Optimism: The Logical Transhuman Perspective

Fear is a mechanism that causes us to act in different ways to prevent pain, discomfort and so on. Throughout life we find ways of navigating this fear circuit and optimizing its utility to keep us safe. Fear does not have the prerequisite of being rational or reasonable; those feelings come after to justify our actions and behaviors. Using language to find security and quell fears will further one from reason.

I recently have been given the opportunity to find light in a syntactical smoke screen I created around my insecurities and fears. Slowly, without my awareness, I built a labyrinth around wounds left deep within. This light of awareness peering through the dark clouds is currently cauterizing the trauma’s left on my heart. I have become a philosophical surgeon, suturing pains of the past with perceptual stitches of hope and optimism.

Optimism is a mechanism, as is fear.  The difference is the to two is the prerequisite that optimism holds; hope.  Fear will protect one from loss and pain but has little power to inspire and evolve. Hope overrides fear and has lead our species from the caves to the stars.


My goal is to find the optimum utility of each mechanism that comes standard in these biological space suits. As a transhumanist, we face mortality head on, or at least we attempt to. Fear has its purpose and place, but it is an antiquated circuit that was trumped by the neocortex generations ago.

An example of this is from when I was on 8 mile in Detroit, and I was mugged with a gun to my head. It was not fear that kept me safe, it was the knowledge of my place, the danger present, and how best to react in the moment.  Fear would have had me in fight or flight and would have ended with me shot or stabbed. Historically, we needed fear to keep us primed for what lurked in the brush.  Yet we quickly evolved and acquired knowledge that allowed us to predict and plan for what was beyond the horizon. This has created a technological safety net that has made the fear circuit obsolete.

“Optimism inspires, energizes, and brings out our best. It points the mind toward possibilities and helps us think creatively past problems.” -PRICE PRITCHETT

Hope, articulated with optimism, is not naive and wishful thinking.  It is a pragmatic understanding of knowing our place and choosing to not experience life from the darkness of our caves. Regardless of the circuits and emotional mechanisms built into this world, we are afforded the opportunity to modulate and program which circuit of perception we view reality from.

I have been recently experiencing an emotionally induced psychedelic. It has allowed me see how toxic and corrosive fears have been in my life. It’s my hope that my continued optimism will inoculate my personality from the irrationality and insecurities once used to justify my actions and behaviors.

Fear is reflexive, like when the doctor knocks below your knee and your leg lifts without your awareness.  Reason allows you to keep your reflexes in check. To reason over reflex; this is my life and transhumanist agenda.

Keep your thoughts positive,because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.
-MAHATMA GANDHI, Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Book of Eastern Wisdom

Kevin, who also goes by the moniker ‘Techno-Optimist’, is a philosopher, futurist, researcher, lecturer, and the Executive Director of SeriousWonder.com. He enjoys educating and speaking optimistically about the future and technology. Follow him on Twitter @TechnoOptimist

6 Responses

  1. Sally Morem says:

    Anyone even slightly conversant with the history of technology must be an optimist. Things are getting better so much faster now most people can’t keep track. Medicine, 3-D printers, nanotech, genetics, energy, robotics, you name it, it’s improving. The impact on our daily lives may be less noticeable than the tech itself, but the impact is there. Thanks for posting.

  2. Brad Arnold says:

    Culture changes much more slowly than technology. With optimism we can take advantage of technological developments to better humanity. Unfortunately, many people are skeptopathic, meaning they act irrationally skeptical of new things. For instance, LENR. There is this new clean, very very cheap, and super abundant energy technology that is emerging onto the market this year. For decades it has been stifled by the pessimistic belief that the future would be like the past.

    “The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote…. Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.” – physicist Albert. A. Michelson, 1894

    Check out this third-party verification of a LENR reactor that will soon hit the market: http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3913
    “Given the deliberately conservative choices made in performing the measurement, we can reasonably state that the E-Cat HT is a non-conventional source of energy which lies between conventional chemical sources of energy and nuclear ones.” (i.e. about five orders of magnitude more energy dense than gasoline, and a COP of almost 6).

    This phenomenon (LENR) has been confirmed in hundreds of published scientific papers: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJtallyofcol.pdf

    “Over 2 decades with over 100 experiments worldwide indicate LENR is real, much greater than chemical…” –Dennis M. Bushnell, Chief Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center

    “Total replacement of fossil fuels for everything but synthetic organic chemistry.” –Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, NASA

    The future is so bright we’ll have to wear shades, but we need the optimism to believe it.

    “If what we are doing is not seen by some people as science fiction, it’s probably not transformative enough” ~ Sergey Brin

  3. Thanks for this article. The (bio)conservative impulse is led by fear. Their view is selfish because humanity is already plagued with disaster. For most, life is terribly bad. The costs of humans not changing their existence is far worse than any accident that could happen as they do change.

    • “The (bio)conservative impulse ” Love that Harry.

      I have often said that my “Techno-Optimism” stems from my Bio-Pessimism. This current substrate is so antiquated.

      I am glad we are finding and using tools to modulate/reprogram these old systems of behavior, evolved to keep us safe from lions and tigers in the bush.

  1. August 19, 2013

    […] Peter Fear is a mechanism that causes us to act in different ways to prevent pain, discomfort and so on. […]

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