Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

From: James Rogers (
Date: Thu Jan 17 2002 - 17:13:57 MST

On 1/17/02 2:24 PM, "Anders Sandberg" <> wrote:
> If asked, I never never deny that I consider myself a transhumanist and
> usually explain what I mean by that. But I have found that the mere mention
> of an "ism" tends to put people off. It sounds too much like a cult, religion
> or a political ideology - and members of such groups are (at least here in
> Sweden) considered embarrasing or dangerous. Saying "I believe in humans, in
> their ability to be rational, free and strive towards excellence" is
> generally well accepted, but even claiming to be a humanist makes people
> suspicious.

Implying or explicitly stating something that sounds like some kind of
organizational affiliation is a sure way to make people put up there memetic
defenses. I never mention transhumanism or extropians when loosely
proselytizing to the mainstream; when people are ready for it, they will
likely find it themselves. People are much more receptive if you are an
Ordinary Joe exactly like them who occasionally interjects interesting ideas
into the conversation, particularly when you aren't under suspicion of
selling something.

A lot of people in the mainstream will come to the same conclusions as you
do if you give them enough to think about on their own. It isn't so much
that the mainstream disagrees with transhuman and extropian philosophies as
it is that they've never really had to consider them. A few subtle nudges
to a noncommittal brain can often be more effective than bible-thumping, and
the person will do most of the work for you.

My $0.02,

-James Rogers

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