Author Topic: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?  (Read 35137 times)

Doktor Loki

  • Yeti Marauder
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« on: November 05, 2008, 08:38:55 pm »
I havent actually ever met any Transhumanists, but from what I've read I'm extremely interested.  My only source of knowledge on this is the net, and none of my info has been from discussion, only reading their website and some others.
Not a Doctor?  Why, of course I'm a Doctor!  Why else would I have this scalpel?      ~Doctor Mad

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man."
- William Shakespeare

"If you hear crazy voices in your head which tell you to do something, even something evil, YOU'D BETTER FUCKING DO IT BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE GOD." - Soren Keirkegaard

Manta Obscura

  • Ranked #1 Catholic Atheist by Good Morning, America
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 794
  • There are no spoons in this spork-centric society.
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2008, 08:53:36 pm »
I havent actually ever met any Transhumanists, but from what I've read I'm extremely interested.  My only source of knowledge on this is the net, and none of my info has been from discussion, only reading their website and some others.

My response to them: "meh."

Depending on what type of transhumanist you encounter/read, their ideas can range from sound-yet-implausible to batshit insane. For many of the former, whose ideas are in some way possible, there is still a LONG way off until they are ready for full species-wide implementation. Example: the Hedonistic Imperative/MBOP folks (http://www.hedweb.com/) (http://www.paradise-engineering.com/)

Their ideas are at least theoretically possible, but would require enormous amounts of advancement before they could be implemented.

Many of the ideas of transhumanists are like this: good ideas with humane motivation, but requiring enormous, ball-breaking amounts of work and societal restructuring to implement. Instead of going through all of the hubbub of transcending humanity and all that jazz, it seems to me to be more worthwhile to just figure out how to be happy being ourselves, and how to live in our own skin and with each other as we are. Reducing life to a process of implementing a scientific schematic seems like a bit of a waste of effort if we can just help people learn to live healthy lives, stop being dicks to each other, and have fun with what they do.

However, a quick note: if scientists right now (as in today, or in my lifetime) suddenly found a HI/MBOP breakthrough and said to me, "Jacob, take this pill and you'll never suffer again," I would do it in a heartbeat. Suffering sucks, to be sure, so not avoiding it if possible is silly. But that doesn't mean that we need to devote our intellectual powers toward searching for another Holy Grail/Fountain of Youth/Philosopher's Stone/whatever-it-is-that-we-think-will-make-our-lives-perfect.
Everything I wish for myself, I wish for you also.

Doktor Loki

  • Yeti Marauder
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2008, 08:57:40 pm »
I see what you're saying.

I'm very interested in body modification, and that's really the correlating interest that I see; the potential to change ourselves in ways FAR beyond piercings, tattoos, brands, implants, etc.  The ability to genetically change our forms and the fundamental way that our brains function.  I've only started reading up on the subject, but I could see myself really getting into it.

EDIT:  Wait wait wait.  I just started reading that first link.  These people want to completely elliminate pain and suffering altogether?  No, fuck that noise.  Pain is integral to our lives, our development.  That seems like a bad idea. 
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 08:59:56 pm by Doktor Loki »
Not a Doctor?  Why, of course I'm a Doctor!  Why else would I have this scalpel?      ~Doctor Mad

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man."
- William Shakespeare

"If you hear crazy voices in your head which tell you to do something, even something evil, YOU'D BETTER FUCKING DO IT BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE GOD." - Soren Keirkegaard

Cramulus

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 22223
    • View Profile
    • Cramul.us
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2008, 09:06:54 pm »
I like transhumanists because they're thinking WAAAAAY outside the box

like, so far outside the box they're in outer space



and I like the notion that you can change what you are,
and that humans will eventually become something new

Doktor Loki

  • Yeti Marauder
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2008, 09:10:23 pm »
I like transhumanists because they're thinking WAAAAAY outside the box

like, so far outside the box they're in outer space



and I like the notion that you can change what you are,
and that humans will eventually become something new



This is exactly what excites me about it.
Not a Doctor?  Why, of course I'm a Doctor!  Why else would I have this scalpel?      ~Doctor Mad

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man."
- William Shakespeare

"If you hear crazy voices in your head which tell you to do something, even something evil, YOU'D BETTER FUCKING DO IT BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE GOD." - Soren Keirkegaard

Roo

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2008, 09:41:37 pm »
Quote from: Doktor Loki
These people want to completely elliminate pain and suffering altogether?  No, fuck that noise.  Pain is integral to our lives, our development.  That seems like a bad idea.

