101 ways to spread transhumanist memes.

J de Lyser (gd33463@glo.be)
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 20:30:46 +0100

About a month ago, there was some mention about how 'breaktroughs that would
lead to realization of some of ExI's goals, we're not happening fast enough'
(It was probably Chris Hind, who wrote something to that extent) And
allthough i haven't been around long enough in this group, to know if that
is true, i do feel the same frustration about knowing the possibilities
there are, but not seeing them realized. Whereas Chris' priotity probably
lies in exploring space, i personally would like to add to that, that i feel
implant technology is not being used for all it can be to mankind. The
following is a list of suggestions of how to popularize some of our goals, i
hope people will add to this list, until it becomes interesting enough, for
someone to take notice of it.

I. Bodyelectronics as a commercial market.

Currently, medical technology is coming very close to actually making
prosthetics that work better than 'the real thing', and i can't help but
wonder if it isn't about time someone starts to think about making (those
that could be defined as improvements) commercially available. Or we will
soon face a situation where people will start to voluntarily get involved in
accidents, in order to have their medical insurance provide them with one.
As they would not be available or too expensive otherwise.

In order for a commercial exploitation of bodyelectronics, you need a
market. Markets for new products are usually created (especially in hi-tech)
by just manipulating peoples feeling of scarcity, by convincing people they
need it. The product itself often only becomes useful to the consumer AFTER
the technological infrastructure has adapted to the new product. (ask
Philips and Sony for details...)

I.2 How to create people's interest in cutting in their bodies.

The popularity of body piercing the last few years, has shown that people
are willing to give up some of their body tissue, if they are convinced it
will heighten their experiences, or that it is estheatically pleasing.
(Anyone please feel free to suplly me with estimated numbers a year, and for
plastic surgery as well) The first bodyelectronics suitable for commercial
exploitation will probably be nothing more than 'gadgets' like Japanese
multi functional watches (with tv sets in them, calculators, radio's etc),
the only difference is that they will be implanted in the arm, under the
skin. By making use of a 'hype' a trend, and all the reasons people buy
something for they don't really NEED, a foundation could be made for a
consumer infrastructure that has a positive attitude towards bodyelectronics.

A practical way of working with trends and fashions, is to find an 'avant
garde' a group of trendsetters etc, who are open for the product you are
trying to market. Based on the character of this particular product, i would
go for: the hackers underground, techno musicians etc. Do i need to explain
further ?

II. Promoting the space colonization/exploration meme.

With a little luck, this will be done for us. The recent success of
'independence day', shows that the US military would better justify their
budget by saying there's the treath of an Alien invasion, than by 'the war
on drugs'. The belief in (immediate) contact with intelligent
extra-terrestial life is rapidly becoming a popular 'superstition'.
Something some intelligent people can, and will make extended use of in the

A few years ago, the SDI project, in a desperate attempt to stop their funds
from being cut off, tried to point out the risk of a major impact from near
earth asteroids and meteorites in general. They timed it a little too soon,
because by the time of the Jupiter impacts most people had forgotten, so i
think it failed, but it did get the media's attention. They just love
'reality tv' horror stories, and anyone with an agenda, would be neglecting
if he didn't make use of that.

III How to promote the space colonization/exploration & transhumanist memes
among the youth, specifically.

It's a stage i haven't left that long ago, so i can easily reflect on what
influenced my particular ideas about these memes. two selected examples: (by
order of magnitude/appeal)

Computer Games.
In computer games, there exists a genre called 'world builder/god
simulator'. Most of the games in this genre deal with colonizing planets,
resource management, and ofcourse fighting off aliens. The point of these
games is to balance your resources efficiently, in order to develop new
technology, that will help you balance your resources more efficiently etc.
The goal of most of these games is to conquer the universe, (note that in
some games you CAN make peace and become 'elected' ruler of the galaxy)

Think away all the traditional aspects of games (the enemy or the aliens,
the fighting) and what you have left is a simplistic resource management
'tutor' which leaves the player with positive attitudes towards: space
colonization/exploration, rapid development of technology, human cultural
expansion, rational resource management etc, etc..

Also note that in some of the more open minded games, cyborgs are not always
portrayed as 'the ennemy' (one game even allows you play as a race of
uploaded AI's.)

Many more genres exist that deal with our meme's, but the strategy genre
looks the most promising, as it is one of the few that can include an
'educational' value.

Sci-fi comics are probably the most popular genre in comics, and have far
greater appeal to young people than novels. Allthough in most cases
Posthumans are portrayed as 'the cyborg ennemy', most of them do have a
positive effect on the space exploration/colonization meme however. Many of
the great sci-fi novel authors ideas reach people in this way, (as well as
in TV/movies), as most never care anymore to read sci-fi, as they reach a
certain age.

Techno music.
I had to swallow my words, because someone pointed out to me that techno
music only promoted 50's retro ideas of technology. But the music alone was
not my only issue. Techno music has a very high partcipation rate among
people who like it. I estimate about 30% of the people who like it, have at
least once tried to make it themselves, which is possible because of the low
costs involved. If nothing else, techno music shows people by active
experience, that machines and electronics can be used for, if not enhance in
certain ways, human creativity. It could be an important factor in showing
people that machines aren't 'the ennemy' and that human elements we hold so
dear (like emotion), can be generated by working with a machine. It may well
reaffirm young peoples trust in machines, giving counterweight to the
media's portraying future societies dominated by machines, where all human
elements have been lost.

Can anyone continue this list ? I specifically would like some views on how
internet can influece people positively on our memes.

J. de Lyser
Participant Evolutionist Movement