Re: Mainstreaming

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 17:15:50 MDT

Jeff Davis wrote:
> John Marlow writes:
> >#Okay, here's the biggie for me--and maybe it's been covered in the
> >dim and distant past: Loss of humanity. Impression given is, you (the
> >collective you) don't know what the next step (toward posthumanism)
> >is and you don't care; you just want to take it. Don't care what
> >you'll be, just want to get there. Don't consider that when you do,
> >you won't retain human values. That's reckless.
> Okay. Good. Something to focus in on. The 'biggie' is Loss of Humanity.
> Or, as you put it moments later, "you won't retain human values."
> The words 'humanity' and 'human values' are code words for 'someone else's
> idea of what constitutes humanity' and 'someone else's idea of what values
> are 'right' values'. I'm not buying it. It's a veiled attempt to dictate

This seems pretty bogus. What are *your* ideas of what human values are
and what the interests of human beings are and what and whether it
matters and to what degree? It is not fair to simply disown the
perfectly legitimate question.

> my choice of values for myself. Life is filled with uncertainty and risk.
> How I choose to confront these realities is, for the most part, nobody's
> business but my own. I say 'for the most part' because, clearly, choices I
> make for myself will inevitably have some impact on others. However,

Choices we make on the way to singularity impact everyone directly and
utterly. Traditional libertarian separation of interests just doesn't
cut it. When we choose to fire up the SI we are choosing for more than

> that's always been the case. But choosing transhumanism for myself, even
> doing so 'recklessly', is not the same as forcing transhumanism on others.
> Yet you, John, (and those 'others') don't hesitate for a moment to arrogate
> the right, and presume the legitimacy, of forcing their 'correct' humanity
> and their 'correct' values on me. I respect your right to choose your own
> values and your own path. I'll take care of mine, thankyouverymuch,
> perhaps recklessly, perhaps boldly.

This gets us nowhere. The problem is global and crucial to understand.
It is not a matter of normal political positioning.

> Now, returning briefly to 'humanity' and 'human values', just what are
> these? The tribal prejudices of some organized superstition (religion), or
> the political platitudes of some governing ideology? Shall we offer for
> the sake of comparison the FULL record--which is to say a truthful and
> complete record of all the dark deeds of humans manifesting their
> 'humanity' and 'human values'-- not merely the sublime, the sanitized
> historical apologism of the current cultural myth? Shall we then, in light
> of this honest accounting, ask what of our 'humanity' and 'human values'
> deserves preserving?

This disowning language is again not helpful.
> The question of loss of humanity is, at best, grounded in ignorance and
> prejudice and primitive fear, and presumes, based on an historical fantasy,
> the moral and rational correctness of the current state of affairs. At
> worst it is a devious and deceitful ploy to maintain control, based on the
> historically effective but lately tattered idea that God and Ceasar know
> what's right and therefore you must obey.

Ignorance? Excuse me but we have discussed on here the distinct
possibility than an SI or a nanotech accident or deliberate weapon or
several other possible scenarios will wipe out all of humankind. That
is not ignorance, prejudice or primitive fear in the least.

> Transhumanism is merely the current manifestation of the ancient quest to
> understand and progress. That's 'progress' as in 'to make things better'.
> (Are we likely to stumble along the way? Well, duh.) Thus, transhumanism
> is FUNDAMENTALLY ethical. We are unsatisfied with, unimpressed by, and
> unwilling to meekly accept the limitations on justice, freedom, ethics,
> compassion, health, intelligence, and personal fullfillment, imposed on our
> 'humanity' by the accidents of biology. I welcome the criticism of my
> critics. I celebrate their freedom to criticize. And I celebrate my
> freedom to dismiss the strident protests of the misguided and misinformed
> and to shrug off the looming umbrage of their masters. My mind is my own.
> That is the heart of Transhumanism. That is what makes it unstoppable.

I hope you enjoyed that soapbox. Now step down and deal with the actual

- samantha

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