Why do you say that? What is it about pain and suffering that makes it a requirement for our development? How are we developing through pain anyway? What makes that good?
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 09:46:55 pm by Roo »

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 8917
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2008, 09:51:55 pm »
Pain is important for physiological reasons. Suffering is psychological.


That said, didn't Cain leave a link to a transhumanist e-zine here a month ago or so?
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Doktor Loki

  • Yeti Marauder
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2008, 09:59:19 pm »
Maybe I'm a little biased, since I enjoy getting pierced so much.  Keep that in mind.

I feel that pain and hardship breed strength.  Pain is, for one thing, integral to the true understanding of pleasure, imo.  You cant truly grasp pleasure and happiness without pain and unhappiness.  

Its like this;  by denying pain, by completely ridding ourselves of it, we would be cutting ourselves off from a fundamental part of the human experience.  From my understanding, H+ is about transcending the human condition, but I dont think you can do that by subtracting.  Rather, the goal should be addition.  Pain is a part of who and what we are, and by ridding ourselves of it I think we would be lessening ourselves.  Now, changing pain would be one thing, learning to control it so that it would still be useful, but not unbearable, that I could see as good, but removing our pain centers is as bad as removing our pleasure centers.

Through pain and pleasure we connect with our bodies.  We communicate with our bodies.  Also, I dont think there is any difference between the two.  In the words of a very wise man; "There is no such thing as pain.  There is only powerful sensation."  I dont think it possible to alter our ability to feel sensation without altering our ability to feel ALL sensation.

Pain is important for physiological reasons. Suffering is psychological.

This, I think, is an important disctinction.  The elimination (or lessening) of suffering could be desirable.  But not pain.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 10:00:56 pm by Doktor Loki »
Not a Doctor?  Why, of course I'm a Doctor!  Why else would I have this scalpel?      ~Doctor Mad

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man."
- William Shakespeare

"If you hear crazy voices in your head which tell you to do something, even something evil, YOU'D BETTER FUCKING DO IT BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE GOD." - Soren Keirkegaard

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 8917
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2008, 10:13:07 pm »
I think its pretty clear how important pain sensing is when you talk to people who are unable to feel pain in parts of their body. There are important physiological and behavioral reasons why organisms sense pain.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Roo

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2008, 10:29:18 pm »
Maybe I'm a little biased, since I enjoy getting pierced so much.  Keep that in mind.

I feel that pain and hardship breed strength.  Pain is, for one thing, integral to the true understanding of pleasure, imo.  You cant truly grasp pleasure and happiness without pain and unhappiness. 

Its like this;  by denying pain, by completely ridding ourselves of it, we would be cutting ourselves off from a fundamental part of the human experience.  From my understanding, H+ is about transcending the human condition, but I dont think you can do that by subtracting.  Rather, the goal should be addition.  Pain is a part of who and what we are, and by ridding ourselves of it I think we would be lessening ourselves.  Now, changing pain would be one thing, learning to control it so that it would still be useful, but not unbearable, that I could see as good, but removing our pain centers is as bad as removing our pleasure centers.

Through pain and pleasure we connect with our bodies.  We communicate with our bodies.  Also, I dont think there is any difference between the two.  In the words of a very wise man; "There is no such thing as pain.  There is only powerful sensation."  I dont think it possible to alter our ability to feel sensation without altering our ability to feel ALL sensation.

I might be misunderstanding what transhumanists believe, but in my understanding of the meaning of transcendence, it's moving beyond, rather than subtraction. There's no loss, in the sense of a removal, but a release, in the sense of letting go of what is no longer useful. I'll have to look into transhumanism more before I can discuss that adequately, but I'm intrigued by this concept of whether or not we can or should transcend pain and suffering. I think we can, and it's something that I'm attempting to do in my own life. More and more, I'm convinced that pain is (and should be) as controllable as pleasure. And if we can do that, I don't see why we can't choose to move beyond it. Moreover, it may be required that we transcend pain and suffering in order to continue developing and evolving as a species. Our senses give us the world, but in a very limited fashion. We can only take in so much, before those senses become overwhelmed with input. Perhaps transcending pain would allow us to take in more input, and we would be able to sense much more than we can now.

