Posted: Sun, February 17, 2013 | By: Hank Pellissier
I was hanging out at a North Beach cafe yesterday with two non-transhumanist friends. Actually, they’re the “Dads” of my 8-year-old daughter’s pals.
“How’s your website doing, Hank?” asked Igor. “What’s it about, anyway?”
I started to explain TNet’s agenda but Chuck jumped in…
“His website is for people who’re terrified of death,” he explained. “‘Transhumanists.”
“Oh,” Igor blinked.
“Wait a minute!” I frowned. “That’s backwards! What’s true, Igor, is this - Transhumanists are the people who aren’t afraid to Live Forever.”
“Oh.” Igor blinked again.
A debate never got started because our daughters began whining about homework. “62?” asked my daughter Zenobia. “7 x 6 is 62, right?”
Hours later I was still fuming about Chuck’s definition of transhumanism. “They’re the People who are Terrified of Death”, he said, Transhumanists Are Terrified of Death, Transhumanists Are Terrified of Death.
F**K that S**T, I thought. I’ll write about it. To get even.
Truth is, I already have. Two weeks ago I posted an essay titled “People Who Don’t Want To Live Forever Are Just ‘Suicidal’.” In the essay I assert that anti-immortalists are “suicidal” because that’s how we define people who want to end their life.
I didn’t expect Deathists to enjoy my opinion, but Transhumanists? Immortalists? I assumed they’d just love it… All of them…
A Canadian Life Extension leader got grumpy about it. Under one of my Facebook postings, perhaps at the Immortality page, he inserted his brief opinion:
I appreciate alliteration, but his message… he says I’m…“Disturbing”? “Divisive”?.... hmmm…
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT?!
Are transhumanists too timid now to piss off sneering Deathists? Why be polite? Deathists are often insulting, they think transhumanists are just Phobic about Dying - and we’re supposed to grin amiably, like Stepin Fetchit?
I’m not going to apologize for being aggressive.
Divisive? Disturbing? I hope so - I’m trying my best. I’ll regard the Canadian’s comments as a compliment, because “Disturbingly Divisive” might be exactly what transhumanism needs.
Hear me out.
Name the two biggest success stories in the last 20 years of minority groups fighting for acceptance in the mainstream.
You got it.
Homosexuals and Atheists.
Twenty years ago, gays and lesbians had almost nothing, marginalized with miniscule political clout and negligible visibility. Today, 2013, feels like a miracle. They can now get married in Mexico City! South Africa! Argentina! Numerous European nations and US states! The world is rocking with rainbow flags!
How’d this happen? Two slogans -
OUT, LOUD, AND PROUD + WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER, GET USED TO IT
Gays and lesbians also obtained a word to use as a weapon. After eons of derision as “faggots” “poofters” and other slurs, homosexuals acquired four-syllables of their own to throw back. A liberation tool to decimate enemies. The word is:
Atheists… where were they, just 20 years ago? Nowhere. But now, notes an article yesterday by Greta Christina:
Atheists are becoming a force to be reckoned with. Atheists are gaining clout. Atheists are becoming a powerful ally when we’re inspired to take action — and a powerful opponent when we get treated like dirt.
Like gays and lesbians, atheists increased their power by upping their visibility. Plus, they added a new element - SCORN, RIDICULE. They sneer gleefully as they attack Religious Opponents.
Look at the best-selling atheist book titles: The God Delusion, God Is Not Great - How Religion Poisons Everything, The End of Faith - Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.
Look at Atheist Memes, chockfull of hysterical mockery of Religion.
Did atheists try to rein in Christopher Hitchens? Did anyone say, “Whoa! You’re being “Disturbingly Divisive”?
Ridiculing religionists, atheists realized, was great fun. Plus, their numbers boomed because… RIDICULE WORKS AS A STRATEGY.
My point is… Transhumanists should play hardball. Get Rude. Because it works.
There are life-extensionists who won’t publicly define themselves as transhumanists because they’re afraid of outsider reaction. HumanityPlus abandoned its original name - World Transhumanist Association (WTA) - because it was anxious about public opinion.
Cluck, cluck, cluck.
Transhumanists need to be “Disturbingly Divisive.” We need to be OUT, LOUD, AND PROUD.
We also need word-weapons. I like the usual pair: LUDDITE + DEATHIST
But I want another word that means Afraid of Life, to describe people who don’t want indefinite life extension.
VITAPHOBIC. VITAPHOBIC. VITAPHOBIC.
Yes, it looks weird now, but perhaps it’ll catch on like a virus… “Homophobic” swept into mainstream vocabulary after it was invented in 1969…
With luck, VITAPHOBIC can mirror its success, and we’ll all Live Happily Ever After.