Re: Transgression anyone?

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue Aug 14 2001 - 04:20:00 MDT

On Mon, Aug 13, 2001 at 04:42:19PM +0100, Helen Fowle wrote:

>From speaking to several on the list about why they want to be transhuman,
>the overwhelming theme has been about having better functionality. but I
>was wondering if anyone out there had any other reasons for wanting to be a
>transhuman. Does anyone see it as a form of self expression, i.e. like in
>body modification (I think Anders essay on Self transformtion goes into

Yes. I think the self-expression part is just as important as
improved functionality. After all, why do we want better
functionality? To achieve our individual goals, i.e. to become more
a person whose life is defined by ourselves rather than external

>The cyborg debates in academia centre on the cyborg, or machine
>human integration, as potentially transgressive. For example, being
>androgenous, potentially breaking such dualisms and boundaries as gender,
>mind and body, race, stigma against disability, difference and so on. I
>wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this. Do any of you see these as
>possibilites in the future or do you think traditional boundaries will
>remain as long as traditional institutions remain?

Institutions evolve over time. Some do not adapt and either become
irrelevant, circumvented, break down or have to act to impose their
structure onto people to remain in existence. Others adapt, and
that means they will change, sometimes to the extent that core
ideas and values vanish and just the name remains, sometimes by
retaining their cores but changing everything else. (There is a
lesson here for life extension, too). As more radical
possibilities of self-transformation become possible, institutions
will be involved both in shaping how they are applied and be
changed by their existence and application. What traditional
boundaries will remain will depend on how well they can be
supported by such instutions - including "mental institutions" like
our own self-image and assumptions about humanity.

It seems that in a global, pluralistic society there will always be
somebody challenging the current institutions somewhere (and
through modern communications each challenge will be broadcast to
many others), making it far harder for institutions to compell
obedience to their ideal human shapes, and the only truly resilient
boundaries will emerge from the traditional human condition itself.
Some will of course transgress these, but they will likely remain a
minority for a long time until the concept of traditional humanity
has itself been enlarged in culture and individual psychology.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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