@ Kai- I've never had the privilege of meeting someone like that, but I can understand how pain is important for us physiologically. Yet even those who can't feel pain in part or all of their body can learn to adapt. We also don't need to experience pain repeatedly to know that something will be painful. Still, not all pain is physical, and there is mounting evidence that our state of mind may have something to do with how much pain we feel.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 10:33:47 pm by Roo »

Doktor Loki

  • Yeti Marauder
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2008, 10:33:10 pm »
Maybe I'm a little biased, since I enjoy getting pierced so much.  Keep that in mind.

I feel that pain and hardship breed strength.  Pain is, for one thing, integral to the true understanding of pleasure, imo.  You cant truly grasp pleasure and happiness without pain and unhappiness. 

Its like this;  by denying pain, by completely ridding ourselves of it, we would be cutting ourselves off from a fundamental part of the human experience.  From my understanding, H+ is about transcending the human condition, but I dont think you can do that by subtracting.  Rather, the goal should be addition.  Pain is a part of who and what we are, and by ridding ourselves of it I think we would be lessening ourselves.  Now, changing pain would be one thing, learning to control it so that it would still be useful, but not unbearable, that I could see as good, but removing our pain centers is as bad as removing our pleasure centers.

Through pain and pleasure we connect with our bodies.  We communicate with our bodies.  Also, I dont think there is any difference between the two.  In the words of a very wise man; "There is no such thing as pain.  There is only powerful sensation."  I dont think it possible to alter our ability to feel sensation without altering our ability to feel ALL sensation.

I might be misunderstanding what transhumanists believe, but in my understanding of the meaning of transcendence, it's moving beyond, rather than subtraction. There's no loss, in the sense of a removal, but a release, in the sense of letting go of what is no longer useful. I'll have to look into transhumanism more before I can discuss that adequately, but I'm intrigued by this concept of whether or not we can or should transcend pain and suffering. I think we can, and it's something that I'm attempting to do in my own life. More and more, I'm convinced that pain is (and should be) as controllable as pleasure. And if we can do that, I don't see why we can't choose to move beyond it. Moreover, it may be required that we transcend pain and suffering in order to continue developing and evolving as a species. Our senses give us the world, but in a very limited fashion. We can only take in so much, before those senses become overwhelmed with input. Perhaps transcending pain would allow us to take in more input, and we would be able to sense much more than we can now.

@ Kai- I've never had the privilege of meeting someone like that, but I can understand how pain is important for us physiologically. Still, not all pain is physical, and there is mounting evidence that our state of mind may have something to do with how much pain we feel. We also don't need to experience pain repeatedly to know that something will be painful. It only took one touch to learn that the iron will burn my skin. You can be sure that I'll never do that again!

Yes, by removing pain we would open ourselves to new levels of experience, but we would deny ourselves access to many old levels of expereince which I would argue are still very useful.  IMO almost all of human achievment has been the result of pain.

I'm enjoying this discussion, but I have to go to work now.  We'll talk more later I hope.
Not a Doctor?  Why, of course I'm a Doctor!  Why else would I have this scalpel?      ~Doctor Mad

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man."
- William Shakespeare

"If you hear crazy voices in your head which tell you to do something, even something evil, YOU'D BETTER FUCKING DO IT BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE GOD." - Soren Keirkegaard

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 8917
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2008, 10:41:10 pm »
Maybe I'm a little biased, since I enjoy getting pierced so much.  Keep that in mind.

I feel that pain and hardship breed strength.  Pain is, for one thing, integral to the true understanding of pleasure, imo.  You cant truly grasp pleasure and happiness without pain and unhappiness. 

Its like this;  by denying pain, by completely ridding ourselves of it, we would be cutting ourselves off from a fundamental part of the human experience.  From my understanding, H+ is about transcending the human condition, but I dont think you can do that by subtracting.  Rather, the goal should be addition.  Pain is a part of who and what we are, and by ridding ourselves of it I think we would be lessening ourselves.  Now, changing pain would be one thing, learning to control it so that it would still be useful, but not unbearable, that I could see as good, but removing our pain centers is as bad as removing our pleasure centers.

