Re: Heresy

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Thu Aug 09 2001 - 02:37:24 MDT

Aina & Bones wrote:
> Is Extropianism mainly for American's? How many Europeans are on this
> list and how much, if any, european philosophy is in your
> Extropianism?

I do not think of philosophy as being bound up in geopolitical

> How will the transhumanist movement deal with people's fears: the
> pessimism/realism that experience engenders? Will technology really
> change how people are or will people have to do that for themselves?

I don't know but I suspect a lot of both are needed. Technology
by itself cannot establish what it is that is of value, cannot
create the hierarchy of values. Thus technology cannot direct
> The degree of optimism on this list concerning the future is
> definitely infectious and I'd really love it to be as e.g.. Mr.
> Broderick envisions but People have milked the meme concerning the
> power of science to improve the human condition to death.

And beyond death. <g> Seriously, I agree in that the "soft
side" of what we value, of what type of world we wish to create
and of how we will answers one another's concerns, fears, hopes,
dreams is outside of the science and technology per se.

> The egg heads (no offense intended) have been saying that technology
> will solve this and that and remove this and that for centuries now.
> Technology has indeed developed the cures for many diseases and
> increased crop harvests etc. but most people don't get the benefit of
> it.

Well, the eggheads have actually been saying that only a few
short centuries and in those few short centuries they have been
largely correct. Most people have gotten very direct benefits
from this but human attention is too short to realize just how
much we have gained in those two centuries. All of us in
developed countries and many in the developing countries have
benefitted. But we have not necessarily gained in our
happiness, peace, integration into or enjoyment of life. Some
of what has occurred has actually been somewhat detrimental
there. I don't think it has to be though.
> Will what most people get out of a time and technology that can
> produce diamond houses cheaply be a diamond bullet in the head? If not
> why?

Because we will change ourselves also. Else we will not survive
long. A higher speed, more enabled future has less room for
surviving some of the darker aspects of our condition.

> Will Transhumanism become a sort of super technocratic society in
> which technologists develop technology only for themselves or can
> others join? Will it be the third word that matches: aristocracy,
> racism.......... transhumanism?

Almost every technologist I have ever known has the dream of
changing the world for the good for everyone, not just
> After all this biotech superman thing is basically a child of National
> Socialism. Sure, now one can in theory claim that with gene
> manipulation even defectives CAN be healed. WILL they be healed?

If we wish it and put our wishes into reality. That is the long
and short of it. It is up to us.
> Are the words can and should synonyms?

No, not exactly. But the *can* allows making the *should* a
reality instead of a platitude.

> Over the time (years) that I have been a member of this list I have,
> from time to time, noticed what I (perhaps wrongly) interpret to be
> disdain for poor/uneducated/less intelligent people in many postings
> so I wonder Will everybody get a better body or will there be a races
> of super humans and slave race that serve them?

Transhumans do not require slaves. The question is will
transhumans take care of and care for those who are not ready or
willing to be transhuman. That, again, depends on us, on each
of us.

> What is to stop Transhumanism from becoming the scientific arm of
> future dictatorships?

Nothing but ourselves and our "soft" development, vision and

> Can Libertarianism be summed up like this: all the freedom, justice,
> health and life that money can buy. If so how does that change things
> from the way they are now?

The above has nothing at all to do with libertarianism.
> Is or will Transhumanism be nothing more than intellectual confusion,
> moral imbecility, and willful ugliness elaborated into a
> self-conscious ideology: the worship of wealth, power, novelty and
> machinery? Will it become the ultimate expression of what many call a
> culture less and materialist America: a sort of burger and coke
> religion?

To some it may seem that way some of the time. But it does not
in the least have to be so. It could instead be the fulfillment
of all the hopes and dreams of humankind from the beginning.

> Must Transhumanism demand spiritual pathology. Obviously not since Mr.
> Broderick seems to allow for something else, as it were, but how many
> transhumans can make allowances for that which they cannot see?

There are not any transhumans yet but many who aspire to be so.
To so aspire is to aspire for the unseen, to aspire to make a
vision of what can be real. Sometimes some of us mistakenly
think the making real means throwing away almost everything we
cannot measure and treat with technology directly. An
understandable but imho self-defeating development.

> For me the ends justify the means but it seems that in Transhumanism
> the means is the end. Is this a fair judgment?

The end does not justify the means nor are the means the end.
The end is the vision and the vision does not allow means that
are incompatible with it if it is to be made real. You cannot
make a vision real by its denial.
> There are those who say that Libertarians and individualists are most
> likely to be solely concerned with their own egotistical and
> Narcissistic gratification. Since there are a few here on the list I
> ask would you refute this claim and how/why?

Personally I would find that quite boring. Creating greater joy
throughout the entire sentient Being of which we are a part is
much more fulfilling and has a lot more "kick". All of us at
some time past, present and/or future go through a more
self-centered period or set of periods. But it is not the end
or a final judgment of what we are or any such thing. People
naturally come out of it when they see a larger and more
fulfilling way to be.

> How would a Transhumanist egalitarian/collectivist effort express
> itself? Would they go for a Borg type society as in Star Trekk?

The Federation is not Borg like and is a better model in that it
includes individuality but the society is geared to see its
greatest wealth and greatest good in the maximization of the
potential of all its members as much as possible. This is not a
bad candidate for part of the vision even though its form is
hopelessly inconsistent in most details with what is expected in
the next few generations much less the next few centuries.

> Why not find ways of extending the use of our already existing brains
> instead of making new ones? If the mind can work outside of the human
> body why go for any form of containment at all? Is it possible to
> exist without limits?

Well, it isn't an either or. Extending existing brains is also
necessary and we may not be able to make new ones fully without
doing so.
> Since our instincts and emotions are our driving forces if we insulate
> ourselves from them or get rid of them what will our motivating force
> be?

I do not agree that instincts and emotions are our driving
forces as a categoric statement. We obviously have within us a
drive to transcend any such supposed limits.
> In attempting to become more than human will we become less?

Rhetorical. To attempt to become more is the very essence of
much of the best of humanness.
> Don't get me wrong. I'm not against science and technology. I'd
> install a bionic leg today if I could -_- It's just that I have lived
> a lot of my life in what you would call primitive circumstances and
> have taken a long time to learn about all the different stuff you guys
> talk about here.
> In reading up I have found questions which have bothered me but I did
> not want to trouble you all with my lack of knowledge/understanding.
> However since some people on this list seriously wanted to discuss
> whether or not white people are nicer than black people I figured that
> my questions won't be the most stupid ever brought up on the list.
> So, as the progress of technology fuels its own acceleration and
> rushes us into the future at exponential speed will we vanish up our
> own anuses?

Thanks for these questions. They are really good to ask and to
attempt to answer.

- samantha

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