corrected your recto-cranial inversion, if it suits me to do so”.

    That’s probably a notable distinction, as concerns consigning entire societies to the dustbin of history.

    That said, those numbers aren’t precisely encouraging for those of us humans who adopt a more technepraxic view of things.

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