Diogenes the Cynic vs Elon Musk

What wisdom could the great Cynic offer to our modern-day Alexander?

Elon Musk is a visionary, entrepreneur, and billionaire. You can check his Wikipedia page if you don’t believe us. In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on the Forbes’ list of The World's Most Powerful People, and as of February 2018, he has a net worth of $20.8 billion, which ranks him 53rd in Forbes’ list of richest people in the world. As one of our favourite philosophers, Spider-Man, often says: with great power comes great responsibility, and one kind of responsibility Musk seems to have trouble mustering is to keep his hubris in check. And to treat others kindly. And to do more for the world. Okay, that’s three responsibilities, to be fair. 

Recently, Musk did try to do something for the world. He has repeatedly been asked to intervene with the awful and apparently largely

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Ricky S 1 March 2020

You say that people shouldn’t throw money at problems they don’t know anything about but then argue he should do something for the water contamination problem in Flint, MI? At least a submarine is akin to a spaceship and he didn’t actually build it and try to fix the problem.

Also, one momentary lapse in judgment is a far cry from Trump’s twitter history. Elon also did not come from “very rich” parents and only received a $10k loan for his first startup.

I do not see Elon as a power hungry, greedy billionaire whose sole purpose is to further his own interests. He is one of the few that isn’t. He doesn’t “throw money” at problems that he can’t fix. He is much more of a philosopher and careful thinker than you’re portraying him to be in your very simple-minded hypothetical conversation.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t blindly follow anyone. I think there are things to learn from Elon as much as there are Diogenes. No one man has the answer.

Patrice Ayme 30 July 2018

Hating Tech? Hate Man!
Rampages against technology are fashionable: after all, our world depends upon it. It is worse than a drug, then: it is the life support system of the most advanced apes who ever were. Technology is out mother, father, what makes us possible. Hating our provider, our god: how pleasing!
Homo, the genus, and genius, is inseparable from technology. Saying technology doesn't help, or doesn't even help define, is to have understood nothing to the genus Homo.
So on tech we go.
An interest of technology is to solve problems, which can’t be solved otherwise, lest we want to use the oldest methods, like cannibalism.

As it is, we use much more planet than we have. We need another planet, or we need to quickly consume, say, 90% of humanity (the latter can easily be done, though… thanks to tech, both as an exterminator, and a redemptor).

Colonizing Mars would double the land area at our disposal. And yes, it can be done: there are giant ice cliffs on Mars: water was the big problem. Up to last year, Mars looked desicated, and it appeared one would have to crash comets into it to bring water. Now, no more. All we need is a mighty energy source. That too, tech could bring us: controlled thermonuclear fusion, already used in decent airports, looms, ever closer: a thermonuclear reactor connected to the grid is feasible… if we spent, say 100 billion dollars (5% US or EU yearly GDP).

Elon Musk is an entrepreneur: he takes science invented by deep minds, and turns it into profitable technology. True, he got favored by Obama, in a shameless manner… while Obama killed important technologies such as Fuel Cells… to leave room to Musk. True the plutocratic connection between Musk and tech monopolies and the Obama administration was disgusting, and many involved should how be prosecuted. I wrote extensively against Musk and Bezos in the past, because they go so much help from the Obama White House. However, the fact is now both of these two plutocrat have made an important technological advance: rockets can be reused! “Space Shuttle” launches used to cost 1.5 billion dollars (yes, billion, with a b… per launch). Musk thinks he could launch a much bigger rocket for six million dollars. Indeed, doing the math, the cost of launch should be no more than a jumbo jet transcontinental flight… if the rocket is sophisticated enough.

Facebook is a different problem. Facebook is horrendously unethical, and a return to a primitivism worse than the Middle Ages. Facebook has indeed decided to censor artwork from the Middle Ages… even if it has educational value…

In general plutocracy is killing civilization. Always has, always will. However, the grandeur of Bezos and Musk missions is such, one has to make a grudging exception for them, as long as they keep on going… to Mars. That doesn’t mean we have run out of targets: all the financial derivative sector, worth 1,400 trillion dollars (yes, with a t, $1,400 thousand billions) should be destroyed. It is because it doesn’t exist in China, that China has become the world’s greatest economic power… Financiers bootstrapping themselves so they can crush us when they come down... What's worse?
Patrice Ayme