Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

From: estropico > (
Date: Sun Jan 20 2002 - 06:23:46 MST

Poor (so-called) Central Meme of Transhumanism!

Anders wants to drive a stake through its heart and dump it in a black hole
and Max is not exactly enthusiastic about it:

>No no no no no no no NO!!!!

Let me clarify: I am not saying that we should purge transhumanism of any
humanist or libertarian influences.

What I am trying to say is that every ideological system will soon have to
decide whether it is pro-CMT or against it. Those that will decide in
favour, will not *have* to adopt whatever else transhumanists or extropians
have to say on ethics or politics. Furthermore, as long as this is within
the framework of western-style democracy (i.e. no nazis), I think that’s ok.

As soon as the first effective CMT-enabling technologies begin to appear I
expect a quick growth of the level of acceptance of the CMT, and when that
happens transhumanism and extropy risk being left behind because neither has
“exclusive rights” to it. The “going mainstream” of the CMT is something
that should be welcomed by all tranhsumanists, but it does not automatically
mean that transhumanism itself, or extropy (i.e. today’s ideologies that
have grown around the CMT) will “go mainstream” with it.

This relative ease of “adoptability” of the CMT is something we should be
very aware of, but it is not a bad thing: it will make life harder for the
emerging anti-CMT alliance (i.e. the biological-religious conservatives).
The CMT’s ease of adoptability should be kept firmly in mind because it
could influence some important *tactical* moves, as Rafal Smigrodzki has
explained, better than I could:

>…when I suggest an ethics-free use of the word "transhumanism" I have >the
>following goal in mind - our means (the use of technology to >voluntarily
>change humanity), can and will be accepted by persons and >movements with
>ethical principles differing from ours. It is likely >that these will be
>groups more similar to us than to Rifkinites, who >are opposed to us as a
>matter of principle. Yet, on the other hand, >our potential allies in the
>support of technology will have enough >ethical disagreements with us to
>prevent the formation of a single >movement. By formulating a strategy
>based on shared means (technology), rather >than trying to package ethics,
>politics *and* technology as a single >all-encompassing world view, it
>might be possible to achieve our >goals faster. It is easier to build and
>maintain narrowly-focused >alliances, with a lot of leeway for members.

I think the above also implies that a purely pro-CMT movement, could gain a
level of support and influence that ExI or the WTA could not reach, as their
(minority) political views could then effectively become the limiting factor
in their own growth.

I am an ExI and WTA supporter (in that order). However, I do not
realistically see how either of them could prevent more politically
mainstream movements from adopting the CMT and going on to become major
players in the future fight for CMT acceptance, *once the CMT-enabling
technologies are here.*

This should be kept firmly in mind when making *tactical* decisions in the
coming years (I stress the word tactical, because *strategically* the need
for pro-CMT movements of a humanist and/or libertarian streak is still a
clear necessity).


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