Re: Posthuman Easter greets

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sat Apr 22 2000 - 13:23:01 MDT

"Steve" <> writes:

> > The so-called 'radical' transhumanism is no longer radically futurist - it
> > is just a philosophical wing of big business and the political mainstream.
> >This is an interesting accusation. As I see it, the goal of much of
> >the transhumanist movement has been just to become mainstream. Being
> >radical has no intrinsic value if you strive to do something practically.
> If we agree that Transhumans are part of human mainstream culture (because
> events have overtaken them rather than because of the efforts of a 'hip,
> exclusive little group') then what purpose is there for continuation of
> transhumanism or extropians? If you have nothing radical to impart, then how
> can you be a futurist?

We are philosophically radical, we have ideas about how the new stuff
can be combined and the consequences of that combination that are
definitely not mainstream by far. When I hear about nanotech in the
mainstream debate, people don't think beyond "oh, it can make stuff" -
our job is to make them think about the consequences (such as changes
in infrastructure, production, economy, the concept of resources,
medicine, the relation culture and nature etc). We have interesting
philosophical and futurist ideas such as dynamical optimism and the
questioning of humanity that have not yet percolated into the
mainstream and IMHO are extremely necessary to ensure that the new
technology (which is what spreads most easily) gets used in new and
constructive directions.

> You misread me ..... I want the mainstream to move on again, and not get
> caught in some Transhuman limbo or 'local minima.' What comes after
> transhuman now that transhuman is the mainstream? Post/ neo or X-human .....
> and the evolution will be psycho-biological as much as technological.

Sure. But becoming part of the mainstream doesn't mean everything is
finished. As I discuss above, we still have a lot to do. It is rather
unnecessary to worry about the next radically different version of
transhumanism when we are busy developing all the time.

> The posthuman egroup list has been discussing better alternatives to human
> pair-bonding monogamy/ monotony, for example.

So what else is new? It has been discussed here and elsewhere from
time to time too.

> > So the swifter and more positive, radical, option is to declare yourself
> > post- or neohuman at the outset, act as though it were true, and wait for
> > the changes to happen all by themselves!
> Oh! I'm a jupiter brain. This easter I'm going to act as if I was a
> ~100 km sphere of diamondoid quantum dot cellular automata, surrounded
> by a corona of solar collectors and radiators and with a mental
> capacity a few billon times the whole of humanity (it could have been
> more, but those posthuman screensavers take a *lot* of memory, even
> when they are not running). I can think billions of superhuman
> thoughts at once, weaving together strands of ideas without the least
> risk of getting confused. I understand all of human history and
> knowledge just as easily as a human could understand a simple
> equation. Hmm, let's start with terraforming Sweden...
> But do you believe the above? It is fairly standard in hypnotherapy to make
> positive assertions and declarations so the the "subconscious" can bring
> about the desired effects without interference from the critical mind. I
> happen to belive that post/neohuman is attainable (indeed has been
> attained!) by me, whereas my skull wouldn't hold a brain the size of
> Jupiter.

Sure, it makes a lot of sense to live one's life as if you were
already the charismatic intelligent trans/post/ex-human you plan to
become. But what I was pointing out is that there is a very real limit
to the utility of this when you just try to be radical. Making grand
gestures or imagining oneself to be superhuman is *fun*, but it better
work well together with real life too.

> >Hmm. I would think that the words "magick" and "extropian" would be
> mutually
> >exclusive.
> Like Newton, I am a practitioner of natural magick (a follower of
> Constabulus, as was Descartes). As an experimental 'science' it is perfectly
> in order to reject SUPERNATURALISM as I do, yet follow the path of the Adept
> in trying to "equilibriate the personality in order to direct the forces of
> nature." Magick is about development of the magickal Will and ingenium, and
> enhancing our capacity for altered states. Transcendance, understanding and
> control over our environment.
> Chaos Magick (Pete Carroll) is another natural magick system involving the
> suspension of disbelief. I see most of the rituals as a form of
> "role-playing" various deities in order to get an inside guide to their
> nature or associated powers. Enochian Chess (the enochian system was
> developed by Elizabeth 1st astrology, John Dee, also used by Golden Dawn)
> can be played for brainstorming and psycho-strategic purposes even without
> believing in active divination.

Sounds very much like my views on magick. I am strongly sceptic to any
supernatural explanations, but there are plenty of fascinating
psychology involved. I think chaos magick is perhaps the system that
most clearly shows the link between magickal ritual and psychology; it
would be a fun project to really untangle the (neuro)psychology of
chaos magick.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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