Punpun Straussianism 2
Egalitarianism as the Great Filter
Last week I talked about close readings from the perspective of elephant vs. rider. I promised you I would talk about the very closely related topic of the Great Filter. The Fermi paradox asks why, given the extraordinary number of planets that could possibly host life, why we have not encountered any sign of alien civilizations. Robin Hanson coined the term “Great Filter” to describe a problem so severe and common between different alien civilizations (and our own) that it prevents almost all possible alien civilizations from becoming interplanatary. The implication, of course, is that if we want to survive, we should be watching out for such a great filter in our future.
People typically predict that these great filters are some kind of existential risk, such as nuclear war, artificial intelligence, or bioweapons. More rarely (with the notable exception of Hanson himself) do they predict a form of stagnation, in which humanity (or other alien species) become so afraid or incapable of growth that they never reach space travel.
Brian, shouldn’t you give your readers some transitions? It’s pride month after all.
Ok fine. There’s a post, or rather a footnote to the post, that goes “what if Nick Land and the Unabomber are trans, maybe that’s why they have these all consuming visions of the world” and I’d just like to argue the opposite. What if trans is a defense mechanism against the all consuming visions of the world. There’s some boomercon argument that goes “people are transing themselves instead of dealing with the problems in their life”. Maybe I believe that. But maybe I believe that’s reasonable in the same way it’s reasonable for people to stop reading Punpun if Punpun was represented as a human. (Wait, let’s face it, it’s reasonable to stop reading Punpun anyway.) But let’s take this argument in a footnote seriously, what if we transed our favorite postliberal machine learning engineer? We can find out using machine learning:
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