Re: Present dangers to transhumanism

Clint O'Dell (
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 19:20:21 MDT

I have described nanotechnology and the future of it as described in Eric Drexler's book "Engines of Creation" and most are scared to death of it! One young women I spoke with last week knew that it is just around the corner just from my description of a working concept, and stated she doesn't want to be here when it happens. She knows however it will happen within her life time. I'm afraid many people like her and other people I've mentioned it to will protest.

Can anyone give me some ideas on how to counter this fear?

>From: "Waldemar Ingdahl" <>
>Subject: Present dangers to transhumanism
>Date: 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.
>are not mainstream, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult to
>us as "just a bunch of lunatics". Controversial, yes, but not in the
>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
>for kooking around is over, and transhumanism must confront these
>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
>VERY clear to the members.
>Waldemar Ingdahl
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