This is the Transhumanist FAQ published by the Extropy Institute to answer questions about the philosophy of extropy and transhumanism. It covers the related fields of futurism and technology and our expanding culture. In order to keep up with the changing times, 
ExI will be updating its FAQ periodically. If you have any suggested updates, please contact us at



1.1 What do the terms extropy, transhuman, extropic, extrope, posthuman, transhumanism, and singularity mean, as used in this FAQ?
1.2 Where can I find definitions words of terms frequently used and relevant to transhumanist thinking?


2.1 What is transhumanism?
2.2 What is the philosophy of Extropy?
2.3 What are the Principles of Extropy?

2.4 How is the philosophy of Extropy a New Enlightenment?
2.5 Is transhumanist thinking utopian?
2.6 How do I know if I a transhumanist?


3.1 What is Extropy Institute ("ExI")?
3.2 What is ExI’s history?
3.3 What is ExI’s Board of Directors?
3.4 What is ExI’s Council of Advisors?
3.5 What is ExI’s Executive Advisory/Action Team ("EAT")?
3.6 What are ExI’s email lists?
3.7 What are ExI’s Extro conferences?
3.8 What is ExI’s Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought?


4.1 Do transhumanists favor particular technologies?
4.2 Which technologies seem especially significant right now?
4.3 Why are technologies relevant to life extension critical to transhumanists?
4.4 Why do some journalists refer to technology as "the new religion"?


5.1 Do transhumanists in general, and friends of Extropy Institute in particular, share economic and political views?
5.2 What views do extropes have on the dangers of biotechnology, nanotechnology, machine intelligence, and neurotechnology?
5.3 What views do transhumanists have about religion?
5.4 How does Extropy Institute respond to the neo-Luddites, including the President’s Council on Bioethics?
If we succeed in extending the human life span, is population growth a problem for the future?
5.6 Does Extropy Institute see serious limits to progress from limited resources?
5.7 Does Extropy Institute see serious limits to progress due to environmental concerns?
5.8 What positions do extropians take on environmentalism and wilderness conservation?
5.9 What position do extropians take on racism and eugenics?
5.10 Is Extropy Institute concerned about people around the world who struggle to acquire the basics of human existence?
5.11 How does Extropy Institute see the poor, the disabled, the physically or psychologically dysfunctional fitting into a transhumanist future?


6.1 What is the scientific method and why is it crucial to transhumanism?
6.2 In what ways does human reasoning typically fall into error?
6.3 What tools, methods, and techniques exist for improving critical thinking?
6.4 What tools, methods, and techniques exist for improving creative thinking?
6.5 What methods can be used on an organizational or social level to improve critical and creative thinking?
6.6 What is pancritical rationalism (PCR) also known as Comprehensively Critical Rationalism (CCR)?

6.6.1 What problem does PCR solve?
6.6.2 What is evolutionary epistemology?
6.6.3 What other types of criticisms help us develop knowledge?


7.1 What are the precursors to transhumanist thinking?
7.2 Who are the pioneering transhumanists?
7.3 Transhumanist Culture: How does transhumanism affect Arts & Culture?

7.3.1 Transhumanist Culture
7.3.2 Transhumanist Arts - From da Vinci to "Transhumanist Arts"

7.4 What other prominent organizations are there?
7.5 What activist groups can I join?
7.6 What email lists can I subscribe to?
7.7 I'm thinking of writing an article on transhumanism. Any tips?


8.1 When was the FAQ written?
8.2 Who created the FAQ?

8.3 Is it the only Transhumanist FAQ?
8.4 Can I copy this FAQ?



1.1 What do the terms extropy, transhuman, extropic, extrope, posthuman, transhumanism, and singularity mean, as used in this FAQ? 

What is extropy?  Extropy is a metaphor referring to attitudes and values shared by those who want to overcome human limits through technology. These values and attitudes are explained in The Principles of Extropy. Extropy is defined as “a measure of a system's intelligence, information, energy, life, experience, diversity, opportunity, and growth. It is the collection of forces which oppose entropy”. However, as a metaphor, it not to be confused with the technical term "negentropy." The term was coined by T.0. Morrow in January 1988.

What is extropic? A way of thinking or an outlook that encompasses a balanced perspective, logic, and practical optimism.

What is a transhuman?
A transhuman is a human in transition. We are transhuman to the extent that we seek to become posthuman and take action to prepare for a posthuman future. This involves learning about and making use of new technologies that can increase our capacities and life expectancy, questioning common assumptions, and transforming ourselves ready for the future, rising above outmoded human beliefs and behaviors.  

T.S. Eliot wrote about the risks of the human journey in becoming illuminated as a "process by which the human is Transhumanised" in his play "The Cocktail Party" (The Complete Poems and Plays 1909 - 1950, published by Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., New York).  The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedia Dictionary (1966) defines "transhuman" as meaning "surpassing; transcending; beyond". In the Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (1983),  "transhuman" is defined as meaning "superhuman," and "transhumanize," meaning "to elevate or transform to something beyond what is human". Yet, these are not a complete and contemporary meanings. Today, we refer to transhuman as meaning an evolutionary transition from being biologically human toward our merger with technology as "a new kind of being crystallizing from the monumental breakthroughs of the late twentieth century. ... the earliest manifestations of a new evolutionary being." (FM-2030)

Ideas about humanity and evolution were explored by Julian Huxley in his writings on evolutionary humanism in the book Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (1942) and Teilhard de Chardin in The Future of Man (1959). In 1966, FM-2030 (f/k/a, F.M. Esfandiary) outlined an evolutionary transhuman future while teaching "New Concepts of the Human" at the New School for Social Research, New York City.  Abraham Maslow referred to transhumans in Toward a Psychology of Being, (1968).  The actual concept of transhuman as an evolutionary transition was expressed by FM-2030 in his contributing final chapter in Woman, Year 2000 (1972).  Robert Ettinger also referred to transhumans in Man into Superman (1972), Natasha Vita-More (f/k/a Nancie Clark) authored the Transhumanist Arts Statement (TransArt) (1982) and outlined the emerging transhuman culture, and by Damien Broderick, well-known science fiction author, in The Judas Mandala (1982).

Transhumanism has a slightly different beginning. Julian Huxley’s book written in 1956, New Bottles For New Wine, contains the essay "TRANSHUMANISM" which sets out to explain how humans must establish a better environment for themselves. He also alludes to a new species that the human might eventually become.  Dr. Max More first published the term "transhumanism" as a philosophy in 1990 and authored its definition. The difference in Huxley’s transhumanism and More’s transhumanism is that Huxley states "man remaining man but transcending himself." Transhumanism as defined by More explains the overcoming of human limits and the transformation from being human to becoming posthuman. Although Huxley had a vision of a possible future for humanity, he single-tracked the future when he saw man remaining man.

What is an extrope or extropian?  A transhumanist whose focus and approach to life embodies the values and attitudes that seek to improve the human condition through careful consideration of scientific, technological and ethical means.  The dynamic optimism that comes with transhumanism's insight into the accelerating self-transforming power of technology is best expressed in the philosophy Extropy, and expressed by extropes/extropians. To date, mankind is the ultimate extropic system. Extropy points to new horizons in this process, ultimately horizons far beyond the reach of humans in their present form. 

What is a posthuman?   "Posthuman" is a term used by transhumanists to refer to what humans could become if we succeed in using technology to remove the limitations of the human condition. No one can be certain exactly what posthumans would be like (there may be many differing types, and they may continuing changing) but we can understand the term by contrasting it with "human": Posthumans would be those who have overcome the biological, neurological, and psychological constraints built into humans by the evolutionary process. Posthumans would have a far greater ability to reconfigure and sculpt their physical form and function; they would have an expanded range of refined emotional responses, and would possess intellectual and perceptual abilities enhanced beyond the purely human range. Posthumans would not be subject to biological aging or degeneration. It would be unrealistic to expect posthumans to be "perfect" by our standards. What we can reasonably say is that posthumans would have greater potential for good or bad, just as humans have greater potential than other primate species.

Transhumanists believe that the best strategy for attaining posthumanity to be a combination of technology, personal responsibility, and determination, rather than looking for it through psychic contacts, or extraterrestrial or divine gift.

Since "posthuman" is characterized primarily by contrasting with the limitations of "human" we can only speculate about the particular forms that posthumans might take. Posthumans may be partly or mostly biological in form although, by definition, they would have overcome most of the constraints of the genetic structure of homo sapiens. Many transhumanists find it highly plausible that posthumans would be partly or wholly postbiological – the personalities of biological humans having been transferred "into" (or gradually replaced by) more durable, modifiable, faster, and more powerful bodies and thinking hardware. Some of the disciplines that transhumanists currently expect to play a role in allowing us to become posthuman include genetic engineering, neural-computer integration, biomedicine and nanobiotechnology, regenerative medicine, and the cognitive sciences.  

What is transhumanism?  Transhumanism was given its first definition and characterization by Dr. Max More (in Extropy The Journal of Transhumanist Thought #6, 1990) "Transhumanism is a class of philosophies that seek to guide us towards a posthuman condition. Transhumanism shares many elements of humanism, including a respect for reason and science, a commitment to progress, and a valuing of human (or transhuman) existence in this life [..]. Transhumanism differs from humanism in recognizing and anticipating the radical alterations in the nature and possibilities of our lives resulting from various sciences and technologies[…]"

Other definitions of "transhumanism" have been written over the years, such as "Transhumanism is the philosophy that we can and should develop to higher levels, physically, mentally and socially using rational methods." (Dr. Anders Sandberg),  and "Transhumanism is the idea that new technologies are likely to change the world so much in the next century or two that our descendants will in many ways no longer be 'human'" (Dr. Robin Hanson). 

