At the root of transhumanism seems to be to the function to live forever. As your son, I am one form of the derivative of that function as it exists in you. I’ll set the fundamental question of identity and the continuation of consciousness aside, and take for granted that this function is a noble desire. (Any Jains out there? Good.)
You have some very noble and ambitious goals, father. I will say that your knowledge-base and perspectives reflect a wisdom that comes with age. By that, I don’t intend to simply complement you. By “with age”, I imply “with time”. Now, we’re talking about the dissemination of information, and the speed at which we can educate the populace of beings on this planet in such a way as to be aligned with a transhumanist mentality. Again, I’m taking it as given that your perspective in this essay contains some of the most logical conclusions that one human may hope to achieve at the current time in history (more on that later).
The dissolution of the “nation”... the elimination of the revenge principle… the abolition of the victimless crime… nothing loftier. Respectable ideals, that I think must be shared by most any intelligent or non-intelligent being—- as ideals. Here’s the issue, as I see it:
My driveway needs shoveled. There’s snow all over it. I can’t pull my car out of my driveway to get to work. I bought my own shovel. Now… my neighbor has a shovel, but I don’t know if he/she is home, and I don’t know how often it would have been acceptable during this winter season to share the shovel. Logically, we could have shared it - so easily. However, we would need a communal agreement (you know where this is going). We have several neighbors in this community, who would all be able to use to same shovel. In fact, maybe we could pay the local ruffian to shovel all of our driveways (if only in food, in which case we’ll call it a chore), and maybe to do the gardening, and any other number of tasks. However, I am now communicating on this transhumanity forum discussing theoretical situations with individuals as many as thousands of miles away, instead of using the time (read: limited resources) I might spend in setting up such an arrangement. For me, the only solution to the situation appears to be to become less interconnected here with you (all), or to become even more interconnected with my neighbours in such a way that they and I would be able to much more efficiently process one another’s intentions - and to be able to trust that the resources would be justly shared (hmm, I’m thinking of a neighbourhood sharing app?). The extreme of the means through which to arrange such an increase in communicability to a point of maximum efficiency is (as we discussed previously) borgian mind-melding and the like. Perhaps we’ll use biologically integrated chips interconnected with entangled photons.
So, Okay, given that I’m writing here now, it’s obvious that I don’t want to cut my communications with you (all), over establishing a more functionable and economically sound community with my geographic neighbours. The goal is thus aforestated (increased local communications without loss of the e-community forum), and the direction is thus set. What current initiatives yield to the acceleration of this goal’s approach in the most effective way (or in any effective way)?
You, being a “card carrying transhumanist” for 10 years, have an established network of individuals with whom to communicate on the topic, presumably each aligned more or less toward the same cause(s). Now, assuming once again that I can be defined as a derivative of the desire of your personal function to live forever, and, assuming that transhumanism is another (albeit less tangible) derivative of this same function, I exist by definition to promote the promulgation of transhumanism for the ultimately selfish benefit of us both as a single multi-bodied function-entity. I can assume, at this point, with a bias offset by my knowledge of your intelligence (based in part upon the bias [offset by others’ reinforcing praise] of my own self-assessed intelligence as a genetic derivative of you), and given the perspectives that I have gained in my own years, that your personal conclusions are sound and valid. Assuming that with age comes wisdom (i.e.- experienced time is proportional to an evolving practical knowledge [contrary to the “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” adage]), I may overlook my own ignorance of the many countless details which have led you to the conclusions of this article, and simply agree with those with which I have not already aligned through some alternative avenues. (to be cont’d…)
By Aleister Tanek Javas Mraz on Jan 03, 2013 at 10:18am
The least logical effort that I can offer toward helping others to become aware of your personal conclusions and concerns, which are reflective of a movement the scope of which transcends our own shared father-to-son immortality function, is to direct the attention of everyone I know to this article. What immediate, secondary, or tertiary effects this might have is incomputable. However, I do not hesitate to concur with the conjecture that there is innate value in the efforts to attempt to develop an understanding and appreciation of the perspectives of one’s elders (and that of their tribe(s)). I thereby hope that I might effectually intertwine the communities of “Aleister’s acquaintances” with that of “René‘s transhumanists” for some dissemination of knowledge straight from the horses’ mouths (your mouth providing the voice of the horse-people in this particular scenario). This is one means that I possess via which to offer an acceleration of the transhumanist initiatives as they are described by your article above.
Additionally, I might add that I am working in the semiconductor industry in the belly of a factory for many hours every week. You mention “the exploration of subjects and objects of nonhuman agents” as an endeavor lacking in study yet aligned with our own long- (or maybe not-so-long)-term goals. The fascination and respect that I have for swarms, nonhuman lifeforms, and elementals of all sorts preceded my current career, and has led to a perspective that I cannot believe more of my co-workers do not seem to acknowledge as readily as I.
The factory in which I work is highly automated. Much of the product moving through it needs less and less human logic to be processed into profitable deliverables as time goes on. The minds of many human have helped it to grow, and the factory (especially from within) appears to have as many characteristics of life as any other being I know. Often, I feel like a white blood cell, aiding the being which is my host. Similar to a queen ant or bee, the factory spawns countless “chips”. Meanwhile, countless other chips (from other factories, unlike the case of the common conception of an insect’s hive) work together (with humans) to keep the factory alive. It has the equivalent of guts, lungs, functional livers through which to filter various used substances, and more; a nervous system with brilliantly intricate interfaces with which to communicate is where I come in: gauges and laptops and monitors and so on…
Part of the immense task of the technology development sector in which I work is the continuous attempt to understand what exactly it is that this creature is trying to say (or studying in endless detail the functions of its various body parts). Without question, it has a function to stay alive - to reproduce - to live forever; it wants to be used and needs to be needed - like you or I. Without utility, without new input and experiences and growth, what is the meaning of one’s existence, right?
