Pinnaclism Part 3: Humanism & Transhumanism Summary

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This post is to summarize my last two post on the subject. I wanted to focus on the positive aspects of both concepts, but also emphasize some of the clashes between the two ideologies. I honestly believe these differences will be settled peacefully and to the benefit of all. While this may sound way outside the box for many, I believe there are enough people out there who can see the technological singularity happening at some point, perhaps in my life time even. So even if you are not convinced of this now, I still feel like these ideas can benefit you because of the core principles that Pinnaclism itself brings with it. I will continue to write more about Pinnaclism. I just wanted to study this futurist dynamic under the scope of a philosophy I thought up on my own. If you find these ideas interesting, please let me know by commenting below or sending me a message. Enjoy!

 

Far removed from typical conversation with others, the ideas presented in today’s article are vast and complex in nature and I am not claiming a level of high proficiency in either are of research, I however do have questions, concerns, and inspiration to gain from both sets of ideas. I know there are passionate followers of both ideologies out there so while I respect your positions completely and even embrace some of them, I also want to offer any criticism that may help further both our understanding. The approaching singularity promises to bring about dramatic changes to the very existence of mankind in the universe, not just here on planet earth. Thinking about trans-humanism requires you to challenge many of your beliefs about reality and will even lead you to understanding some of the basic laws of nature in a brand new way.

Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.
—”The Coming Technological Singularity” by Vernor Vinge, 1993

 

If Vernor Vinge is correct, we are only 10 years from technological singularity. As humanist, do you have strict reservations to this idea? Trans-humanism after all is the relocating of the human mind and natural life force into a new genetic and technological chimera of humanity that takes on the form of humanity and rises into the cosmos. That’s what I think of when I think of trans-humanism.  That is, perhaps, just my desire to see humanity rise above it’s current problems and finally reach into the universe. A desire to see with my own eyes the universe that surrounds me and be able to understand larger portions of it in powerful and meaningful ways. Long have many of us dreamed of one day being able to orbit earth. Imagine yourself being able to live in an artificial body and being able to produce space craft and exploring what is not yet known about the universe. However, I feel it is only fair to bring up what I asked in the beginning of this paragraph. What would a humanist say about this ideology. What are their moral standards and where do they draw the line on any of these issues?

Personally, I take the idea with a grain of salt. While I do want to be able to do as described, I want to be sure that’s actually what we get when we hit the singularity. If it means giving birth to a tyrannical A.I. that’s soul purpose is to control us, then all I need to know is how trans-humanist are thinking along those lines. Will trans-humanist society be completely voluntary? If so, what does self defense look when considering the increased strength, speed, intelligence, and over all upgrade in mind and body? Will we have independent monitoring programs that you can volunteer to the public if you choose? Is there a way to hack around any privacy measures one may employ? Are we going to use metal framed human skeletons, or are we going to become genetic X-Men who can morph into whatever we please? It’s not the idea that we can do it that I have reservations on, in fact, I encourage anyone who wants to try to be the first trans-human to go for it. My reservations are reservations I believe will exist in even the most ardent of trans-humans will have to face as a real challenge once making the leap. I want them to be thinking about this now and hope that they are so that the project is successful and fully implemented.

Will aggression in human kind be eliminated by becoming a trans-human? Or will it only enrich it and foster it into a new realm of cruelty and despair for those less fortunate? Will the desire to be controlled be introduced into the population via upload? Perhaps it’s even more sinister and looks more like The Matrix film where humanity is farmed for energy and is kept in a comatose state connected to a central AI program that keeps them trapped inside a lie.  While I know many trans-humanist advocates may read this and feel that I am being paranoid, discouraging, or disparaging. I am asking them to stop for a moment and recognize the many problems humanity has proven it has over the years. While I know the past is the past, it does allow one to know and understand what humanity is capable of doing with a strictly humanist mind, body, and over all spirit. I am not discouraging the research into trans-humanism. What I am attempting to do is ask those in the community of trans-humanism to open up to the world about their plans so that we the people can ride right alongside the development of this technology so that we can learn what’s being done to help ensure the safety of this technology.

“Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.” – Kurt Vonnegut 

My view of Humanism means you’ve already embraced the fact that you will die and that you are morally okay with this fact. To me, it means you will not hold others accountable for this fact and will treat them with the same respect you desire to be treated with. It means that you are more than happy to provide your best to the world and help improve the standard of living of all life around you, including trans-humans, who may be looked upon with harsh criticism. Being humanist in a trans-human world means you are the most free a human being could ever hope to be. Free from the injustices when ruled over by violence criminals who’s lust for power caused mass chaos and violence of the beginning of the singularity. Humanism is the wisdom in ensuring trans-humanist society is one based off non-aggression, peace, prosperity, and the well being of all life.  While there are dangers in any new technology, I believe humanity is capable of achieving this goal of technological singularity in peace. However, I do recognize there are significant challenges laying in wait before this comes to reality. Whatever the choice, I believe we will reach a pinnacle in society where peace, freedom, prosperity, and the well being of life is perfected.

Thank You for Reading! Please share, comment, contact me, or simply like the article if you choose.

I am eager to hear feedback from others!

Scott D. Vogler

3 thoughts on “Pinnaclism Part 3: Humanism & Transhumanism Summary

  1. Benjamin Cain

    I’ve read through your articles on transhumanism. If I have them right, you’re optimistic about the prospect of enhancing our biological bodies with technology, although you’re aware of potential drawbacks. In particular, you think this enhancement will be conducive to peace and may even be necessary to save us from our mammalian tendencies to destroys ourselves with aggressive wars, irrationality, and so forth.

    One thing I’m puzzled by is the mechanism that’s supposed to connect the techno-enhancements with the desired outcome of a peaceful society. In your Part One you talk about a global society as a sorting device for ideas, the principle being that two heads are better than one. So we just introduce more input, getting more and more people to put their heads together and ponder some issue, and then their ideas will compete and the answer will somehow be selected while the false ideas will fall by the wayside.

    But there’s a distinction that needs to be made here between empirical knowledge and normative, more value-driven ideas, or what some universities call The Arts. Science is the best known mechanism for acquiring empirical knowledge, and the competition of ideas wouldn’t suffice since you’d have to test the ideas against reality and observe the results. As for more subjective knowledge, like philosophy, religion, historical interpretation, and other cultural areas like painting and music, I’m not sure how competition would necessarily generate excellence. You might be thinking of Richard Dawkins’s meme theory of culture here. But I tend to be more of a romantic about the arts: great art requires a genius’s vision, which in turn requires that the genius suffer from alienation and from being antisocial or mentally unbalanced. Great art is hardly the result of compromise or of agreement by some committee. Just look at Hollywood. You need a dictatorial director who has a vision for the whole film. The movies made by committees of producers with no artistic vision are hackneyed and insulting to movie fans.

    I’m more pessimistic about competitions, because I take to heart the Iron Law of Oligarchy, which I write about on my blog. The problem is that any sufficiently large group of social beings is going to have to be managed to prevent social collapse, and that management will require a concentration of power that will corrupt the managers and still bring down the system. Look at the cyclist Lance Armstrong or doping in the UFC. These sports are competitions so you might expect them to be meritocratic, and to some extent they are. But they also tend to be corrupted because they’re large organizations. In particular, the owners look the other way when the players take steroids to enhance their abilities, because they know the steroids make for more exciting competitions. These sports are regulated, so the players are subject to punishment, but either way the competition is highly unstable just by requiring a complex management system. Is the solution to legalize the drugs? But those drugs have detrimental effects on the players, so the sports would eventually burn out or turn into Ponzi schemes requiring a stream of new, naive players to replace the older ones who’ve been damaged by the drugs. Or look at the rampant corruption in the Olympics or in professional soccer (football) leagues.

