Transhumanism Evolved

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FAQ




1.0 - Key Terms & Concepts
1.1 - What is transtopia?
1.2 - What is a transtopian?
1.3 - What is transtopianism?
1.4 - What are the transtopian Principles?
1.5 - What does the snake symbol represent?
1.6 - What is Transhumanism?
1.7 - What is a transhuman?
1.8 - What is a posthuman?
1.9 - What is a Power?
1.10 - What is the (technological) Singularity?
1.11 - What is a singularitarian / Singularitarianism?
1.12 - What is the Technocalypse?
1.13 - What is uploading?

2.0 - General Questions
2.1 - Is transtopianism a cult or religion?
2.2 - Your PC-Free Zone sure is...PC free. Are you [insert derogatory -ist term] and/or do you have some kind of ('extremist') political agenda?
2.3 - One of your Principles is Preservation of the Dead. Do you actually freeze people?

3.0 - Membership
3.1 - Must I agree with all the Principles in order to become a member / call myself a transtopian?
3.2 - I (more or less) agree with your Principles, but why should I join this group?
3.3 - What types of membership are there?
3.4 - Can I make a (PayPal) donation?

4.0 - Addendum: Frequently Made Stupid Remarks Regarding the E-Test
4.1 - The Test is too [expletive] long!
4.2 - The Test is boring...
4.3 - Frack! I just wasted x centons of my life on this felgercarb!
4.4 - Heh, heh, I can manipulate the Test and get a perfect score!
4.5 - Can't fool me; this 'test' is basically just a recruitment tool for your 'cult'!
4.6 - The Test isn't a test at all. It's just a manifesto of sorts that you can either agree or disagree with.
4.7 - The Test merely represents the subjective, [expletive] opinion(s) of its maker(s)! It has nothing to say about 'real' enlightenment.
4.8 - I would have scored higher, but often I agreed with one part of a statement while disagreeing with another, so I had to choose 'Maybe'. This is unfair!
4.9 - But some of the statements contradict each other!
4.10 - I don't like the Test's angry tone!
4.11 - You people have (repeatedly!!) spammed my list/newsgroup/BBS with this [expletive]!



1.0 Key Terms & Concepts

1.1 What is transtopia?

Trans: 1.Across; on the other side; beyond (2.Through. 3.Change; transfer ). Topia: from the Greek word 'topos', meaning 'place'. Hence, transtopia is the 'place beyond' (or 'beyondplace'); the realm of the Posthumans. Of course, transtopia can also be seen as a contraction of Transhuman(ism) and Utopia. In either case it refers to a state or place which is (near-)perfect; a technological, virtual paradise where we ourselves are the gods. transtopia represents literally unimaginable knowledge, power, and pleasure -- infinite existence under the best possible conditions. It is the ancient dream of heaven and immortality, which, thanks to accelerating scientific and technological progress, may finally be within our reach.

In a more mundane sense, 'transtopia' is the name of the proposed sea-based community project which could serve as an intermediate step towards true autonomy and technological ascension. Usually, however, the name simply refers to this website, transtopia.net.

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1.2 What is a transtopian?

A transtopian is someone who (generally) agrees with and (tries to) live in accordance with the transtopian Principles; a hardcore individual. Alternatively, the term could be -though rarely is- used to describe a Posthuman denizen of transtopia, the future technological paradise.

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1.3 What is transtopianism?

transtopianism is the philosophy and movement that promotes transcendent self-actualization by means of reason, science, and technology.

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1.4 What are the transtopian Principles?

The 12 transtopian Principles are the philosophical foundations of the transtopian movement. They currently are: Truth, Technology, Transcendence, Pragmatic Morality, Intelligent Hedonism, Rational Religion, Singularitarianism, Social Individualism, Preservation of the Dead, Non-Procreation, Dynamic Pessimism, and Memetic Evolution.

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1.5 What does the snake symbol represent?

The primary transtopian symbol, the Ourohazard (Ouroboros serpent + biohazard logo) represents both technological self-liberation --the shedding of the flesh and all its inherent weaknesses and limitations-- as well as annihilation and extinction. It represents technology as an intrinsically dualistic force; creator and destroyer, savior and nemesis. For more information about this and other transtopian symbols, visit the Terminology & Iconography section.

