Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 13:01:01 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "estropico >" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2002 2:57 AM
Subject: Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

> 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
> away *that*, all is left of transhumanism is just some version of
> That is exactly what the mainstream is likely to see and it will then
> 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
I think you have misunderstood the point here. What you call the CMT is
actually the conjunction of the three thesis:
It is (1) right to use (2) technology to (3) improve on Homo Sapiens.
Anders cited my analysis thus,

> As Mark Walker pointed out, technological transformation is
> really just one part of a triad of ideas
> ( : "1. The Technology
> Thesis: Within a hundred years humanity will possess the
> technology to reengineer Homo sapiens. 2. The Ideal Thesis: The
> goal in the reengineering task is to perfect ourselves. 3. The
> Ethical Thesis: We ought to employ technology to realize this
> ideal.").
A pure form of the technology thesis is simply the idea that technology can
be used to transform humans. This is what I think Anders is rejecting when
he says that this should not be understood as the central meme of
transhumanism. Technology, after all, might be used to make humans better
slaves, or instruments of a fascist state. (Just to be clear, this is not
transhumanism). Your analysis of a single meme smuggles in the idea that
Person Engineering Technology (PET) is to be used to move towards an
ideal--I assume that this is what you mean by "improvement", and
furthermore, there is a gesture to ethics, I assume this is what you mean by
"right". The technology thesis without the ethical and ideal thesis is
amoral and blind. Without the technology thesis, the ideal and ethical
theses without are impotent. I don't think there is a central meme of these
three. What is the central meme of the concept of a bachelor? Is it more
important to be male or unmarried? The question verges on unintelligibility,
as does the question of which of this triad is the central meme. Mark.

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