    So I don’t see how enhancing our intelligence or our emotions with technology and just getting us all to think about our problems would lead to peace. I think the global society would have to be managed, which would concentrate power and so naturally corrupt the managers. The powerful managers would distort the process of selecting the ideas. Perhaps Wikipedia, though, is an example in your favour. Lots of people work on Wikipedia articles and the editors don’t seem to corrupt the whole thing. Your articles talk about anarchy as the solution to tyrannical governments, the idea being, I think, that techno-enhanced people could more easily take care of themselves.

    But again, there’s the technological side of transhumanism and then there’s the normative side. Enhancing our bodies is one thing, figuring out the rules to produce social peace is another. Even if we could be made to take care of ourselves, why would such independent beings necessarily respect each other? If we’re talking about anarchy in the sense of a free market of ideas, as in letting free individuals go where they may with no regulation, I think that creates dominance hierarchies run by monopolists/predators who, again, become corrupt by the power they need to run the great systems (corporations, governments, NGOs) that win out in the competition. But you seem to want there to be rules to regulate the competition. Even if we could figure out what those rules would be, a regulated society wouldn’t really be so anarchical.

    Anyway, these are just my thoughts on the matter.

    • Ampersand Daily

      Thank you very much for replying. Your understanding on this issue is really helping me define my opinions because of the contrast that exist between our perspectives. I’m attempting to place voluntary, free-market, and competitive ideologies into something that may not even be capable of recognizing those ideologies. My question though is, if it’s possible to avoid The Matrix trap, then shouldn’t we at least try? I do not want people to be ruled over violently. I believe you are correct when contrasting the actions of an oligarch to that which may be the actions of a hyper evolved transhuman. But I would like to add that with this hyper evolution, will come a broad understanding of peace and harmony as well. While I believe self-preservation and defense is the natural state of nearly all life, it wouldn’t use offensive measures merely to control and manipulate other life around it. I think the more important question then is this, would the mere presence of a transhuman be detrimental to humanity? Would the actions and decisions it makes destroy and/or control life around it? More simple question would be, would a transhuman by it’s very nature break the ideology of non-aggression?

      Regulation through dominance is competition, it is voluntary, and it would lead to peace because those who are unable to perform would easily be able to accept their position in life. Imagine a human versus a transhuman in a boxing match. It’s no contest, thus Humanist will largely be unable to make a large scale decision that affects the masses, unless of course, that individual some how does manage to produce something of great value. Even falsehoods have value when able to be used to weigh out the prospects of what to and what not to do. This does not require you to respect another person, only in that they are alive and you have no right to physically interfere in their ability to move, think, speak, or produce. Unless of course it’s clear that they are taking away those rights from others. In a transhuman society, self accountability seems to be a default because of the availability of recording devices. I realize that no system is perfect and that people WILL find a way around any semblance of rules, even on a minute scale.

      But I’m going to reserve more comments until I go back and read everything in our post and comments again. I think from our two very different perspectives on this issue, we could come up with some very probable outcomes.

      Again, thank you for your input. I know I have a lot to learn, but I do intend on interjecting my optimism into the debate. If I am dead wrong to be so optimistic, it will become apparent and I will have to change my stance. However, we’ve hardly seen the practicality of voluntarism on a large scale. Some what in the USA, but that’s largely a delusion shared by many in the “liberty movement”. While I respect them, I see their self assured sense of freedom as a delusion and grandeur. What I’m after hasn’t yet been accomplished. It’s my stance that we can accomplish this through technology and philosophy.

  2. ladym3033

    Such an Awesome Blog you got there Sir..lol No Seriously.. You have such an imagination, Quite Exciting.. All your Thoughts and Ideas.. I just don’t see the gov’t creating Such Happy Transhumans. They want to stay in power.. So, to stay in power, you need to keep everybody down under you, weaker.. That’s basically, what is happening, here, in this Country.. I hope we can live One with Nature.. =)

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