extropians: Present dangers to transhumanism

Present dangers to transhumanism

Waldemar Ingdahl (wingdahl@hotmail.com)
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 18:39:42 CEST


Time for some gloom and doom!;-)

These are some dangers to the transhumanist movement as I see them at present. What do you other guys think? Hope I'm wrong.

  1. Transhumanism is entering the public sphere! Yes, we are not considered as kooky as we once were. Here in Sweden the change has been quite swift. We are not mainstream, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore us as "just a bunch of lunatics". Controversial, yes, but not in the deepest recesses of the closet. This is going to pose some serious problems. We are probably going to experience a shism when the "nanotech Santa"-transhumanists are forced to actually get there ideas scrutinized both other transhumanists and the opposition in a much harsher way. The time for kooking around is over, and transhumanism must confront these tendencies within itself or the public will rightfully expulse it to where it came from. Maybe the ones that don't like this development into full-fledged political ideology will form a sect instead, like Alexander Bard said.

2)The transhumanism left (I hate to write this, those 19th century ideologies are dead and buried) has to come up with a critique of the increasingly conservative and reactionary old intellectual left. Sorry, but that's your hard task! Because if you do not do it quite soon, you will be left without a vocabulary- that is monopolized but the stasist left. If it goes that far, you will be forced to choose between leaving the left or leaving transhumanism. I do not think that you want to be left behind in a stasist movement following someone else's ideas, so you better get ready to rumble soon.

3) Centralism in transhumanism. Seems like a contradiction, doesn't it? Well, as the vice-president of the Swedish Tranhumanist Association I know that it happens too often. We must become better on delegating tasks. Monopolizing all functions wont work-give others a chance to set out on their own. Transhumanism is what you make of it, you cannot depend on "the head office" to take care of things because a head office cannot work in a transhumanist setting! Especially when going public it is important to have gotten these things straight. Because there is a danger in this. As long as transhumanism grows fairly quickly (as it really has done) it is OK to get bossed around sometimes. Members see that their resources and freedom increases quicker than HQ gets around to control it. But when it doesn't, the quickest way to increase it is secession (just look at the Masons), a very clear hard secession often depending on purely personal reasons (Mr.X doesn't like Mr. Q at HQ). I think that the best way to get around this problem is to avoid it completely by decentralizing early on and making this VERY clear to the members.


Waldemar Ingdahl

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com