Re: Questioning transhumanism & Futures

From: Natasha Vita-More (
Date: Sat Jul 08 2000 - 11:44:40 MDT

At 09:01 PM 7/7/00 +0200, Anders wrote:

>The problem is that most of us are not well educated in economics,
philosophy and sociology, and that it often doesn't seem they are
necessary. After all, the system largely works, doesn't it? We miss the
obvious stuff just because it is right under our noses, and concentrate on
the rest. But transhumanism is very much about questioning the way things
have always been, *all* of the human condition - including how we relate to
the current philosophical, political, social and economical systems.<

I first learned about and studied transhumanism in the Social Sciences
Department at the University of California and it was taught as a social
science. The second place transhumanism was lectured was at EZTV Digital
Exhibitions. Perhaps we are so smitten with the look and feel of "hard"
sciences and technology that we don't think we are discussing social
sciences, aesthetics, economics, philosophy, etc. *All* of the human
condition means "all." As for economics: why is it a far reach to be
knowledgeable about the analysis of the production, distribution, and
consumption of transhuman goods and transhumanist services? Philosophy is
discussed each and every time we discuss the extropian principles. I never
considered it in intellectually gauche, in bad taste or professionally
inappropriate to discuss areas of knowledge where one is not an expert, but
does have considerable experience applying information to life by gathering
specific knowledge through research, study, observation and common sense.

What lies under our noses and which the author of this piece, as well as
Anders missed is how society communicates -- by what methods, language and
jargon, symbols and style. Culture's communication technology are of
immeasurable significance to our future and our current relationship with
society, and not giving relevance to the enormous impact of literature,
music and images (moving or still) on culture and the influences these
modes can and do impact on culture, is a loss for transhumanity.

>I find reading the journal "Futures" valuable, as there I often encounter
radically different ideas about what a desirable future would be like.
There have been papers discussing how to get *out* of this spiral of
technological advancement and into some nice, "more human", static world -
an idea I find abhorrent as stated (because it implies that *everyone* must
do it), but is widely accepted in many circles. If we don't learn to deal
with the real world issues well from *our* philosophical point of view, the
above view might well be what spreads into most economical and political
solutions, badly cramping us.<

I have used the word "balance" many times. Balance knowledge, balance
experience and balance information so that the scales do not tilt so far in
one direction that the an attention deficit results. While walking around
espousing far reaching concepts, our culture must know how to listen to the
verse. What we need is to take a hard look at our culture and determine if
 it can be a broad-based culturally effective, socially sophisticated point
of view including cross-disciplinary knowledge comprised of the most
sophisticated sciences, technologies, arts and its communications.

>(snip)This is of course great, but it gave me pause to find that in the
list of factors most likely to affect the next 1000 years immortality was
on the second last place! Also, note the relative ranking here (I think
the index is simply the product of the probability, importance and priority
if they occur): (snip) I think the ranking tells us much about general
opinions on what is important.<

And how did he develop with this list of factors? I think he deployed
creativity. It seems to me that it is practical to emphasize the source of
communications and meme breading. It seems that it is an imbalance and
narrow approach to not emphasize how we develop a broader base of reference
and knowledge. In order to create new myths or to crack old ones, there is
a need to express and otherwise represent and communicate.


Natasha Vita-More:
To Order the book: Create/Recreate: The 3rd Millennial Culture
Extropic Art & Transhumanist Arts Center:
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