Through pain and pleasure we connect with our bodies.  We communicate with our bodies.  Also, I dont think there is any difference between the two.  In the words of a very wise man; "There is no such thing as pain.  There is only powerful sensation."  I dont think it possible to alter our ability to feel sensation without altering our ability to feel ALL sensation.

I might be misunderstanding what transhumanists believe, but in my understanding of the meaning of transcendence, it's moving beyond, rather than subtraction. There's no loss, in the sense of a removal, but a release, in the sense of letting go of what is no longer useful. I'll have to look into transhumanism more before I can discuss that adequately, but I'm intrigued by this concept of whether or not we can or should transcend pain and suffering. I think we can, and it's something that I'm attempting to do in my own life. More and more, I'm convinced that pain is (and should be) as controllable as pleasure. And if we can do that, I don't see why we can't choose to move beyond it. Moreover, it may be required that we transcend pain and suffering in order to continue developing and evolving as a species. Our senses give us the world, but in a very limited fashion. We can only take in so much, before those senses become overwhelmed with input. Perhaps transcending pain would allow us to take in more input, and we would be able to sense much more than we can now.

@ Kai- I've never had the privilege of meeting someone like that, but I can understand how pain is important for us physiologically. Yet even those who can't feel pain in part or all of their body can learn to adapt. We also don't need to experience pain repeatedly to know that something will be painful. Still, not all pain is physical, and there is mounting evidence that our state of mind may have something to do with how much pain we feel.


No no no. You don't get it. Pain is important because it tells us when something is wrong in our body, when something is screwy, or when we are doing something stupid. People who can't feel pain end up damaging their body because they can't tell when they are fucking up, like burning or cutting themselves. It. Is. Important. Anyone who disagrees with that is a fucking idiot.

Also, didn't I just say, psychological "pain" is what we call suffering. Pain sensing is strictly physical. The two things are not, and will never be the same.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Kai

  • A flea circus and
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 8917
  • Richard Feynman fangirl.
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2008, 10:55:43 pm »
.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 11:03:55 pm by Kai »
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish

Roo

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2008, 10:59:40 pm »
Must edit more quickly.
Maybe I'm a little biased, since I enjoy getting pierced so much.  Keep that in mind.

I feel that pain and hardship breed strength.  Pain is, for one thing, integral to the true understanding of pleasure, imo.  You cant truly grasp pleasure and happiness without pain and unhappiness. 

Its like this;  by denying pain, by completely ridding ourselves of it, we would be cutting ourselves off from a fundamental part of the human experience.  From my understanding, H+ is about transcending the human condition, but I dont think you can do that by subtracting.  Rather, the goal should be addition.  Pain is a part of who and what we are, and by ridding ourselves of it I think we would be lessening ourselves.  Now, changing pain would be one thing, learning to control it so that it would still be useful, but not unbearable, that I could see as good, but removing our pain centers is as bad as removing our pleasure centers.

Through pain and pleasure we connect with our bodies.  We communicate with our bodies.  Also, I dont think there is any difference between the two.  In the words of a very wise man; "There is no such thing as pain.  There is only powerful sensation."  I dont think it possible to alter our ability to feel sensation without altering our ability to feel ALL sensation.

I might be misunderstanding what transhumanists believe, but in my understanding of the meaning of transcendence, it's moving beyond, rather than subtraction. There's no loss, in the sense of a removal, but a release, in the sense of letting go of what is no longer useful. I'll have to look into transhumanism more before I can discuss that adequately, but I'm intrigued by this concept of whether or not we can or should transcend pain and suffering. I think we can, and it's something that I'm attempting to do in my own life. More and more, I'm convinced that pain is (and should be) as controllable as pleasure. And if we can do that, I don't see why we can't choose to move beyond it. Moreover, it may be required that we transcend pain and suffering in order to continue developing and evolving as a species. Our senses give us the world, but in a very limited fashion. We can only take in so much, before those senses become overwhelmed with input. Perhaps transcending pain would allow us to take in more input, and we would be able to sense much more than we can now.

@ Kai- I've never had the privilege of meeting someone like that, but I can understand how pain is important for us physiologically. Still, not all pain is physical, and there is mounting evidence that our state of mind may have something to do with how much pain we feel. We also don't need to experience pain repeatedly to know that something will be painful. It only took one touch to learn that the iron will burn my skin. You can be sure that I'll never do that again!

