Re: The image of transhumanism

den Otter (
Mon, 06 Jul 1998 20:30:43 +0200

Dwayne wrote:
> den Otter wrote:
> >
> > --Right now, there are hardly any projects (that I'm aware of) that
> > deal with the practical side of facing the future. Ideally, there
> > would be a transhuman network that could at least partially survive
> > a collapse of society. I know, it sounds paranoid, but when your
> > goal is immortality, and you live on earth, you *better* be "paranoid".
> > Also a >H network of this kind would have many useful spinoffs such
> > as suspension facilities and community forming. One thing that would
> > certainly be needed is a radio network: in case of some disaster
> > the net would be one of the first things to go.
> This is an extremely good and valid idea.
> however, the practicalities of communicating effectively over
> intercontinental distances make such a network reasonably
> expensive, and also, if the balloon really DOES go up, you'd want
> to be careful that you aren't targetted by surviving military
> elements zeroing in on your signals.

I'm quite sure costs can be kept relatively low if you use local networks (so that the transhumanists in a country or region have a way to get in touch when phones/the net etc. are down. These [local networks] are the most useful anyway. Maybe it would also be possible to have one stronger sender per local group, but obviously some research into radio gear would be necessary for this.

> > --If you want a "clean" image *and* the practical "survivalist" stuff,
> > you need to create separate organizations. There are already several
> > educational organizations (WTA, ExI, WFS etc) but none that deal
> > specifically with the practical side of transhumanism: how can we
> > maximalize our chances to survive and flourish in the twilight of
> > humanity and beyond? Such an organization would most likely be
> > low-profile, since others do the message-spreading, and would
> > mostly draw members from within the transhuman community. Touchy
> > but practical (or just interesting) issues would be handled on
> > a separate list.
> Well, this is also a practical idea. But you're advocating a
> survivalist, apocalyptic group, with all that entails.

Actually, the survivalist "thing" is just a part of a greater vision to turn transhumanist philosophy into something practical. Maybe (hopefully) no disaster will happen, and the singularity, when it comes, will be a pleasant one. But...we can't rely on that. Many transhumanists belief that there is a considerable chance that things will go very wrong within the coming decades, and certainly not all of those are wide-eyed, gun-toting survivalist freaks.

So, what's the logical thing to do for someone who wishes to be around for an indefinite period of time? Right, you prepare yourself (as far as finaces etc. allow) for the worst, and hope for the best.

It's probably a bit beyond our finacial capabilities, but ideally we'd have this abovementioned network and a couple of old nuclear bunkers troughout the world with, aside from all the basic supplies and a fully autonomous cryonics installation etc, computers & books with as much of today's relevant knowledge as possible, a bit like the Ark. Of course such databases already exist, but most if not all are in places that would be prime targets in a conflict, or they would be occupied by very unpleasant military folk.

It goes without saying, btw, that a privately owned island would be even better than the bunkers, being a highly unlikely target for any sort of WW-style attack, and it's better living too, you're already in your safe place when the shit hits the fan (always unexpectedly) etc. Also, unlike the bunkers, the island could actually be a great source of income too. But, ah well.

> > The problem is, if we were to chat on this list so that it is
> > acceptable and understandable to most people, the discussions
> > would be, um, rather lame. I've said it before, and I'll say it
> > again: what we need is a private list, where one can speak freely.
> > Censorship is bad for any conversation...
> Isn't this a private list?

Not really, since anyone can join at the touch of a button and the files are public (worse yet, they're all over the net due to HotBot etc.)

> I'm not a member
> of the Extropy Institute,

Neither am I.

> mainly because I can't afford it.


> What
> would happen to me? Would I be excluded?

No. The main list could remain as it is, but a "transcore" (transhumanist hardcore ;-) list would be added to the existing repertoire. Basically, anyone who wants to be on it could join, unless others identify you as a known "rat".

> I would suspect that if
> someone who strongly disagreed with the issues discussed here
> came along they'd just get bored and unsubscribe. It's not like
> we're all columnists in a newspaper...

Maybe not, but as others already remarked some (new) list members could be intimidated/annoyed by certain discussions on this list, like the "survivalist" meme. Also, we may not want to paste *all* comments all over the net, which is effectively the case with this list (try just about any topic, and search engines like HotBot come up with dozens of postings from this list. Great advertizing trick for sure -- unless it happens to be one of the many not-so- politically-correct postings).