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1.6 What is Transhumanism?

According to the World Transhumanist Organization, Transhumanism (>H or H+) is "the intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities." transtopianism is a transhumanist sect or splinter group. It represents a more radical, politically incorrect, individualistic, and pragmatic breed of Transhumanism. For a list of the major transhumanist organizations and mailing lists, see the Transhumanism section.

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1.7 What is a transhuman?

A transhuman, not to be confused with a 'transhumanist' (advocate or adherent of Transhumanism), is someone who, through technological augmentations, has become more than human; superhuman. Basically this is an intermediate stage in the transition from human to posthuman. A transhuman AI is a (sentient) artificial intelligence that has surpassed the capabilities of the (natural) human brain in every way. A superior life form. Once an entity, especially an AI, achieves transhuman status, it is generally expected to rapidly bootstrap itself towards full-blown powerhood, triggering a technological Singularity in the process.

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1.8 What is a posthuman?

A posthuman is a 'person' of unprecedented physical, intellectual, and psychological capacity; a self-programming, self-constituting, potentially immortal, effectively god-like entity. Posthumans could be either highly advanced AIs or people who have technologically enhanced themselves to the point where they can no longer be called 'human'. Posthuman is what all transtopians hope to become.

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1.9 What is a Power?

A Power is highly advanced posthuman being; an AI or transformed human of tremendous intelligence and capability.

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1.10 What is the (technological) Singularity?

According to mathematician and SF author Vernor Vinge, the Singularity is "the postulated point or short period in our future when our self-guided evolutionary development accelerates enormously (powered by nanotech, neuroscience, AI, and perhaps uploading) so that nothing beyond that time can reliably be conceived." More specifically, it is the birth of hyperevolving superhuman intelligence, and its presumed subsequent reshaping of the world -- and possibly the entire universe. The Singularity is generally expected to occur somewhere between 2015 and 2050. In other words, barring some world-wide cataclysm, many of us will live to see it. For more information, visit the Singularity section.

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1.11 What is a Singularitarian / Singularitarianism?

Singularitarian: originally defined by Mark Plus ('91) to mean 'one who believes the concept of a technological singularity', this term has since been redefined to mean 'Singularity activist' or 'friend of the Singularity'; that is, one who acts so as to bring about a Singularity. [Mark Plus, 1991; Singularitarian Principles, Eliezer Yudkowsky, 2000] Source: Lextropicon. Singularitarianism: the (philosophical) movement, spearheaded by The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SingInst, founded by Eliezer 'father of modern Singularitarianism' Yudkowsky), which wants to bring about a 'benevolent' technological Singularity a.s.a.p. by means of "Friendly AI". The latter is a hypothetical superintelligent Sysop that is supposed to be bring everlasting peace and prosperity for all mankind by creating a virtual paradise with just one rule: thou shalt not harm or coerce other sentients. The Sysop will ensure that any act of aggression, maybe even aggressive thoughts themselves, will be physically impossible. The philosophy behind SingInst or Yudkowskian Singularitarianism (Y-Sing) can be summed up as: altruism-based, collectivist, and somewhat paternalistic.

transtopian Singularitarianism (T-Sing) is in many ways the opposite of Y-Sing: it is self-interest and contract group based. No grand world-saving schemes here, just a group of progressive individuals who seek to become posthuman by 'whatever means available' (i.e. there is no special focus on AI). T-Sing is old skool, personal Transhumanism. Rather than being some goal in itself, the Singularity is seen as the inevitable side-effect of the transition to posthumanity, and is essentially value-neutral.

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1.12 What is the Technocalypse?

The term 'technocalypse' was first used by Michael Grosso in his 1995 book The Millennium Myth, where he defined it as the convergence of technology and the apocalyptic imagination. In the transhumanist / transtopian sense, the Technocalypse is another name for the Singularity in general, and one with strong apocalyptic overtones in particular. It is the kind of Singularity that destroys worlds and wipes out billions -- a significantly more pessimistic, and, one might argue, realistic vision of the future than that of the Transhumanist and Singularitarian mainstream.

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1.13 What is uploading?

Uploading (sometimes called 'mind uploading' or 'brain reconstruction') is the hypothetical process of transferring a mind from a biological brain to an artificial substrate -- a highly advanced computer.

