The answer what is going on with me is the following: I’ve long outgrown the initial naive phase of transhumanism since I realized that the full fruition of transhumanism depends on political, economical, and societal conditions that are not yet present in this world.
With few exceptions, genuine technological and economic progress is not pursued to a really satisfying degree. Elon Musk is one of the best exceptions. China also seems to be a kind of an exception by pushing technocracy hard, but at the cost of freedom, which eventually threatens further progress in many important domains.
Evidence that the World does not favor Transhumanism
The world doesn’t really seem to embrace transhumanism. Don’t believe me? How would a world look like that embraced transhumanism fully, let’s say in 2000?
- We would all be using smart glasses or contact lenses, instead of bulky smartphones
Strong AI would be pursued aggressively, rather than trying to find marginally better ways of showing people more effective advertisement
- People would be using personal AI assistants that respected their privacy instead of selling data to Big Tech
- We’d already have longevity treatments in late stage trials and would discuss how to roll them out to all of humanity after we have eliminated hunger and most preventable diseases by boosting the economy
- The economy would flourish through aggressive automation, made socially agreeable by sharing the profits from increased productivity with the whole population (whether though UBI or other means)
- We would be on the path towards energy abundance by investing into advanced nuclear fusion, and superior nuclear fission tech (molten salt thorium reactors for example) in tandem with pushing solar as hard as possible where it makes sense
- Every space agency would strive to beat the performance of the current level SpaceX, and many would succeed with that, bringing asteroid mining into reach at about 2030
3D printing and additive manufacturing would be the standard for producing goods - enabling an era of customizable mass production
Augmented reality and telepresence robots would turn “locationless” working (as opposed to home office) the default working arrangement for many industries, making our current digitization efforts look like bad retrofuturism in comparison (maybe Cyberpunk 2077 is so popular, because that dystopian world resonates so much with the perception of people on what trajectory our current society really is!)
Nanosensors and medical AI would tell us what is wrong with us before we ever get sick. Instead of treating diseases, we would treat medical imbalances before any notable symptom arises
… I could go on with this list, but the contrast between my vision and the real status quo should tell aspiring transhumanists that a lot of things didn’t go right between 2001 and 2021.
So, what’s the problem?
- Our economy mostly runs on ideas from the 18th and 19th centuries, some of them still good, most of them quite outdated by current (or even future) standards.
Genuine progress is not actively sought after, but actively sabotaged by incumbent interests - in the mainstream picture this is apparent in the form of lobbyism. In the picture of conspiracy theorists, there are deeper forces at work that fear a loss of power and therefore want to keep most of humanity is state of relative poverty and powerlessness
Of course we can have differing opinions about how severe the problems from lobbysim, corruption, and outright conspiracies are, but it’s obvious that transhumanism is not very welcomed in the global political landscape.
Why isn’t transhumanism successful?
The Victory of Humanism hasn’t happened – yet
But why? Is it just that humans are too stupid to grasp the advantages of transhumanism, or are they rather kept in stupidity so that they “don’t rock the boat”? I believe that humans are clueless by nature, but that they will find the right path, and that includes transhumanism, if they receive a sufficiently broad, deep, critical, and liberal education. Why is that not happening? Is it not possible? Nonsense! How much have our education systems improved since the Industrial Revolution? Marginally, if at all. The advent of mass media made the appeal to promote contemporary expedient policies through propaganda almost too strong to resist. A solid (trans)humanist education would have been a necessary counterweight to attempts to “streamline” the population, but those approaches have been marginalized again and again.
The largest problem at the moment is that humanism hasn’t yet seen its complete victory. To strive towards transhumanism, first humanism needs to become the globally effective standard. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, but we are slowly approaching that point, extremely slowly. At least since the Dark Age religions and ideologies have been used to control people. It took many heretics, secret societies, conspiracies, reformations, rebellions, revolts, and revolutions to bring us as far as we’ve come by now. All the while dark forces - sometimes in plain sight like the Catholic Church or the East India Company, sometimes more hidden like the central banks, or the CIA (and who controls all of these forces anyway?), tried to halt or reverse the liberation of humanity.
The Evolutionary Sources of our Predicament
There is a deeper reason behind this: Since the Neolithic Revolution humanity has organized itself in a hierarchic fashion with small elites in power and vast majorities controlled through ideologies, the threat of force, and deception. This was the only way to quickly organize increasing sizes of societies. Large societies have a clear military advantage against small competitors, so the evolutionary dynamic favored such societies that employed such tactics to keep their members in line. The historian Yuval Harari may be the person who explains these dynamics the best.
Yet the oppressive structure of societies also motivates resistance against it, and that resistance is best expressed in the liberal humanist ideal of the free and sovereign person (and its extensions to the morphologically free trans/posthumanist entity). The interplay between the polar opposites of the rigid hierarchical society and the free individual created the basis for our technological ascendancy. Over time, the liberal forces grew stronger, because people became increasingly literate and educated, since in technologically advanced societies people need some decent education to become reasonably productive. You can’t fully decouple the free flow of information from the skills people need to be good at their jobs or to fulfill their other roles in a hierarchic society.
