Friday, June 08, 2007

Life's Journey, moving on again.

I haven't posted anything in a while (preoccupation, personal reformatting, lack of anything affirmative to say or write about, etc.). At Jim's suggestion, here is my recent farewell message to the World Transhumanist Association:

Dear WTA members,

As my interest in most of the topics of this list has begun to subside due to a mixture of preoccupation and, in many cases, increasing basic foundational difference, I've had to ask the question "how much of a transhumanist am I?" Probably not much of one, actually. My views have changed considerably since I joined the WTA and was gung-ho about the whole project. As anyone who has followed my recent posts will know, I've personally divorced the ideas of the Singularity and AGI and machine sentience, but also, more importantly, I no longer believe indefinite life extension to be either possible or desireable. It has become my personal feeling that death is a natural and important part of life; I do not fear it, and I am prepared to embrace it when it comes. So that doesn't seem to leave me with much that is transhumanist-oriented in my personal worldview; at least not much in common with most self-identified transhumanists here. At most, I retain a positive attitude towards technological improvement in areas of human importance, mixed with serious resistance to the unfortunate, naive, and frankly destructive attitude that technology and technocrats can solve all our problems. Most of you are obviously pretty thoroughly modernist here... but I'm finding myself to be more of a postmodernist or something else. It's something deep; it's no shallow distinction. My outlook now more values living in accordance with both nature and the most important things of human nature; there are many ways in which we need to evolve, our bodies and technological abilities being lower on the priority list for me than some other, deeper, more important ones. To quote Lao-tzu, "How do I know this is true? By looking inside myself." I've sought out my path through much difficulty and now, with that path before me, I must follow it.

I'm not here to advocate that anyone else take these positions; everyone must seek and follow their own path, regardless of whether any others feel it is right or wrong (although I think it would be good for many of you to be more self-critical about your ideas and assumptions, particularly those monolithic ones that are hardly ever scrutinized). And I'm not here to be a contrarian or a "token" anything (although it's good that there are at least a few contrarians here, I shan't be one of them). This is not to say, either, that I will never again have an interest in this community and its doings. Transhumanism as an ideology or set of ideas will become increasingly relevant as some of the less pure-science-fiction things become manifest, and of course for that reason it should not be ignored. But for me, right now, I must move on. Which is what I will do. Best wishes to everyone.


Joseph Von Hoven


Responses were cordial.


Anonymous Lincoln Cannon said...

I'm sorry to see you go.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Joe Visionary said...

You seem to be making an honest effort to deal with the big questions.

Don't ever stop.

1:04 PM  

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