Re: Protean Self-Transformation

Gregory Houston (
Fri, 28 Mar 1997 12:29:31 -0600

Jay Reynolds Freeman wrote:

> Transhumanism by non-technical means is a common religious goal;

Again, though there are exceptions, I think it is more often that we
find transpersonalism rather than transhumanism to be a religious goal.
Where transhumanism tends to be directed towards the individuation and
autonomy of self, transpersonalism is directed towards the mystical
diffusion [or at the least, subservience] of self.

> indeed, it rather predates (and possibly indirectly inspired) notions
> of transcending via technology. Persons with that historical
> perspective might with equal justice say that there is a perverted
> form of religion buried somewhere in the Extropian philosophy.

I still think the same is true of science in general. Both religion and
science have a desire for the attainment of truth, what differs between
them is the definition of truth, and the motivation and methods for
attaining truth. One evolved from the other and we can say this without
being ashamed. We don't call ourselves perversions of apes just because
we evolved from primates. In the same sense I don't think it is useful
to say that science or extropianism is a perversion of religion, even
though both have evolved out of religion. It is also silly to deny the
roots that science has in religion. Religion was the point of departure
for science, but again, this is not something to be ashamed of. There is
no reason to be ashamed of the fact that I used to be a baby that shit
in its diapers. I have progressed beyond that without feeling a need to
deny the fact.

> What is uncommon here most notably includes the attempt to achieve
> non-technical transhumanism by ritual mass suicide.

Here and in the first sentence of your post you seem to refer to the
technological aspect of transhumanism as that which separates it from
someone else refered to as the "Nuts of the Millenium". I don't think
that is sufficient. It would make transhumanists just as ludicrously
extreme as any other "Nuts" group. If we imagine ourselves as cyborgs,
part biological, part technological, and our focus is merely on the
technological, then we are denying a large percent of who and what we
are, and I would say we are denying the most important part, the part
that feels. We each own a model of the currently most powerful
"computer" in the world, our brains, and there is nothing wrong in
employing it.

Uploading is a common topic on this listserv. Until there becomes an
interest in giving computers feelings and emotions [felt sensations],
then uploading will remain somewhat of a ludic concept to me. Once I am
uploaded in a computer, if I cannot experience emotions/feelings then
there really isn't any reason for me to continue existing. Without
pleasure and pain I cannot imagine a motivation to perpetuate myself. It
would be the exemplar epitomy of stoicism. No excitement, no
frustration, no ecstasy, no sense of struggle and adventure, no fear, no
joy, no feeling whatsoever .... merely a program, 010010101001011110101,
ad infinitum; technological bliss-nirvana. There has to be a balance.
Otherwise its just another escapism.

Explore and play!

Gregory Houston                 Triberian Institute of Emotive Education  
phone:    816.561.1524
cellular: 816.807.6660          snail: PO Box 32046 Kansas City MO 64171

"Empowered, impassioned, we have a lust for life insatiable!"