Re: Heresy

From: Natasha Vita-More (
Date: Fri Aug 10 2001 - 22:35:43 MDT

At 02:10 AM 8/11/01 +0300, Simo wrote:

>I have always thought that the definition at is
>"offical" and it says, as Natasha previously mentioned, that "trans"
>in transhuman comes from "in transition" - phase between being human
>and transhuman. As I understand this, any modifiement - now matter
>how small - that works better than normal allows you to use the title.
>This would then exclude contact lenses as they seldom improve one's vision
beoynd normal.

Actually, the transition is from being human to becoming posthuman, not
from human to transhuman. You are correct about the contact lens as not
being a transhuman augmentation in that it does not improve a human beyond
what is "normal."

(From my earlier post: "Transhuman would more fully reflect both the
physical and the mental. The brain is part of the body. The senses
interact with the brain by sending messages. By enhancing the senses, we
are enhancing the brain. The cognition (reasoning) you are thinking about
seems to be a purely intellectual process, which is certainly important in
defining humans, but we are not just intellectual beings. However, if we
had a genetic treatment that allowed us to be physically ageless but we
were no smarter or more intellectual than before, we would undeniably be
transhuman because agelessness is outside the limits of our genes,
regardless of an average IQ. Further, part of intelligence is social
intelligence in dealing with people effectively. Example: If we could
enhance the ability of person A to see person B's blood flow and then to
watch it heating up through an augmented visual extro-vision which would
give a person A more advantage - new sensory ability, this sensory ability
would be considered beyond human. It is not a cognitive thing, but a
sensory thing."

Thus, "a person who has a genetic malfunction and is given a synthetic
enzyme would be at early transhuman stage. A person who is born a man and
has not only a sex change but also hormone therapy could also be considered
a transhuman if he/she so desired. The issue would probably be the
alteration of what it is to be human or, on an individual basis, what it is
to be that person (with his or her genetic makeup) which has been altered.")

Regarding the FAQ at, it is quite good and has
some excellent information.

>But IF previous definitions aren't offical and usage of these terms isn't
>clear, this discussion is very important. '

The definitions are accurate, but as we noted earlier on this thread, words
do change and we need to keep up with the times. Totally changing a
definition from the ordinal meaning and usage of the word would be
disconcerting and a mistake. However, regarding definitions for
transhuman, I think that WTA's FAQ came from my web site which was co-sponsored by FM', or from my book,
I can't remember. I know Ander's did. Extropy's definition states "Someone
actively preparing for becoming posthuman. Someone who is informed enough
to see radical future possibilities and plans ahead for them, and who takes
every current option for self-enhancement."

>It is about the name of the philosophy
>after all. I agree with Elizier that word transhuman has strong emotional
effect so
>overusage should be avoided but I think that distinction between a
transhuman and
>posthuman should also be clear. If the terms were understood as I mentioned,
>I think both requirements would be filled - for now, that is.

I'm confused with Eli's current issues. Perhaps I am so accustomed to the
word transhuman that it is ingrained in my mind. Also, when I explain it
to people I do so in a way that is as unthreatening as possible. I even
gave a lecture on transhumans at an elementary school. The kids really
liked the idea.

What I do think could and often does cause a strong emotional affect is
using Uploads, superintelligences, and even Singularity. But, Singularity
will become more acceptable if we don't scare the pants off of people when
we discuss it. I think Ray Kurzweil does a splendid job of this. Hans
Moravec scars the pants off me when I talk with him about becoming a bush -:)

>But then, why couldn't this definition then also include memes? If
>attitude attitude somehow helps - and if improvements were available today,
>it certainly would help to take advantage of them - this attitude would
>also be an improvement - a self-acquired one - making you transhuman. And
>judging from the difficulities most people have dealing with techno-optimism,
>the word "beoynd human" would also apply as well. :)

I do think the transhumanist attitude is very helpful in developing an
understanding about change and acclimate to change.

Thanks for your input,


"The best defense is a cultural offense!"
_Create/Recreate: The 3rd Millennial Culture_

"We are transhumans ..." Meme Orbits Saturn in 2004!

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