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Transhumanism

The futurist ideology & movement.

Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international and intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as the ethics of using such technologies. The most common transhumanist thesis is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the natural condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.

Up till now human life has generally been, as Hobbes described it, 'nasty, brutish and short'; the great majority of human beings (if they have not already died young) have been afflicted with misery...we can justifiably hold the belief that these lands of possibility exist, and that the present limitations and miserable frustrations of our existence could be in large measure surmounted...The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself - not just sporadicall an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity.

The contemporary meaning of the term "transhumanism" was foreshadowed by one of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught "new concepts of the human" at The New School in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and worldviews "transitional" to posthumanity as "transhuman." This hypothesis would lay the intellectual groundwork for the British philosopher Max More to begin articulating the principles of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy in 1990 and organizing in California an intelligentsia that has since grown into the worldwide transhumanist movement.

Influenced by seminal works of science fiction, the transhumanist vision of a transformed future humanity has attracted many supporters and detractors from a wide range of perspectives including philosophy and religion. Transhumanism has been characterized by one critic, Francis Fukuyama, as among the world's most dangerous ideas, to which Ronald Bailey countered that it is rather the "movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative and idealistic aspirations of humanity."

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