Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

From: estropico > (
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 03:57:15 MST

First of all, a definition.

Central meme of transhumanism (CMT):
It is right to use technology to improve on Homo Sapiens.

Anders said:

>Actually, I think the idea of technology being the central meme
>is horribly wrong, and if we present ourselves based on *that*
>we will lose much.

Well, I must be philosophically challenged, because, in my view, if you take
away *that*, all is left of transhumanism is just some version of humanism.
That is exactly what the mainstream is likely to see and it will then behave
accordingly, i.e. it will adopt CMT and it will treat transhumanism in
exactly the same way as it treats humanism today… it will largely ignore it
(by the way, I think this also applies to libertarianism or any other


>I think the concept "the central meme of transhumanism" ought to
>be staked through the heart and buried behind an event horizon -
>it is too dangerous and seductive through its apparent
>simplicity, catchiness and ecumenism. :-)

Of course you do!

It WILL be a powerfully seductive idea to some (once the tech is here) and
it will be a powerfully repulsive idea to others. It will split the
political arena in pro and against (we are already witnessing the initial
stages of the process with the cloning and biotech crops debate). Our main
job should be to make sure the pro-CMT side wins. If anybody wants to
promote a humanist view at the same time, fine by me (or any other view
compatible with “western style democracy” for that matter), but that takes
second place of importance, in this context.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but when the CMT hits mainstream, the
ideologies that support it might get a boost, but they are unlikely to go
mainstream in the same way… the CMT is bound to outgrow and leave behind
both transhumanism and extropy… The problem is (if it is a problem) that the
CMT can not be fully claimed by any of the many ideologies that have or will
adopt it *to the exclusion of the others*. We are it’s parents and it is
approaching it teen-age years… we’d better learn to let it go, increasingly
out of our direct control…

>The central meme of socialism isn't government control, the
>central meme of libertarianism isn't free markets. They are just
>means to ends (equality and liberty, among others).

It just needs a bit of rephrasing, then: equality is the central meme of
socialism and liberty is the central meme of libertarianism.

Which reminds me of another thing I wanted to mention...

To put it rather brutally:

transhumanism = CMT + humanism
extropy = CMT + libertarianism

Other ideological sides will do what libertarianism and humanism were the
first to do… I wonder what the results will be… (some of the following will
not be pro-CMT, of course…)

CMT + (US) Democrats = ?
CMT + (US) Republicans = ?
CMT + (European) Christian Democrats = ?
CMT + (European) Social Democrats = ?
CMT + Catholicism = ?
CMT + Hinduism = ?


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