How can Transhumanism Win?


Frieze-13

Working at the Science for Life Extension Foundation we understood several things regarding tranhumanism and what needs to be done for promoting it.

1. The topics of horror of death and despair of aging are poorly exposed in tranhumanist rhetoric. In the 14th century, in the plague times, death used to be one of the main topics of visual arts. Nowadays the topic of horror of death struggles its way to the surface only on cigarette packs in a few countries of the world. There is an unspoken ban on documentary demonstration of the moment of human death. Death itself is often embellished, heroized and named necessary for triving of other people.

We claim that there is nothing more dreadful than death, and our main goal is to fight it.

We understood that one of the most powerful impact tools are not the rational arguments, but visual images.

We are interested in creating the new art that describes the horrors of aging and death with the aim of increasing the motivation of people to fight for radical life extension, for immortality. So, if you happen to know some artists, tell them about tranhumanist ideas and about the urgent need of new art that will help defeat death.

2. We learned that one of the main problems in promoting tranhumanism is belief is afterlife. Death is not for real for a religious person; they think that something better awaits them after death. Maybe they don’t pay much attention to the details of the afterlife, but the lack of doubt about it leads to refusing any effort towards life extension. Therefore, you can’t ingratiate with religion, because by doing so you add fuel to the flames of belief that immortality already exists.

We oppose merging of tranhumanism and religious ideas, the examples of which are Raelian movement, transcendent transhumanists, Mormon transhumanists, Global Future 2045 and many other irrational forms of world-views that seek to join a new powerful idea.

3. If tranhumanist ideas are described in a simple way, like let’s extend longevity, it’s good thing and let there be more science, then it sounds apocryphal and doesn’t galvanize anyone into action. Details are the things that can pesuade people. But if the ideas are described with a lot of details, then people just don’t have enough knowledge to understand what those ideas are about.

For example, biology background is needed to truly understand the possibility to extend lifespan using genetic regulation. That’s why we advocate development of courses in transhumanism and biology of aging.

If anyone is interested in this task, let’s create some transhumanist tests together. They can be about molecular biology, game theory, neurophysiology, etc.

4. People don’t like propaganda, but they readily execute direct orders about what they need to do. For example, the call to realize the importance of fighting aging doesn’t meet any understanding, but the offer to take the 23andme test will receive agreement with much higher probability.

People gladly join Longevity Party. I would love to see like-minded people in the Longevity Party project, primarily in California and Norway.

5. We noticed that the situation changes after rebranding, for example, when stem cells were renamed regenerative medicine, gene therapy – synthetic biology and fighting aging – personalized medicine.

This means that it’s a good idea to launch many different names. For example, instead of life extension – life preservation. I think that it makes sense to launch various tranhumanist projects even with a low probability of success, simply counting on that some meme may become very effective.

11 Comments

Filed under Transhumanism

11 responses to “How can Transhumanism Win?

  1. Very effective new vectors to promote the transhumanist cause. Let me add that most people are convinced by the mass media that everything is going to h@ll in a handbasket because they sell their pessimistic wares by appealing to the amygdala (i.e. the part of the brain that controls fear). An extension of this is that everything is in short supply and being spoiled, invoking a fight/flight response that draws people’s attention to their product, thus promoting a Malthusian viewpoint (i.e. that overpopulation will result in even less supply and things be spoiled quicker).

    Instead, we transhumanists need to promote a philosophy of abundance, where technology is increasing at an exponential rate and soon everyone will live in plenty. Soon, every human mind will be valuable, not just a worthless eater, and thus the longer we keep every educated mind around, and the more minds we have, the richer we will be.

    For instance, the first LENR generator ought to be emerging onto the market this year. According to Forbes.com it will make energy “too cheap to meter.” Optimism about the future is the best way to promote transhumanism.

    • Sorry, I get a little defensive when talking about LENR:

      This phenomenon (LENR) has been confirmed in hundreds of published scientific papers: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJtallyofcol.pdf

      “Over 2 decades with over 100 experiments worldwide indicate LENR is real, much greater than chemical…” –Dennis M. Bushnell, Chief Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center

      “Total replacement of fossil fuels for everything but synthetic organic chemistry.” –Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, NASA

      LENR will be the best thing for the transhumanist cause, and most people have never heard of it, and disbelieve it because it is too-good-to-be-true, just like the concept that their life would be worth extending indefinitely.

  2. Your characterization of religion is too narrow. Some religions, such as Mormonism, situate heaven on Earth, associate immortality with transfigured physical bodies, and posit a God that exemplifies human progress to radical flourishing in compassion and creation. Such religions are perfectly compatible with Transhumanism and have almost nothing to do with your criticism of escapist immaterial euphemistic heavens.

