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Transhumanist FAQ Live

4 bytes removed, 02:16, 29 February 2016
What is a transhuman?: mostly punctuation
The etymology of the term “transhuman” goes back to the futurist FM-2030 (also known as F. M. Esfandiary), who introduced it as shorthand for “transitional human”. Calling transhumans the “earliest manifestation of new evolutionary beings”. F. M. Esfandiary had written a chapter using the term “transhuman” in a 1972 book, and went on to develop a set of transhumanist ideas in which transhuman was a transition from human to posthuman, yet he never referred to them as “transhumanism”. Esfandiary’s approach was more literary than academic, even though he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York in the 1960s. Starting in 1966, while teaching classes in “New Concepts of the Human”, he outlined a vision of an evolutionary transhuman future. He also brought together optimistic futurists in a loosely-organized group known as UpWingers. In his 1989 book, Are You a Transhuman?, he defined a transhuman as a “transitional human,” whose use of technology, way of living, and values marked them as a step toward posthumanity. FM-2030’s writing and social activity importantly underscored the practical elements of the philosophy. The idiosyncratic and personal nature of FM-2030’s transhuman was displayed in his book, which contained extensive questionnaires, then rated the reader as more or less transhuman. Some of his measures included how much someone traveled, what alterations they had made to their body (even though the existing technology remained primitive), the degree to which they rejected traditional family structures and exclusive relationships, and so on.It is unclear why anybody who has had enhancement body parts or a nomadic lifestyle is any closer to becoming a posthuman than the rest of us; nor, of course, are such persons necessarily more admirable or morally commendable than others. In fact, it is perfectly possible to be a transhuman – or, for that matter, a transhumanist – and still embrace most traditional values and principles of personal conduct.
The writings of Natasha Vita-More (f/k/a Nancie Clark) in authoring the Transhuman Manifesto in 1983 offered a different perspective on the transhuman, although highly influenced by FM-2030’s vision. The , the difference being that Vita-More sought to build a social/cultural movement for life extension and human enhancement rather than following a prescribed ideological stance. “Let us choose to be transhuman not only in our bodies, but also in our values. Toward diversity, multiplicity. Toward non-partisan ideology (transpolitics, transpartisan, transmodernity). Toward a more humane transhumanity.” In 1997, a later version of the manifesto was released first onto the Internet and signed by hundreds of creative thinkers and , then placed aboard the Cassini -Huygens spacecraft on its mission to Saturn.

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