Re: Ancestral Extropians?
Sun, 20 Jun 1999 13:44:18 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 20 Jun 1999, Natasha Vita-More wrote:

> Can you all not think
> of a female that has enlightened you? Think hard! Think across
> disciplines and get aroused mentally. Again, there is more to our
> ancestral memetic ancestral multi-leveled linage than exclusively focusing
> on male-memes.

Hannah Arendt was my introduction to philosophy and her particular way of talking about philosophy and its relation to public/political life still colors a lot of my thinking. Her book _The Human Condition_ begins with a discussion of the way the launch of sputnik marked a turning point in the human condition. She is very concerned about the technological transformation of human life, but she is more cautious and less straightforwardly celebratory about it than most transhumanist heros and heroines. Still, I think reading Arendt defintely made transhumanist ideas easier for me to swallow.

An even more obvious candidate would be Donna Haraway, especially her Cyborg Manifesto, which introduced many transhumanist ideas to academic feminists and socialists. She is still producing vital and interesting work today. And as a side note, she experiments in her work with combining "theoretical" and "poetical" modes of expression in ways that might appeal to you if you haven't read her before (you probably have). I teach Haraway in my classes at Berkeley and she always provokes really interesting conversations and ideas.

I am sometimes surprised that when people on the list talk about science fiction that they like they always bring up all the writers I like best (esp. Egan, Vinge, Banks, Sterling, Gibson, Stephenson) *except* for one: Octavia Butler. Her work is some of the strangest most beautiful most difficult most emotionally complicated speculative fiction around. Again, when I teach science fiction I often get the best results when I teach Octavia Butler. (If we're talking about female sf, there's no need for me to remind you of the already much beloved Linda Nagata.)

Best always, Dale

PS: I agree that it would be a ***terrible*** thing if the only woman transhumanists took seriously was Ayn Rand.