Mormon Transhumanists . . . What is Our Responsibility?

In a clarion call, Dr. Miriam Leis calls on transhumanists to get more involved in politics, business management, and perhaps even ecclesiastical hierarchies.  She starts out by describing the “sad” state-of-affairs:

Although many transhumanist ideas may sound disruptive and revolutionary to the average citizen, transhumanists themselves are far less the doers, but rather passive observers and theorists.

And continues:

A considerable majority of transhumanists seem to be “armchair transhumanists,” i.e. observers, theorists, waiting and hoping for the “singularity” to happen.  So where are the transhumanist politicians, multi-billion company executives, high-level consultants and socio-economic elites?

While I think her premise is flawed (there are transhumanists in high-level positions), I think she is missing the point of transhumanism.

She criticizes the movement for being fractured:  “internal differences and quarrels are finally weakening the movement, organization or company.”  And then makes an overly general observation:

If wanting to achieve change and transformation, a focused laser beam with the power to forge a chunk of metal is far more effective than a widely dispersed, incoherent and weak flashlight that only makes somewhat visible the surface of the object being transformed.

And her final recommendation to transhumanists:

If transhumanism is planning to become a force to be reckoned with in–and really as influential as some people are concerned about–it needs people to have the “will to power.”  [quoting Nietzsche]

Okay, I admit that I’m a slacker and have no “will to power,” but I think Dr. Leis misses the point of transhumanism.  So what points is she missing?

  • First, transhumanists are, in large measure, liberitarians, anarchists, individualists, absurdists, existentialists, anti-control freaks, people with a strong belief in leaderless organizations.  They aren’t driven by power hunger.  But that does not mean that they are not doers.  For example, many are active in all levels of society, just not necessarily at the higher rungs.  Just because I personally am anti-structure and a believer in organized chaos (as a management style), does not mean that I’m not engaged.
  • Second, the top-down organizational structure that Dr. Leis seems to be describing in her post is dying out.  (She even quotes Machiavelli.)  Replacing it is a more bottom-up organizational structure.  Change is more and more happening at the lower levels and then filtering up.  With the modern methods of communications, these changes are happening faster than ever.  The top-down organizations that I’m affiliated with are having a difficult time coping with change.  For example, look at the problems the LDS Church leadership is currently having with same-sex marriage, feminism, race, biblical literalism, etc.

While I can understand Dr. Leis frustration with an “incoherent” group like transhumanists, her own organizational model is seriously out of date.  Top-down management is on the way out.  And us peons at the bottom can make a huge difference; transhumanism doesn’t need a focused “laser beam,” it just needs committed individuals . . . which it has.  We transhumanists need to pursue our interests in our own way.  And to hell with Machiavelli.

This entry was posted in @n@rchy, absurdism, existentialism, Internet, Organizational Dynamics, Technology, transhumanism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mormon Transhumanists . . . What is Our Responsibility?

  1. Susan says:

    I think I can safely say that “top down” organizations will always be a part of our lives. Granted, management styles are evolving and “bottom up” management is now much more recognizable. But to say that top down organization is “on the way out” is wishful thinking on the part of an individual who is “anti-structure and a believer in organized chaos (as a management style)”. Organized chaos only works for a small percentage of people. Besides that, don’t you transhumanists believe that you will be Gods in the hereafter? What sort of Gods operate under the guise of “organized chaos”?

  2. rogerdhansen says:

    I agree with you when you say, “top-down” organizations will always be a part of our lives.” But extreme versions are becoming must less interesting to a networked society. In the LDS Church where you have a top-down oligarchy, things seem to be coming apart. Issues like gay rights, same-sex marriage, feminism, biblical literalism seem to be bringing the Church leadership to its knees. They don’t know how to react. And when they do, they have questionable success.

    Similar things are happening in other top-down organizations. People being able to easily connect with like-minded individuals has made informal coalitions not only possible, but has allowed them to prosper. Thus, it becomes almost impossible to control the message.

    When you mention God, when it comes to what has historically and is currently happening on the earth, you have to admit there is a lot of “organized chaos” going on. He is not directing the action, he is letting it happen. He is expecting us to figure it out. Some of us are doing better than others.

  3. Susan says:

    How do you know it’s a “He”? LOL

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Of course God is a He. Hasn’t that been explain to you a myriad of times in SS, RS, SM, seminary, and institute? Males will get create their own planets, and their helpmates will play a wonderful subservient secondary role (but perfectly equal). Without the priesthood, how can women expect to be real creators?

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