What is the Singularity?  As defined by Vernor Vinge, 1986: The postulated point or short period in our future when our self-guided evolutionary development accelerates enormously (powered by nanotech, neuroscience, AI, and perhaps uploading) so that nothing beyond that time can reliably be conceived. Vinge also wrote: “The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. I argue in this paper that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence.” Transhumanists vary considerably in their view of the exact nature and definition of a Singularity, and not all transhumanists accept it as a useful notion. For good information on the Singularity from two advocates of the idea, we suggest you visit Raymond Kurzweil's site and The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the work of its fellow, Eliezer Yudkowsky.

1.2 Where can I find definitions words of terms frequently used and relevant to transhumanist thinking?  Extropy Institute provides an encyclopedic collection of words and terms called the Lexicon of Neologisms.  

Principles of Extropy, (Max More)
Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedia Dictionary (1966)

Teilhard de Chardin in The Future of Man (1959)
Woman, Year 2000 (FM-2030, 1972)
Man into Superman (Robert Ettinger, 1972)
The Judas Mandala (Damien Broderick, 1982)
"TransArt (Transhumanist Art Statement"), Natasha Vita-More, 1982)

Extropy The Journal of Transhumanist Thought (Dr. Max More, 1990)
Svenska Transhumanistforbundet (Anders Sandberg, 1996)
Dr. Robin Hanson

Robert Pepperell (Post-Human Condition, 1997)
Primo Posthuman (Natasha Vita-More, 2000, 2003)
Human 2.0 (Ray Kurzweil, 2003)
The Singularity Institute of Artificial Intelligence (Brian Atkins, Sabine Atkins, Eliezer Yudkowsky) (Ray Kurzweil)
Max More and Ray Kurzweil on the Singularity (Debate, 2003)
Extropy Institute

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2.1 What is the philosophy of transhumanism?  Transhumanism was originally defined by Dr. Max More as "Philosophies of life, such as extropy, that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values."  Other definitions of "transhumanism" have been written over the years, such as "Transhumanism is the philosophy that we can and should develop to higher levels, both physically, mentally and socially using rational methods."  (Dr. Anders Sandberg) and  "Transhumanism is the idea that new technologies are likely to change the world so much in the next century or two that our descendants will in many ways no longer be 'human'" (Dr. Robin Hanson).

Transhumanism is a set of ideas which represents a world view to improve the human condition. We support critical thinking in the development of sciences and technologies to extend the human lifespan, eradicate aging, solve problems of disease, and encourage and enhance intellectual, creative, physical and mental well-being. In this regard, it is essential to be aware of the possible dangers that lie ahead. The examination of potential dangers affect not only transhumanist, but the entire world. The use of technologies and biotechnologies must be looked at with a critical and ethical observation.

Transhumanism can be said to stem, in part, from humanism. "Humanism is a "philosophical system of thought that focuses on human value, thought, and actions. Humans are considered basically good and rationale creatures who can improve themselves and others through natural human abilities of reason and action. Secular Humanism is a late development emphasizing objectivity, human reason, and human standards that govern art, economics, ethics, and belief. As such, no deity is acknowledged." (web definition)

However transhumanism reaches beyond the sphere of humanism in its goal to improve the human condition. Not only do we encourage freedom, rational thinking, tolerance, and compassion for humanity, we seek to improve our selves and the species of "human." Back to top 

2.2 What is the philosophy of Extropy?  Extropy is the transhumanist philosophy specifically defined in terms of The Principles of Extropy.  "Extropian" transhumanists (or transhumanist who are extropic thinkers) want to direct themselves in pursuing perpetual progress and self-transformation with an attitude of practical optimism implemented using rational thinking and intelligent technology in an open society.

The philosophy of extropy is a clearly defined perspective on transhumanism. Other forms of transhumanism exist which share many goals and values with extropic transhumanism. Sometimes other types of transhumanism emphasize some aspects more heavily. David Pearce, for example, emphasizes the abolition of pain and maximization of pleasure. This is compatible with, but not essential to, the Principles of Extropy. The only true incompatibilities between the philosophy of extropy and another form of transhumanism when the latter clearly rejects one or more of the Principles. For example, a ruling elite who compelled people to adopt a technological augmentation would contravene the principles of self-direction and open society. (Max More)

"Aren’t all "isms" dangerous, even transhumanism?"  Good question! Many isms are dangerous. Others just help organize related ideas while avoiding or minimizing the dangers of closed and dogmatic isms. I would suggest that Darwinism is preferable to Marxism, and Rationalism or Humanism preferable to religious fundamentalism. However, any system of thought or way of looking at the world can be abused by those intent on doing so. Some intellectual and value systems or perspectives invite abuse more easily than others. To the extent that an "ism" refers to a system of thought that declares itself closed to further improvement, that claims to be a complete and final truth, then it’s a dangerous thing. So far in its history, practically all forms of transhumanism have avoided this problem (though some individual transhumanists may well be dogmatic).

The potentially dangerous nature of "isms" is one reason we stopped using the term "Extropianism" in favor of "the philosophy of extropy". Extropy is really a collection of values and attitudes that fit together well. Extropy makes explicit the relationships between certain values and attitudes. This helps those who already share those values to understand and act more consistently. It also stimulates others who share some of these values to consider adopting the other values that extropians argue are related. This is not merely a verbal maneuver: the Principles themselves are revised periodically (since they do not claim to be final, unquestionable truths), and they include the values of Rational Thinking and Self-Transformation which are incompatible with dogmatism.  (Max More)

"Is Extropy a complete worldview?"  Most definitely not! Extropes agree in favoring things like perpetual improvement, and in using reason and technology to overcome human limits. Outside of those things, extropians will differ in many ways, both in personality and philosophy. Extropy does not offer a complete moral system, nor a required theory of knowledge (though some of us find pancritical rationalism especially compatible), nor a metaphysics.

"Does Extropianism refer to a set of required beliefs?" Since all "extropy" refers to is a collection of mutually supporting values and attitudes, it says extremely little about particular beliefs. One of the Principles is Rational Thinking, and another is Self-Direction. Individuals who share these values are not going to want to have their beliefs dictated to them! We may all favor extending the maximum life span, but we may have quite different beliefs about what causes aging, how to stop it, and whether cryonics is a worthwhile backup option in the meantime. We share the values expressed in The Principles of Extropy, but we will often differ as to the most effective means towards those ends.

"Are you sure that extropy is not a thing I can measure?"  Since it’s a metaphor, a name for a moderately integrated group of values and attitudes, and it’s *not* a force or a thing or a single value or principle, it cannot be measured. Older definitions of the term may have been misleading on this point, so I’m glad you raised the question again so I had the opportunity to stress this point. In case you still feel like "extropy" is really just the opposite of "entropy" let me point out that entropy can sometimes *help* with extropic aims. More information is often helpful, but too much information that is irrelevant to your task can be a bad thing. So extropy does not always require decreased entropy in an information-theoretic sense. The entropic process of the our sun’s burning up of its nuclear fuel is actually very good for us. It allowed life to evolve on our planet. So entropy is sometimes the friend of extropian aims. We just want to keep it in its place.
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2.3 What are the Principles of Extropy? [See Principles directly note and prologue below]

A Note on the Use of "Extropy":  For the sake of brevity, Dr. More often writes something like “extropy seeks…” or “extropy questions…” You can take this to mean “in so far as we act in accordance with these principles, we seek/question/study…”  “Extropy” is not meant as a real entity or force, but only as a metaphor representing all that contributes to our flourishing. Similarly, when Dr. More uses “we” you should take this to refer not to any group but to anyone who agrees with what they are reading. Rather than assuming any reader to be in full agreement with every one of these principles, this usage instead imagines a hypothetical person who has integrated the principles into their life and actions. Each reader is, of course, at liberty to reject, modify, or affirm each principle separately. What this tentative, conjectural approach to the Principles of Extropy loses in terms of compelling emotive power, it gains in terms of reasonableness and openness to innovation and improvement.

Prologue: What is the Purpose of the Principles of Extropy?  Philosophies of life rooted in centuries-old traditions contain much wisdom concerning personal, organizational, and social living. Many of us also find shortcomings in those traditions. How could they not reach some mistaken conclusions when they arose in pre-scientific times? At the same time, ancient philosophies of life have little or nothing to say about fundamental issues confronting us as advanced technologies begin to enable us to change our identity as individuals and as humans and as economic, cultural, and political forces change global relationships.

The Principles of Extropy first took shape in the late 1980s to outline an alternative lens through which to view the emerging and unprecedented opportunities, challenges, and dangers. The goal was – and is – to use current scientific understanding along with critical and creative thinking to define a small set of principles or values that could help make sense of the confusing but potentially liberating and existentially enriching capabilities opening up to humanity.

The Principles of Extropy do not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or policies. The Principles do not pretend to be a complete philosophy of life. The world does not need another totalistic dogma. The Principles of Extropy do consist of a handful of principles (or values or perspectives) that codify proactive, life-affirming and life-promoting ideals. Individuals who cannot comfortably adopt traditional value systems often find the Principles of Extropy useful as postulates to guide, inspire, and generate innovative thinking about existing and emerging fundamental personal, organizational, and social issues.

The Principles are intended to be enduring, underlying ideals and standards. At the same time, both in content and by being revised, the Principles do not claim to be eternal truths or certain truths. I invite other independent thinkers who share the agenda of acting as change agents for fostering better futures to consider the Principles of Extropy as an evolving framework of attitudes, values, and standards – and as a shared vocabulary – to make sense of our unconventional, secular, and life-promoting responses to the changing human condition. I also invite feedback to further refine these Principles.

The Principles of Extropy in Brief

1. Perpetual Progress: Extropy means seeking more intelligence, wisdom, and effectiveness, an open-ended lifespan, and the removal of political, cultural, biological, and psychological limits to continuing development. Perpetually overcoming constraints on our progress and possibilities as individuals, as organizations, and as a species. Growing in healthy directions without bound.

