Transhumanists Gather at Lincoln Center to Create “A New Species Free of the Limits of Biology”
Wanting to become a machine is a lot more common than the shrinks think. The New York conference, held in the 1,089-seat Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, drew an energetic crowd including more than 230 journalists, as well as an Eastern Orthodox archbishop, a Tibetan lama, engineers from Google, along with several scientists influential in setting United States science funding priorities.
The event’s convener and patron, Dmitry Itskov, is a wealthy Russian Internet entrepreneur who a couple of years back had a “spiritual change” that made him stop collecting $20,000 watches and instead launch a what he calls a global initiative to create “a new species free from the limits of biology.”
The apex of the event was to be the unveiling of a realistic animatronic bust of Istkov, created by roboticist David Hanson, and an early prototype of what Itskov hopes within 20 years will be “artificial carriers” into which human minds can be placed. “It’s a human right. People need to have the right to live, and not to die,” said Itskov, who has plans to raise several hundred million dollars to speed humanity’s metamorphosis into machine-form.
“Because that’s the thing about Scooby-Doo: The bad guys in every episode aren’t monsters, they’re liars.
I can’t imagine how scandalized those critics who were relieved to have something that was mild enough to not excite their kids would’ve been if they’d stopped for a second and realized what was actually going on. The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it’s up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. And the way that you win isn’t through supernatural powers, or even through fighting. The way that you win is by doing the most dangerous thing that any person being lied to by someone in power can do: You think.”
— Ask Chris #81: Scooby-Doo and Secular Humanism (via missshirley)
“Let’s take the propagation of an electric current: although in the development of any physical system, there may be billions of years between the creation of the most primitive form of energy and then the arrival of intelligent life, that billions of years is just the same thing as the trip of the current around a wire — it takes some time… but it’s already implied. It takes time for an acorn to turn into an Oak, but the Oak is already implied in the acorn. So, in any lump of rock floating about in space, there is implicit human intelligence — sometime, somehow, somewhere; they all go together. So, don’t differentiate yourself and stand off against this and say, “I am a living organism in a world made of a lot of dead junk — rocks and stuff.” It all goes together. Those rocks are just as much you as your fingernails. You need rocks — what are you gonna stand on? Our common sense has been rigged, you see, so that we feel like strangers and aliens in this world, and this is terribly plausible — simply because it’s what we’re used to. That’s the only reason. But when you start really questioning this, saying, “Is that the way I have to assume life is? I know everybody does, but does that make it true?” It doesn’t necessarily… It aint necessarily so. And so then, as you question this basic assumption that underlies our culture, you find that you get a new kind of common sense that becomes absolutely obvious to you — that you are continuous with the universe….Well, in a few years, it will be a matter of common sense to very many people that they’re one with the universe. It’ll be so simple. And then maybe, if that happens, we shall be in a position to handle our technology with more sense — with love instead of with hate for our environment.”