8. Towards abundant health

This page contains the opening portion of Chapter 8 from
Sustainable Superabundance: A universal transhumanist invitation

tam graphic 8

8. Towards abundant health

To recap the previous three chapters: there are good grounds for anticipating that, in the not-so-distant future, there can be plenty of clean energy for all human activities, plenty of nutritious food for everyone, and plenty of material goods for all our worldly needs. Twenty first century science and technology place these abundances within our grasp – provided that we are wise enough, and sufficiently strong and agile, to embrace the opportunity.

However, these abundances, by themselves, will be far from sufficient to ensure that human flourishing reaches its full potential.

If, despite an abundance of energy, nutrition, and material goods, our medical health continues to deteriorate as we grow older, then, just as at present, individual human flourishing will be cut short, again and again.

As our health deteriorates, we will be increasingly restricted in what we can do. With feeble bodies and/or feeble minds, we may observe a growing abundance of energy, nutrition, and material goods all around us, but we won’t be able to take advantage of that bounty. As individuals in decline, we’ll move from activity to passivity, from engagement to detachment, from vigour to lethargy, from precision to dullness, and from being to nothingness. Rather than flourish, we’ll flounder and fade away.

So far in history, a deterioration of human health has, sooner or later, been the story of everyone’s life. In some cases, a person’s health declines precipitously, due to a catastrophic accident or harsh act of violence. In other cases, their health declines gradually, due to the impact of one or more diseases or conditions that reduce mental or physical capability, until the point of death. Either way, after a few short decades of life, consciousness ceases. Brains turn to dust. Loving relationships are severed. Each time a single person dies, vast troves of human experience are lost, comparable to the burning down of a library, in a calamitous transformation of knowledge into ashes. Such, it appears, is the brutality of nature.

But transhumanists assert that these brutal “facts of nature” are on the point of being overturned. Thanks to further applications of twenty first century science and technology, the terminal decline of health will no longer be inevitable, but will soon be something we can resist and reverse. Aging can be abolished. In consequence, the vistas for human flourishing can extend mightily, both for individuals and for humanity as a whole.

Rejuvenation ahead

In more detail, the restorative biological properties that we presently experience in our youth, which enable us to bounce back quickly from injury or illness, will no longer lose their power as decades pass. Instead, it will become possible in the not-so-distant future to extend these restorative self-healing powers indefinitely – thanks to a combination of biochemical and nanotech interventions made possible by accelerating progress in regenerative medicine and rejuvenation biotechnology.

As a result, we humans will be as vibrant and resilient in our eighties as in our twenties. If we wish it, we’ll be able to live well past the age of 100 without any decline in our health. Indeed, if we wish it, we’ll be able to live well past the age of 1000, without any decline in our health.

These restorative processes will not only be extended in their duration, but they will also grow in their scope and effectiveness. Diseases which formerly threatened even the most robust physical constitution will be cured quickly. The sinister destructive power of new pathogens will meet their match in the constructive restorative power of highly intelligent, swiftly adapting, personalised suites of biomedical therapies. Due to continuous monitoring of all our vital statistics, and of threats in our environment, corrective interventions can be triggered at much earlier stages in the downward spiral of bodily dysfunction. We will hardly notice that we were, momentarily, ill.

And not only will we remain fit and healthy for as long as we wish, but we will grow even fitter and healthier than we can presently imagine. The transhumanist vision of “better than well” is within our reach – but only if we rapidly alter society’s priorities to give much more attention to this possibility of an unlimited abundance of health.

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RAFT 2035 – a new initiative for a new decade

The need for a better politics is more pressing than ever.

Since its formation, Transpolitica has run a number of different projects aimed at building momentum behind a technoprogressive vision for a better politics. For a new decade, it’s time to take a different approach, to build on previous initiatives.

The planned new vehicle has the name “RAFT 2035”.

RAFT is an acronym:

  • Roadmap (‘R’) – not just a lofty aspiration, but specific steps and interim targets
  • towards Abundance (‘A’) for all – beyond a world of scarcity and conflict
  • enabling Flourishing (‘F’) as never before – with life containing not just possessions, but enriched experiences, creativity, and meaning
  • via Transcendence (‘T’) – since we won’t be able to make progress by staying as we are.

RAFT is also a metaphor. Here’s a copy of the explanation:

When turbulent waters are bearing down fast, it’s very helpful to have a sturdy raft at hand.

The fifteen years from 2020 to 2035 could be the most turbulent of human history. Revolutions are gathering pace in four overlapping fields of technology: nanotech, biotech, infotech, and cognotech, or NBIC for short. In combination, these NBIC revolutions offer enormous new possibilities – enormous opportunities and enormous risks:…

Rapid technological change tends to provoke a turbulent social reaction. Old certainties fade. New winners arrive on the scene, flaunting their power, and upturning previous networks of relationships. Within the general public, a sense of alienation and disruption mingles with a sense of profound possibility. Fear and hope jostle each other. Whilst some social metrics indicate major progress, others indicate major setbacks. The claim “You’ve never had it so good” coexists with the counterclaim “It’s going to be worse than ever”. To add to the bewilderment, there seems to be lots of evidence confirming both views.

The greater the pace of change, the more intense the dislocation. Due to the increased scale, speed, and global nature of the ongoing NBIC revolutions, the disruptions that followed in the wake of previous industrial revolutions – seismic though they were – are likely to be dwarfed in comparison to what lies ahead.

Turbulent times require a space for shelter and reflection, clear navigational vision despite the mists of uncertainty, and a powerful engine for us to pursue our own direction, rather than just being carried along by forces outside our control. In short, turbulent times require a powerful “raft” – a roadmap to a future in which the extraordinary powers latent in NBIC technologies are used to raise humanity to new levels of flourishing, rather than driving us over some dreadful precipice.

The words just quoted come from the opening page of a short book that is envisioned to be published in January 2020. The chapters of this book are reworked versions of the scripts used in the recent “Technoprogressive roadmap” series of videos.

Over the next couple of weeks, all the chapters of this proposed book will be made available for review and comment:

  • As pages on the Transpolitica website, starting here
  • As shared Google documents, starting here, where comments and suggestions are welcome.

RAFT Cover 21

All being well, RAFT 2035 will also become a conference, held sometime around the middle of 2020.

You may note that, in that way that RAFT 2035 is presented to the world,

  • The word “transhumanist” has moved into the background – since that word tends to provoke many hostile reactions
  • The word “technoprogressive” also takes a backseat – since, again, that word has negative connotations in at least some circles.

If you like the basic idea of what’s being proposed, here’s how you can help:

  • Read some of the content that is already available, and provide comments
    • If you notice something that seems mistaken, or difficult to understand
    • If you think there is a gap that should be addressed
    • If you think there’s a better way to express something.

Thanks in anticipation!

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