2. Self-Transformation: Extropy means affirming continual ethical, intellectual, and physical self-improvement, through critical and creative thinking, perpetual learning, personal responsibility, proactivity, and experimentation. Using technology — in the widest sense to seek physiological and neurological augmentation along with emotional and psychological refinement.

3. Practical Optimism: Extropy means fueling action with positive expectations – individuals and organizations being tirelessly proactive. Adopting a rational, action-based optimism or "proaction", in place of both blind faith and stagnant pessimism.

4. Intelligent Technology: Extropy means designing and managing technologies not as ends in themselves but as effective means for improving life. Applying science and technology creatively and courageously to transcend "natural" but harmful, confining qualities derived from our biological heritage, culture, and environment.

5. Open Society: Extropy means supporting social orders that foster freedom of communication, freedom of action, experimentation, innovation, questioning, and learning. Opposing authoritarian social control and unnecessary hierarchy and favoring the rule of law and decentralization of power and responsibility. Preferring bargaining over battling, exchange over extortion, and communication over compulsion. Openness to improvement rather than a static utopia. Extropia ("ever-receding stretch goals for society") over utopia ("no place").

6. Self-Direction: Extropy means valuing independent thinking, individual freedom, personal responsibility, self-direction, self-respect, and a parallel respect for others.

7. Rational Thinking: Extropy means favoring reason over blind faith and questioning over dogma. It means understanding, experimenting, learning, challenging, and innovating rather than clinging to beliefs.

                   To learn more about the Principles of ExtropyBack to top

2.4 How is the philosophy of extropy a New Enlightenment?  

2.5 Is transhumanist thinking utopian?  

2.6 How do I know if I a transhumanist?  


Philosophy of Extropy (Dr. Max More)
Extropy Institute Web site

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3.1 What is Extropy Institute ("ExI")? Extropy Institute ("ExI") is 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational organization. It is the original international transhumanist organization founded in 1988 to incubate positive futures. Extropy Institute acts as a networking and information center for those seeking to foster our continuing evolutionary advance by using technology to extend healthy life, augment intelligence, optimize psychology, and improve social systems. Through its networking function, the Institute brings together the finest critical and creative minds to challenge conventional thinking about human limits and to develop, critique, and implement new ideas about the use of technologies of all kinds to improve the future. As an information center, the Institute acts as a repository and portal for detailed information on advanced technologies, their positive potentials, their challenges, and their possible dangers. Join Extropy Institute!  More information about Extropy Institute by e-mailing our offices, by phoning 512.263.2749, or by writing Extropy Institute at 10709 Pointe View Drive, Austin, Texas 78738. You can support Extropy Institute by becoming a member.

3.2 What is ExI’s history?  Extropy Institute is the original transhumanist organization. With a history full of meetings, conferences, debates, writings, articles, and media attention, the answer to this FAQ is best provided by a link to ExI's history page.  We hope you will enjoy reading about ExI's history and work with us to create a positive future for the world.

3.3 What is ExI’s board of directors? The Board of Directors is a group of leaders that have been specifically voted into their positions to lead Extropy Institute. They govern the affairs of the organization and make management decisions concerning its operation. The Board of Directors currently includes Natasha Vita-More, Greg Burch, Max More, Robert Bradbury, Mark Miller, and David McFadzean. View Directors.

3.4 What is ExI’s Council of Advisors? The Council of Advisors is a group of experts that have been specifically selected to provide guidance in specific areas of interest to Extropy Institute. The Council of Advisors currently includes Ray Kurzweil, Dr. Marvin Minsky, Dr. Roy Walford, Dr. Bart Kosko, and Steve Davies, Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, Pamela Lifton-Zoline and Dr. Gregory Stock. View Advisors.

3.5 What is ExI’s Executive Advisory/Action Team ("EAT")?  The Executive Advisory/Action Team is a group of achievers that have been specifically chosen because of his or her accomplishments in the transhumanist culture. EAT members help to implement the networking, resources, and operations of Extropy Institute. Currently, ExI’s EAT members are Amara D. Angelica, Ziana Astralos, Sabine Atkins, Leigh Christian, Dr. Amara Graps, Gina Miller, Jeannie Novak, Brett Paatsch, Hatuna Pokrovskaia, E. Shaun Russell, Simon Smith, John Spencer, Mike Treder, and Elaine Walker. View EAT members.

3.6 What are ExI’s email lists? Extropy Institute’s email list is the longest running transhumanist email list in the world. Now entering its second decade, the newly formed list, "Extropians" is renamed "Extropy-Chat" Email List and open to ExI members and non-members alike. It is a general-purpose discussion forum. The List covers all manner of topics over time, and you can search back several years through the archives on the Web to find previous posts on topics that interest you. We also provide a daily digest version for those who prefer receiving fewer emails. The website allows you to subscribe online, or review the archives online. The list is maintained by the six List Moderators "LATTE".  There is a general Extropy list (Extropy-Chat), as well as regional lists for Arizona, Bay Area, Canada, East Coast U.S., Europe, Los Angeles, Midwest U.S., Russia, and Texas.  Subscribe to the lists here.

3.7 What are ExI’s Extro conferences? The EXTRO conferences contribute to the networking of those wanting to apply technology to bettering the human condition while challenging old assumptions about what is possible. The EXTRO conferences bring together people from many disciplines in the technologies, sciences, arts, and humanities. By facilitating the networking of leading edge technologists and thinkers we aim to accelerate research, development, critical evaluation, and communication of ideas.

The Extro 1 Conference was the first transhumanist conference. The Extro 2 Conference covered all different aspects of transhumanism and the future. The Extro 3 Conference focused on "The Future of the Body and Brain" and "Future Infrastructure". The Extro 4 Conference focused on "Challenges of Life Extension and Genetic Engineering". The Extro 5 Conference focused on "Shaping Things to Come". The Extro 6 conference is currently being planned. Learn more about the EXTRO conferences.

3.8 What is ExI’s Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought? 



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4.1 Do transhumanists favor particular technologies? 

Technology is technology, however transhumanists advocate different types of technologies that are ecologically viable and the best possible alternatives to problems relating to the environment, health, communication and transportation. Nanotechnology is a wildly discussed technology, (i.e., Molecular nanotechnology is the name given to a specific sort of manufacturing technology. As its name implies, molecular nanotechnology will be achieved when we are able to build things from the atom up, and we will be able to rearrange matter with atomic precision. This technology does not yet exist; but once it does, we should have a thorough and inexpensive system for controlling of the structure of matter. (Eric Drexler).

4.2 Which technologies seem especially significant right now? 

4.2.1 What is nanotechnology?  The lower limit on the precision of manufacturing technology appears to be at the atomic level. As Richard Feynman pointed out in his 1959 address, "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom," there appears to be no physical reason why we can't eventually design and build machines that are atomically precise. We already have the capability to manipulate individual atoms under certain special conditions; in 1992, an atomic-force micrograph of the letters "IBM", spelled out in individual xenon atoms on a nickel crystal, made headlines. The capability of building useful machines at that resolution begins to seem realistic.

In his book Nanosystems, K. Eric Drexler examines the possible modes of failure for such machinery (thermal noise, quantum uncertainties, etc.) and shows that none of them present a meaningful barrier to developing a working molecular nanotechnology. We already have an existence proof: biology itself runs on molecular machines. We can see that molecular machinery can store light energy in the form of sugar, build immense structures like redwood trees and blue whales, reproduce itself (in as little as fifteen minutes, in the case of some bacteria), and conduct complex and subtle chemical transformations (as, for example, in the human liver).

What would the ability to build atomically precise machines mean? Drexler's books Engines of Creation and Unbounding the Future (the latter co-authored by Christine Peterson and Gayle Pergamit) explore these possibilities in depth. Among them:

  • Computers millions of times more dense and fast than today -- so small that millions of them would fit in the same space as one of today's desktop machines, and run at mega-MIPS speeds

  • Robots with the computing power of today's mainframes, yet small enough to enter individual cells and repair proteins and DNA -- leading to an end to aging and disease, and the revival of persons in cryonic suspension

  • Desktop factories that can build anything it is physically possible to build -- including copies of themselves, in hours -- leading to unprecedented wealth and resources

  • Perfect recycling, thanks to the capability to disassemble anything to its component atoms for re-assembly into useful forms

When will such capabilities become reality? If current trends continue -- if there are no world wars or enormous economic upheavals -- these new technologies could become available in as little as ten years (though my personal guess is more like 20 or 25 years). Tim May has pointed out that the major barrier to the development of a working nanotechnology is finding profitable uses for the intermediate enabling technologies, generating revenues to fund the next step along the development path. When such "oases of profitability" are identified, then it will make sense for investors to fund the research to develop full molecular nanotechnology.

In the meantime, government funding of nanotech-oriented research continues. The Japanese technological bureau MITI is funding nanotech development efforts today to the tune of millions of dollars per year. The United States government is lagging, though policy-makers are beginning to get the message. University research projects exist at Rice, CalTech, and UC Davis, among other institutions.

For more information on nanotechnology, see the books cited above, proceedings of nanotechnology conferences (available from MIT Press), the journal Nanotechnology, the USENET newsgroup sci.nanotech, and the sci.nanotech Web page.  Back to top

4.3 Why are sciences and technologies relevant to life extension critical to transhumanists?

4.3.1 What is cryonics?  Being frozen is the second-worst thing that can happen to you. The correct term for being frozen is "vitrification."  Many extropic transhumanists have made arrangements for cryonic suspension. Both light and electron microscopy of tissue frozen with current techniques (cryoprotectant infusion and gradual cooling to liquid nitrogen temperatures) indicates that the damage done by the freezing process itself primarily takes the form of relatively large intercellular fissures or cracks which visually fit back together jigsaw-puzzle fashion, rather than small intracellular disruptions. This means the chances are good that a molecularly-precise machine technology should enable us to correct the freezing damage (along with whatever killed the patient in the first place).

