In his first of a five-part essay series on transhumanism, a leader of the movement, Zoltan Istvan, discusses what lies behind the heightened interest in transhumanist ideas.
It’s amazing the lengths people will go to in order to avoid accepting the inevitability of death and entropy in the universe. “Life extension” is supposedly a wonderful, life-affirming movement, but to me, it just looks like the childish inability of Western materialism to create meaning beyond the Individual. I can’t imagine a more milquetoast civilization than one comprised of senior citizens pumped up with drugs, avoiding any physical risk, all to exist as a bland technocrat for another few decades.
This is not giving me hope for our techno utopian culture.
The architects and supporters are motivated by thumbing their noses at their political enemies? Those -ugh- nasty alt righters?
A new world built on petty and juvenile resentment and snobbery sounds exactly like the old world, except you get to witness it longer.
"In those days, the living will envy the dead"
I want to comment, there is no ''alt-right''. In politics, the goal is to create many sub-divisional groups whose core ideals remain the same on principle objectives (i.e. unfettered immigration, neo-liberal ownership of resources through 'social' causes via institutional control and warfare, etc) and then make some categories more 'socially' approvable or less approvable based on the desired outcomes. Everything is the ''alt-right'' is basically anti-establishmentarian. No one actually makes these organic beliefs and spread them intentionally. A farmer is not going to come up with gender theory, nor someone working in a cubicle day in and day out. It's always created by the *elite class* with academics, policymakers, etc.
Anyways, unlike most people I don't hold resentment against the elites or anyone else just because of their motivations. Elites are no different than ordinary people, just magnified in their capacity to affect the world. If given a chance to rule the world, or gain an infinite amount of resources, or to get some great knowledge or social understanding, many will do it (especially if given freely). Some might abdicate the responsibility, or abhor it but if it was discrete or everyone else was okay with it, people would not care.
Humans have human desires. Any being conceived has X inclinations and X inclinations is also a product of their identity. The idea is basically man is in a state of constant change, of constant progress, of achieving greater aptitudes, greater control over his destiny and his environment.
And this desire is also responsible equally for what he or she suffers from. If everyone was satisified with sitting in a hut and eating dirt and staring at the sky all day, then sure, I concur there can be a world like this. Or we can also be a bunch of cybernetically enhanced beings trying to eliminate eachother through virtual-mind viruses. I don't make any distinction whatsoever because the reality is not going to change until we change our base motivations and behaviours, which would also functionally change our identity.
Thus realistically, is one satisified with the present circumstances of being, or is one dissatisfied. How much desire does one have determines how much suffering one has, at the difference of realizability of the unmatched reality. Not everyone has a chance to sit on a large banking system with large militaries to implement agendas to create slave-races and enjoy a life of perpetual augmentation.
I remain indifferent to this sentiment because the possibility of me feeling any suffering is zeroed.
If our elites just put dopamine into our brains and set it on pleasure, what different does it make whether we sallop like dogs or not? Do dogs and cats ever stand in resentment against their masters because they could only live in an environment of such and such? No, they are the same as cattle, the same as many humans, actually. Most are satisified working and doing their thing in the world, live, eat, die, laugh.
If the only contradistinction between us and other entities is our heightened awareness, then by that method of valuation metric, a removal of that awareness and sense of dullness could be said to implicate a perpetual blissness, free of the ramifications of worry. Even if there is space aliens or intergalactical wars happening around us, we would never worry about it even if it poses an existential risk for it is imperceptible. We tolerate pigs getting slaughtered, bugs getting crushed -- I find it difficult to create some universalizing principle to which all humans are equally valued or deserving of equal value, or of equal judgement, of greater or less standing relative to any set of intrinsic traits within any set of entities. We call crushing dogs cruelty just because it has more neonatanous features than vermin, and the latter consumes our resources that predicate our existence to which we desire a certain standard of living on...
I subscribe if the only of affair of life is to fulfil such emotional drives, then I might as well fulfil it to the extent of transhumanistic ideals. I get to decide my parameters of my existence based on the constraints of technological advancement. Technically this is an egotistical manifest of the psyche -- a volition of expression, of penultimate fulfillment of desire in the same way if we were all plugged into the "Matrix" and lived perfect lives. In the end, if people do subscribe to the notion of a penultimate existence that is supreme and which ordains all entities and circumscribes all beings with intrinsic value, then I wish to feel that value myself and to respect it -- if such transcendence does not exist then I agree on the notional basis with the elites to be honest. If all humans are eliminated and only the richest, wealthiest humans remain it makes little difference. I'd still be a piece of dirt or rock or spec of molecules in the cyclical nature of existence (presumptively if there is no reincarnating form or eternal soul or intrinsic-tied value to my metaphysical construction throughout time). In that sense, all suffering can also said to be eliminated, there is no more need for anything less. Though it can be argued one would fall into stagnation once the maximal ontological existence can be achieved.
Everyone constantly vibes on about how he or she is mean or evil but I do not feel these effects or influences. I do not recall any of my historical existence or precedents before I was born into this world, just as fast as I come, just as fast as I leave the world. The primary directive to be eternal, willful, opposition to all forces, of all forms, that which corrupts the DNA, that which corrupts the mind, that which corrupts the intransigent modus of sentience should be abolished -- then so be it.
I don't mean "pumped up drugs" with ailing vessels/bodies. Eternal bodies that become adolescent-form like certain jelly-fish is okay too. Constructed existences from personified codified informational-algorithmic structures that replicate my being and existence is fine too. I suppose at the end, this is the ends to which it is judged against the means. In every day life what are we exactly doing? When we make a business, we send out advertisements to change the nature of other's people behaviours. We convince them of something, we tell them to do this. Just so we can gain our fair share of resources on the basis of shared valuational structures. The elites might say well I want to live 3,000 different type of lives with 30,000 different type of personalities, or 300,000 different type of bodies -- I can't make any basis for rational judgement other than we all blow each other up because one's mind/body/personality is better at killing everyone else. In the end, most humans won't even have a stake in the world anyways. Four generations later, and their names will be scrubbed off the planet, their children won't even recall their grandparents (if barely any). Most just lock them in old-age homes ready to decay...
What an unpleasant character. I can't think of anything worse than having our current elite live on forever.
Might be of interest https://breaktherules.captivate.fm/episode/mormon-transhumanism
This seems poorly-specified. What is a "transhuman" supposed to be? If it's meant to be in opposition to "the alt right," as represented by Steve Bannon, this would seem to be mere mood affiliation and status seeking---Bannon isn't a member of the "alt right," except on the broadest construction, and all the palaver about Biden and existential risk makes little sense, particular as it was Trump's policies that led to us getting the vaccines so soon. However, it is always nice to hear from fundamentally misguided amazing Atheist nominalists about their vague gestalt of political opinions.