2017 October 04 Home // 2017 October 04

Who’s afraid of transhumanism? (We all should be)

Who’s afraid of transhumanism? (We all should be)

John J. Conley

It is difficult to define, but it’s a growing movement. Transhumanism has its own central organization (Humanity+), its own demographic base (Silicon Valley), even its own political formation (the Longevity Party).

On one level the movement’s goals appear benign. One of its key documents, “Principles of Extropy,” sums up the basic values of transhumanism: “perpetual progress, self-transformation, practical optimism, intelligent technology, open society, self-direction, and rational thinking.” The local Rotary Club would not object.

But the fundamental ambition of transhumanism is more problematic. Its architects champion a use of technology to accelerate the evolution of humanity so radically that at the end of the process humanity as such would disappear. A superior posthuman being would emerge. According to Wikipedia, “Transhumanism is the intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available knowledge to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.” From its inception, the abolition of human death and aging has been one of the goals of transhumanism as it engineers a new being freed from the biological constraints of the current human condition.

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