Flavors of Transhumanism

Transhumanism, like any other belief, has core goals. However, the order of importance of these goals is not universally agreed upon; some may focus solely on technological pursuit, while other groups take a much broader approach. In effect, there are as many different Transhumanist groups as there are subcultures of modern society. Not necessarily exclusive of one another, these are more trends than definite lines of division.

Bohemian Transhumanism

Grounded in a cosmopolitan nature, this type is not so much a definite group as it is a composition of various well-educated and diverse individuals. The single unifying factor is the group's subscription to no doctrine: these proponents of Transhumanism embrace difference. Strong streaks of liberalism abound; many believe in using Transhumanism as a tool to create a better republican democracy. The nature of this group is both its greatest asset and liability; a diverse group of opinions allows for comparison and debate, but since concentrated power is frowned upon, so too do members of this group lack a system through which they can implement their ideas.

Anarchistic Transhumanism

Modern anarchism with a technological twist, fierce individualism is expressed even more so in those who subscribe to this belief than in Bohemian Transhumanism, which at the very least pays lip service to a group effort. Anarchistic Transhumanism believes in a future where there are no servants and masters; heralding technology as the great equalizer, the sovereignty each human is guaranteed from oppression of any sort.

Authoritarian Social Transhumanism

The newest incarnation of Transhumanism, this view holds that the means towards a posthuman future is through an authoritarian approach. It is clear that Western history has often frowned upon authoritarianism. However, this belief holds that under a strong, capable, and benevolent central figure, decisions can be quickly and effectively rendered, and a strong sense of personal responsibility is embodied in all members of such a group. The social aspect is the clear and highest goal this belief holds: the promise of the unification of humankind can be fulfilled with the aid of technology, so that true understanding can occur between all individuals, and a posthuman, democratic society become realized.

Academic Transhumanism

Confined primarily to educational and related institutions and their social circles, an elitist streak is prevalent in this version of Transhumanism. Believing in a central, technocratic leadership and an organized bureaucratic structure, prime examples include organizations such as the World Transhumanist Association and the Extropy Institute. As with any institutionalized cause, Academic Transhumanism suffers from the effects of insular views and uncompromising postures, as well as the tendency to identify and label allied and enemy groups. Furthermore, because it is bureaucratic in nature, Academic Transhumanism is limited in its ability to create concrete change; thus, it is more defined by the number of conferences it holds and not by active participation in greater society.

Corporate Transhumanism

Technology corporations such as Monsanto represent the corporate aspect of Transhumanism. Technology is embraced for monetary gain, and extensive efforts are made in creating public relations campaigns to convince greater society of the benefits of such technologies. The benefit is evident: a group of people are bound by a common quest for profits, and the prospects of futurist technologies are fully embraced and pursued. However, as with any corporate approach, the undesirable effects of such technologies must be considered with the enormous potential for abuse of future technologies. Deliberately ignoring side effects and concentrating on profit alone could become a very dangerous game.

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