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A few months ago, I came across a website which expanded on the ideas found in the author’s book Citizen Cyborg. An off-shoot of this website is another website focused around the idea of transhumanism (transcending the human being through implants, cybernetics, genetic modification, etc). A part of this website is the Changesurfer radio shows, which doesn’t necessarily focus on the ideas of transhumanism directly. I’ve only gotten around to listen to some of the episodes, and thought I’d share my thoughts on them.

Are you a Transhuman? Remembering FM-2030 – the audio track to a film created by Dr. J

Having never heard of this figure before, FM-2030 (a Belgian) sounds like a man who lived ahead of his time. He was talking about a wired world, a connected world where far seems near, and how borders should be dissolved to create a global community. FM-2030 was writing and talking in the 60s and 70s, and was a guest on tv shows like Good Morning America and Larry King Live. He passed away in 2000.

Some of the items mentioned in this particular radio broadcast were:

Marriage isn’t necessarily the best thing for the future. Children raised by a couple who are open to other relationships will help the child not be focused on his parents and fall victim to jealousies and mourning. A child raised be several adults will give the child a wider range of experiences and better prepare it for the real world ahead. A child should be raised by a small village or community of adults.

I have to agree with his statements about marriage and child-rearing. As more marriages disintegrate into rough separations and divorces, the need for another layer of support systems is needed for the child. Currently, that layer may be coming from therapists or a day care centre or school teachers. It is only temporary (a therapist session is only an hour, or only at school for 8 hours, etc). A more permanent and important solution for the child should be found. Having a household with two couples raising several children would provide that. It would give the child options at home to talk things over, hear other experiences, have more children to play and experiment with. The benefits of this could be endless. Numerous parents will sit their children in front of the tv or computer or video games so they can escape them for a little while. They have to hire babysitters who are mainly bored teenagers in it for the money. Having more people around will allow the child to socialize with other human beings, not with a television or computer. An integrated family of various races would be a further enhancement to this model to help eliminate racism, along with sexism and possibly homophobia.

The world is becoming more fluid, mobile.

I agree with the fact that the world is becoming more mobile and fluid, but the catch is that this is only an option for a limited number of people. I don’t think we’ll ever see the day where a mass amount of people from the deserts of Africa can migrate to a European country freely, without worrying about immigration laws or having to be marked as refugees. People are too protective of what they own or claim ownership to. Especially in the current turbulent times of our global politic scene. Opening borders to international people is seen as a security threat on both the potential for human violence front and job security. On one hand, I’d like to see a more global world to see where it would take us (new political organizations, morals, value systems, etc); but on the other hand, I like the idea of keeping human cultures separate and preserve them (language, dances, food, etc). I think it’s a big part of what makes the human race so special throughout our history.

People need to re-evaluate themselves. If we eat animals, wear furs, watch violence on tv, and have the death penalty, we need to rethink our humanism. Rethink our values.

I am strongly for this idea. I don’t understand how violence can be so accepted in our world today. It’s rather ridiculous how the US stresses the importance of gun ownership and the freedom of death, but not when it comes to abortions. If they believed in life so much, they should ban the death penalty and severely limit how guns are used and owned. If showing a breast on national television is a crime, maybe all the gun fights and beating of women should be, too. If kids grew up in a non-violent atmosphere, who knows what the world would be like. It’s only one problem to solve, but it would be a huge one.

A totally unbiological body, allowing us to get a new body, a new shell to live in.

FM made this statement while in a hospital to the interviewer, ironically, He believes by 2030, people will be able to live indefinitely through various technological advances. The possibilities range from transferring our conscious minds to a computer or replacing the human body completely. He felt that if humans can replace certain organs with live or artificial ones and can change entire limbs with prosthetics, we should be able to replace the entire body. I’m not sure how this would be entirely possible, but it’s interesting to think about. The other question is whether it is the right thing to do. Should humans want to live forever or for 120 years? How long of a life is too long for our species? Would this be a new form of eugenics for the 21st century, where only privileged people are allowed to extend their lives indefinitely while the lower class people from India and China perish after 60 some years? It feels like too fantastic of an idea to be workable in our society. Maybe a thousand years ago when our human population was much lower and the chances of including everyone were higher. But it feels like an impossibility to include every person of the six billion on Earth – some exclusion would have to happen. The more I think about it, the more I realize how screwed up the world could potentially get with this. You could have a select number of people in the US and other first world democracies living extended lives, with another group in he same countries living to be 80, while the third world countries still struggle in their current (or worse) situations and barely managing to live past 45 or 60. Maybe a thousand years from now when the world’s problems have been solved and our population has levelled out would extending human age boundaries be reasonable.

I’ll continue these posts another night. Didn’t realize how much I actually had to say on this subject.

Here’s a biographical website of FM-2030 with articles, pictures, etc: http://www.fm2030.com

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