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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Peter Jackson: on 6/3/14 at 14:31pm UTC, wrote Ioana, I think you've beautifully and concisely summed up the issues....

Conrad Johnson: on 5/10/14 at 13:54pm UTC, wrote Ioana, Your essay is indeed well-written, clear and coherent. And I agree...

George Gantz: on 5/8/14 at 1:15am UTC, wrote Ioana - Thanks for the well-written essay. I must admit, though, that it...

Cristinel Stoica: on 5/3/14 at 4:53am UTC, wrote Dear Ioana, I think you are right with the importance of the individual,...

Joe Fisher: on 5/1/14 at 15:49pm UTC, wrote Dear Mr. Petre, I thought that your essay was well written and I do hope...

Michael Allan: on 4/29/14 at 13:37pm UTC, wrote Hello Ioana, May I offer a short, but sincere critique of your essay? I...

Ioana Petre: on 4/24/14 at 16:22pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract I have argued in this essay that the end game of...


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FQXi FORUM
April 20, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: A Manifesto for Survival by Ioana Petre [refresh]
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Author Ioana Petre wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 16:22 GMT
Essay Abstract

I have argued in this essay that the end game of humanity's future is non-exclusive individual utopias and that, in order to get there, we need to guarantee the survival of individual human beings. The perspective that I embrace is that each individual life is truly priceless and worth fighting for, while each unwanted individual death is a cosmic tragedy. In order to secure the chance to reach our own utopias, we need to prioritize the resources and effort invested in keeping us alive. I proposed the following hierarchy of problems: 1. Individual death due to natural causes 2. Individual death induced by accidents 3. Individual death as a result of environmental catastrophes 4. Individual death through the death of the universe The prioritization of these problems doesn't mean that we only look at one issue at a time and proceed to the next one only after the previous has been solved. If this were the case, then progress would be very much delayed. The type of prioritization that I am embracing here is not absolute, but relative, and it roughly abides by the following rule: dedicate the bulk of all of your resources to the problem that has the highest degree of stringency and make sure that any item on the list gets less than the one preceding it.

Author Bio

Ioana Petre is a political theorist working on genetics and future generations.

Download Essay PDF File

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Michael Allan wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 13:37 GMT
Hello Ioana, May I offer a short, but sincere critique of your essay? I would ask you to return the favour. Here's my policy on that. - Mike

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 15:49 GMT
Dear Mr. Petre,

I thought that your essay was well written and I do hope that it does well in the competition. I do have one minor quibble that I hope you do not mind me mentioning. There is no such thing as death. One can only exist by regularly consuming material that was recently alive. When one expires, one gets eaten by maggots that emerge from eggs that were implanted in each baby at birth.The maggots get eaten and the maggot eaters get eaten and the great cycle of life continues.

Regards,

Joe Fisher

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 04:53 GMT
Dear Ioana,

I think you are right with the importance of the individual, and not just of mankind as a whole. I like what you said

"The perspective that I embrace is that each individual life is truly priceless and worth fighting for, while each unwanted individual death is a cosmic tragedy."

Your essay is very well written, and you took care to make clarifications to avoid misunderstandings, in a way which doesn't break the flow.

Best regards,

Cristi

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George Gantz wrote on May. 8, 2014 @ 01:15 GMT
Ioana -

Thanks for the well-written essay. I must admit, though, that it seems to be missing a key driver - what you would define as "utopia". That definition, it would seem to me, would be essential is answering the question of when a human life is worth living. I also think there is an important corollary question - to what extent are there things worth dying for?

Many thanks - George

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Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 13:54 GMT
Ioana,

Your essay is indeed well-written, clear and coherent. And I agree that especially when we're thinking about the future of humanity, it's very important to keep in mind that humanity only exists from each individual's viewpoint.

However I do question your treating survival per se as a fundamental issue. I think it's unfortunate, for example, that such a high proportion of our medical resources are devoted to keeping old folks (like me) alive a few years longer, when so many other people aren't adequately cared for. And I don't agree that if someone wants to live millions of years, they should be able to. It would be a very sad thing, and I think very dangerous for the future of humanity, if we had to severely limit the number of children coming into the world in order to accomodate an ever-growing population of people who care mainly for their personal survival.

Death is a part of our lives, and we don't become fully human except by dealing with that fact. Further, it's not my notion of utopia that each person should be able to have exactly the kind of world they want. I've seen too many 2-year-olds lately whose parents don't know how to set limits, and those kids aren't going to grow up happy.

Finally, your list of priorities is puzzling to me, since environmental catastrophe seems so likely to increase the number of deaths due to natural causes and accidents in the not-too-distant future.

Please forgive me if my notes are miscontruing your intent.

Conrad

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 14:31 GMT
Ioana,

I think you've beautifully and concisely summed up the issues. Certainly there are many risks, and we don't know WHICH will arise; "We don't actually have bulletproof evidence supporting any of them" And though prioritisation is a strategy we must cover as many as possible!

Excellent anlaysis. There's no easy answer. I then take that a step on to find one fundamental answer, understand nature better ('unification') which will cover them ALL! History shows that route, not semantics, shows our path ahead. But I suggest first we need to learn how to think in better ways (survival of the fittest as you say).

I enjoyed the quick and easy read which covered the ground easily. You met the scoring requirements well, if, like mine, not necessarily first apparent at a superficial glance. And yes, of course we are all unique so all valuable and will all have our own utopia.

Well done.

Peter

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