Re: Mainstreaming--re: Human Values (was Mainstreaming)

From: John Marlow (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 21:54:59 MDT

#Hi. Let's try this once more...

On 30 Apr 2001, at 4:02, 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

#Don't look for concealed meanings; there are none.

 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
> my choice of values for myself.

#Not at all. By definition, of course, a human is the best judge of
human values. At the moment, we're on equal footing.

  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.

#Couldn't agree more.

  I say 'for the most part' because, clearly, choices I
> make for myself will inevitably have some impact on others.

#Now we're getting warm...

> that's always been the case.

#True--but the actions of posthumans could instantly affect the
entire human race, which will most likely be incapable of halting
things it sees as undesirable by "its" value-standards. So, we're
talking a different ball game now.

  But choosing transhumanism for myself, even
> doing so 'recklessly', is not the same as forcing transhumanism on others.

#This would seem correct; no prob. You do however seem to assume I
don't wanna be superhuman. Bad assumption.

> 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 stand maligned. I have never said you must do (or refrain from
doing) what I (or anyone else) tells you. Never. I've no idea where
you're getting this. Again, there are no hidden meanings or code-
words here.

  I respect your right to choose your own
> values and your own path.

#Thanks; ditto here.

  I'll take care of mine, thankyouverymuch,
> perhaps recklessly, perhaps boldly.

#Uh-huh; no prob. Except...

#Here is THE point: The views you've just expressed (and fine views
they are)--me do my thing, you do yours, we don't mess with each
other, etc.--are by definition an expression of HUMAN VALUES. Good
ones, too.

#HOWEVER--once you become posthuman (and no one seems to really know
just what that means), you (or anyone else becoming posthuman, myself

#You may in fact become something you would, were you to see it now,
despise, or find alien. The human values which led you to choose your
path and leave others free to choose theirs may no longer apply--may
be meaningless, even incomprehensible to you. You might, in fact,
view them as irrational or contemptible, not worthy of consideration--
as many here view the "values" of the "greens."

#Do you see what I mean? To take an obvious example, rhesus monkeys
would rather be pursuing their own path through the trees than
strapped to a vivisection table or infected with simian AIDS--but of
what import is this to the researcher who wields the blade or needle?
The monkey is not human, and so it is viewed as raw material for
whatever research the more intelligent "postmonkey" sees fit.

#I suggest that posthumans may in fact view humans with no greater
respect than that accorded monkeys by humans.

#This may well be a baseless concern, but NO ONE KNOWS--not me, and
not you. What troubles me is that no one else seems to give the
matter the slightest consideration. Everyone wants to GET THERE, but
no one knows WHERE "there" is--and no one seems to CARE!

#It may not be a place we wish to go.

#This is what I'm describing as "reckless."

> Now, returning briefly to 'humanity' and 'human values', just what are
> these?

#Humanity is us. One example of human values would be the "you do
your thing, I do mine" attitude you express above--and which Max
expresses in EP 3.0.

...Shall we then, in light
> of this honest accounting, ask what of our 'humanity' and 'human values'
> deserves preserving?

#Certainly; we'd be fools not to.

> 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.

#This is totally off-base; nothing whatsoever to do with what I'm
talking about.

> Transhumanism is merely the current manifestation of the ancient quest to
> understand and progress.

#What I see is a desire to PROGRESS without UNDERSTANDING. Again--

  That's 'progress' as in 'to make things better'.


> (Are we likely to stumble along the way? Well, duh.) Thus, transhumanism
> is FUNDAMENTALLY ethical.

#Ethics is a human value concept. The relevant question is this: Is
POSThumanism 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.

#Great. What about those which may be imposed by posthumans--or AIs,
for that matter?

  I welcome the criticism of my
> critics.

#Will your posthuman self?

  I celebrate their freedom to criticize.

#Will your posthuman self?

  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.

#What if we--if you--are not the first to become posthuman, and you
consider those who are misguided and misinformed. Just what, exactly,
are you going to do about it?

  My mind is my own.

#Only because other humans cannot take it from you. Will this be true
when posthumans enter the equation?

> That is the heart of Transhumanism. That is what makes it unstoppable.

#Ah, yes! This is the point! Whatever posthumanism turns out to be,
it will likely be unstoppable.

#So don't you think it's about time we began devoting some serious
f*cking thought to what we WANT it to be..? And what we DON'T..?

john marlow


> > > -------------------------------------------------------------------- > > Then, in response to Greg's > > >> Saying that you could hurt a group of people by picking out the least > >> appealing members of the group and then depicting them as representative > is > >> true but, with respect, so what? > > John writes, > > >#I'm warning that someone will eventually do this--that some sort of > >etiquette is going to have be enforced on the public list or you're > >going to run into trouble. Yeah I know that flies in the face of the > >freedom-to-post-anything stance, but there it is. > > Trouble is inevitable. It's practically a definition of the human > condition. What's the alternative, to huddle, trembling beneath your > bedclothes? Freedom has its price. If it's trouble, then BRING IT ON! > No other way to get past it. > > > > Best, Jeff Davis > > "Everything's hard till you know how to do it." > Ray Charles >

John Marlow

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