Is there a need for an extropic transhuman spirituality? I'm not referring to Theology with gods or Gods, or Paganism, nor by spirituality am I referring to mystical acceptance of spirits in a hereafter, and the reward of such. What I am referring to is a sense of one's essence in connection to life, will and the universe.
This reference is in keeping with how culture changes over time, and influence of the New Agers (1980s) who has created a renewed spirituality. I found this somewhat of a healthy step in moving further from traditional religions. Its affiliation with Zen Buddhism was appealing in asserting that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion. But, nonetheless the New Age spin on spirituality went in a direction I did not want to follow as it padded its cell with crystals, spirits, astrology and channeling. Such alternatives seemed to lack the encouragement of knowledge, but to keep people childlike. What I did like from this mindset was the caring, warmth, empathy and desire to improve oneself, although limited indeed.
Perhaps because New Age spirituality became so offensive, those of us who could have taken it into a more extropic sensibility lost interest. I know this was the case for me. Thus, how do we view our values?
This is not a new subject, and often we adjacently discuss rational ethics which it can leave one cold and dry, wanting for some sense of a softer approach to the inner workings of our consciousness.
Over the past year I have been rethinking my sense of being and connection with other transhumans, humans and the universe. It has been a complicated and entangled reflections, but worth every bit of time and energy.
However, obtaining enlightenment is worth the challenge. Thus, over the years, I had eliminated religions from my life and replaced it with psychology. Learning how to cope with life and how to change problematic behavior, understanding the possible complexities in others and how to deal with them gives a person a sense of insight and confidence. But this is one side of the coin and the other side may have a symbol of a heart on it. I realize that when people talk about "heart" they mean empathy, and empathy is an admirable quality. Those who touch their chest and communicate understanding with their blood-pump may indeed think that there is some mystical thing happening in there while I may think that it is a structure regulating the blood flow of the body, but I can understand what they are saying.
In our transhumanist community, whether here on the Internet and the Extropian list, or in various other transhumanist circles not on the Internet, there is a tendency to be critical and factual. I like this. I also like those moments when we empathize with one another. Extropians, being highly intelligent and educated individuals, have a broad and long term view of transhumanity and the universe. Most of us recognize pseudo-science and find a dependence on God to be unsophisticated, and the practice of many of the world's religions to be a hinderance to our future. Yet, how often do we recognize the kindness in one another?
There is a need for some form of emotional/intellectual synthesis which brings out the integrity in our being. There is something, some sort of synergy, some element that I sense is not discussed. Anders, in a separate post states, "One might imagine a gradual ascent into embodying something regarded as positive, a kind of slow apotheosis as the personality and ability develops."
Perhaps this is a returning point for me as I realize that what I need is not only intellectual and creative stimulation, but also a stimulation of the essence of my being. I don't want a placebo, I do want a continued understanding that the essence of my being is continuously becoming enlightened and balance - more conscious.
Natasha Vita-More: http://www.natasha.cc Transhumanist Art Centre - Home of Extropic Art: http://www.extropic-art.com **NEW** Transhuman Culture InfoMark: http://www.transhuman.org PRESS RELEASE: "We are transhumans ..." Meme Orbits Saturn in 2004!
"The best defense is an aesthetic offense."