[ExI] Transhumanist and Proud of It

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Apr 24 04:30:49 UTC 2008

Rafal writes

> Damien wrote:
>>  <https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=24761391&postID=3749500042141962458>
>>  where Greg Egan offers remarks such as:
>>  <The word "transhumanism" (or, even worse, "posthumanism") sounds
>>  like a suicide note for the species, which effectively renders it a
>>  political suicide note for any movement by that name...

Hard to believe that Egan isn't at the cutting edge philosophically

>>  People who think their manifest destiny is to turn Jupiter into
>>  computronium so they can play 10^20 characters simultaneously
>>  in their favourite RPG are infinitely more odious and dangerous
>>  than the average person

It all depends on whether those characters' lives are worth
living. Has it occurred to Egan that he may be one of those
characters? If it occur to him, wouldn't that affect his opinion?

Besides, anything or anyone who turns Jupiter into computronium
will almost surely have better things to do than benefit or harm
imaginary or historical characters. More likely, the entity that takes
Jupiter will *personally* experience gratifications 10^10^10
times anything we can imagine.

Rafal responds

> ### Damien quoted some remarks by Greg Egan, and let me do some
> disagreeing here:
> I don't care how Joe Schmoe might (mis)understand "transhumanism".
> To me it means the desire to transcend our biological limits, to be
> better humans, plain and simple. In a discussion it takes me less than
> a minute to explain what I mean by this word, and if my interlocutor
> disagrees, it's with the substance, not with the word itself. Unless a
> bunch of Joe's with pitchforks show up in my backyard, I will proudly
> proclaim myself a transhumanist.

Yeah.  Just what is the downside?  Perhaps a fading loyalty to what
our old habits were? Well, we cast off our LPs and 8-track cassettes
for tapes and CDs---so just who wouldn't want to be smarter too?

Of course, there is the elephant-in-the-room issue that is always
ignored. If you *don't* give your backup copies runtime, then
you'll quickly turn into something that isn't you any longer, which
is like, you know, being dead!


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