This possibility of repair is far from a certainty. However, this small but finite chance is incomparably greater than the chances of revival after a cremation or burial (which are zero). To cryonicists, the chance of resuscitation is worth the money required to fund cryonic suspension arrangements. If resuscitation proves impossible, they reason, you are no "deader" than you would have been without suspension, so what have you lost? Ralph Merkle has popularized the following "payoff matrix":


You sign up for cryonics

You don't

Cryonics works

You live

You're dead

It doesn't

You're dead

You're dead

Ralph Merkle has also pointed out that the proper experimental design to test for the clinical effectiveness of cryonics is to freeze a sample of n patients, wait 150 years, and see how many of them can be revived with the technology available at that time (using their unfrozen contemporaries as the control group). The question each of us must answer is: Do you want to be in the experimental group, or the control group? (Dave Krieger)  Back to top

4.4 Why do some journalists refer to technology as "the new religion?


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5.1 Do transhumanists in general, and friends of Extropy Institute in particular, share economic and political views?  

Do extropian transhumanists have political or economic views in common?  Individuals will choose whether or not they feel comfortable describing themselves as extropian transhumanists depending on whether they share the values and attitudes expressed by The Principles of Extropy. Those principles do not proclaim any specific, detailed political or economic doctrine. The two principles most relevant here are "Open Society" and "Self-Direction". For the full version of each see The Principles of Extropy 3.1. In brief, these state:

OPEN SOCIETY: Supporting social orders that foster freedom of speech, freedom of action, and experimentation. Opposing authoritarian social control and favoring the rule of law and decentralization of power. Preferring bargaining over battling, and exchange over compulsion. Openness to improvement rather than a static utopia.

SELF-DIRECTION: Seeking independent thinking, individual freedom, personal responsibility, self-direction, self-esteem, and respect for others.

Clearly some political views will be incompatible with extropian thinking. That is one way in which the philosophy of extropy may differ from other forms of transhumanism. For instance, technocratic transhumanists may favor setting up an elite group to determine which genetic modifications are allowed or which are compulsory for the general population. Socialist transhumanists would want to centralize control over all economic activity in order to shape the future. It’s worth noting that socialist transhumanists sometimes characterize themselves as "democratic transhumanists" but use the term "democracy" to refer to the socialist goal of using government power to compel everyone to fit into their notion of "equality". Democracy, in the more generally accepted sense, is one important way of implementing the principle of Open Society.

Extropian transhumanists generally favor market mechanisms over centralized government control, seeing this as the way to protect self-direction and open society. But the boundaries between market and government, especially when it comes to determining the legal rules according to which the market functions, are not always clear. Some extropian transhumanists, for example, favor the idea of private communities in which something that looks much like a government exists (but with universal consent of initial entrants). In addition, the distinction between government regulation (interference) and the clarification of the property rights underlying markets may not always be sharp.

While all extropian transhumanists generally prefer voluntary market approaches to economic issues, we may differ among ourselves about the extent of the proper role of government. Some may favor government subsidy of basic scientific research, or certain regulations they believe necessary to maintaining a maximally open society, or the provision of services they think will be poorly provided without state intervention. Others may favor a minimal government that does little or nothing other than maintain the legal order of the marketplace. And some would like to experiment with entirely novel social orders using "polycentric law", which turns law-making itself into a market function.

The fit between the philosophy of extropy and political views therefore is loose, but not infinitely so. Given commitments to Open Society and Self-Direction, there cannot be Stalinist or socialist or fascist or theocratic extropian transhumanists. Any other political positions that, upon reflection, fit with the goals of fostering open social orders, advancing technological progress, and personal responsibility is compatible with the philosophy of extropy. Which social orders and economic rules best further shared extropic values is a matter for ongoing consideration.

In the end, a crucial point is that extropian transhumanists are individualists, and so see political and economic institutions as means to the progress of (trans)humanity. Dogmatic adherence to any specific political doctrine in the face of developing thought is therefore inappropriate. It is equally inappropriate for non-extropian transhumanists to attempt to pigeonhole extropian transhumanists as all being cut from the same political cloth. 
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5.2 What views do extropes have on the dangers of biotechnology, nanotechnology, machine intelligence, and neurotechnology?  

5.3 What views do transhumanists have about religion?  

5.4 How does Extropy Institute respond to the neo-Luddites, including the President’s Council on Bioethics?  

5.5 If we succeed in extending the human life span, is population growth a problem for the future?   Simple projections of the future typically extrapolate exponential population growth while assuming that other factors remain unchanged. Both of these assumptions are implausible. Population growth certainly concerns us if it means heavier pollution, accelerated destruction of natural resources, and lower quality of life. This issue is complex, but here are some points made briefly to show why most of us do not see population worries as giving cause to hold back from seeking extended lives. For a longer essay on the topic, see this:

First, as an ethical matter, even if population growth is or will become a serious problem, I would find it unacceptable to promote the continuation of aging and dying as a palliative. The best ethical response is to tackle both of these challenges. Preventing the extension of the human life span on such grounds would be rather like refusing to treat a child’s toothache because she might then eat too much.

Second, limiting population growth by opposing life extension is not an effective approach. Keeping the mortality rate up is simply not an effective way to slow population growth. Population growth depends far more on how many children families have than on how long people live. To the extent that concerns about overpopulation are justified, activists would do much better to focus on reducing birth rates.

Third, population growth has been slowing down for decades. The peak average annual population growth rate was reached in 1970 at 2.07%. That rate slowed to 1.46 percent in 1990-95 then to its current annual growth rate of 1.2 per cent. The United Nations expects it to fall to 0.46% in 2050. World population reached 6.1 billion in mid-2000. Depending on future fertility rates, the global population is projected to reach 7.3 billion to 10.7 billion and to begin falling not long after that. Global population growth, says the United Nations, will have slowed to a standstill by 2100 or earlier, and may even be negative before then.

Significant extensions in maximum life span will surely come first to the more developed countries. But it is those countries that have the lowest  or negative  population growth. (In fact half of all population growth is accounted for by six countries: India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.) Population levels in more developed countries, now at 1.2 billion, will probably stay about the same as now for the next 50 years since fertility levels are expected to remain at or below replacement level. But, by 2050, the populations of 39 countries are projected to be smaller than today, including Japan and Germany (14 per cent smaller), Italy and Hungary (25 per cent smaller), and the Russian Federation, Georgia and Ukraine (28 to 40 per cent smaller). Europe is barely growing, with a 0.03 percent growth rate. Eastern Europe’s population is already shrinking by 0.2 percent annually.

No one can guarantee that this trend will continue, there is an economic logic to it. In developing countries children are regarded as producer goods that are expected to go to work and support the parents in later life. As countries become more developed, children are seen instead as consumer goods  as goods to enjoy, not as smart investments. Children here are very expensive, and less significant as a later means of support, given that parents here live longer, have medical insurance, and other means of support.

Fourth, even to the extent that population growth continues, pollution need not increase nor available resources be depleted. This may sound counterintuitive, but that’s largely due to making linear projections of existing conditions. As we grow wealthier, we can afford to demand reduced levels of pollution. More advanced technology helps make such reductions possible and gradually cheaper. Improved pollution control is not inevitable. We need to intelligently craft legal rules of liability to ensure that polluters bear full costs of their activities. This will give them incentives to reduce output.

In addition, we are becoming an information-based society. The shift towards information-based goods means we produce more economic value with less physical stuff. Between 1977 and 1999 the value-to-weight ratio of GDP has increased from $3.64 to $6.52. In other words, we produce 79% more value with the same physical mass. This trend is clearly continuing and looks almost inevitable. A few references:

The New Old Economy” by Jonathan Rauch
Where is Energy Going?” by Jesse Ausubel
 “Dematerializing the Economy” by Ronald Bailey

Overall, then, human intelligence, new technology, and a market economy will allow this planet to support many more humans than we are likely to see, given trends toward lower birth rates. Responsible people will seek longer lives and expanded resources, freedom from aging and freedom from pollution.  (Max More)

5.6 Does Extropy Institute see serious limits to progress from limited resources?  

5.7 Does Extropy Institute see serious limits to progress due to environmental concerns?  

5.8 What positions do extropians take on environmentalism and wilderness conservation?  The ideas and values expressed within the extropian community are vigorously individualistic, tend to find the workings of the freest possible market systems as the best current mechanisms for incubating a positive future for humanity and challenge the sacred cows of the fundamentalist "environmental movement," such as the pessimistic assumption of scarcity and limits that pervades that cultural milieu. But the core of extropian ideas also values compassion, generosity and a reverence for the beauty and power of the natural living environment of the earth.

By and large, extropians find that an "absolutist" evaluation of "nature" is as evil as is a thoughtless destruction of the beauty that nature offers. The hard questions come in deriving the right balance. Extropians reject dogmatic answers to questions about nature and the environment, while seeking a rational ethical balance between humanistic values and preservation of the non-human world. It is difficult to draw a "bright line" between "nature" and "man". It is possible to say that humans, their technology and their effect on their environment are "natural" because consciousness and its products developed as part of the spontaneous order of the Earth's biosphere.

Thus in one sense the concept of a "natural" environment distinct from humanity (or posthumanity), per se, is untenable. Many extropians conclude that such a concept of nature distinct from humanity and its technology cannot lead to a rational conservation ethic because, unless we advocate human genocide, it is hopelessly vague and confused. But this realization does not justify any particular human action. Instead, extropians look to their insight into the fundamental value of spontaneous ordering that has occurred in the natural world to find guidelines for interaction with the non-human world.

For now, at least, Earth is the only planet of which we are aware that has spontaneously generated a rich biosphere. This phenomenon is scarce. On the other hand, raw materials for an industrial society are abundant beyond those found on or in this planet. Earth constitutes a tiny fraction of the mass of the solar system. Even with the primitive survey of the solar system we have already made, we know we can find and exploit elsewhere the resources that an expanding industrial civilization needs. Coupled with this basic knowledge, extropians advocate the responsible and safe development of technologies such as molecular nanotechnology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and robotics that hold out the very real promise that humanity can continue its pattern of accelerating progress and steadily widening prosperity while "walking more lightly" in the non-human world.

