Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

From: estropico > (
Date: Mon Jan 14 2002 - 06:11:28 MST

The *central meme of transhumanism* (i.e. “it’s right to use technology to
go beyond Homo Sapiens”) has left the nest and is up for adoption by any
ideological side. This can only accelerate as technological progress makes
transhumanist goals possible.

That’s what happens to good memes… they have a mind of their own and care
little of what their “parents” think is good for them.

Anders’ vision of transhumanism is totally agreeable, but it is only a
humanist’s interpretion of that “central meme of transhumanism”, in the
same way that extropy is a libertarian’s interpretation of it - to put it

>It seems to me that the best way of reconciling the differences
>between the different views is to recognize transhumanism as a
>meta-ideology, not attempting to prescribe all aspects of
>political ideology but providing an underlying set of values and

“Meta-ideology” is the correct description of transhumanism in my opinion
too, but I don’t think it’s possible to prescribe “underlying sets of values
and assumptions” anymore than it is to “prescribe all aspects of political

Trying to bolt-on humanism (or any other ism) on what I called the “central
meme of transhumanism” can indeed succeed in creating a movement that
combines the "ism" in question and the "central meme of transhumanism", but
it cannot prevent unsavoury ideological sides from carrying out the same
operation, because a nazist/communist/racist/etc could just adopt that
central meme and discard the rest (including the word "transhumanism"
itself) without a second thought.

We need to learn to let go of that "central meme" and concentrate instead on
promoting our version of it (and stop pretending that ours is the only
possible version).

Finally, this (relative) ease of adoption of transhumanism’s “central meme”
should not be seen as a weakness, quite the opposite in fact and I'll try to
show why with an example.

In Italy, where I come from originally, federalism is continually in the
news these days. Twenty years ago it was very much a fringe subject, but
today all political parties describe themself as federalist, to some

As illustrated in an Italian newspaper's satirical vignette:
man-in-the-street asks a politician: “Are you federalist?” “Of course!”
answers the politician “…and I have been for over half an hour, now!”

Replace federalist with (“central core”) transhumanist and, with a bit of
luck, you could be looking into the world’s political situation of 2010.


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