The idea is that after scanning the synaptic structure of a brain, we could implement the same computations on an electronic medium that would normally take place in the neural network of the brain. A brain scan of sufficient resolution could be produced by disassembling the brain atom for atom by means of nanotechnology, possibly while the subject remains fully conscious. Other approaches, such analyzing small the brain slice by slice in an electron microscope with automatic image processing have also been proposed.

Once uploaded, one could, for example, inhabit a much more robust and powerful 'body' of any shape or size, move between bodies at will, live in a fully customized virtual environment, reprogram and copy oneself, enhance one's clock speed and intelligence by many orders of magnitude, gather, store, access & assimilate vast amounts of data (simultaneously), travel at the speed of light as pure information etc. etc. Once freed from its feeble, doomed fleshy prison, the mind would effectively be immortal and god-like. Uploading is technological self-liberation taken to its logical extreme, and more or less the Holy Grail of transtopianism. For more information, visit the Mind Uploading section.

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2.0 General Questions

2.1 Is transtopianism a cult or religion?

No -- not in the usual sense of the word, anyway. There are no superstitious beliefs, no brainwashing, intimidation, and no worship of either imaginary beings, dead or living persons, 'sacred' objects, or dogma. People can join and leave freely. We're simply a group of more or less like-minded individuals who cooperate for mutual benefit. The slightly 'cultish' symbols and terminology have been included for aesthetic reasons, to underline the iconoclastic nature of our ideology, and to mock those who --either out of malice or sheer ignorance-- accuse Transhumanism and Singularitarianism of cultishness.

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2.2 Your PC-Free Zone sure is...PC free. Are you [insert derogatory -ist term] and/or do you have some kind of ('extremist') political agenda?

No, we're not -- (prospective) members are judged according to their individual merits, not according to the stereotypical traits ascribed to or manifested by (many or most but not all members of) their group -- and no, we don't; with a technological Singularity presumably just around the corner, political activism has become a waste of precious time. This 'controversial' page has been included because transtopianism is about total self-liberation, and this simply cannot be achieved without some thorough taboo smashing and guilt rejection. The Zone assaults some of the West's most vicious, ingrained taboos head-on, no holds barred. If innocent bystanders' sensitivities get trampled on in the process, that's unfortunate, but, as the saying goes, "you can't make an omelet without breaking a couple of eggs". A rationally enlightened individual will understand that it's nothing personal, no offence meant and none taken, while an unenlightened individual will start frothing at the mouth and do his Pavlovian routine. That's the way it is. Besides helping incipient transtopians to face & overcome their (society's) taboos, the Zone also acts as a kind of filter or barrier against politically correct leftist whiners (which, unfortunately, are quite common in transhumanist circles). We most definitely don't want those on our team, for they only cause trouble. Last but not least, transtopianism is meant to become the ultimate 'holistic' philosophy / worldview, so it would be rather strange not to dedicate a section to political issues.

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2.3 One of your Principles is Preservation of the Dead. Do you actually freeze people?

No, at least not yet. If & when it becomes financially and otherwise feasible, private cryonics services (including more basic, cheaper options than are currently available) may be offered to full members. For the time being it is recommended to sign up with one of the existing cryonics organizations, i.e. CI or Alcor. For more information, visit the Cryonics section.

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3.0 Membership

3.1 Must I agree with all the Principles in order to become a member / call myself a transtopian?

No. Though full agreement is obviously preferred and encouraged, pragmatism demands that agreement with the general spirit of the Principles is sufficient for membership. One has to be rational, progressive, and hardcore; theists, conservatives, and bleeding-heart liberals need not apply. A true transtopian has very high memetic (socio-political & technological) shock levels, and genuinely despises taboos, dogmas, and superstition. He is an ideologically streetwise, pragmatic, and somewhat cynical romantic and visionary.

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3.2 I (more or less) agree with your Principles, but why should I join this group?

Because the pack can achieve (much) more than a lone wolf. Unless you happen to be an extremely tech-savvy millionaire, you're going to need other people's skills and resources in order to realize your transhumanist ambitions. Unlike most other transhumanist groups, transtopia is focused on real, hands-on technological self-improvement; it's not a -primarily- educational outfit like ExI and the WTA, but rather a mutual aid society for those who seek to become transhuman.

