Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Transhumans

I had mentioned the Singularity in a post a while back.

The Singularity is a common matter of discussion in transhumanist circles. There is no clear definition, but usually the Singularity is meant as a future time when societal, scientific and economic change is so fast we cannot even imagine what will happen from our present perspective, and when humanity will become posthumanity.

A transhuman is someone actively preparing for becoming posthuman. He or she is someone who is informed enough to see radical future possibilities and plans ahead for them, and who takes every current option for self-enhancement.

Transhumanism even has an Association.

"The World Transhumanist Association is an international nonprofit membership organization which advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities. We support the development of and access to new technologies that enable everyone to enjoy better minds, better bodies and better lives.

"In other words, we want people to be better than well. "

A transhuman could also be an extropian, who is one who affirms the values and attitudes codified and expressed in the Extropian Principles.

And there is an Extropy Institute .

For the uninitiated here, Extropy is the opposite of entropy

Extropianism is a transhumanist philosophy.

Like humanism, transhumanism values reason and humanity and sees no grounds for belief in unknowable, supernatural forces externally controlling our destiny, but goes further in urging us to push beyond the merely human stage of evolution.

As physicist Freeman Dyson has said: "Humanity looks to me like a magnificent beginning but not the final word." Religions traditionally have provided a sense of meaning and purpose in life, but have also suppressed intelligence and stifled progress. The Extropian philosophy provides an inspiring and uplifting meaning and direction to our lives, while remaining flexible and firmly founded in science, reason, and the boundless search for improvement.

Here are its Five Principles:

Boundless Expansion

Seeking more intelligence, wisdom, and effectiveness, an unlimited lifespan, and the removal of political, cultural, biological, and psychological limits to self-actualization and self-realization. Perpetually overcoming constraints on our progress and possibilities. Expanding into the universe and advancing without end.

Self-Transformation

Affirming continual moral, intellectual, and physical self-improvement, through reason and critical thinking, personal responsibility, and experimentation. Seeking biological and neurological augmentation.

Dynamic Optimism

Fueling dynamic action with positive expectations. Adopting a rational, action-based optimism, shunning both blind faith and stagnant pessimism.

Intelligent Technology

Applying science and technology creatively to transcend "natural" limits imposed by our biological heritage, culture, and environment.

Spontaneous Order

Supporting decentralized, voluntaristic social coordination processes. Fostering tolerance, diversity, long-term thinking, personal responsibility, and individual liberty.

These Extropian Principles are intended to be a new operating system for our selves. We will seek to improve upon them and we will avoid dogmatizing them. The Principles derive their value by guiding us to our true goal: the maximization in our lives of extropy.

Now, before you go running screaming out the cyberdoor.

Stop.

You are already a transhuman,

No matter what Tom Delay and Pastor War Monger say.

We are already super humans in many ways.

One billion of us carry wireless devices that allow us to communicate

with our partner, our boss, the reservation agent, and the pizza man.

Napoleon would have liked that over his flag men on towers.

Many of us now have a thousand thousand libraries

in our homes or office computers.

Alexander would have found that pretty cool.

Especially, when I can google a fact faster than I can remember it.

We fly around the earth as if we are going to the next village.

Columbus would have found that useful.

We travel more in a day in our cars than a king could travel in 2 months.

The more advanced of us have I Pods.

We are already transhumans.

Just ask the monkeys.

As we become more and more connected to our tools of the mind,

and perhaps even of spirit,

We will find that our opportunity for growth is bounded only

by our fears and our inability to hope.

We will seek and we will find our freedom from the known.

And the Earthfamily will prosper.



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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked it better when trans what evers were them not us.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, sorry OZ, I pretty much can barely handle the idea of transfats.

11:09 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

this story is as popular as kumbaya.

10:19 PM  
Blogger StagirasGhost said...

You know... the more things change, the more things stay the same. No one would argue with Oz on means... regardless if you're communicating by cavalry or bluetooth wireless, the message is what matters. Unfortunately, no one is saying much, and at that, not even saying it very satisfactorily.

Nevertheless, evolve is still the root of devolve and you can never be in the same river twice. At least until the riverbed dries up...and then we'll be do alot of serious evolving with old means for a more innovative end.

5:01 AM  

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