Humanity+ Vs. Individualism+
- July 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm #18290PeterMember
Are you an H+ or an I+ transhumanist?
[See the full post at: Humanity+ Vs. Individualism+]July 15, 2014 at 11:37 pm #18801Samantha AtkinsParticipant
I am a transhumanist individualist. The author of the article is a religionist – a minister actually. I would think that is a bit more problematic for transhumanism with its emphasis on rationality and science and achieving the dreams of humanity in reality than individualism is. I do not appreciate an article effectively claiming I am a contradiction in terms or don’t belong among transhumanists.
His arguments are in part from religion and in part from the broader notion that ethics or “the good” is sacrificing one’s desires to others and obeying and pleasing some authority, be it God or society.
The roots of transhumanism are in the right of all persons to transcend our current limitations and in the desire to build and more radically advanced civilization. The deep human desire to improve in abilities and potential and to have more and broader opportunities is at the heart of transhumanism. Without the right of every individual to self ownership and to modify and enhance themselves as they see fit there is no transhumanism.
Individualism is not the the simplistic notion of your personal whims and aggrandizement as against everyone and everything else presented here. Although admittedly some self-styled individualists seem to think it is. It is about rational self-interest, as broadly construed as possible, as the foundation of ethics. Not ethics proclaimed by some deity, or by one’s society, or even one’s evolutionary programming and urges. But full conscious rational seeking into and following what is really in one’s self interest. When this is done one is not opposed against others. Rather the maximal cooperation is made possible when it is realized that to prey on others is to seek a world of blood and claw where no one is safe or their opportunities maximized. We have far more to gain by voluntary transactions and interactions with one another with none resorting to the initiation of force.
As intelligent interdependent beings we thrive most and fastest when our we have the freedom to exercise our intelligence as we see fit for our own rational benefit allowing all others to do the same. Only trying to force the mind of another, the initiation of force and its offshoots like fraud, is prohibited by rational selfishness.
To pretend you can’t be a real transhumanist and by an individualist is obviously bogus. An individualist as describe above is deeply committed to improving opportunity for self and in society at large. Continued improvement is the motto.
So the dichotomy presented here is a false dichotomy.July 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm #18821Micah ReddingParticipant
That’s a great contrast, Chris, and I think it’s one that cuts across whatever labels we use for ourselves. No life exists without being in relationship to other life, and yet it’s easy to lose touch with that fact.
Samantha brought up rational self-interest, and to her point, rational self-interest must be concerned with the interest of the broader world, if it is to be truly rational. (Imagine a company that was entirely concerned with its inner workings, and never took external factors into consideration. It wouldn’t last long.)
But sometimes what goes under the heading of rational self-interest isn’t completely rational. Istvan’s book, for example, tells a compelling story on several levels; and yet it portrays a character who is only able to maintain extreme self-interest by letting go of rationality in several key ways.July 17, 2014 at 9:00 am #18835Brad ArnoldParticipant
It is a constant danger to elevate societal responsible to that of a virtue. Ethics : an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior. I personally believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – not an unusual belief. Furthermore, I extract from that that since there is no such thing as objective beauty, therefore there is no such thing as objective good or evil either. This is also known as nihilism : the rejection of all (objective) religious and moral principles.
“As such humans have this “persistence of experience from yesterday to today to tomorrow that’s part of the natural process of how our brain functions in relationship to our sense of identity and who we are.” This identity that occurs through formation, I think, is an integral part of what it means to be human and resonates clearly in the teaching of many of the world great religious traditions. An escape from humanity as proposed by the I+ advocates would be a loss of this identity of formation and, as such, a loss of virtue. I+ is the reduction of humanity to: Me, My, Mine. It forsakes and abandons the prospect that what it means to be human involves learning how to best live in community. It also eliminates the possibility that the best way to live out our humanity may be to live self-sacrificially.”
The counterpoint I am trying to make is that a person can clearly have an identity apart from the social construct of self-sacrifice or community. In fact, it seems clear that trying to incorporate self-sacrifice or community into an objective virtue is absurd, since it is begging the question of whose point of view, or which society, you are using. I am not trying to eliminate as a possibility that the best way to live out your humanity is self-sacrificially, I am simply pointing out that it is but one virtuous way to live.
It doesn’t need to be reduced to the dichotomy of self-sacrificial vs. escaping from humanity. For instance, you could believe that enlightened self-interest was a virtue, or living as a hermit apart from society was a virtue (a monk), or living a balance of self-sacrifice and self-gratification was a virtue (“keep the balance”), or being a rugged individualist was a virtue (valuing personal liberty and self-reliance).July 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm #18883Giulio PriscoParticipant
I think we need a third category, and a third way besides collectivism and individualism. I am an individualist in the sense that I consider “society” as an abstract concept – a society is not a “thing” but indicates a collection of individuals. Therefore, I value autonomy and self-ownership. But I value _everyone’s_ autonomy and self-ownership, and I don’t consider myself as necessarily more important than others. I can certainly see myself risking my own life to save others (I have done so a few times, without thinking twice). Perhaps we can call this third way “inclusive individualism” or something like that?July 27, 2014 at 7:00 am #19054Danila MedvedevParticipant
you may want to invent a new name, but IMO it’s just individualism. What you imply to be “just individualism” as an extreme in the specter is probably closer to sociopathy.
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