Yes, by removing pain we would open ourselves to new levels of experience, but we would deny ourselves access to many old levels of expereince which I would argue are still very useful.  IMO almost all of human achievment has been the result of pain.

I'm enjoying this discussion, but I have to go to work now.  We'll talk more later I hope.
Thanks, I'm enjoying it too.

So far, a large portion of human achievement has involved pain and suffering, it's true. Many achievements have been intended to reduce pain and suffering as well. And considering the most modern technology, we have less and less pain involved yet.

As to whether the old levels of experience would be available to us, or whether they'd be useful...if we grew beyond the old levels of experience, they'd be about as useful as the Atari in my basement. Sure you can still play the old games, but why would you want to if the new games were full surround virtual reality?

Roo

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: What does everyone here think of Transhumanism?
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2008, 11:17:27 pm »
Maybe I'm a little biased, since I enjoy getting pierced so much.  Keep that in mind.

I feel that pain and hardship breed strength.  Pain is, for one thing, integral to the true understanding of pleasure, imo.  You cant truly grasp pleasure and happiness without pain and unhappiness. 

Its like this;  by denying pain, by completely ridding ourselves of it, we would be cutting ourselves off from a fundamental part of the human experience.  From my understanding, H+ is about transcending the human condition, but I dont think you can do that by subtracting.  Rather, the goal should be addition.  Pain is a part of who and what we are, and by ridding ourselves of it I think we would be lessening ourselves.  Now, changing pain would be one thing, learning to control it so that it would still be useful, but not unbearable, that I could see as good, but removing our pain centers is as bad as removing our pleasure centers.

Through pain and pleasure we connect with our bodies.  We communicate with our bodies.  Also, I dont think there is any difference between the two.  In the words of a very wise man; "There is no such thing as pain.  There is only powerful sensation."  I dont think it possible to alter our ability to feel sensation without altering our ability to feel ALL sensation.

I might be misunderstanding what transhumanists believe, but in my understanding of the meaning of transcendence, it's moving beyond, rather than subtraction. There's no loss, in the sense of a removal, but a release, in the sense of letting go of what is no longer useful. I'll have to look into transhumanism more before I can discuss that adequately, but I'm intrigued by this concept of whether or not we can or should transcend pain and suffering. I think we can, and it's something that I'm attempting to do in my own life. More and more, I'm convinced that pain is (and should be) as controllable as pleasure. And if we can do that, I don't see why we can't choose to move beyond it. Moreover, it may be required that we transcend pain and suffering in order to continue developing and evolving as a species. Our senses give us the world, but in a very limited fashion. We can only take in so much, before those senses become overwhelmed with input. Perhaps transcending pain would allow us to take in more input, and we would be able to sense much more than we can now.

@ Kai- I've never had the privilege of meeting someone like that, but I can understand how pain is important for us physiologically. Yet even those who can't feel pain in part or all of their body can learn to adapt. We also don't need to experience pain repeatedly to know that something will be painful. Still, not all pain is physical, and there is mounting evidence that our state of mind may have something to do with how much pain we feel.


No no no. You don't get it. Pain is important because it tells us when something is wrong in our body, when something is screwy, or when we are doing something stupid. People who can't feel pain end up damaging their body because they can't tell when they are fucking up, like burning or cutting themselves. It. Is. Important. Anyone who disagrees with that is a fucking idiot.

Also, didn't I just say, psychological "pain" is what we call suffering. Pain sensing is strictly physical. The two things are not, and will never be the same.

I think must have missed something you said. Pain, physical pain is important. Absolutely. No question that we need to know when we've cut ourselves, gotten burnt, shot, etc. But if I get a headache, it hurts. Is that not pain? Is that *only* psychological? If so, why does it feel the same as if someone hit me on the head? And suffering: is prolonged physical pain not suffering, like psychological "pain"?

But going by your definitions, I'm mostly referring to suffering, excepting the idea of being able to accept more sensory input. There's a shitload of suffering going on in the world that's completely unnecessary. If we can't eventually transcend the need to kill, rape, and destroy each other, then we might as well slide back into the primordial ooze. Because that's all we'll be.