RE: Posthuman Politics

From: Stephan Vladimir Bugaj (
Date: Sun Oct 14 2001 - 00:23:27 MDT

majority of an entire country's population. Strategies that require a
majority of a population to participate have been known to succeed. The
American Revolution succeeded. Martin Luther King succeeded. But
anything on that massive a scale takes billions of dollars, a core group
of activists willing to devote their entire lives to the problem, and even
then it still takes a generation to set up the initial conditions if they
haven't been set up already.
The small group of activists are the agents of change, the changes you
cite did not actually involve the majority of the population as drivers
of change but as secondary actors. I think you mean to imply this, but
I am not certain. The difference between the majority population as
drivers of change and as secondary agents is subtle but nontrivial
difference. In the end it looks like everyone who has adopted the
resultant philosophy participated in the impetus event for the change,
rather than in the secondary events which carried the change to fruition.
It is generally a small group of activist visionaries who agitate change
(for better or worse), and the population gets caught up in it once the
"winds of change" are already blowing.

Maybe I'm being too harsh here. I guess a lot of these ideas look a lot
less silly if you're planning for a 50-year or, ha ha, 100-year outlook.
But try pretending, as a mental exercise, that everything you do with your
life has to be completely finished by 2008 to do any good, and see what
that does to your perspective.
It makes it as short-sighted as the people who've caused so many of the
world's current problems, that's what it does. That time it takes to
set up the initial conditions is necessarily part of the change process.
That takes a while.

If it were that only projects which can be completed in approx 6.25 years
were of any value, we'd be screwed, because it'll take that long just to
convince the small group of driving agents to form some kind of working
platform with which to drive any meaningful change...

Indeed, if we look at Webmind (which Eli is familiar with, I'm not sure
how many others here are), what killed that project more than lack of
funding was lack of consensus amongst the driving parties (not that
little practicalities like funding and the time it takes to actually
do the work to change or invent any substantial system - social or
technical - are irrelevant).

Radical changes that happen in an instant are preceeded by a heck of a
lot of prior instants which lead up to the radical change.

By the way, to Steve who started the thread... prior to access to full
information regarding transhuman philosophy, I think there is a fairly
large portion of the earth who could stant access to a full meal every
day - and perhaps some literacy classes before they could make any sense
of said information.

Also, the problem with radical agendas is that they always over-promise
(especially on timelines) and under-deliver, then people get frustrated
and go looking for some intriguing new or comforting old agenda to
follow... Transhumanism or posthumanism as radical dogma, rather than
a part of a set of guiding principles for careful and reasoned change,
seems to me to be in danger of the very same failings as more common
ideologies (blind adherence and failure to deliver on promises).

Maybe I'm just boring and uninspired, but I'm all for a sensible plan
with short, mid, and long-term components... I just don't see "radically
altering the nature of the human body and spacetime itself through
nanotechnology and AI" as part of a five-year plan, unless (and this is
still a big maybe, not that it matters since it's not going to happen)
every single global resource that wasn't going towards maintaining the
basic human and technical infrastructure to support a society capable of
such a project were put on the project itself. (Or someone gets really,
really "lucky".)


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