Extropian environmentalism places a high value on the living wilderness simply because it is rare and options exist and more will exist for the continued technological development of consciousness other than consuming those living wilderness zones. This does not place an unreasonably absolute value on living wilderness, but simply makes preserving it as much as possible one value among many, albeit a great value. Preserving the living wilderness zones of our home planet is consistent with the value of spontaneous order simply because life on this planet is, so far, one of the two most complex examples of this phenomenon of which we are aware (the other being the human mind itself and its cultural products).

If for no other reason, mere curiosity about spontaneous order should lead us to interact with at least some wilderness zones as little as possible, at least until we better understand the processes that gave rise to them and by which they continue to operate. Post-human beings will have the power to allow the planet that was their cradle to continue to harbor a rich diversity of biological life at least similar to that which originally gave rise to them. We don't tear down the Louvre to build apartment blocks, we build housing elsewhere. No one is significantly poorer because of it and at least some people are much richer because of it.

Thus, along with buying wilderness zones for their value as such, the privatist environmental ethic favored by extropians also looks to develop technological alternatives to consuming these areas, as much as possible, so that the relative market value of other options will spontaneously support maximal preservation of living wilderness. This is not the absolutist ethic of "sustainable development" that has come to dominate the mainstream environmentalist movement, but rather simply the economic value free people put on technological and economic developmental pathways that impact the rich and diverse biosphere of Earth less rather than more.  Back to top

5.9 What position do extropians take on racism and eugenics?  Extropians place a very high value on the rights of individuals to self-determination and self-direction. The philosophy of extropy is fundamentally opposed to any form of racism or other judgment of individuals based on similar specious groupings. Extropian opposition to racism is not a function of any kind of post-modernist "politically correct" cultural relativism. Most extropians strongly endorse the notion that the highest product of human culture is the scientific method and that the 18th century Enlightenment represented the real birth of a rational human civilization based on the scientific method and a fundamental valuation of human liberty. Extropians base their opposition to racism on those values. Overt racism and even the milder forms of "racialist" thinking are inconsistent with extropian values of individualism and self-determination and our esteem of the scientific method and world-view.

Racism and racialism are seen by extropians as both morally wrong and antithetical to our desire for social progress on the one hand and are also simply unsupported by any sound scientific fact or theory. In the first instance, we judge individuals as much as possible on the basis of their own achievements and character, rather than because of superficial characteristics. In this regard, we value diversity, especially when it is an expression of individual personality: On both a moral and psychological level, extropianism is a joyful affirmation of the potential richness of human existence. Thus, racism is the ugly opposite of the things we value.

Taking a strong stand against racism and racialism is also vitally important to extropians and other transhumanists because the transhumanist agenda of human augmentation and transcending the human animal are sometimes confused in public discourse with primitive notions of racialist eugenics. Extropians oppose any program of racialist eugenics on deeply principled grounds: They are inconsistent with the fundamental Enlightenment values of human liberty and dignity and are not supported by any kind of rigorous scientific theory or research. Furthermore, the few misguided contemporary proponents of such ideas do a grave disservice to the legitimate goals of the philosophy of extropy and transhumanism, by threatening confusion of the real goals of the program of the Enlightenment with archaic tribalism.  Back to top

5.10 Is Extropy Institute concerned about people around the world who struggle to acquire the basics of human existence?  

5.11 How does Extropy Institute see the poor, the disabled, the physically or psychologically dysfunctional fitting into a transhumanist future?  

"ENVIRO: Wilderness Preservation" (Greg Burch, 1995)
"Two Signposts on the Road to a New Enlightenment" (Greg Burch, 1999)

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6.1 What is the scientific method and why is it crucial to transhumanism?   The scientific method is the best way yet discovered for winnowing the truth from lies and delusion.

It involves the following steps: 1. Observe some aspect of the universe. 2. Invent a theory that is consistent with what you have observed. 3. Use the theory to make predictions. 4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations. 5. Modify the theory in the light of your results. Go to step 3.

For more information, see The Scientific Method FAQpublished by the sci.skeptic newsgroup.

6.1.1 What is the difference between a fact, a theory and a hypothesis?

A fact is a statement of observable truth. A theory is a conceptual framework that explains existing facts and predicts new ones. A hypothesis is a tentative theory that has not yet been tested.

For more information, see The Scientific Method FAQ published by the sci.skeptic newsgroup.

6.1.2 What makes a theory "falsifiable"?

The characteristic of being "falsifiable" is required for any scientific theory or hypothesis. This means that there must be some experiment or possible discovery that could prove the theory untrue. This allows the theory to be proven or disproven in some way.

For more information, see The Scientific Method FAQ published by the sci.skeptic newsgroup.

6.1.3 Can science ever really prove anything?

Science must always be open to new observations and adapt itself as new information becomes available. Because of this trait, some people question whether anything can be finally, definitely proven at all. It could be argued that just because gravity has always made objects fall to the ground before does not really prove that they will continue to do so in the future. However, after repeated observation and testing continues to prove a theory as correctly predicting future events, the likelihood of it turning out to be wrong becomes increasingly small.

For more information, see The Scientific Method FAQ published by the sci.skeptic newsgroup.

6.1.4 Why do "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"?

This is a common expression among scientists who are challenged to disprove some unlikely theory that overthrows accepted theories. As theories continue to have repeated success at predicting future observations, they develop a higher track record of reliability. If some new theory comes along that tries to overthrow the existing theory, it must have an even higher level of evidence to overthrow previous successes of the current theory. The more accepted and better tested a theory is, the higher the threshhold will be for the evidence required to refute it.

For more information, see The Scientific Method FAQ published by the sci.skeptic newsgroup.

6.1.5 What is Ockham's Razor?

Ockham's Razor (sometimes spelled "Occam" as a Latinized variant) is the principle proposed by William of Ockham in the fifteenth century. He said, "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate", which translates as "entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily". It means that if two theories explain observable facts equally well, the simpler theory should be used until more evidence comes along to prove or disprove it.

An example would be a series of dots in a straight line. It is simplest to assume that future dots will also be along the same path. There are an infinite number of more complicated possbilities that merely start out straight and then diverge later. But until new dots show up that proves one of these more complicated possibilities, it is best to stick with the simple straight line.

It is important to remember that Ockham's Razor does not guarantee or predict that the simplest explanation is always right. It just suggests which one should be considered first.

For more information, see The Scientific Method FAQ published by the sci.skeptic newsgroup.

6.1.6 What is the "Experimenter effect"?

This effect is an unconscious bias introduced into an experiment by the experimenter. This can come from looking for small effects that are subjective, from not treating many different samples identically in all respects, or from preconceived notions that can skew the interpretation of the results.

The way to combat such bias is to have double-blind studies, peer review, and repeatable results. Double blind studies are where a control group and an experimental group are tested, but neither the scientist nor the group knows which is which until later. This prevents the observer or the observed from skewing the results with preconceived notions. Peer review is having other experts review an experiment and its procedures to see if any mistakes were made or if they can catch something that the original experimenter missed. Repeatable results simply means that anybody should be able to perform the same experiment and get the same results. The more often results are repeated, the more likely it is that they are dependable.

For more information, see The Scientific Method FAQ published by the sci.skeptic newsgroup.

6.2 In what ways does human reasoning typically fall into error?   

6.3 What tools, methods, and techniques exist for improving critical thinking?

6.4 What tools, methods, and techniques exist for improving creative thinking?

6.5 What methods can be used on an organizational or social level to improve critical and creative thinking?


6.6 What is pancritical rationalism (PCR) also known as Comprehensively Critical Rationalism (CCR)?  

PCR is a prescription for rationality that emerges from the work done in evolutionary epistemology based on the work of Karl Popper, William W. Bartley, and Donald Campbell. Pancritical rationalism and evolutionary epistemology agree in denying that our knowledge is grounded in justification. In their alternative view, our knowledge is grounded in a combination of conjecture and criticism. Our knowledge consists of those propositions that survive criticism, not those that are deductively derived from a set of "self-justifying" or "nonpropositionally justified" axioms. PCR tells us that we need both rich, fruitful conjecture and disciplined, effective criticism to increase our base of knowledge.

What distinguishes PCR from the older idea of critical rationalism is that critical rationalism could not defend itself against the accusation of an irrational commitment to rationality. By doing away with all recourse to justificationism, PCR can be seen as rational as long as it exposes itself to its own criticisms. Although critical rationalism was not itself justifiable, PCR is itself criticizable, and therefore meets its own criterion of rationality. Some transhumanists find PCR appealing as a view of knowledge partly because it does away with any form of dogma, even at the most fundamental level of the foundations of knowledge. It provides the ultimate answer to irrationalists and fideists (those who believe something purely on faith) who attempt to position rationalism as itself depending on a fundamental assumption that must be taken on faith.

More information can be found in William Bartley's The Retreat to Commitment or the collection Evolutionary Epistemology, Rationality, and the Sociology of Knowledge, edited by Bartley and Gerard Radnitzky, and in Max More's Pancritical Rationalism: An Extropic Metacontext for Memetic Progress.

6.6.1 What problem does PCR solve?  

6.6.2 What is evolutionary epistemology?  

6.6.3 What other types of criticisms help us develop knowledge?   


"Progress, Counter Progress, and Counter-Counter Progress" (Greg Burch, 2001)
The Scientific Method FAQ
"The Retreat to Commitment
" (William Bartley)
"Evolutionary Epistemology, Rationality, and the Sociology of Knowledge
" (William Bartley and Gerard Radnitzky)
"Pancritical Rationalism: An Extropic Metacontext for Memetic Progress
" (Dr. Max More)

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7.1 What are the precursors to transhumanist thinking?  

