Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"There Is A Rottenness At the Heart of the Transhuman Project"

…and the biggest symptom of it is blindness to its own origins: a mixture of warmed-over Christian apocalyptic eschatology (which Cory Doctorow and I poke with a stick in "The Rapture of the Nerds") and the Just-So creation mythology of the smugly self-satisfied hypercapitalists who have unintentionally done so much to destroy so many of the moral and interpersonal values of post-Englightenment civilization.
So says Charlie Stross in another delightful righteous comment linking to this weekend's anti-transhumanoid lark. That little tossed-off number is already the most widely read post in this blog's history, which is edifying but a little odd. The comment section under his recommendation is wide-ranging and really great, by all means go over there and contribute to it. My only perplexity is that there are some people who actually seem more enraged by the style of the writing than by the observations, the style being for me a mixture of trying to be precise and playfulness, but for others apparently reads like some kind of shell game or baroque barnacling over a bleak black hole. For heaven's sake, it's not THAT hard to get my point, and not everything should read like People Magazine or futon assembly instructions, surely, let a bazillion flowers bloom, this is my weird brain you're talking about here. Be that as it may, it's hump day for the second week of my summer intensive on classical rhetoric at Berkeley and I can't devote much thought or time to anything but teaching. Today, it's all Plato all the time, the Apology and the Republic. A pure pleasure, but I can't help feeling there is a parade passing by the next street over I would enjoy twirling my baton in.

9 comments:

jimf said...

> ...the Just-So creation mythology of the smugly
> self-satisfied hypercapitalists who have unintentionally
> done so much to destroy so many of the moral and
> interpersonal values of post-Englightenment civilization.

Why Cory Booker’s Defense of Bain Capital Is So ‘Nauseating’
by Imara Jones
Friday, May 25 2012
http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/05/why_cory_bookers_defense_of_bain_capital_is_so_nauseating.html
----------------------
"For almost three decades, political leaders in the U.S. and in democracies around the world have increasingly bent their ears and public policies away from the interests of the many and towards the demands of the few. They have done so in the vain hope that concentrating wealth and power in ever fewer hands will lead to more for everybody. That clearly hasn’t worked."


You know, in a way the Singularity is the ultimate trickle-down theory. The "practical" implication of taking the idea seriously in the here-and-now seems to be the belief that out of those "fewer hands", by the grace of Ayn Rand, Heaven will emerge and will be so cheap that it might as well be given away to the rest of us, deserving or not. Therefore, we'd damn well better concentrate wealth and power in those fewer hands (especially the self-styled soopergeniuses). Bottom line: vote Republican.

(On the other hand, John Galt wouldn't have given it away, cheap or not. Just on principle. ;-> )

jollyspaniard said...

There's some excellent comments there. A few people who hate you for straining their reading comprehension skills but a suprising range of insightful comments.

jollyspaniard said...

It's good to see this blog getting more attention and it's about bloody time.

Unknown said...

ALL CRITICS of the Singularity are actually arguing for a Virtual Singularity-
since all of the technology for Virtuality is already extant-

if there are some unavoidable physical limits to technology- or even if these limits could be transcended but it would take decades or longer to develop- then all of humankind will rapidly abandon the physical world and make it into a basementlike physical plant for the virtual In a Virtual Transcendence- because if you can be a god NOW in virtual space you will not wait decades or invest effort in a physical world where you are limited- the cultural notion of respecting the authenticity of physical reality over that which is 'fake' will pass away FOREVER-

respectfully- from one of the future artilect gods propitiated by the Robot Cult (^___-)

oh- and BTW- not only do we know the Singularity is the Eschaton- we actively seek it as the procession to the Aeon of Ma'at- the Transhumanist PR types have physics envy- the real core have moved beyond the sinking ship of Materialist Scientism- and like Turing himself we understand the true origins of Information Technology in cyphers/sigils/and alchemy- going back to the original high shamanic magick of the Paleolithic- and know that the computer is the Lapis Philosophorum itself- and represents a method for true Transubstantiation-

we are not a robot cult- we are and have ever been the Cult of Pythagoras

Dale Carrico said...

Hey, Unknown, no fair toking without sharing.

jimf said...

> . . .all of humankind will rapidly abandon the physical
> world and make it into a basementlike physical plant
> for the virtual. . .

You mean, sorta like 20-somethings who live in their parents'
basements and spend all their time playing World of Warcraft?

jollyspaniard said...

Unknown: You can't be a god at the moment, to the best of my knowledge World of Warcraft caps you at Level 60. However at the rate they've been increasing it I predict people will reach Godlike status in 20 years.

Barkeron said...

Hi Mr. Carrico,

I found my way here via Mr. Stross' blog and after reading a dozen or so of your posts I must say you hit the nail right on the head wrt. the various "transhumanist" cults.

In their crypto-religious delusions of technocentric apotheosis they're not any different from Scientology and consorts. I have to concur that they poison the process of how human societies deal with true, actually occurring technoscientific progress and its implementation.

And don't let you distract by peeves about your writing style. Today there's an overabundance of fast food writing anyway, so it shouldn't be supported. ;3

Dale Carrico said...

Thanks!