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7

selver wrote

I've been becoming more tolerant of transhumanism lately. I don't see why it would have to lead to hierarchy. The levelling critiques that the gray-jumpsuit commies have of it don't work for me.

5

Dumai wrote

submitting human action to the rhythms and beats of machines isn't actually that liberatory, and aside from anything else i'm just not sure how transhumanism exactly makes sense without a really crude pseudo-scientific mind-body dualism

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selver wrote

submitting human action to the rhythms and beats of machines isn't actually that liberatory

Care to expand on that? How does technology, for example a bicycle or medicine, submit us to the "rhythms and beats of machines", and what does that even mean? All the criticism I hear sounds like vague reactionary conservatism.

I don't see how it requires a mind-body dualism either.

8

Dumai wrote (edited )

Care to expand on that? How does technology, for example a bicycle or medicine, submit us to the "rhythms and beats of machines", and what does that even mean?

technology obviously has a huge role to play in regimes of social control, even technologies that might otherwise seem innocent or non-political - a standard example is that one of the most important technologies of modern capitalism is the clock, because without it you can't synchronise human labour to the degree required by the capitalist mode of production. the clock, in tandem with the railway system, was instrumental in creating the working day by forcing labourers to work to an integrated schedule as a matter of urgency. all that literally changed how humans conceptualise time itself!

so to use one of your examples, the medicalisation of society, while greatly improving hygiene standards and life expectancy, also centralised medical knowledge and practices into the hands of a professional class with interests very different to those of their patients. this is inextricably tied to modern classism, homophobia, ableism, sexism, eugenics, and racism as we know them today. it's actually a big problem for human autonomy when a significant portion of the public must passively rely on a professional class that believes it is solely responsible for determining what constitutes sickness and health. when these behaviours are very much encouraged by medical technology, the solution to this problem is tricky because it can't be simple self-limitation on the part of doctors. their interests are to scrutinise and monitor the body from cradle to grave.

that doesn't mean technology is evil! it doesn't mean there aren't obvious benefits to stuff like medical science that even a child can notice! it doesn't mean we have to go back to the stone age! it doesn't even mean human augmentation is always a bad idea (that would be bad news for anybody who needs glasses)!

it does mean you can't view technologies as either a) inherently liberatory or b) objects that, while essentially politically neutral, can be politicised for either good or evil. we need to maintain a healthy critical perspective on technology because the belief that it can completely eliminate human suffering has really worrying implications. have you ever wondered why transhumanism appeals equally to silicone valley CEOs as it does to reddit anarchists? it might have something to do with how seeking self-actualisation in the act of consumption is a very comfortable part of contemporary capitalism?

I don't see how it requires a mind-body dualism either.

can you tell me how the belief you can "upload" your mind into a machine is compatible with the scientific materialism most transhumanists seem to take for granted?

2

selver wrote

I agree with everything you said here, I've made the same criticisms many times myself, I just don't think it's an argument against anarcho-transhumanism. It's an argument against non-radical transhumanism. A transhumanism that accepts the complexity of the situation and attempts to deal with that, while also pursuing technological freedom as an important principle, in not inherently anti-anarchist.

As for the singularity bullshit, I definitely wouldn't defend that, but I don't think it needs to be a core element of anarcho-transhumanism.

3

Dumai wrote

my problem is i don't know what a transhumanism that doesn't advocate the use of technology to completely transcend suffering would even look like.

5

selver wrote

It wouldn't focus on transcending suffering. It would focus on creativity, imagination, desire, and expanding the realm of what's possible.

3

Dumai wrote (edited )

how is this focus on "expanding the realm of what's possible" still transhumanist if we're abandoning the cure for death and the mechanisation of life?

if we're not doing that, then how are we going to avoid the problems of technological growth that you and i both agree exist, and most transhumanists don't ever seem to engage with?

3

LucyParsonsRocks wrote (edited )

I don't see why it would have to lead to hierarchy.

How would it not? Even if you could actually create a truly voluntary transhumanism (which you can't because everyone would be pressured to adopt it so as to not get left behind), the people that voluntarily abstain would become an obsolete species.

Unlike their peers, they wouldn't have genetic engineering to give them superhuman bodies at birth, they wouldn't have cybernetic implants to increase their cognitive abilities and physical strength, they wouldn't have immortality, and eventually they'd face discrimination and persecution like in every society founded on eugenics. They'd be freaks. Primitives. A remnant species.

Looking to technology to free humanity is like looking to Fox News to inform us. Technology isolates us far more than it unites us. Building your entire ideology around the idea of enhancing yourself through technology to somehow liberate society (by making yourself superior to those who opt out) is completely illogical. Eugenics and techno-supremacy isn't equality, however you try to sell it.