Transhumanism represents a world view which seeks to improve the human condition. In doing so, we support critical thinking in the development of sciences and technologies to extend the human lifespan, eradicate aging, solve problems of disease, and encourage and enhance intellectual, creative, physical and mental well-being. In this regard, it is essential to be aware of the possible dangers that lie ahead. The examination of potential dangers affect not only transhumanist, but the entire world. The use of technologies and biotechnologies must be looked at with a critical and ethical observation.

Transhumanism can be said to stem, in part, from humanism. Humanism is a "philosophical system of thought that focuses on human value, thought, and actions. Humans are considered basically good and rationale creatures who can improve themselves and others through natural human abilities of reason and action. Secular Humanism is a late development emphasizing objectivity, human reason, and human standards that govern art, economics, ethics, and belief. As such, no deity is acknowledged." (web definition)

However transhumanists reach beyond the realms of humanism in the goal to improve the human condition. Not only do we encourage freedom, rational thinking, tolerance, and compassion for humanity, we seek to improve our selves and the species of "human."  Back to top

7.2 Who are the pioneering transhumanists?  Alexander "Sasha" Chislenko developed the "Great Thinkers and Visionaries" in the mid-1990s as a reference to people he thought were responsible for many of our transhumanist ideas. Sasha was an extraordinary visionary of transhumanism.   

How did the memetic spreading of transhumanity begin? 

Transhumanism manifests the results of humanity’s drive to improve the world.  The spreading of transhumanity developed slowly at first through writings, books, university courses, and word of mouth; but with the advent of the Internet, like moments in time that somehow all came together and crystallize, Transhumanity fused. Anyone of the trailblazers could tell you how transhumanist their individual elbow grease carved distinct memes, but it was more than just a handful of imaginative minds along with an accumulation of events that coalesced, one by one.

The "Transhumanist Timeline" (below) shows the diverse elements that had a part in the architecture of transhumanity.  Recognizable. Technological advances, scientific discovery, literary and artistic vision, philosophical understanding, and economic needs were strong. These unique areas of interest reached a point, a tipping point, in the 1990s and took a decisive turn from the static acceptance of humanity’s limitations toward a commitment to humanity’s progress.

Biological Evolution:

First cell divides: Terrestrial Life 4 billion years ago
Biped 4,000,000 BC
Homo Erectus 1,000,00 — 300,000 BC
Human 50,000 — 30,000 BC
Transhuman late-20th Century
Posthuman  Unknown (21st Century)

Communications Evolution:

Artifacts as ritual 28,000 BC
Cave painting 20,000 BC
Symbols as language/writing 3,500 BC
Alphabet 1,500 BC
Printing Press (Gutenberg) 1450
Telegraph (Morse) 1836
Radio (Hertz) 1884
TV Broadcast (Britain) 1927
Technological Art Movement 1960s
VR (first generation) 1980s
World Wide Web 1989

Technological Evolution:

Tools as Technology/fire 1,000,000 — 2,000,000 BC
Thermodynamics (Thomson/Carnot) 1849
Sex change 1931
ABC (electronic computer) (Atanasoff & Barry) 1942
The Game of Life (Conway) 1940s
A-Life: Cellular Automata (von Neumann) 1948
Artificial Intelligence (Turing) (Minsky, McCarthy) 1950 (1956)
"The Pill" (birth control)  1950s
Human in space (Gagarin on Vostok 1) 1961
Transhuman cryonically suspended 1967
Implants (artificial heart) (Cooley) 1969
Genetic engineering (Cohen & Boyer) 1973
Nanotechnology conceptualized (Drexler) 1981
In Vitro Fertilization 1978
Cloning (Dolly) 1997
DNA Sequenced (Venter)  2000

Memetic Evolution:
Mathematics/astronomy 1,800 BC
Law of Logic (Aristotle)  387 BC
Science/Art Coalesce (Leonardo da Vinci ) 1452
Earth not center of universe (Copernicus) 1543
Human Rights & Freedom of Speech (Bill of Rights) 1789
Theory of Evolution (Darwin) 1858
Modern Art 1880s
Psychoanalysis/Ego (Freud) 1893
DNA/double-helix (Watson/Crick) 1953
Smi²le (Leary) 1976
Transhuman (FM-2030, Damien Broderick) 1982
TransArts "Transhumansit Arts" (Natasha Vita-More) 1982
Transhumanist Philosophy of Extropy (Max More) 1988
Transhumanity culture flourishes across the Net:
Extropy Institute, Foresight Institute,
Transhumanist Arts & Culture, Aleph, Transcedo,
World Transhumanist Association, De:Trans, Singularity Institute
1989 — 2003

Transhumanity was not a novel concept, the precursory ideas from Julius Huxley and Teilhard de Chardin, and others were known, albeit ideas coalesce at different points in time and place. In 1947, Allan Turing gave some important comments on the prospects for machine intelligence in a talk in 1947 but his most constructive proposals were put in an unpublished report for the National Physical Laboratory that he wrote in 1947-8. In 1959, Watson and Crick discovered the DNA/double-helix. In 1959, Marvin Minsky founded what became the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory with John McCarthy. In the 1960s, FM-2030 (f/k/a FM Esfandiary) taught courses on futurism at New School of Social Research in New York City, and introduced his futurist philosophy of Upwingers.  Marshall McLuhan wrote Understanding Media, first published in 1964, focuses on the media effects that permeate society and culture.  Many futurist events were occurring—birth control pill, first human in space, in vitro fertilization, feminism, technology, psychoanalysis, to name a few.  Unfortunately events were occurring as well —War, death, disease and poverty.  While the problematic events in human history were at a point of stasis, progress was on its way toward improving the human condition.

"Transhumans," the early transhumanists, were formally meeting In the early 1980s:  The University of California Los Angeles became the central watering hole for transhumanists, where FM-2030 lectured on the futurist ideology of Upwingers. Around that time EZTV’s John Dore provided an off-Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art venue in its Media Gallery and featured such artists as Dr. Timothy Leary, and John Spencer at Space Tourism Society organized many transhuman space-related events.  Natasha Vita-More (formerly Nancie Clark) had just completed the short futurist’s film titled "Breaking Away" at the University of Colorado. FM and Natasha met and soon they began holding gatherings for transhumans in Los Angeles, which included students from FM’s courses and audiences from Natasha’s productions at EZTV Media Gallery in West Hollywood. Across the planet in Australia, Damien Broderick, science fiction author, wrote The Judas Mandala. In 1982, Natasha authored the transhumanist Arts Manifesto (f/k/a "TransArt"). In 1985 through 1994, Natasha produced and hosted the cable TV show "TransCentury UPdate" on transhumanity. With a viewing audience of over 100,000, this boutique talking head show reached 100,000 people.

In 1986, Dr. Eric Drexler's famed book on nanotechnology, Engines of Creation, was published in hardcover by Anchor Books. Alcor Foundation’s Southern California location became a nexus for futurist thinkers and Northern California’s tech-heads were carrying copies of  Engines of Creation. Yet, not all activists who were interested in improving the human condition were involved in "transhumanism." Some didn’t know of the world "transhuman," although they were certainly pioneering in what is now transhumanism.

In 1987, Max More moved to Los Angeles from Oxford University in England, where he established the first European cryonics organization, known as Mizar Limited (later Alcor-UK), to work on his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Southern California. More met Tom Bell at the USC, and together they pursued ideas about the future. Tom coined the term "Extropy" to reflect these ideas and Max authored the philosophy of Extropy as "An evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition."  

In 1989, Extropy The Journal of Transhumanist Thought was published, which formally brought together the most daring, futurist thinkers of the time to write about AI, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, superlongevity, Uploads, Idea Futures, Robotics, Space Exploration, politics and economics of transhumanism. Soon alternative media began reviewing the magazine and the magazine attracted interest from likeminded thinkers.  Later,  More and Bell co-founded Extropy Institute, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 educational organization.  ExI was formed as a networking and information center to use current scientific understanding along with critical and creative thinking to define a small set of principles or values that could help make sense of the confusing but potentially liberating and existentially enriching capabilities opening up to humanity." 

By 1990,  Extropy Institute’s email list was launched in 1991 and in 1992, began producing the first conferences on transhumanism, and affiliate members throughout the world who began organizing their own transhumanist groups.  Extro Conferences, meetings, parties, on-line debates, and documentaries have continued to get the idea of the transhuman to the public.  But the cyberculture across the Internet became the most fertile breeding ground for people interested in exploring new tools with websites such as Extropy Institute, Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Foresight Institute, and Transhumanist Arts & Culture.

In the mid-1990s, transhumanity continued to spread on the Internet through the networking of Extropy Institute’s conferences. If LA was the spawning place of transhumanity, the Internet became the womb. From a few hundred people to many thousands of people, transhumanist ideas are spreading with the help of media awareness and continued hard work of all involved. Today there are other organizations that have joined Extropy Institute to further transhumanist ideas such as Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Foresight Institute, Transhumanist Arts & Culture, Aleph in Sweden, TransVision in Europe, and  World Transhumanist Association, The Singularity Institute, and numerous other organizations currently being developed.

As the culture of transhumanism grows, it is imperative that transhumanist organizations work together. Diversity is welcomed but cooperation is essential. That transhumanist organizations not push one political or spiritual view on their members or transhumanity as a culture. In order to encourage sustainability, we must not get caught up in political jargon or positioning. A futuristic political plan must consider all of transhumanity, as well as humanity. Cooperation in making sure that no one’s foot is being stepped on and that we consider basic economics — supply and demand, a conscientious efforts in spreading accurate information, and understanding that no one person or organization is going to be on top, but that the culture of transhumanity must be networked and transparent.  Back to top

7.3 Transhumanist Culture:  How does transhumanism affect Arts & Culture? 

7.3.1 Transhumanist Culture:  The transhumanist culture is continually in the making.  Transhumanism marks the beginning of our human evolution as we continue to improve the human condition. Transhumanist ideas originated in diverse cultures. We can find traces of transhumanist thought in our earliest inventions and discoveries. From marking the surface of prehistoric cave walls over 17,000 years ago to transmitting signals across the light years of space, ingenuity has illustrated humans’ use of technology. Our desire for extending life and life longer, mirroring our own image in omnipotent reflections, pushing beyond our limitations—has catapulted our species toward an accelerated evolution from human to transhuman, to posthuman.

