Indifference

There needs to be a word between loving people and hating people.

I was talking to someone a while ago, and they described Nick Land as misanthropic. This struck me as slightly off. I don’t think that Land necessarily hates people in general. He certainly hates a lot of things people do, and the space between what Land is and misanthropy is not large. But I feel like there’s room there, where clarity would be useful.

I think that the proper way to describe Land is not as hating people, or even disliking people, but indifference towards people. I don’t think Land would care one way or the other whether it’s humans or artificial intelligences that end up doing the kinds of things he’d like to see done in the future.

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“Nothing that you are doing can possibly work.” -Nick Land

I may be wrong about this, I’ve never met the man. But I think this idea, simply not caring about people, is a lot more useful than misanthropy. I think that a lot of the people that are described as misanthropic do not actually hate people, but neither do they like them.

I am therefore coining a word for this idea: Ambivilanthropy. (Yes I’m aware of the Greek/Latin origins. If it’s good enough for television, it’s good enough for me.)

An ambivilanthrope is someone who simply does not care about people. Some of the people obsessed with intelligence maximization seem to fit this description to me. They wouldn’t care if people are replaced by machines, or if people are augmented but somehow retain their humanity, as long as intelligence is maximized they would be happy. Likewise some of the more extreme (but not most extreme) environmentalists, who see humans as no different from any other living thing (or claim to).

Whether anyone relatively sane can actually be ambivilanthropic or misanthropic, or whether that attitude is more of an affection adopted to seem more aloof, is far outside my pay grade to determine. I just thought this was a useful concept that I should share with the wider world.

P.S. Nick, if for some reason you end up reading this, when are you going to get more copies of Fanged Noumena in stock? $172 is a bit outside my price range.

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3 thoughts on “Indifference

  1. So the Kantian Rational Being: the abstraction of our rational capacity, idealized into a perfect or at least vastly improved ‘thinker’; moral and otherwise.

    Ambivilanthropy, good word kid. I will use it as soon as I find opportunity. Hell,I think I’ll invent one right now just to use it. I will go further to and say that often the ambivilanthrope is pathological. But this is a common sickness in Western man. We tend to make Idealized, mobile entities out of our capacities and social inventions.

    These abstractions are the bane of our existence -Universal democracy and universal humanity for example.

    Abstracting rationality in order that it might serve its own purpose apart from the restrictions of the body as well as the less capable thinkers in the community is irrational. Is there a threshold of sufficient rational capacity such that more rationality would not desired? Would ‘thinking machines’ necessarily transcend this quandary? They would no doubt still have a conflicts of interests and competition for resources

    Or is the ideal one thinking being, thinking perfect thoughts to itself. One might think such a being might get bored and want to create a world of creatures to commune with.

    Liked by 1 person

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