4

selver wrote (edited )

How is that any different than anything else? Literacy for example, or fashion. Do we outlaw new clothing cause the people still wearing their JNCOs will be shamed and outcast? Do we ban reading & writing because it will lead to the literate dominating the illiterate? I really don't see the difference here. We're talking about an anarchist society, you aren't going to be out-competed in the marketplace, you'll be free to abstain if you'd like.

Why should I accept your authority in limiting my growth and exploration of new ways of living? In changing my body, mind, and environment as I so desire?

It's gray-jumpsuit communism and an attack on my freedom.

2

LucyParsonsRocks wrote (edited )

Do we outlaw new clothing

Who said anything about 'outlawing' anything? This is about basing your political ideology and your whole identity on technology and its perpetual growth.

We're talking about an anarchist society, you aren't going to be out-competed in the marketplace, you'll be free to abstain if you'd like.

I'm not talking about an 'anarchist society' because I don't live in a world where an anarchist society exists or is anywhere close to existing. I don't like to base my politics in theoretical utopias.

But how exactly would I not be outcompeted if everyone else is a superhuman and I'm not? Markets have nothing to do with it. Even if I swallowed your perfect communist techno-utopia pill where everyone is free and equal and puppy dogs tails, the people that abstain are going to be outclassed in every other aspect of life. Communism or not. Starting from the gene pool and going to life expectancy, education, career, attracting mates, making friends, etc, etc.

Replacing capitalism won't change the fact that space and resources are finite, that not all technologies are created equal, and it won't change the fact that some people are just dicks that will persecute those who are ill equipped to compete for resources in a world where billions of superpeople live forever.

Do we ban reading & writing because it will lead to the literate dominating the illiterate?

By basing your entire identity on the accumulation and expansion of technology, you create a hierarchy far more domineering and destructive than your literate vs illiterate example. People that are unable to read are absolutely oppressed by a society that requires we read. It would be so much worse to create a world where abstainers are literally rendered an inferior lifeform.

Why should I accept your authority in limiting my growth

You sound like a capitalist right now. I didn't try to assert any authority over you. But in a world where your 'growth' comes at the expense of my freedom, at the expense of the environment us mere mortals require to sustain us, I wouldn't hesitate to fight back. And there is literally no way to produce the resources to equip 8 billion people and all their descendents with equal tech without destroying the environment. Communism isn't magic.

It's gray-jumpsuit communism and an attack on my freedom.

I'm not a communist, I'm an anarchist.

When your freedom infringes on my survival... Fuck your freedom.

2

surreal wrote

I really can't get why this argument is a thing. Both sides can be completely wrong depending on the context to the point of dillusion. Tech is just a tool, even animals make tools, but the human mind took it a step further to the point of even making arguments about how good or bad it is.

Both sides are hypocrites if they think they are absolutely correct. We are at the point we can't live without tech, we even use this fking thing right now to argue if that is good, isn't that funny. But believing that tech is our only way for survival, is what trashed this planet in the first place, also not everyone wants to live forever as software, shit that's scary.

Maybe we could even coexist, both cyborgs and shamans.

1

Random_Revolutionary wrote (edited )

Say what you want, bu we'll end up by transcending the meatspace, albeist bonobo.

-1

[deleted] wrote (edited )

5

LucyParsonsRocks wrote

This is going to be a bloodbath...

I think I'm going to stay away for a couple of days until you've been hanged, drawn and quartered.

4

Tequila_Wolf wrote

I think it'd be pretty cool if you posted this stuff together links to good readings on the topic if you know any, especially for those who aren't familiar with the critiques you're drawing from.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

3

ziq wrote (edited )

I had this infernal debate on reddit countless times. It always hits a particularly offputting note when I bring up that the raw materials to create advanced tech need to be extracted from Africa. The replies I always get are staggeringly obtuse. "Africans will want to mine the texh if they get equal access to it" and "I'll just go to Africa and mine the materials for my tech myself"...

3

Tequila_Wolf wrote

I was thinking critiques of technology in general. But I'm pretty confident that when transhumanism became a thing a few years back there was a huge amount of debate from west coast anticiv people and some of them must have written something.

3

[deleted] wrote (edited )

4

Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

I used to listen to what was then Bellamy and Rydra's Free Radical Radio podcast some years ago, and they spoke of it often.

Here's one related article: https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/394-summer-2015/transhumanism-vs-primitivism/

And an interview from around the time period that all the discussion I'm thinking of was happening: https://archive.org/details/FRRZoltanIstvan

Edit: there'll be more if you search Free Radical Radio and transhumanism.