The transhumanist history is comprised of events that have transformed our species. These events are the result of innovations generated through transhumanist creativity. In every aspect of our being—each inch—each thought—creativity is in action. It is the fire behind our passions. It is the fuel igniting our will. No matter how diminutive or how colossal an idea, it is in the creative impulse that has accelerated our evolution. Evolution happens on many fronts. It is not just our biology that mutates and evolves, it is also our psychology that undergoes transformation.

For the first time in history transhumans are actively researching and developing the skills to end death. It is not an immoralist's pipe dream—but an objective to be attained, and perhaps in our lifetime. Those of us who actively call ourselves transhumanist do so with a commitment to extending and improving life. The commitment to extending life is a litmus test for transhumanity. If we do not overcome death, we have no future.

Our evolution has been a cumulative process. Footprints across time have left traces of our reach beyond ourselves for something better. From the earliest plebeian cultures to the advanced complexities of social systems the future has been unfolding. Today we are on the threshold of the present evolution—the transhuman.


The single most important factor in "ageless thinking" is to think outside the box. One’s autonomy is the most valuable aspect of existence. With this in mind, we can decide for ourselves what is essential in developing and maintaining our individual lives and how to establish goals to achieve our desires. If the goal is to live a healthy life, we can adjust our activities to align with the physiological and psychological findings that are best suited to healthy living. We can abolish ageist myths and implement creative ways to enrich our lives. We can redefine our identities to suit our goals. We can learn to think in ways that remove stigmas and constraints placed upon society by the thought of old age and dying.

We must seek the challenges of modifying ourselves, creating distinct views, embracing new behaviors, and welcoming the unfamiliarity of change. When it is our choice to explore challenges, we begin to take charge of our future. Our individuality is our dignity. The knowledge that is gained, the wisdom of experience, become the helping hand of change. The more we challenge our existence and make attempts to learn new skills, the more in balance with our own identities we may become.

Science and technology are not standing still. Just as we are carving our own new identities, science is also finding its place in the anti-aging movement. New information on how we view aging is occurring in many scientific communities. Genetic engineering is having an impact on how we age and reversing it. Hormone replacement therapy is being used to counter age decline. New markers of aging are redefining the categories of age. Becoming aware that we can live longer is effecting people’s desire to live longer. Cosmetic surgery is giving us extra years of youthfulness. Nanotechnology and artificial intelligence are developing important roles in medicine and aging. Cryonics is the best available safety net for extreme longevity.

What can we do right now to take charge of our future?

"Today by carefully applying the technology developed during the past century (especially in the past 20 years), it may be possible to develop a practical, custom tailored, medically safe and scientifically sound life-extension (anti-aging) program. Currently, such a program is limited to the types of intervention" such as "diet, exercise, supplements, hormones, drugs, and monitoring). In the foreseeable future, however, techniques such as using drugs, hormones and neurotransmitters in slow release capsules, grafting tissue from hypothalamus, pineal and other areas of the brain, and genetic manipulation of aging control programs will all become available. Each year that one gains by preserving one’s health and prolonging one’s life now, significantly improves the chances that one will be around to enjoy the benefits of the tremendous rejuvenation technologies which will become available in the future." (Christopher B. Heward, Ph.D., The Endocrinology of Aging.)

What are the bio-markers in determining age? How do we know which bio-markers are dependable? Is there available a reliable way to ascertain our functional age?

We age differently depending on which bio-marker we are looking at. We may be in good shape cardiovascularly but have poor elasticity in skin due to over exposure to the sun. Our bodies change with time. The best approach is to look at a broad spectrum of aspects of aging. It is not simple, or inexpensive, and there is still little data available on these factors.

What is a bio-marker of aging? Biomarkers of aging are indicators of how far we are progressing on the pathway of degenerative diseases that are associated with death. Any biomarkers that give us a clue about how this degenerative progression can tell us our functional age and longevity. Some bio-markers are more reliable than others. For example, cardiovascular fitness is important but may not be as important as cholesterol levels and homocysteine levels, the amino acid that is a marker of cardiovascular risk.

An athlete such as an ice skater who appears to be physically fit, suddenly dies of a heart attack. Jim Fixx died before 40 despite being a top runner. Although heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death, young, healthy individuals are considered to be out of risk. How could this happen? Are we using a wrong gauge to determine our health? What is going on biochemically and biologically? We need to know the risk factors.

Over the course of our lives, we probably get and beat many cancers that happen because our immune system is functioning at an optimal level. Yet, as we get older, or if our immune system weakens, our body’s loses its ability to recognize and fight off the invasive cancers. This retardation in recognizing the cancer as being a non-self and to produce antibodies and mobilize white blood cells to take charge allows the cancer to grow. Cancer is the number 2 cause of death.

What if there was a lucid test to checkout our immune system and see how it is faring? What if we could simple check in on a daily or weekly basis and summon up different bio-marker for a report on how we are aging? Dr. Christopher Heward has developed such a test, BioMonitor. BioMonitor is a consistent measure of how we are functioning physiologically and compares that to our chronological age and our rate of aging. We then can make adjustments in biological selves.

The far future is coming into near range with undertakings such as the Human Genome Project which is an international effort by geneticists to decode all two billion base pairs of the human genome. The human genome is the entire set of genes. Another area of close-range explosion is the application of gene therapy to medical problems. These techniques will alter genetic programs and alter the rate of aging.

The process of understanding our physical makeup - our genes - and their relationship to aging is an enormous undertaking. Just imagine a settler in the late 1800’s who has been crossing the planes in a covered wagon, old before his time, being given a shiny new red Ferrari along with a portable computer and cellular phone. Imagine a young woman in the 1700’s in New England, unable to explore her own imagination, being censored, restricted and bullied by the town masters for having tea with her friends, imagine her attending a televised presentation where a woman not only hosts the show, but makes forthright statements about her own views openly in front of millions of people and whose voice is carried across electronic wires across the entire world!

Now, imagine our scientists, engineers and visionaries one hundred years from now and the work that has been accomplished in genetics and altering or controlling the rate of aging.

"These facts and projections point toward a rapid understanding of the aging process and an application for technologies to significantly extend lifespan. These technologies will be developed and applied faster than we age. The net result will be an unlimited maximum lifespan. Will people live forever? Not as biological machines." (Robert Bradbury, founder and president of Aeiveos Corporation.)

Nanotechnology involves the study of chemistry, physics and engineering to build objects or machines atom by atom. To add significantly to lifespan, a nano machine could repair aged issues and organs. Nano machines might also be used to reanimate people who have been frozen in cryonic suspension. Further in our future will be the integration of the human/transhuman being and machine. That will be a time for a possible cybernetic immortality.

If their desire is to learn about life, to extend life, then through the use of technology and masterly skill, we all will benefit from the tenacity and labor of their efforts. We can also become paralleling visionaries in our own rights stretching beyond the constraints of yesterday’s and today’s limitations on our lifespan.

In summary, we are on the journey of life extension. It is not a Gulliver’s Travels. We are not interested in a society where people grow older and more feeble but never to die. We are primarily interested in extending life — indefinitely and adding to the quality of life. The quality of life must be of a high standard and designed in such a way as to give people a reason for living longer. What we are envisioning is a future where old age doesn’t exist as it has ever been known before. It is a future where we can grow healthier and more youthful as long as we wish. 

Transhumanist Sexuality: Automorph Gender and Sexuality: Reconstituted and Reconfigured Gender and Sexuality

The new sexual landscapes will bring about different types of sexuality, different types of genders. In the future, we may still want to perform the traditional types of sex, or we may want to participate in the reconstituted and reconfigured gender roles and sexuality that will radically change us. We may do away with our bodily nerves, but keep some sensations, the ones for pleasure of perhaps some for pain to remind us not to do something. Yet, eventually we will begin to shuttle more and more parts of ourselves as we become post-biological.

Gender traditionally refers to social and cultural categories such as masculine, feminine and neuter. There are parts of our brains that are programmed for female and male behaviors. Altering the genitalia does not change this. Yet, in the future there will be a blurring of these traditional categories. Female does not merely mean a person who wears nail polish and frills, has a capacity for communication and empathy, or is endowed with a mothering instinct. Nor will masculine merely mean a person who is rugged, emphasizes spatial temporal thinking, or the protectorate of home and hearth. The continuous blurring of these distinctions will enable the reconstitution of genders. What has yet to change is the XX and XY or XYY chromosomes. Herein lies a current scientific truth determining our sex and our genetic gender. But not for long. We will alter aspects of our brains and switch genders by augmenting "direct route gender swaps" for easy access and quick fix gender changes.

Sex and somatic gender identity are not so immutable. Sex, (how organisms are classified as female or male on the basis of their reproductive organs and functions) is being modified by surgery and hormone treatment. In society today there are bisexuals, transsexuals, homosexuals, asexuals, and intersexuals. Soon there will be negsexuals, solosexuals, technosexuals, postsexuals, multisexuals VRsexuals or even just plain ole’ sexuals who remain nostalgic of the 20th Century.  Back to top

7.3.2 Transhumanist Arts - From da Vinci to "Transhumanist Arts"  Artists and the arts, throughout history, have been the voice and the vision of civilization.  Artists, as communicators, reach more people and are capable of introducing more ideas about culture than any other area of study or professional endeavor.  Artists and the arts bring together the passions, the dreams and the hopes of humanity and transhumanity and express these emotions in ways that touch us deeply.

