-Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography
Pride Should Not Incur Prejudice
While there are several aspects of the Christian ethics that I disagree with, one that has particularly irked me was the idea of pride being a sin. If someone has done something noteworthy or respectable or that has had a good result, how can it be wrong for them to not be pleased with themselves and pleased with their actions? Is that not necessary for the action to be self-reinforcing?
Identifying as transhumanist is absolutely something one should be proud of. To be able to have as a core virtue the conviction that it is necessary to think “long-range” to properly ensure one’s survival, to be open to new and radical ideas, and to be part of the epic struggle of this century which is the abolition of death and disease, these are pure virtues.
I work in an extremely conservative industry, and it would not be in my best interest to be extremely vocal about being a Transhumanist – so I don’t. But I do bring up some key facts, if the opportunity arises: I think Death is Wrong. I am Director of Publication of a small third party. I have a refined nootropic stack that enhances my cognition. If there’s any interest, I elaborate. If there’s not, I don’t. If they’re a “normie” and they’re stuck in the matrix and actually give pushback, sometimes that yang energy can be absorbed and redirected. Even if the person says they’d never want to live forever, you can almost always get them to admit that their joints didn’t hurt as much 10 years ago, and they miss the mental energy they once had.
There may be some “dogwhistles” you find for other potential transhumanists, those interested in longevity, biohacking, etc. Found My Fitness, The Peter Attia Drive Podcast, and Huberman Lab have strong followings, and if you find a listener, that’s probably a good sign they’re more interested in beating death than they are border issues/gender politics/gun rights, yadda yadda. Personally I find more in common with the crypto-transhumanists who are primarily focused on longevity than I do with some of the more vocal ones who seem to be focused on standing out from the crowd.
The majority aren’t going to want to stand out from the crowd. The truth is the crowd wants to punish those that behave differently, and a lot of people are focused more on surviving now than on getting their fair due of approval later, after the gains have materialized. Gains like being able to say, “I was an early adopter of the notion that death should be abolished, and I voted for the one party that cared.”
So what I advocate is: be normal and different at the same time. You can follow social norms, try to have many friends, and be polite and generous, but still know the arguments and be able to stand your ground in a debate if the discussions on longevity come up. Or, you could even be the one to raise the topic, if appropriate. There are a plethora of other Platform issues that could come up too. Rights of children, nuclear disarmament, (soft) animal welfare, reasonable minimum timeframes between bill proposal and voting, depoliticizing appointment of Supreme Court justices, and many others could be good to brush up on in our Platform page.
Luckily, one can still be proud of a cause and conform to social norms with relative ease if one is tactful. A very low-risk way to do so this year would be to buy a T-shirt. We have a window of time this election year where we can drive visibility for our movement, and have a low-risk way of being able to say to oneself: “You know what? I *am* proud to be a Transhumanist. It’s not fringe or different to support rationality, ending aging, and smarter governance, and I’m going to take a simple step to show that. If someone asks me about it, I will hold my head high, and maybe I’ll make a new ally.”
Zach Richardson is the Director of Publication for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Find out more about him here.