Geoff Smith (
Mon, 20 Jul 1998 16:15:39 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 20 Jul 1998, Nick Bostrom wrote:

> What are transhumanism's philosophical and cultural antecedents, and
> how is it distinguished from other, similar ideas?

Transhumanism is humanism without the limits imposed by a narrow definition of "human." Why must a humans die? Why must humans feel pain? Why must a human be made of flesh? These are the questions that transhumanists ask each other and themselves every day, and the questions that humanists gave up on millenia ago.

> What prominent thinkers are associated with transhumanism?

Epicurus, Hume, Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, FM-2030, Max More (these are my associations, they may not be representative)

> Is transhumanism a cult/religion?
> -It is definitely not a cult. Although it is not a religion it
> seems to fill the same niche in our mind as religion does.

Transhumanism describes-- it describes a general covergence of values among like-minded individuals. It describes a unrelenting desire to live and a defiant disregard for the present limits of the human race.

Religions dictate-- they dictate rules, morales, and values. They dictates how to live and how to die.

> Won't things like uploading, cryonics and AI fail because
> they can't preserve or create the soul?

(in addition to the already stated empirical evidence approach, I have provided an answer for those who prefers semantics and "logic" to empiricism...)

For a spirit to interact with matter&energy, it would by definition have to BE a form of matter&energy. If it is useful(or spiritually imperative) to separate matter&energy into that which is considered the "soul" and that which is not, this separation can be accommodated in the uploading process.

Thus, by simple logic, it is appparent that even those who believe in a soul can be uploaded without compromising their faith. Transhumanism is therefore compatible with any religion that does not explicity state "Thou shalt not upload!"

> Is there transhumanist art?
> [Natasha, open the floodgates!]

[E. Shaun Russell might also have some comments..]

My answer: Yes. To the transhumanist, living is the highest form of artistic expression. Without the constraints of standarized morales and pontifficated "ethics," the transhumanist is free to execute his daily activites entirely for their artistic value. There are no regrets that an action has defied a higher purpose; transhuman art justifies itself, since the artist is accountable only to himself.(/herself/itself)