Transhumanism and Revolution
by Ciaran Healy
The only revolution is the communications revolution. Every other change of significance sits on top of it, and is one or other expression of it. Ideas preserved in stone, even literally in stone, means that insights can compound. Understanding can build upon itself, can grow deeper and deeper.
But there is another movement. Delusion can do the same, and our voracious arrogances compound and grow our lies and self-worship into spiraling whirlpools of insanity and ignorance which threaten to suck down the world into ignorance and ruin.
Fox News in America, ISIS in Iraq. UKIP in Britain and the Front Nationale in France. Putin in the Kremlin. The acceleration of the worst elements of humanity, pugnacious, aggressive, vicious, extreme. A facade of strength and virility, and behind it a desperate, white-eyed terror: notice me. Notice me. Notice me. Tell me I'm scary, tell me I mean something, tell me I'm worth something, anything.
Transhumanist thought drips with this. The construction of a world of techno-fetish and salvation through product where shallow people can masturbate about magic and how amazing they'll be when they bench press a truck or see in infrared. A tiny little niche, one of many, not even spectacular in its pointlessness, just one more slice of human delusion in a seething sea of vapid noise.
Except for when it's not. And that's the thing. We are a tiny little species largely made up of tiny little people with tiny scopes of vision. Mediocre minds accrue like flies around anything that seems to offer any level of sustenance, no matter how foul. Anything shiny in a world of tarnish. Give me a tribe I can join.
Anything taken at its weakest in these times is very, very weak. So hungry to be loved that we'd believe anything, sign in blood on any dotted line. Every idea twisted into some new religion. Even science has its fanboys who shriek like witchburning peasants when the doctrinal purity of their facile, face-value acceptance of human rationality isn't given the worship they think it, and they, deserve.
But why would you take a thing at its weakest? What would the point of that be? Why would you engage with the people who turn an idea into an ideology and and ideology into a mob? For one reason only. So you can make another mob. So you can weave another demon, weave another contempt and stuff a straw man. What would someone make of you if they took you at your weakest? At your least worthwhile?
Tiny little ape-people that we are, working the world into blue team and red. Hanging on the acceptance of all the other ape-people with their little ape lives and our little ape stories. This is what humanity is. Tiny people building massive worlds of persecution and crusade, and feeding them at the expense of all sanity and hope.
So what does it mean that we take an idea at it's strongest? It means this â€“ that we're not looking for more thread for our own embroidered egos. We're looking for something else, something much more dangerous. Truth. The actual truth. What is the truth? Past all the noise and all the posturing, what it is that doesn't go away when we stop believing in it?
And the truth is that every revolution has failed. Every one. Communism is an open joke and exists as a force only in the fever-dreams of the right. Democracy has collapsed into farce with the will of a terrified, easily manipulated, arrogant people. Fascism was never a very good idea in the first place.
They have failed eternally. No dogma, no ideological revolution can hold now. No static belief structure can persist for more than a minute in this information age, and it doesn't matter how good your idea is. You might as well write it on tissue paper, and drop it onto a chainsaw.
Humans don't care about the truth. Every revolution has failed because humans sacrifice everything and anything on the altar of tiny ego, making massive, cartoon simple divisions that ruin the world so they can fuel their pointless drama with an unearned sense of personal worth. This is human nature. It isn't mysterious. It isn't complex. It's small and pathetic. It worked fine when we were in tiny tribes because we didn't have our hands on anything important enough to break, but now we have a grip on the throat of the world.
And that's the strongest point of transhumanism. Because almost alone in the world it sees with crystal clarity that there is one revolution left untapped. It's not bolting on microchips to boost your memory of all the facile things that don't matter, and it's not bolting on robot legs so you can run faster with nowhere worthwhile to go. It's not in the infantile desire to strap extra capacity to the same worthless, tiny humanity, or have that humanity entrench its mediocrity by living forever.
It's about the only revolution left. The only idea left standing, the only play we have to make. A revolution in human nature. A human revolution. A revolution in our relationship with truth and lies, a kind of humanity that does not draw power from delusion, but from something else, leaving humanity free to explore the limitless depths of the real and the possible, forever.
Transhumanism is pathetic if it lacks ambition. If we lack the courage to implicate ourselves our very selves in the change that must be made. It can get pretty weak. But taken at its strongest it is one of the vanishingly few movements that see the revolution the world needs. This alone is not enough. Potential means nothing if not aggressively pursued, if not aggressively protected from the mediocrity that will always be the undertow in a mediocre world.
There's something in us that stands to change. The information age is not merely a new phase in human history, it is a new habitat in human evolution. A change in humanity itself is the only appropriate response. A change in humanity itself is the only possible solution. It is the role of the pioneering spirit of the age to be ruthless, to be real. And it is your duty as a revolutionary, in the words of Michael Shapiro, "to transcend your own artificiality by showing you truths deeper than anything mimesis can reflect back at you, deeper than anything our social order can contain."
Something new and uncontainable. Something outside the comprehension of human nature on which all deadlocked world is based. Something dangerous and extreme. We have run all ideas of global change to ground save one.
Evolution is our revolution.
Note: You really have to read this ode to transhumanism's posthumanism on the IEET website by one of its anarchists to actually believe it. Of course, IEET''s philosopher/bioethicist -- Art Caplan -- has most probably sanctioned its message as 'ethical'. Seriously, any good psychiatrists available out there? (Note the 'dig' at FOX News). The article first appeared here. -- DNI]