Questioning transhumanism & Futures

Date: Sun Jul 09 2000 - 15:48:34 MDT

Iím sorry that I am unable to respond to Waldemar Ingdahl in
length on this topic at this time. However, I did try to reply
to your questions and clear up some oversights.

>What signals do we send to the outside? What persons get interested
in transhumanism? What do they learn about transhumanism inside
the movement, and how do they react to it?<

What signals we send to those outside our culture is reflected
in the data, the ideas, we transmit though communicative devices.
 Such communication devices are books, interviews, educational
courses, videos, films, images, music, meetings, conferences,
gatherings. Importantly, our one-on-one interactions with other
people both professionally and personally. How we affect society
can be obtained, in part, by understanding history, civilization,
culture and the current needs of society.

>But what, Natasha, is the philosophical content being transcieved
by those methods, language, jargon, symbols, and style? What
do we write on the keyboard, what ideas do we imply (. . .)?

Itís more than a mere implication, it is a matter of informing,
expressing and educating. We write on our keyboards our world
views pertaining to what issues concern us: how to solve problems
and develop an ethical basis for thinking. We communicate ideas
about extending and preserving life, augmenting intelligence
and creativity, critical thinking, designing more durable robotics
and prosthetics, cloning of organs, designing of organs, designing
of bodies, developing ways to communicate digitally, creating
new life forms, designing multiple personas, exploring human
consciousness, developing artificial intelligence (machine intelligence),
developing molecular technologies such as nanotechnologies, the
singularity, discovering applications for nanotechnology such
as nanomedicine, exploring the solar system and universe, designing
space habitats, and the list goes on and on.

>It has an impact, but what impact? A computer can be used to
transmit many kinds of ideas, even ideas that vividly oppose
to computers being used. A newspaper can be used propagate the
opinion of the abolishment of the freedom of press. The media
isn't synonymous with the message. And one must take care to
look at what is being said on this forum, which is one of the
main foci of transhumanist discourse.<

The impact of combined and diverse fields of knowledge(economics,
philosophy, aesthetics, sciences, technology, history, etc.),
depends on the message and the manner in which the message is
being delivered, as well as who the readers or listeners are.
 There is no question that we must be responsible and consider
what we write in this forum, as in the many other forums, when
we are presenting new ideas, hashing out old ideas, debating
concepts, making announcements and having fun. Such topics of
discussion on this list must come from the people on this list
and in this community. Otherwise, it cannot be a true representation
of our culture.

>>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

>But what is the verse?

The verse I was referring to was a metaphor for what we represent
-- and what we are saying. In other words, "walk the walk."
 Some basic examples are (1) why talk about extreme life extension
while not taking care of oneself; (2) why talk super intelligent
while not taking the time to learn how to deploy common sense
in interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships; (3) why talk
about advancing transhumanist ideas while not advancing oneís
own self-worth? It can be confusing, and it can send awkward
messages to talk about solving the world problems while not dealing
with personal problems or not willing to understand how other
people or societal groups function.

>What is the reaction of society towards us?

Complex. My experience is that its best to communicate in a
way so that those I am communicating with can comprehend. Not
always easy, but worth the effort. Overall, I think society wants
to live longer and feel better. If we can provide this in a
unthreatening manner, than we have an angle. If we shout at
them they may turn away. In communicating itís important to listen,
ask questions, and offer solutions with confidence and knowledge.

>To understand it, and being able to respond to that in an appropriate
manner we need to have a world view, a description of history,
present, and future, to which we can refer.

The extropian philosophy is a world view. On anothe note, I
think society does contain aspects of transhumanism, as transhumanist
ideas flood the news, appear on the cover of magazines, are written
about and discussed and debated in public forums. Further, history
of transhumanist beginning are document by me in my book, however
brief, as well as documented by others in their writings.

>This weekend I re- read Virginia Postrel's excellent book "The
future and its enemies".

Virginia, who I like a lot, writes about dynamists. Spontanous
order is in the extropian principles. While Virginiaís ideas
are not new, they are important ideas, but I do not find them

>Transhumanism is not a smorgasboard of ideas, or a "bring your
own". Philosophical smorgasboards are not coherent, and therefor
often weak through their inherent contradictions. "Bring your
own" introduces, often badly supported biases and contradictions.
And therefor transhumanism needs a discourse to clarify its tenments
and its world view.

There are different types of transhumanists, as there are humanists.
 Transhumansit FM-2030 authored his view of transhumanism which
is different than what I wrote in the Transhumanist Statement,
and both are different than Extropian transhsumansim. There are
factors that we agree on, and some that we do not, but we are
all transhumansits. People have contradictions, and there may
be some contradictions within various groups of transhumansits,
but what is important is to recognize basic underlying values.

>In order to create new philosophical currents that are appealing,
one has to bring forward an alternative that is practical and
moral. And that requires depth.

What do you mean by depth? There are many indepth books and
articles available all over the place. I hope you arenít saying
that knowledgeable creative thinkers lack depth -:)

Ideas and innovations are the products of creative mind stretching.
 For example, society understands story telling, and it is an
effective way to communicate regardless of the format (book,
film, music, lecture, etc.) and the themes (economics, history,
etc) help to educate the public. Also, myths are an effective
way to show examples of various different scenarios: *if* such
and such happens *than* such and such might occur. These are
example of competent tools for memetic engineering and such proves
beneficial when the content of ideas (such as listed above or
in any books available for you to read) stem from broadly based


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