Fw: Polymorphs (Re: Future genders?)

Technotranscendence (neptune@mars.superlink.net)
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 07:33:20 -0700

The Randian-Feminism list finally intersects Extropian/transhumanist issues! The ideas aren't that new to us here, but it's good to see them spreading.

Hope this post interests you.

Daniel Ust
From: Thomas Gramstad <thomasg@ifi.uio.no> To: <randian-feminism@ifi.uio.no>
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 1999 2:32 AM
Subject: Polymorphs (Re: Future genders?)
> On Mon, 12 Jul 1999 Daniel Ust wrote:
> > Also, I would like to see this list talk about other issues
> > which the essay I cited here -
> > http://www.extropic-art.com/sex.htm (by Natasha Vita-More - not
> > yours truly:) - such as changing genders/sexualities many times
> > during life (or during a weekend?), and creating totally new
> > forms of sexuality and means of experiencing it (from the now
> > present teledildonics to actually plugging directly into your
> > lover's/lovers' brain/brains to experience what he/she/they are
> > experiencing). Even removing all sexual urges (temporarily as
> > any technology strong enough to do that will probably be strong
> > enough to create them anew).
> I'd like to see a discussion of these issues as well. The idea of
> changing sex/gender/sexuality by acts of will is certainly
> intriguing. This idea is treated in for example Scott
> Westerfeld's cyberpunkish (published in 1997 it's a little late to
> call it cyberpunk) novel, titled _Polymorph_. The protagonist has
> the ability to change her physical shape and appearance, including
> sex organs, skin pigmentation, and even to some extent size/height.
> You can read about this book at:
> http://members.aol.com/sdwestnyc/index.html.
> It's a great idea and a good read, but I miss more treatment or
> development of the psychological, philosophical and cultural
> aspects or effects that such an ability might be expected to have.
> The novel essentially turns into an action adventure story.
> Perhaps nanotech can make us all into polymorphs, as Daniel
> suggests. If so -- if I could painlessly, easily and reversibly
> switch between different sexes and body types -- I for one would
> experiment with most of the possibilities I could think of. Being
> the other sex, or even both sexes at once. One should be able to
> learn a ot about oneself -- and one's lover -- if one or both
> could change sex or appearance like that, in unpredictable,
> creatively shifting reconfigurations of the relationship.
> Kaleidic sexuality and gender. I would even try periods with no
> defined sex at all, like a neutered celibacy, sublimating all the
> sexual energy into creative efforts, learning, thesis work or
> exams, work crunches and soforth.
> Skull plugs and virtual sex? Sure. I'm already familiar with
> teledildonics. Stahl Stenslie, one of the leading artist and
> technology developers in the field, is a Norwegian living i Oslo
> and I've had the opportunity to try most of his body suits and
> installations. Read and see pictures and video of his work at:
> http://sirene.nta.no/stahl/
> http://www.khm.de/~kwolf/CyberSM.html
> http://www.isea.qc.ca/symposium/archives/isea94/pr407.html
> http://www.t0.or.at/~krcf/nlonline/nonStahl.html
> What kind of identity would a polymorph have? Would it be a
> multiple personality with many different selves or subselves?
> Would there be a unity across them, or would they be like separate
> masks or independent agents? Even with only the virtual
> polymorphs of today, which exist only in cyberspace, people are
> already talking about their multiplicity and fractal selves. How
> much stronger and more pronounced would this development become if
> nanotech gave us physical polymorphism?
> - Thomas
> Thomas Gramstad
> thomasg@ifi.uio.no

"A static future is not tranquil; it is merely devoid of hope. The biggest threat to a better life is the desire to keep the future under control -- to make the world predictable by reining in creativity and enterprise."