Not long ago, Jason Schoenecker and I published a brief piece called The Transhuman Separatist Manifesto advocating exactly this perspective — and the piece, not surprisingly, has created some controversy in the transhumanist world. Recently, and almost inevitably, Woody Evans published an counter-article titled Crown on the Ground: Against Transhuman Militance. In response to this controversy, this article aims to clarify some of the ideas and motivations underlying the Manifesto, and the concept and movement of Transhuman Separatism.
When I say that we are a new species — as I did in the Manifesto — I mean that we are the new revolution. We have created an anti-utopia-utopia full of freethinkers on the fringe (or completely outside) of human society. Some of us have cybernetic implants, while some of us don’t. This isn’t about appearance for us, and this isn’t about being cool. We come from all different areas of the political spectrum.
We Transhuman Separatists define ourselves as Transhuman. Other Transhumanist schools of thought view H+ as a field of study. While I am fascinated by the field of Transhumanism, I would argue that H+ is most fundamentally a lifestyle — not a trend or a subculture, but a mode of existence. We are biologically human, but we share a common understanding and know that we are beyond human. We Transhuman Separatists are interested in making this distinction through separation.
Do we wish to form a Transhumanist army, and kill the humans who aren’t on our level? My answer here is an obvious no. Do we advocate Second Amendment rights? Absolutely. If anyone attempted to kill me for being weird, I would need to be able to defend myself. There may not currently be people out there who are killing anyone who is H+, but stranger things have happened in our society. If nobody was to attack us, we would not commit violence against anyone. We have no desire to attack the innocent.
I think there is a class distinction in the H+ community. Those of us in the lower/working classes have been through a lot of horrible experiences that those of us in the middle/upper classes might be unable to understand. We have our own form of elitism, which is related to survival, and many of us feel the need for militance. We feel like we have become stronger through our trials and tribulations. Think of us as Nietzschean Futurists. Our goal is to separate from the human herd and use modern technology to do it.
Also, it’s important to understand that not every Transhuman Separatist is into Militance. James Felty states that Transhuman Separatism is simply freedom from the tyranny of biology. Others, like Chris Coreline, say that TS is cutting the crap and getting down to work – we have a new species to build. According to Robert Bisno “Transhuman Seperatism, in essence, is the notion that the second human race, oncoming through neurological, genetic, and cybernetic developments as it is, should be unencumbered by the myriad neuroses and psychoses that so characterize the first human race.”
Many questions are being asked by people who think that militance could be harmful to the H+ community. Natasha Vita-More asks: why have a militant race? How is this related to building a more advanced consciousness? Tarrah Egregor states, “personally I think even considering violent means to reach our goals shows a lack of maturity which makes those goals implicitly out of reach.”
There is no violence being considered here, just a large set of questions that are of reasonable concern. Many of hold a lot of anger due to how we have been treated by humanity. When someone says “kill the humans”, are they serious? Not at all, but I guess this could be seen as a bit scary. Of course none of us are going to arm ourselves to eliminate the homosapien.
Khannea Suntzu has an interesting way of summing it up. “It’s a warning. We are a bunch of margin loons, sure. But the future will change so fast and irreversibly that any movement like TS is holding a virtual cocked gun to society. It’s a form of proactive unionization. My favorite quote comes from Kory Schubhut. “It’s not even about guns. If you enhance yourself then you become more dangerous. It’s almost unavoidable for us to take up arms. We will be weapons.”
Regardless of our viewpoints, what we Transhuman Separatists are interested in is separating from human society, so as to more fully enjoy and develop our Transhuman selves. We are simply a new current of Transhumanism. We don’t wish to wait around for the idiocracy to evolve. We are students, scientists, artists, musicians, writers, roboticists, geneticists, and philosophers, and what unites us is a common understanding about the nature of reality and a desire to use technology to advance ourselves whether the rest of humanity is ready or not.
We come in peace.
This article, and Rachel Haywire’s previous “Transhumanist Separatist Manifesto” article, provoked a bit of controversial discussion among those of us in Humanity+ involved with operating H+ Magazine. The memes of transhuman separatism and militance don’t resonate so well with the philosophy of Humanity+ as an organization. But we felt it appropriate run the articles in H+ Magazine anyway, because these memes are a part of our reality, and should be aired and discussed. Of course, the views of any H+ magazine article shouldn’t be taken to represent the (official or informal) views of Humanity+.
If you’re interested in more of Rachel Haywire’s ideas and artworks, for instance her writings about transhumanism and chaos magic in the Disinformation anthology Generation hex; her industrial music project Experiment Haywire; and her 3 CD musical compilation Sanity is Slavery created to fight against psychiatric abuse and a consensual definition of reality, you can check out her websites here: