humanism vs. transhumanism?

Remi Sussan (
Wed, 01 Apr 1998 16:47:38 +0200

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote :
>The statement of purpose of the Council for Secular Humanism
>(the nearest thing I could find to "tenets") is generally
>vague, but there are a few specific things it supports: for
>example, democracy, that I find somewhat incompatible with
>transhumanism. It also talks about "fairness" as a moral
>goal, which I have no use for.

Den Otter wrote :
>Also, I often find people who call themselves "humanists" to be
>a bit too far on the bleeding heart liberal side (soft treatment
>of criminals and the like -- yuck!).

Lee, if you don't believe in democracy and are transhumanist, this is
your right.
Den , if you like the traditional Afghan way of dealing with criminals
and see yourself as a transhumanist, this is certainly your right too.
As Nick said in his principles/declaration/manifesto, "transhumanism is
politically neutral" (and yes, I find this sentence useful).

But, because the posts of this list are archived and I worry, as Arjen
does, about PR of transhumanism, I cannot let strangers or newbies
believe that these extremist positions are in some way representative of
transhumanist thought.(even if I aknowledge the fact that the posters
used wisely the "I find", "I think" words).
I'm a transhumanist: this means I want to abolish death and suffering.
As such, I think my job is to accelerate my own evolution and help
people to do the same thing, not to punish them with tortures or
sentence them to death.
I'm an antiauthoritarian: I think democracy is the closest form of
"spontaneous order " that we know, the best way we found to limit, and
eventually break down, power structures. Other find that capitalist
libertarianism is a better way. That's their right. But this choice is
not an official part of the transhumanist package (for extropians, I
don't know: if I understood some earlier Max's posts, it's more complex
than usually said).

A last word about humanism: I don't know what is exactly "council for
secular humanism", but the fundamental text about humanism is certainly
the "Manifesto on human dignity" by Pico de la Mirandola, written during
the Renaissance, and there is certainly nothing in it which contradict
transhumanism. Transhumanism seems to me a natural follow-up of
humanism, not an adverse ideology