Transhumanist declarations

The single defining factor of Transhumanism that separates it from all previous philosophies is the proposed use of technology to transcend what it means to be Human.

In other words: it is good to use technology, not only to improve the human condition, but to become “more than human” – to “transcend what it means to be Human”.

The above quote appears in A New Transhumanist Declaration, written by Dirk Bruere at the start of 2013. Here’s the full version of that declaration:

Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We assert the desirability of transcending human limitations by overcoming aging, enhancing cognition, abolishing involuntary suffering, and expanding beyond Earth. We intend to become more than Human.

The single defining factor of Transhumanism that separates it from all previous philosophies is the proposed use of technology to transcend what it means to be Human.

However this needs to be constrained by some basic ethical principles, not least for our own benefit and indeed survival. We advocate the well-being of all sentience, including humans, non-human animals, and any future artificial intellects, modified life forms, or other intelligences to which technological and scientific advance may give rise. This is to be seen as a consequence of the adoption of Abolitionism, defined by philosopher David Pearce, as our core ethic.

We favour allowing individuals wide personal choice over how they enable their lives, live their lives and if necessary end their lives. This includes use of techniques that may be developed to enhance intellect, mood, concentration, memory; anti-ageing therapies; reproductive choices and  technologies that seek to alter genotype and phenotype. We also seek to develop artificial intelligences by various methods.

We recognize that humanity faces serious risks, especially from the misuse of new technologies. However, whilst these dangers need to be explored and guarded against the spirit must be one that embraces the Proactionary Principle rather than the Precautionary Principle. We must not allow timidity to rob us of our unique future.

Positive Transhumanist ideas and ideals need to be infused into public life at all levels, from popular culture and art, to politics and religion. Technologies that facilitate Transhumanist goals need to be adequately funded. The political leadership of our societies need to ensure that benefits are made available to all citizens in a non-coercive manner.

Many other “Transhumanist Declarations” and “Transhumanist Manifestos” have been written, to highlight the profound possibilities that technology is placing in our hands, and to serve as rallying calls for action. The following video is a version by David Wood, Chair of London Futurists:

That declaration starts as follows:

Humanity is on the brink of a momentous leap forwards in evolution.  If we are wise and strong, we can – and should – make that leap.

It moves on to discuss grand battles of ideas that lie ahead, emphasising that

In all these grand battles, smart technology can be our powerful ally – technology that can unlock and enhance our human capacities for insight, innovation, compassion, kindness, and solidarity.

A text version can be found here.

Earlier declarations

In March 2009, the Board of the Humanity+ organisation approved a version of the Transhumanist Declaration which was originally crafted in 1998 by an international collection of authors: Doug Baily, Anders Sandberg, Gustavo Alves, Max More, Holger Wagner, Natasha Vita-More, Eugene Leitl, Bernie Staring, David Pearce, Bill Fantegrossi, den Otter, Ralf Fletcher, Kathryn Aegis, Tom Morrow, Alexander Chislenko, Lee Daniel Crocker, Darren Reynolds, Keith Elis, Thom Quinn, Mikhail Sverdlov, Arjen Kamphuis, Shane Spaulding, and Nick Bostrom.

Miriam Leis has created a graphical video of the March 2009 version:

The original definition of “transhumanism” is by Julian Huxley in 1957:

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future…

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself —not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.

“I believe in transhumanism”: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.

Suggested follow-up viewing (internal):

Suggested follow-up viewing (external):

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One Response to Transhumanist declarations

  1. Pingback: The evolving transhumanist declaration | yokopro

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