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3.3 What types of membership are there?

We (currently) have Basic membership for the casually interested / passive supporters, and Full membership for those who wish to get actively involved. The signup form can be found here.

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3.4 Can I make a (PayPal) donation?

You most certainly can! Click here to proceed.

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4.0 Addendum: Frequently Made Stupid Remarks Regarding the E-Test

4.1 The Test is too [expletive] long!

Nope, your attention span is simply too short. Oh, and didn't we warn you ("...the E-Test -- the World's Largest Political..." and "...a somewhat hefty read, especially if you suffer from ADD/ADHD...")? Yes we did, so suck it up!

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4.2 The Test is boring...

No, but you probably are...

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4.3 Frack! I just wasted x centons of my life on this felgercarb!

Not to worry; can't waste what you don't have. By the way, if the whole thing took you longer than, say, 15 centons, you might want to brush up a bit on your reading / thinking skills.

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4.4 Heh, heh, I can manipulate the Test and get a perfect score!

Wow, that's sooo smart! Do you by any chance work at NASA or ESA? Actually, it's no big secret that the (current version of the) Test is based on a very simple, straightforward script. It is mentioned right there in the 4th intro paragraph (technical notes): "This script only works on cookie-enabled browsers. If you don't like cookies, just read the various statements, and if you generally agree you're probably enlightened, and if you don't you most certainly aren't. It's basically that simple." Since the sole purpose of taking this quiz is to find out, in an interactive & playful manner, whether transtopianism is for you, 'cheating' is utterly pointless.

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4.5 Can't fool me; this 'test' is basically just a recruitment tool for your cult!

Well, duh! It helps us to find like-minded individuals (or, rather, helps like-minded individuals to find us), though we don't mind entertaining others in the process. Oh, and btw, we're not a real 'cult'...yet.

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4.6 The Test isn't a test at all. It's just a manifesto of sorts that you can either agree or disagree with.

Actually, it's both. It's an interactive manifesto that can be used to test one's level of rational enlightenment (which it does quite well, mind you). Wolves pass, sheep are filtered out, and the Test serves its intended purpose.

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4.7 The Test merely represents the subjective opinion(s) of its maker(s)! It has nothing to say about 'real' enlightenment.

All tests reflect the subjective opinion(s) of their maker(s), to a certain extent. Big deal. What matters is whether or not the opinions expressed on this website are right, or at least reasonable and defensible. We think they are. If you don't agree you're more than welcome to start a (serious) debate on the issue. And as for 'real' enlightenment -- do you by any chance mean your own, or some long-dead fat or bearded guy's, subjective opinion? Right...

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4.8 I would have scored higher, but often I agreed with one part of a statement while disagreeing with another, so I had to choose 'Maybe'. This is unfair!

No, it's accurate. Each statement is a logical package deal (as is the Test as a whole), and failing to realize this will inevitably cost you some points. The Test is pretty forgiving, though; even with lots of 'maybes' you can still get a decent score.

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4.9 But some of the statements contradict each other!

No they don't, you're just missing the big picture.

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4.10 I don't like the Test's agry tone!

Well, there is a lot to be angry about; this world is a seriously messed up place, full of misery and morons. Anger is a healthy and, in a way, even necessary reaction, for social and technological progress is generally fuelled by anger, frustration, and discontent regarding the status quo. Anger begets change, while peaceful acceptance tends to cause stagnation. It's a sign of cowardly meekness, callous indifference, and impotent defeatism rather than wisdom and mental maturity. People generally don't lose their youthful anger and zeal because they grow wise, but simply because they grow old, tired, and apathetic.

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4.11 You people have (repeatedly!!) spammed my list/newsgroup/BBS with this [expletive]!

Though we try to avoid blatantly redundant and/or off-topic postings, these things can and will occasionally happen. C'est la vie, get over it. It's usually just a very short, easy to identify message, which may or may not develop into a full-blown thread (this depends primarily on the other participants). Feel free to ignore it. As far as we're concerned, the interests of those who seek --or at least are willing to debate and contemplate-- rational enlightenment far outweigh those of ignorant, closed-minded whiners. transtopia's message is too important to be kept in the closet.

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