    • James Clark

      I agree with Maria in terms of religions which promote supernatural concepts.
      The only three “Religions,” I’m personally aware of that don’t promote supernaturalism and ask their adherents to separate themselves from reality as we understand it are 1- Cosmotheism. 2- Creativity. 3- Beyondism.
      The issue with these three belief systems (which I personally think should be termed as philosophies and not religions) is that they’re all Racially oriented and therefore, have the negative attachment of such things. I personally am a Cosmotheist that adheres to a less Racially oriented world view than most followers of this particular system of belief.
      Religion in the general sense and as understood in the confines of western culture is plainly unscientific and faith based.
      Transhumanism on the other hand seeks to utilize science and technology to cause the willful and conscious evolution of the human species of which radical life extension and imperialism are the most important part.
      To say that a religion that sees heaven on earth as pro-Transhumanist while it still grasps at such ideas as gods, angels, demons, and the devil is not factual.
      You can’t liberate people from the authority of supernaturalism while embracing it. This is just commonsense.

      • James, to the extent we insist on narrow presecular characterizations of religion, I would agree with your assessment. However, religion is hardly stagnant, and much that’s supposed to be non-religious, such as many kinds of Transhumanism, functions as misrecognized religiosity. It’s not popular among Transhumanists to recognize this, and I suppose that’s to be expected. It wasn’t popular among early monists to recognize their commonalities with polytheists, and they probably could hardly imagine their worldview would eventually become central to the most powerful religion in human history. Basically, religion as a phenomenon and function is not inherently supernatural or superstitious, despite widespread manifestations of such kinds of religiosity, reflecting the staying power of old views and traditions.

        • James Clark

          There’s actually a Transhumanist “religion,” known as Prometheism and I agree that to some extent certain individuals within the broadly defined term of “Transhumanism,” embrace religious themes.
          I see this more as a necessity than a desire. In that in order to encourage people to come into the fold you need a certain aura of mystique which is “religious,” in nature.
          There’s a Celtic saying “a complicated lie is easier to believe than a simple truth,” in many ways it’s harder to sell the truth than to sell lies. I don’t believe the ideas expressed here are of a religious nature but, how does one define “religion,” to me Atheistic Communism has an aura of religiosity as do pretty much all political systems and even sporting events such as football (which may be a reason I never cared for organized sports) but, if you define religion this broadly any strongly held belie which defies rationality could be defined as a “religious belief.”

      • James Clark

        I accidentally put imperialism which should’ve read as immortalism. I don’t want people to think Transhumanists are attempting to create an empire.

  3. You make a good point Maria, that too many transhumanist concepts can be made to seem to clash with other deeply rooted beliefs. Instead of emphasizing the “extension” part of anti-aging therapies, what do you think of re-naming them as health restoring therapies? “Good” health is commonly regarded as the normal human condition (indeed, those laboring under some less-than-fully healthy condition are frequently classified as “handicapped” in some fashion). When ordinary good health degrades, transhumanist responses target restoring people to the normal healthy condition through restoration of the body’s natural stem cell/genetic biologic process (instead of treating the symptoms caused by degraded health conditions).

    Thus, transhumanist health restoration therapies become no more (and no less!) than the mechanism(s) whereby ordinary people maintain their normal condition of good health. Just as people don’t think regular treatments to maintain dental or skin health is unusual or ethically challenging, health restoration therapies ought to be promoted in the same light; just one more thing healthy people do to remain healthy and not a burden on their relatives or society in general.

    Done right, not being a transhumanist becomes the unethical position.

  4. Maria: I agree with Lincoln that your characterization of religion is too narrow. Paul Tillich defined religion as “the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern, a concern which qualifies all other concerns as preliminary and which itself contains the answer to the question of the meaning of our life.” Maybe a bit heavy for the determined doubter of supernatural or mystical features of reality but actually I think it could fit a transhumanist outlook quite well. (I am quoting from *Christianity and the Encounter of the World Religions*, Columbia Univ. Press, 1963, p. 4.) You note there is no requirement of belief in a deity.
    You also argue that belief in some type of afterlife is problematic for transhumanism. Presumably this would not affect cryonics, which some of us are signed up for (self included) and it is, in a simple way, an aspiration to a kind of afterlife, a recovery from what would otherwise be the physical destruction of our remains following clinical death. (I didn’t see any mention of cryonics in the list of things below that you are interested or involved in, hopefully you will favor that too.)
    Some of us cryonicists are also into the idea that people are really informational processes not material objects. By a somewhat involved train of argument, omitted here, that opens the door to the idea that anybody who lived might someday be resurrected even if their remains were not preserved. To me that is an exciting prospect that in no way diminishes my commitment to either cryonics or transhumanism, but rather, I feel, makes the commitment stronger and more meaningful than ever, though here again some argument may be called for. (I am a firm doubter of traditional notions of the supernatural, btw. I just think that reasonable substitutes for the most important benefits said to be obtainable through a traditional religious pathway can be found scientifically, including ultimately raising the dead.)
    I also agree with Will that transhumanism is the ethical position to take rather than (ugh!) alternatives.

  5. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across
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  6. Lorenzo

    ouai chui pas d’accord

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