Whether it is high-end electronic or robotic, multi-media pieces, or filmmaking, poetry, fiction, science fiction, video, paintings, music, dance, sculpture, architecture, literature—our work communicates to culture and affects the pulse of culture

What marks the beginning of Transhumanist Arts? The independent film "Breaking Away" (1980) marks the beginning of Transhumanist Arts. This short, 8-mm film by Natasha Vita-More was filmed by Don Yannacito (Independent Film Dept., University of Colorado), and shot on location at Red Rocks Amphitheater. The central theme of the short depicts the human quest in overcoming dogma and evolutionary limitations.

Transhumanist Arts was founded in 1982 by Natasha Vita-More (f/k/a/ Nancie Clark) and introduced as an "art theory" (originally, "TransArt"). The "Transhumanist Arts Statement" written to established a poetic doctrine of transhumanist expression: "Transhumanist Arts represent the aesthetic and creative culture of transhumanity…Our aesthetics and expressions are merging with science and technology in designing increased sensory experience…Transhumanist Artists want to extend life and overcome death…If our art represents who we are, then let us chose to be transhumanist not only in our bodies, but also in our values…As Transhumanist Arts comes into focus, as the tools and ideas of our art continue to evolve, so too shall we."

At the onset of the transhumanist movement, transhumanists referred to themselves "transhumans". It was not until the late 1980s that the phrase "transhumanist" took hold. Around this time, Transhumanist Arts theory had evolved into an arts organization. Today Transhumanist Arts is both an organization and an art period, reflecting the creative innovations and artistic expressions of transhumanity.

As an art theory, Transhumanist Arts coalesces the arts, sciences and technologies by recognizing the exponentially growing rate of change in our society. These rapid changes include mass computing power, superintelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, superlongevity, fast-track communications, the Internet and its offspring, space exploration, human augmentation for improving and extending life, and the Singularity. The technological advances directly affect culture and thus the arts in countless ways.

By 1990, Transhumanist Arts had become an organization.  Today Transhumanist Arts is both an organization and an art period, reflecting creative ideas and artistic projects developed during the period of transhumanity.

On January 1, 1997, a genre of Transhumanist Arts, Extropic Art, launched a Manifesto on the Internet, and the movement was champagne toasted in good cheer in Los Angeles. In the ensuing months, hundreds of creative thinkers signed the Manifesto, and others began calling themselves transhumanist extropic artists. In October of 1997, the Manifesto was sent into space on board the Cassini Huygens spacecraft. It is the first writings of transhumanity to leave the earth and travel through the Asteroid Belt to Saturn. By this, the meme "We are transhumans . . ." has spread far beyond Earth, out into the Solar System.

As an outgrowth of Transhumanist Arts, the Extropic Art genre represents an aesthetic culture of transhumanity—ideas about super intelligence, superlongevity, biological-technological interface, intelligence and creativity augmentation, space exploration, the Singularity (or Spike). Extropic Art is not limited by conventional art forms or modes of the arts. It can indeed be an artifact such as an image, a musical score, a film, or story, or it can be many creative modes of expression, such as innovative ideas and activities.

Other genres of Transhumanist Arts are "Automorph"—the art of consciously and comprehensively sculpting one’s psychology and physiology "Art as Being". "Exoterra" is the fusion of art and the universe.

Automorphing has become an active expression for many transhumans because of rapid interest in how the body might look in the coming decades as well as interest in our continued interface with computers. Most of us want to live indefinitely and in doing so we can now actively set into practice reinventing ourselves and redesigning how we want to look. Automorphing is self-sculpting.

Exoterra, on the other hand, can be works produced by space architects or space educational designers, composers who bring to mind the musical wondrous elements of space, science fiction, space paintings, poems and electronic imaging are all mediums that lend themselves to Exoterra Art. "On several occasions, I have been asked how Transhumanist Extropic Art differs from or opposes preceding genres such as Expressionism, Dadaist, Actionism and Conceptual Art. Extropic Art doesn't intentionally differ from any previous genre or movement, it has evolved out of them."

Italian Futurism rejected tradition and worshipped the machine, Dadaist used shock tactics and feared optimism, Fluxus focused on the state of mind of the artist rather than the objet d’art, Conceptualists had great thought and little product, and so on. Yet, these genres have influenced Extropic Art and the Transhumanist Arts period. Futurism allowed the artist to participate in the Industrial Revolution with new tools, Dadaists questioned the "museum dogma," Fluxus generated thinking, Conceptualists went a step further. These genres, from abstract expressionism and Modern Art through Performance Art, have influenced Transhumanist Arts.

The difference between some previous genres is found in the tools we use and the reason why we are producing art—what occurs in our minds. For the first time in history, transhumans as artists want to live indefinitely, want to live in space, want to augment our intelligence, want to grow more desirable, brighter, more creative.

Art genres or movements either react to the preceding ideas or they mesh ideas from the past with new vision and new tools. Surely, immortality is not a new concept, but how transhumans view immortality is. In the past, immortality was a wish either gained by some religious promise, pseudoscience or by mystical means.

Transhumanists understand that we have biological limitations and that by intelligent planning we will be able to extend our lives. A similar parallel can be drawn with the idea that "my life is my art"—a theme used in several genres. However, transhumanists see our lives as a work in progress as we evolve. The tools of our trade are changing so rapidly, as I have stated already in the section on Transhuman History; we must keep up with these changes. We do not have to be driven into a mad frenzy with relentless changes and expense of such changes, but we must at least have an understanding of where it is going. It is perfectly clear that the new tools are heading in the direction of refining and designing and prolonging life. Immortality is on the drawing board."

Today there are an increasing number of artists who are beginning produce art in a transhumanist mode. As humanity steadily advances to the next evolutionary stage, more and more artists will make the shift towards transhumanity.

Transhumanist Arts Trends: From 20th Century Art to 21st Century Art —

Transhumanist Arts of the 21st Century did not appear out of the blue. Much of its content has evolved from art movements and art forms of artists who preceded it. The historical continuity of this art can be illustrated through the early 20th century and even farther back in time though ancient myths and perceptive visionaries. Today, the Transhumanist Arts culture is still forming.

The beginnings of artists engaging in either science or technology and individualism was evidenced in Futurism (Italy 1908) and Dadaism (France 1915). Futurism rejected traditions while glorifying contemporary life by emphasizing two dominant themes, the machine and motion and advocated the fusion of art and science. Dadaism was more a world-view rather than a style. The Dadaist manifestos were often aimed at startling the public into reconsidering accepted aesthetic values. This type of rethinking—employment of technology, science, individualism and the revoking of traditional standards—is transhumanist in scope. Although Dadaists tended to be irrational and negative and Futurism was short-lived, Transhumanist artists are rational and dynamic optimists and intend to live indefinitely.

Abstract Expressionism (1940-1950s) kicked-off the Contemporary Art Movement with predominant concern of self-expression. While the trends were approaching a cybernetic concepts in art with lasers, holography, and neon art, Conceptual Art (1960s-1970s) had enormous influence on artists merely by reflected the artistic mind. The act of thinking became the art form. By offering models for problem solving and engagement in non-art systems (meaning not producing an object of art such as a painting or sculpture or poem); interests in science and technology was at a peak. Soon after, Performance Art (1970s to present) presented an extraordinary open-ended art form where artists’ desire to communicate more directly with viewers than through an "object".

Simultaneously, High-Tech Art (a contemporary art) (1970s) utilized diverse technologies with the sentiment that the more effective the High-Tech Art, the more it transcends its hardware. However, most tech art remains an exploration in technological art rather than a world-view. It is a part of the Art & Technology movement, but its more recent art expresses ambivalence of postmodernism towards technology. It is important to keep in mind that not all tech art is transhumanist in scope. The use of high-end technology or great aesthetic value in subtranshuman concept or storyline does not equal transhumanist magnitude. Elaborate special effects fall short of content when the use of great technology is used to repeat antiquated myths.  Back to top

7.4 What other prominent organizations are there?  Foresight Institute, Alcor Foundation, World Transhumanist Association

7.5 What activist groups can I join?  

7.6 What email lists can I subscribe to?  

7.7 I'm thinking of writing an article on transhumanism. Any tips?  



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8.1 When was the FAQ written?  The FAQ is a compilation of transhumanist writings since 1989.  Many of the ideas of transhumanity were covered in Extropy Institute's Extropy The Journal of Transhumanist Thought from  the late 1980s through the late 1990s, and which have been referenced in our FAQ.  In order to provide state-of-the-art reliability, ExI's FAQ has been revised over the years to provide accurate answers to the crucial questions about transhumanity and the role of extropy since its earliest beginnings  and its far future.

8.2 Who created the FAQ?  Members of Extropy Institute have provided information for the FAQ.  Special thanks goes to Dr. Max More, Greg Burch, Natasha Vita-More, Harvey Newstrom, Riley Jones, Prof. Tom Bell, Christine Peterson, Dr. Eric Drexler, Prof. Marvin Minsky, Dave Krieger, E. Shaun Russell, Ziana Astralos, Anand and [many others to be included here.]

8.3 Is it the only Transhumanist FAQ? 
There are many transhumanist FAQs available on the Internet. As the original transhumanist organization, Extropy Institute's goal is to provide an accurate and reliable FAQ for the growing culture of transhumanity. In doing so, please make suggestions that you think are important in our continued wish to provide accurate coverage and information to

8.4 Can I copy this FAQ? This FAQ may be reproduced in any publication, private or public, physical or electronic, without need for further authorization, so long as the document appears unedited, in its entirety and with this notice. Notification of publication or distribution would be appreciated. This FAQ is copyright 2003 by Extropy Institute, 10709 Pointe View Drive, Austin, Texas 78738. Please contact us at