IEET > Vision > Virtuality > Directors > Giulio Prisco > Martine Rothblatt > Futurism > Technoprogressivism
Cosmic Engineers Defend Transhumanism’s Radicalism
Jan 17, 2009  

The Order of Cosmic Engineers are a group of transhumanists who are focused on “turning this universe into a ‘magical’ realm.” They focus on building their activity in online virtual reality worlds. They include IEET Board member Giulio Prisco and IEET advisor Martine Rothblatt. They have recently issued the “YES! to Transhumanism” statement which is a call to arms for defense of radical transhumanism against pressures to downplay the more challenging and futuristic aspects of the transhumanist perspective.

YES! to Transhumanism

Transhumanism is both a reason-based worldview and a cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability, for those who choose it, of fundamentally improving the human condition by means of science and technology. Transhumanists seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values.

Visionary, bold and fun. That is what transhumanism has always been.

Transhumanists have always sought personal improvement; to free themselves from all the limitations of biology; to radically upgrade their mental and physical faculties; and to beat a path to the stars.

This is what transhumanism is. What it has always been. This is what transhumanism ought to continue to be.

With due concern, we fully and deeply realize that there are, have always been and will continue to be complex scientific, technical, cultural, moral, societal and political challenges to deal with. They require careful assessment, planning, and leadership. These challenges need to be met head on with due courage, forbearance, focused attention, rationality, compassion, empathy and wisdom.

We must and will continue to do our best to overcome them. We will persevere to mitigate their potential and actual dangers, while safeguarding the maximizing of their potential and actual benefits.

Some however are advancing that transhumanists should abandon their efforts at realizing -or even promoting- their radical futurist worldview… in favor of exclusively -or at least primarily- focusing on today’s world issues. Transhumanist organizations should, in their view, become nothing more than nice, soft spoken, moderate, ethical, responsible and politically correct quasi-mainstream social clubs.

To such suggestions and proposals, we unequivocally say: NO!

As citizens, we have to and will do our best to play an active and positive role in today’s world.

But that is not what transhumanism at its origin and core is about. There are numerous suitable organizations within which transhumanist citizens can and should play an active and positive role in today’s world, including organizations in the environmental movement, political parties and movements, philanthropic organizations, research institutes, commercial enterprises.

We however categorically refuse to abandon our core original transhumanist vision of a radically better future for our species and ourselves.

We say YES to transhumanism. To the undiluted, unadulterated, uncompromising original core of transhumanism, that is.

This Position Statement YES! to Transhumanism was collaboratively authored by members of the Order of Cosmic Engineers - http://cosmeng.org/.

In other news from the transhumanist community a group of “Conservative Transhumanists” have formed “Conservatism Plus” because they (correctly) perceive the majority of transhumanists to be left-of-center. They describe themselves as “For Transhumanists who support Libertarian, Conservative, Minarchist, Republican or otherwise Conservative Viewpoints.”




COMMENTS

Am I the only one who thinks ‘Conservatism Plus’ is both oxymoronic and ironic?  H+ is at it’s core the very opposite of conservatism.  Perhaps they should simply call themselves Extropians 2, or neo-Extropians, or some such.  Ironic, in that it has been my experience going as far back as1991, that my left leanings put me in the deep minority within the transhumanist community.  Perhaps it is my ignorance of current transhumanist political demographics that confuse my understand C+ perceptions.  Does the transhumanist community lean left these days?

Check it out Paul: This is the politics question from a survey of transhumanists we’ve done since 2003:

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/tph07wta/

The full report is avaliable here:

http://transhumanism.org/resources/WTASurvey2007.pdf

Alas, I hadn’t read this manifesto as of this morning (my time) when I posted a longish piece over on Sentient Developments ... where I’m a guest blogger at the moment. My piece, which has been republished on this site, could almost be a reply to the manifesto, or position statement, but was not written with that intention.

Behind both pieces there is a debate that goes on and on, for good reasons - and I think it’s healthy that there are these different viewpoints being expressed.

Hi Russell - As one of the authors of this manifesto, I certainly agree that “it’s healthy that there are these different viewpoints being expressed”. I just read your new piece, which is very interesting. I think there is a time and a place for moderate and responsible transhumanism, and there is a time and a place for radical and visionary transhumanism. Each can be more appropriate for given issue and audience. Having viewpoints distributed across a wide range is healthy.

Transhumanists have always sought personal improvement; to free themselves from all the limitations of biology; to radically upgrade their mental and physical faculties; and to beat a path to the stars.

This is what transhumanism is. What it has always been. This is what transhumanism ought to continue to be.

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