Lefty Transhumanists

Sat, 28 Aug 1999 10:58:07 -0700 (PDT)

A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of singularity...

Somebody has said that the lefties on the transhumanist lists really have to take responsibility for their failure to succumb to the machinery of Friedman, that they need to make a case for their perverse hesitation to embrace straightforward "market realities," or else their viewpoint will never get off the ground, never have an impact on transhumanist discourse at large. This seems right to me, and I regret that I don't feel competent to make that case. As a first baby-step, tho', I will voice of few hopes that may represent a point of departure for the very important work of delineating a transhumanist left, in the hopes that others will pick up the thread.

I remember that the Village Voice once claimed that extropians were the last people on earth who maintained Karl Marx's faith in the power of capitalism and science to utterly transform the world in positive ways, whatever the violence and devastation of that transformation. I for one have always taken that claim seriously. I believe that a singularity, whether it is a hard one or a soft, is the best shot we have at something like a Revolutionary event. And because the Powers will be *us* I think it matters that we instill a horror of ubergoo and similar threats NOW. I think it matters that we instill a love of diversity as both an esthetic and a pragmatic value NOW.

I know that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people, but so long as human action takes place on an institutional field where the "actors" include governments, and churches, and media networks, and NGOs, and multinats, and globe-girdling crime cartels, it just doesn't make sense to me to ever say that anyone absolutely *earns* either their good or their bad fortune. And so long as that is true it seems to make sense to me that we should strive to ameliorate the worst of the suffering and create spaces in which people can develop their potential to the benefit of everybody. That will be as true in the far-flung future as it is today.

Leftropians of the world, fan out!

Best, Dale Carrico