RE: Cultishness as a high-entropy state

From: Olie L (
Date: Mon Nov 28 2005 - 06:28:28 MST

Wow, that was a really sombre, insightful response to a piece of weak,
flippant wannabe humour.

My favorite page in Kurtzweil's "The Singularity is near" is the picture of
him in the suit with the board. Nonetheless, it is true that by recognising
cultish tendencies, we can avoid cultish pitfalls.

Thread steal: What can be done for donations to the SIAI from other
countries. That is, what's the /best/ way to do it? SIAI isn't registered
in Australia as a non-profit, and I expect that donations from
non-north-Americans won't help the institute with their donation limitation

I am certainly not the person to help with this sort of thing. Sure, I've
spent an awful lot of time volunteering for non-profits, but don't get me
to look after the books, registering a new organisation. I haven't put in a
tax return in more than two years (are those sirens I hear?).

Anyway, 'Tis the season to open up our wallets and shell out for every damn
thing, so I might as well do my bit to get everyone to donate to my cult. I
mean, preferred charity. Pfft.

>From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>
>But there's a deeper question behind this, which most people don't think to
>ask because they're too busy arguing that transhumanism is a cult or
>alternatively that transhumanism is not a cult. *Why* isn't transhumanism
>a cult? Why *aren't* prospective transhumanists surrounded by wall-to-wall
>proselytizers? This is an anomaly, which needs to be explained. Usually
>when a room full of people agree with each other on something, they are a
>lot more obnoxious.


>The second reason is that it's harder for cults to form over the Internet.

I disagree with that. The first person in my family to join a cult (Mummy
being born Catholic doesn't count) was my brother joining the Cult of the
Sub-Genius. I think he's officially a martyr now. Sub-genius was around
way before the net, but they've been helped.

My father used to mock him for joining that cult. Then he joined the cult
that has probably benefitted most from the internet: Flying Spagghetti

>People think of cultishness as if it were a special case, a defect of
>certain causes or certain people. It's not. Cultishness happens by
>default, unless you exert work to keep the Cause in an unnatural condition
>of noncultishness.

Who thinks that it's only a few certain people? Look at ANY religion's
origins... well, not every, but...

>What goes into this work? Off the top of my head, here are some of the
>obvious ones:
>1) Deliberately restrict the scope of the meme. If you have ideas about
>AI, then *just* talk about AI. Don't tell people what food to eat, what
>clothes to wear, which music to listen to, what art to view, who to marry,
>who to sleep with, who to vote for, which games to play, or how to live
>their own damn lives.

Hear hear

-- Olie

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