[extropy-chat] Creating Transhumanity

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au
Sun May 8 05:50:43 UTC 2005

Spike wrote:

>> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
> ... 
>> So, out of curiosity, would anyone else like to speak up, and tell us
>> how y'all interpet transhumanism and what you're doing to make it
>> happen?
> ...
> Money is what makes things happen, the only force that
> we can always rely upon to make things happen. 

That cannot be the whole truth. Not if you accept that there has
been people for longer than there has been money. 

Most of us would accept that at some point(s) in history people
invented 'money' as a means of exchange. Before there was 
money to "make things happen" there had to be other things,
other 'drivers', to "make things happen".  Perhaps those 'drivers'
were genes, (sex), perhaps they were memes, perhaps they were
something else, but they definately were not money, not originally. 

> Transhumanism will not advance on collective will, self-sacrificing 
> volunteers, individual courage, any of that.  Transhumanism will
> be advanced a bit at a time by making each piece of the journey
> profitable.  Market forces will make it happen.  

This form of transhumanism looks just like another sort of elitism, or
apoligia for the status quo by those that are benefitting from it, it has
no deep roots in science or in an understanding of the natural world
of which humans and all human constructions and institutions are a

What parent is driven to have children for financial reasons? Money
is an enabler (at best) it is not a driver. 
> Consider the small steps we have already made in the
> transhuman direction: advanced medical technology, computers, 
> the internet, stem cell research, all that.  It only goes forth when
> market forces push it forward.

Those things go forward because human agents take them forward,
human agents constitute both the supply and the demand for those
things, but they don't get to go forward when those human agents 
are distracted by the necessity to chase away thieves and marauders. 

I am unaware of any advances in medical technology, computing,
the internet or stem cell research that happened under a transhuman
flag or under a company or individual who said that they were doing
the work that they were doing because of transhumanism.

If transhumanism is going to be significant in world historical terms
it will only be because human agents make it mean something. 

In the case of embryonic stem cell research one of the biggest 
political/social/ethical challenges is getting people to recognize that 
there is a difference between a *potential* human being (an embryo)
and an *actual* one.  Transhumanism isn't helping with this 
discussion at all. If anything most transhumanist talk as though what
could potentially happen, cryonics, Drexlerian nanotech, will happen 
given enough time. (As though time was irrelevant for mortals).  By 
living so far in a hypothetical potential future many transhumanists
seem to be losing or failing to engage in the issues of the present. 

With the possible exception of Natasha and a handful of others those
that are engaging with the real issues of the day are doing so under
their own names, and their own brands, not under a banner of

Brett Paatsch

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