The Transhumanist Wager

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The Transhumanist Wager is a 2013 novel by Zoltan Istvan.

Featuring a central character called Jethro Knight, the book has been compared to a transhumanist Atlas shrugged[1] in showcasing a particular style of atheistic, libertarian and survivalist transhumanism.[2] That said, Zoltan has since denied the book comprises such a manifesto.[3]

Plot

The Transhumanist Wager stars the protagonist Jethro Knights who studies philosophy and sails around the world to promote indefinite life extension. During this time a coup by Christian terrorists successfully take over the US, transforming America's secular government into a theocracy. This causes Knights to create an independent seastanding city 'Transhumania' as a stand against reactionary governments from invading the city.[4][5]

Philosophy

According to the author, The Transhumanist Wager puts forward a philosophy based on "a simple wager":[6]

If a reasoning human being loves and values life, they will want to live as long as possible—the desire to be immortal. Nevertheless, it's impossible to know if they're going to be immortal once they die. To do nothing doesn't help the odds of attaining immortality—since it seems evident that everyone will die someday and possibly cease to exist. To try to do something scientifically constructive towards ensuring immortality beforehand is the most logical conclusion.

Zoltan introduced some survivalist philosophy into the book such as the 'Three Laws of Transhumanims':

A transhumanist must safeguard one's own existence above all else.
A transhumanist must strive to achieve omnipotence as expediently as possible—so long as one's actions do not conflict with the First Law.
A transhumanist must safeguard value in the universe—so long as one's actions do not conflict with the First and Second Laws.

External links

References

  1. book review | The Transhumanist Wager
  2. #19: Transhumanism: there are at least ten different philosophical categories; which ones are you?
  3. NEWS FLASH: The Transhumanist Wager is NOT Zoltan Istvan’s Political Manifesto
  4. Giulio Prisco — Kurzweil AI. "The Transhumanist Wager and the terrifying struggle for the future". io9.
  5. "'Transhumanists' are planning to upload your mind to a memory stick…". Technology - Telegraph Blogs.
  6. "The Transhumanist Wager". Zoltan Istvan. "The Transhumanist Wager presents an original, comprehensive, and rational new philosophy called TEF, or Teleological Egocentric Functionalism. TEF is predicated on logic, a simple wager that every human faces: If a reasoning human being loves and values life, they will want to live as long as possible—the desire to be immortal. Nevertheless, it's impossible to know if they're going to be immortal once they die. To do nothing doesn't help the odds of attaining immortality—since it seems evident that everyone will die someday and possibly cease to exist. To try to do something scientifically constructive towards ensuring immortality beforehand is the most logical conclusion."