Transhumanism is Being Guided by Reason and the Word “Why”

By Zoltan Istvan | 6 December 2016
The Huffington Post


The human race is on the threshold of so much revolutionary change. It’s mostly due to the emerging field of transhumanism: a social movement that aims to use science and technology to radically modify the human body—and modify the human experience. I get asked all the time: What is the best way to handle such changes—like the merging of humans with machines to make cyborgs? Or spending more time in virtual reality than normal reality? Or biohacker brain implants that let us use telepathy with one another (which eventually will lead us all to be connected via a hive mind)?

I think it’s easiest to let Jethro Knights—protagonist of my philosophical, Libertarian novel The Transhumanist Wager—answer. Below is a modified and condensed version of a speech he gives to the world, near the end of the book:

There are two all-important ways to navigate a correct path in the new transhuman future: The first is to constantly use the utmost reasoning of which our brains are capable while negotiating our way through life; the second is to incessantly question everything.

Reason is the only means for human survival on this planet. And it is also our only means for arriving at coherent truths. Anything else belongs in the domain of the mystic, the domain of the insane, or the domain of the thief whose aim is to take something valuable from you for their own gain. The best way for an individual to apply reason in their life, given their goals, is by constantly evaluating as many pertinent scenarios as possible for their actions; then, undertaking the most statistically probable ones to follow that will work out in their greatest favor. You must strive to emulate the pure computational process of a goal-driven computer.

Most of us do not use reason and logic so constantly in life. Most of us regularly incorporate irrationality, erroneous past prejudices, and the whims of spontaneous emotions in our daily decisions; our minds weakly bend to what we want to see and feel regardless of what is really happening. This is a byproduct of the baggage culture, where all our inner yearnings, reactions, and interactions with the world are fabricated delusions, part of an overreaching conformity trap. It’s impossible think and live that way, and still make any transhuman sense of life.

Even using the utmost reasoning of which our brains are capable, changing our current flawed values and methods of living will be extremely difficult. For many of us, the thoughts and irrational patterns of our daily lives are deeply ingrained in us. With tremendous effort, however, we will succeed. Success will come if we emulate transhumanists in utilizing and vocalizing one word more than any other. Believing in that sacrosanct word is the key to properly navigating an evolution of values. That word is why.

In this new world, we must learn to repeatedly ask ourselves, Why? It is the most important utterance the individual should ever know. We should use this sacred word with obsessive zeal; we should fall in love with the unknown and question everything. Including these words here. Why is a word and a concept Earth’s leaders in the past 10,000 years have tried to deny us in their efforts to harness and control us. It is a word our biology has even thwarted us from saying, as it unknowingly holds on to obsolete instincts. As a result, most of us don’t even know we should be saying the word so frequently. Yet, without saying it, we’ve automatically lost every battle that confronts us. The nature of such a disguised dilemma makes our chances of fighting for ourselves impossible. We don’t even know what there is to win, let alone what there is to fight for, or that there even is a fight.

So many people suffer from this essential ignorance in their lives that there are haunting problems and handicaps in their perspectives, beliefs, and consciousnesses. Many would struggle to the death—and indeed do—just to prove they are right about everything they have been conditioned to believe. Yet, this doesn’t change their ignorance or problems one iota. The best action to meaningfully change our course in this universe is to frequently start asking, Why?

“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” —Albert Einstein

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, on Wakelet, Facebook and on Twitter.

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