Today i’ve read the following article on Singularity Weblog: Transhumanism Needs to Establish a Meaning to Life which is a few months old, but seems to be quite relevant especially to political transhumanism.
It is important that the transhumanist movement establish a consensus on the meaning of life. Failure to do so will result in conflict, the extent of which is difficult to predict. As it stands today, transhumanism is a divided movement of various competing interests promoting values which are contradictory in nature. It seems the only agreement the movement has reached thus far is that the proper course of action is to promote the widespread adaptation of transhumanism.
From what I have seen, the three primary justifications for transhumanism are utilitarianism, freedom and meaning, all of which conflict with one another to a certain degree…
These different justifications could correspond to different transhumanist p factions: Utilitarian transhumanists, “libertarian” transhumanists, and “spiritual” transhumanists.
It is interesting to see that there are various positions taken in the comments:
- Some people seem to identify very much with one of the proposed. You can clearly identify certain commenters as utilitarians or “libertarians”.
- Some hope that with higher intelligence, or with technology to connect minds with each other much better, there will be a convergence of the different p factions to one form of unified transhumanism.
- There’s also the notion that the different elements of justification need to be combined to reach some kind of consensus.
- On the other hand, there are people who pretty much claim that differences of opinion and thus conflict will be inescapable.
What is my position on this issue?
- It might be that future progress could lead to a convergence of opinions, but I think that’s very unlikely. Anyway, this would be some kind of “best case scenario”.
- In the case that different opinions persist indefinitely, there will be conflict between the different p factions, but that doesn’t need to be violent. Our ability to prevent violent conflict resolutions might become extremely sophisticated in the far future, so that we can have world peace even though we have wildly divergent philosophies and values. (I have some ideas for a kind of “Peace Guarantee Network” which I will explain at some later time.)
- It could be this non-violent conflict between the different p factions that provides the most meaning in such a world (in the sense of feeling meaning by “heroically” supporting one’s own faction). So, the “meaning” part would be satisfied by having a more or less permanent conflict between different utilitarian and “libertarian” p factions and p subfactions.
- For a long time I have tried to create something like an “idealistic utilitarianism” that places a high value on principles like freedom while still being based on maximization of positive emotional valence. This line of thinking eventually lead me to conceive a fictional p faction that I call the Exaltation (which I’ll probably also need to explain in detail in a separate post later).
What do you think about all of this?