From transhuman, to transhumanism: What is the definition, and what is the movement that it inspires? This page will serve as an overview. We are talking about the next stage of human evolution; the immortalization of humanity; a future where human and machine is one in the same.
The popularity of transhumanism as an ideology has arguably been on an exponential rise since the 1990’s, as is most notable in the graph below. The graph displays the frequency of which the word transhumanism has featured in published books. We have displayed this graph to compare it to the use of the simple, more ideologically free word transhuman.
Keyword Frequency in Books
By simple definition, transhuman is defined on Wikipedia as “an intermediary form between the human and the hypothetical posthuman”. We add complexity with the simple Oxford definition of transhuman/transhumanist – “The belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology”. I argue that this is as far as the definition of a transhumanist should go. It is merely a person who agrees humanity should have the freedom to enhance itself through its merger with technology.
Political scientist, Francis Fukuyama, describes transhumanism as the world’s most dangerous idea. Countering this, science writer Ronald Bailey asserts that it is a “movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative, and idealistic aspirations of humanity”.
What the above commenters fail to understand it that both arguments stand true. In humanities aspiration for transhuman evolution, we will face huge dangers. Failing to understand those dangers because of over optimism is just as dangerous as ignorantly fighting against innovation though pessimistic fear/paranoia.
I argue that the optimistic/pessimistic contrast has a charging effect for the calls for transhumanist defence/attack. This in effect encourages people to define transhumanism beyond it’s pure definition.
“In explaining this, its advocates sometimes say that we are all transhumanists,” said Cook. “We use glasses; we wear dentures; we take caffeine; we have pacemakers. This is true, but the nub of transhumanism is extending human capacities, not just repairing defects in the way we are now.” http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/2616/the_surprising_spread_and_cultural_impact_of_transhumanism.aspx