Transhumanism and Our Outdated Biology

By Zoltan Istvan | 21 April 2016
The Huffington Post

This essay below is adapted from the philosophical Libertarian book The Transhumanist Wager, which is increasingly being used in colleges and high schools around the world to teach about the future:

Humans are handicapped by our biology. We operate tens of thousands of years behind evolution with our inherited instincts, which means our behavior is not suited towards its current environment. Futurists like to say evolution is always late to the dinner party. We have instincts that apply to our biology in a world that existed ages ago; not a world of skyscrapers, cell phones, jet air travel, the Internet, and CRISPR gene editing technology. We must catch up to ourselves. We must evolve our thinking to adapt to where we are in the evolutionary ascent. We must force our evolution in the present day via our reasoning, inventiveness, and especially our scientific technology. In short, we must embrace transhumanism—the radical field of science that aims to turn humans into, for lack of a better word, gods.

Transhumanists believe we must stand guard against our natural genes, less they chain us to remaining as animals forever. We believe our outdated instincts can easily trick us from knowing right from wrong, practical from impractical. If one looks closely, the human body and its biology constantly highlight our many imperfections.

Compared to humans, rats have better noses for smelling. Pigeons have sharper eyes for seeing. Crocodiles can run faster. Earthworms can survive underwater longer. Cockroaches can bear far colder temperatures. Humans are only best at reasoning. Yet, computers can already beat the best of us in chess, math, and recently the sublime game Go. And the robots we’ve made are far stronger than we are, can handle more danger, and can fly through interstellar space without us.

Obviously, the human body is a mediocre vessel for our actual possibilities in this material universe. Our biology severely limits us. As a species we are far from finished and therefore unacceptable. The transhumanist believes we should immediately work to improve ourselves via enhancing the human body and eliminating its weak points. This means ridding ourselves of flesh and bones, and upgrading to new cybernetic tissues, alloys, and other synthetic materials, including ones that make us cyborg-like and robotic. It also means further merging the human brain with the microchip and the impending digital frontier. Biology is for beasts, not future transhumanists.

Our outdated biology’s emphasis on social interaction is also dangerous for the overall evolutionary ascent of the human race—so dangerous that new questions must be asked immediately. Are so many of us healthy for this fragile planet? Should we rid ourselves of all our 25,000 nuclear weapons? Is the sexual ritual even functional anymore? Does matrimony serve purposes outside of private property and economics? Are social customs like monogamy foolishly conservative? Should we embrace a culture of drugs and biohacking? Should government use cranial implant technology to safeguard its citizens? Should society insist that all government and military leadership be equally split between females and males? Should corporations be hindered from catering to the weak, petty sides of human nature? Should religion and superstitious faiths be discouraged? These are challenging and thorny questions to ask. Yet, they should be asked, and maybe even the best answers should be implemented if we are to be true to our highest selves.

A truly transhumanist society should embrace reason and the scientific method to improve itself and bring about the best world possible on Planet Earth.


Zoltan Istvan 4-minute BuzzFeed interview on transhumanism and Transhumanist Party

Reprinted with permission from the author.

Zoltan Istvan is a Libertarian candidate for California Governor 2018. Previously, he was a 2016 US Presidential candidate who aimed to put science, health, and technology at the forefront of American politics. At the age of 21, Zoltan began a solo, multi-year sailing journey around the world. He’s explored over 100 countries, many as a journalist for the National Geographic Channel. His work has also been featured in many major television channels, such as CNN, FOX News, and BBC. Zoltan writes futurist and transhumanist-themed blogs for The Huffington Post, Vice’s Motherboard (Transhumanist Future), and Psychology Today (The Transhumanist Philosopher). He has also written for Slate, Gizmodo, Daily Mail, Salon, Newsweek, Wired UK, Singularity Hub, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Outside. Zoltan has started various successful businesses, from real estate development to filmmaking to viticulture, joining them under ZI Ventures. He is a philosophy and religious studies graduate of Columbia University and resides in San Francisco with his two daughters and physician wife. Zoltan is the creator of the Immortality Bus, a 38-foot vehicle shaped like a coffin to spread the message that science can conquer death. He is the author of The Transhumanist Wager, an award-winning, #1 bestselling Philosophy book describing philosopher Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology. You can follow his work at zoltanistvan.com, on Wakelet, Facebook and on Twitter.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Uhu
    Humans are being born at the rate of over 10,000 per hour, are already trashing everything:
    air, water, soils, space, cyberspace are full of sometimes highly poisonous substances
    bio-diversity is being reduced at the highest speed
    the climate is utterly unstable and so are relations between the species
    Water is running out in Africa and that will drive migrations and conflicts

    And there is nothing more important than making us immortal???

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