To understand the transhumanism agenda. You first of all have to research. The background and history of the word’s inception and use. The phrase was first coined in 1957 by Sir Julian Sorell Huxley brother of Aldous Huxley.
To describe an international cultural and intellectual movement. Who’s aims and objectives are the transformation and enhancement of the human condition. With improvements to the intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities by developing and distributing technologies.
Julian Huxley was a member of the British eugenicist society and its president from 1959 to 1962. He received many awards and honours in his lifetime including a knighthood. He received UNESCO’s Kalinga prize in 1953 and the Darwin medal from the royal society in 1956. He was secretary of the Zoological society of London. He was also the first Director of UNESCO. One of the founding members of the World Wildlife Fund, as well as the first President of the British Humanist Association.
Transhumanism therefore can be seen to of had its origins in a man who believed in eugenics as a means of selection. Who believed that man could somehow be made better, by the integration of technology with a biological entity. He saw our evolution, as somehow being refined, with the advent of technological intervention and assimilation.
The contemporary meaning of the term transhumanism began to be formed in the 1960’s by one of the first professors of futurology, one FM-2030 who was born Fereidoun M. Esfandiary.
He taught at the New School, new concepts of the human. He identified people who were posthuman in worldview and lifestyle that adopted technologies as ‘transhuman’.
This preceded the British philosopher Max More who in 1990 spoke of the principles of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy. Max More in 1990 said the following:-
Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades. “Transhumanism is a class of philosophies of life that 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.”
Max More began organising an intellectual group in California that spawned the modern global transhumanism movement.
The internet site http://www.humanityplus.org defines transhumanism as follows:-
Transhumanism can be viewed as an extension of humanism, from which it is partially derived. Humanists believe that humans matter, that individuals matter. We might not be perfect, but we can make things better by promoting rational thinking, freedom, tolerance, democracy, and concern for our fellow human beings. Transhumanists agree with this but also emphasize what we have the potential to become. Just as we use rational means to improve the human condition and the external world, we can also use such means to improve ourselves, the human organism. In doing so, we are not limited to traditional humanistic methods, such as education and cultural development. We can also use technological means that will eventually enable us to move beyond what some would think of as “human”.
So there we have it, all worthy stuff. I’m sure you’re all left thinking after reading most of that, that things can only get better, for us all. That humanity is on the verge of something wonderful. Which will mark out this point in history. As the dawning of a new age of utopian ideals. Perhaps we should hear some voices of equally qualified dissent, among all the cheerleading for the modification of us as a species. One such voice is Francis Fukuyama.
Francis Fukuyama is known for saying that transhumanism is among the world’s most dangerous ideas. He is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and a resident in FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He served as a member of the United States of America President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001-2004. He is a member of the American Political Science Association and the Council on Foreign Relations.
He was active in the Project for the New American Century think tank. But has since distanced himself from the Neocon movement and was vocal in his opposition to the Iraq war. He was outspoken on his belief that the Bush administration had overstated the threat of radical Islam to the US and is the author of Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. The following is quoted from the rear cover of that book:-
A decade after his now-famous pronouncement of “the end of history”, Francis Fukuyama argues that as a result of biomedical advances, we are facing the possibility of a future in which our humanity itself will be altered beyond recognition. Fukuyama sketches a brief history of man’s changing understanding of human nature: from Plato and Aristotle’s belief that humans had “natural ends” to the ideals of utopians and dictators of the modern age who sought to remake mankind for ideological ends. Fukuyama argues that the ability to manipulate the DNA of all of one person’s descendants will have profound, and potentially terrible, consequences for our political order, even if undertaken with the best of intentions.
Another voice stating that we don’t need trasnhumanism is Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. On the website http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/why-we-dont-need-transhumanism.html he says:-
First, transhumanism is irrelevant. We do not need a “movement” to tell us that we need to pursue technologies that will improve and/or radically alter the human condition. It will happen anyway, because human nature (oh yeah, baby) favors whatever can stave off disease and death as much as possible, at pretty much any cost — the consequences be damned.
Second, transhumanism is simply another version of futurism (which is itself a form of what I call techno-optimism, in turn an outgrowth of scientism — is that ‘nough “isms” for ya?). And if there is one thing we know about futurists is that they are almost always both spectacularly wrong and absolutely inconsequential to humanity’s actual technological developments.
Third, there are potentially serious issues of hubris at play. I am by no means a Luddite, but we already have enough trouble managing a number of complex systems that we have been recklessly playing with (the environment and our own ecosystem come to mind, not to mention the economy), so one would think that when it comes to irreversible changes to the human genome we might want at the very least to tread lightly.
Fourth, just like with any other technology, there are serious issues of access, fairness, and protection from abuse. And if the technology really promises to dramatically extend human life while also improving its quality, it is far too easy to imagine scenarios under which a privileged few would have control and access, or ways in which the technology could be used for nefarious purposes (from exploitation of other human beings to military applications).
Fifth, there is the issue of priorities. We have limited resources in terms of funds to invest in scientific research and technological development, as well as in terms of number of competent scientists to do the work. If the goal is to reduce human suffering, should we not therefore prioritize, oh I don’t know, mundane an admittedly not techno-sexy things like already eradicable diseases that kill millions? Or famine? I’m just saying.
Sixth, there are the (potentially disastrous) ecological consequences of a humanity bound to a single and very finite (in terms of space and resources) planet, and yet capable of both reproducing and living forever. You do the math: unless transhumanist immortality comes with mandatory castration (try to sell that to your fellow human beings!), it would take a very short number of years to cause a planetary collapse due to overpopulation.
(I have a seventh, more Jon Stewart-inspired argument: do you really want someone like Sarah Palin or Karl Rove to live forever, or for their “minds” to be uploaded and replicated in countless computers? That would really scare the shit out of me.)
There you have it. All respected qualified people giving an opinion of transhumanism. All stating an opinion based on an academic perspective. What about an opinion based on a real experience of transhumanism. How do we get one of those. Where should we turn to obtain such important views.
It is at this point that I can volunteer myself. I am not a highly qualified individual. I am a highly experienced individual. I have experience of what happens when those with their hands at the controls are drunk with power. The power to constantly torture you via a surgically implanted device which falls under the remit of transhumanism. At one point I was kept awake for over two weeks due to the torture I experienced.