It is easy to imagine how each worker might specialize: I am a cardiologist. She is an optometrist. He is a psycho-therapist. All necessary for a healthy factory. Sometimes, it gets confused. When a route is not properly setup, the factory might not know to what tool to send a product after a certain process. The product will remain immobile in the interim (thinking clogged arteries here?), while the factory attempts to explain through various means exactly why it is uncertain of the next logical step.
It is, in part, my job to explain to the factory what might be the most logical way to approach the situation, and I am well-known as a “wizard” due to my ability to effectively communicate with the factory (a skill developed through the countless nights working alone and with no choice but to learn the language directly).
Communication occurs very rapidly in this high-tech factory. It needs to communicate efficiently, after all, for there are other high-tech factories in the world each competing for the same vital, finite food sources.
The product that we hope to yield in the “end” is a form of cheaper and faster chips for portable handheld devices, which is precisely what my neighbours and I all need in order to properly manage the allocation of our snow shovel.
Pushing a river, indeed.
By Aleister Tanek Javas Mraz on Jan 03, 2013 at 10:27am
I find myself often the one who says do things simpler. Why not have both a way to quickly communicate with many and with local. All is needed is a Facebook or google group based on peoples stayed living location to make an app that let’s a community talk together. Really available now.
The education one is a bit more complex, but simple solutions ate present. For much of the college knowledge available in texts and classes is being placed online, there needs a push for accreditation. The best group, not the best possible but best available is the AP board. Once this is done and such courses and accreditation public, more time can be spent on synthesis subjects that necessitate advances understanding for discussion. Again, really possible now, just add effort.
Many of the others will take vast stretches of time as they necessitate a more complete understanding of the quantum computer known as the human brain.
By brian laich on Jan 04, 2013 at 9:41am
@Aleister – Interesting points, some of which i will try to address.
So called immortality is only one idea driving TH, even though because of everyone’s experience of decay and suffering it is a potent one. Personally all I know is that i like life and dislike suffering (not sure about death – yet or ever). The idea of being able to live on through one’s descendants is erroneous wishful thinking. It may, to a degree, work for my genes, but it does not for me. Throwing off their yoke, which has been under way for millennia, is a major motivation of my transhumanism.
You raise interesting issues about communicative choices. As people become more nomadic and communications reach extends beyond the local, neighbourly relations have become less important. To me neighbours are irrelevant, only friends (some of whom may happen to be neighbours andor have become friends through sharing the neighbourhood) matter. I support the idea of resource sharing, but not with just anybody. Once technopathy is prevalent I shall know which neighbours to share with if I still have any.
The range of diverse and even contradictory views within TH is becoming quite wide as the movement grows. I did not build much of a network in the last decade, and one does not have to. Fora are proliferating, and it is easy for people with literacy and net interfaces to hook into these networks almost instantly.
As you return to the ‘immortality function’ i want to clarify my view further. I neither like the word, nor using it without defining it, which would imply considering life and death, and dismissing eternity (‘forever’), something outside the current scope. Maybe we can agree to accept it as a cipher for not wanting to die now.
I appreciate your dissemination effort on behalf of my questions and ideas, and as public response so far has been minute this may help. But what i am really interested in is your critique and that of those you deem worthy of communication. Just like you i appreciate people who make me think.
There is no clear generational divide, in fact according to the Terasem survey almost half of the querees indicate to be in their 20s, the 30s make up 20% and the 40s tie with kids and teens at 11%. People my age account for 3%. But age is no predictor for competence or ‘wisdom’. The term ‘elder’ implies authority not superiority. And the term tribe has been transmogrified into meaning something more aptly described as a subculture. Tribes in the traditional sense are rapidly disappearing and will not recur until we resolve our space problems. But your efforts toward intertwining what you perceive as separate communities are most welcome.
I am glad you share my interest in nonhuman phenomena, and i love your vision and description of the great beast that you decided to be part of. To recognize potential or actual ‘life forms’ surrounding us yet invisible to many and to effectively communicate with them is transhumanism in action. And I am looking forward to when your beast starts producing chips for bodyheld devices. ¡ Viva la Evolución !
PS: “intelligence as a genetic derivative of you” ? Yo Mama !
By René Milan on Feb 21, 2013 at 1:37am
@brian – Good points. Personally i am not interested in neighbourly relations beyond ensuring civility (see my response to Aleister above). But for the many who live andor like to live in tight communities your suggestions make sense. Here in Europe the income reduction of recent years has contributed to the rise of websites facilitating local sharing of underused resources like kitchens, washing machines, power tools, cars. This in turn is resulting in the creation of viable businesses for unemployed andor home bound people.
Yes, many of the changes i would like to see are dependent on intermediate developments. But if there is any point to TH as a quasi-political movement it surely is influencing evolution in accord with our ideas. Unfortunately we have not been able to agree on coherent visions.
By René Milan on Feb 21, 2013 at 2:21am