Large jumps in the degree of liberation of society happened when the flow of information was accelerated by certain key technologies:
- The printing press
- The internet
We are still in the phase in which the liberalization stemming from access to the internet is playing out. Nearly ubiquitous access to social media makes it hard for centrally controlled propaganda instruments to down out dissenting voices and point out the mechanisms of control employed by the deeply established elites.
Methods of Politics of Maintaining Control
Now here’s a problem: If the people are getting increasingly educated and have access to ever more information, how can the elites hope to keep their control over the population, if religions and ideologies lose their power? The answer is: Through increasing levels of deception and disinformation. However, this only goes so far until people get that they are being lied to and accept living in a lie, because the alternative is ruthless extermination by those elites. It’s a dynamically shifting balance between propaganda and enlightenment. The more power is centralized, the better chances does propaganda have to succeed. The more power is brought back to the people, the more enlightenment can flourish.
Humanity had reached its highest level of liberation, maybe in 1968. From then on, consolidation of economic power through the ideology of neoliberal globalism unleashed a silent class warfare that ended in the relative victory of the elites, now apparent in the stark inequality with few billionaires controlling the majority of the resource of the planet. During this period progress in the domain of computation was exponential, but other domains have seen little progress, in particular medicine and space travel.
The Inadequacies of the Transhumanist Commiunity
Why am I writing all of this? Because I want to pinpoint the reasons why transhumanist visions lack so far behind what could have been possible in this world, had politics and economics not interfered in the way they did. What I find disheartening about the transhumanist “community” is the level of political and economic naivety in a group of people with quite decent technological and scientific education. Technological progress does not happen in a vacuum! It depends quite crucially on certain necessary political and economic conditions. And those conditions are quite poor at the moment, which is why transhumanism is losing – at least for now!
However, overcoming political and economic naivety not only necessitates getting educated about political theory and economics, but also getting wise about how the world really operates. And since the world contained and still contains conspiracies, a rational analysis of conspiracies is necessary to avoid getting deceived and manipulated. In the current political climate this is deeply discouraged – however that’s nothing special. Figuring out the ways ins which elites control, manipulate, and deceive us has always been strongly discouraged by the elites. Any liberal minded person, in particular any humanist and transhumanist should stand above the defamatory judgments of a deluded society!
The Cybernetic Revolution
We still have a long way to go, but the liberation of humanity is happening. It could be even quicker than you think. We are living in revolutionary times: An Industrial Revolution and a French Revolution on a global scale rolled into one. I say that we stand at the beginning of the Cybernetic Revolution. Its end result will be the dawn of the age of Humanism. A good starting point for transhumanism to flourish. In pre-humanist societies transhumanism has almost no chance, because the societal conditions do not allow it to succeed!
Groups Pro Liberation and Against
But to even get that far, we need to understand which sides stand for the liberation of humanity, and which against it. In a time full of propaganda and disinformation this is a task that cannot be achieved without quite substantial investment into research.
So far, I’ve clustered different groups into pro liberation and anti liberation – of course all open to revision, if sufficient evidence is presented.
- Q and the QAnons (why else do you think these groups are so vehemently vilified and censored?)
- Military Intelligence of the USA (I mean, if anyone gets what is going on, it’s these people, right?)
- Large parts of the NSA (doesn’t mean I like them snooping into everything, but this may be a great example of a necessary evil)
- Trump (why else would he be so opposed by all of mainstream media?)
- Elon Musk (he wants to bring the internet to the whole world!)
- Humanists (partially deluded of course, but with their hearts in the right place)
- Most alternative media
- The Vatican, especially the Jesuit Order
The City of London (look this up! If you didn’t know about this yet, it may blow your mind!)
- Central banks
- The CCP (China’s Communist Party) – or at least the dominant parts of it
- Notorious families: Rockefeller, Rothschild, Soros (controlling BLM and Antifa), Saud
- The Khazari Mafia
- Big Tech, Big Pharma
- Mainstream media
Everyone else is stuck somewhere in between in a raging cybernetic cold deep war of epic proportions that is mostly fought out as (dis)information war. Some persons that are decried as dictators may play a crucial role on the side of the forces that are pro liberation, but they often appear quite ambivalent, so I’m not eager to classify Putin, for example, as “pro liberation” without having done deeper research, though I like his style very much.
While I may have been put immediately on a “to kill” list for even mentioning these groups in a negative light, the preferred modus operandi of the forces against liberation is to decry me as conspiracy theorist. That’s ok. I accept that label for myself. It’s more fun to live that way than as clueless believer in the functionality and benevolence of our public and private institutions. And if I still suddenly happen to disappear, you have reasons to count that as evidence that I was right – or at least as evidence that the groups I exposed were framed by others.
The Fractal Future Forum was never intended as “purely transhumanist” meeting place. It was intended as open forum to further the exchange between transhumanists and other groups – obviously under transhumanist control, but still. Transhumanism is always threatened by getting stuck in its own echo chamber. I wanted to act against that tendency to create bridges between transhumanism and the rest of the world.