Healthy Life Extension
Are Transhumans Among Us?
Dear Future Centenarian,
You've seen this term bandied about, but do you know what it means? Some are scared by it, visualizing all kinds of freakish Frankensteinian beings. Most people think transhumans are far off in the future.
Before we go on, let's define transhumanism.
First, let's see what H+ Magazine says about it:
"Transhumanism takes a multidisciplinary approach in analyzing the dynamic interplay between humanity and the acceleration of technology. In this sphere, much of our focus is on the development and ethical use of biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial general intelligence. Our theoretical interests focus on posthuman topics of the singularity, extinction risk, and mind uploading. Many of these ideas are contemplated in books and other publications produced at Humanity+ Press."
H+ Magazine is one of my all-time favorite websites. http://hplusmagazine.com
Now let's take a look at how Wikipedia defines transhumanism:
"Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal at fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available 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 study the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. They predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label "posthuman".
"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. 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".
Does this comfort you?
Well, maybe a little, but let's take a closer look.
I am transhuman. The chances are, so are you. In fact, the vast majority of the human population are transhumans. The human race started down the transhuman path long ago. My grandparents, who all died a couple of generations ago, were transhumans.
How can that be? After all, they were born in the 1800s. Well, they overcame their limitations with eyeglasses, dentures and other dental work and drove or rode in automobiles and public transportation.
If you use a smartphone, tablet, electronic reader or laptop, you are a very much advanced transhuman. The same is true if you had a joint replacement, prosthetic, laser surgery, cochlear or other chip implant¦ or any other implant as well.
We began transcending our human limitations as soon as we fashioned clothing and developed tools. Language was one of the more important transhuman advances.
But we didn't have a name for it until recently. Now that we do, most people react negatively to the term, and thus the concept. However, now that you know that YOU are transhuman, isn't transhumanism a little more comforting?
Some people understand all this, recognize that they are transhuman, and STILL get scared by it. Don't for a minute think they'd like to scurry off to the forest and scavenge for food for the rest of their years. Oh no, their perfectly content to embrace just some transhumanism, but not too much.
What scares them is the increasingly rapid rate of change. They think it's bad for humanity, and they wrap their fear mongering in a "gentle" term that they use to describe themselves “ "ethicists."
Since I have opinions on most issues, I'll share mine with you on these types of ethicists.
They are mass murderers. At least, they are making their best attempt at mass murder. And of course, attempted murder is a felony.
The reason I say that is, if they are successful in restricting human enhancing technologies, hundreds of millions of people who would be denied these technologies will die unnecessarily. And that might include you and me fellow transhuman.
It's tough enough raising funds for research without some influential deathists pulling in the opposite direction. Some are influential because they are on government payrolls (your tax dollars at work), and some are widely published.
Be alert as to what you may read, see or hear, and always ask what authors' and spokespersons' agendas are.
In short, transhumanism is simply improving the human condition.
Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
A Profile of David Murdock - Monday, June 10, 2013
David Murdock is one of the few billionaires interested enough in human longevity to talk about it in public and work towards doing something about it. Unfortunately he is focused only on diet and thus will fail to achieve his own stated goal of living far longer than any man has ever done, and will fail to help anyone else to do the same.
You can't eat your way to an extremely long life, no matter how good your diet might be. Most of the healthiest people die before reaching Murdock's advanced age of 90, and he is fortunate to have lived as long as he has. In a world of billions, random chance will deliver a small population of people who are very wealthy, interested in ineffective means of living longer, and who also, coincidentally, live for a long time.
Diet only affects your health - which is a good enough reason to try for a sensible diet and lifestyle. It isn't the key to extreme longevity, however. It remains the case that only way to enable people to reliably live far longer than they would otherwise have done is the development of new medical science focused on repairing the cellular and molecular causes of aging.
Implanting a Lab-Grown Blood Vessel - Monday, June 10, 2013
The tissue engineering of large blood vessels is a very different matter from growing the intricate networks of small blood vessels needed to support tissue. The former goal is far less challenging, for one thing, and researchers are thus further along in bringing the creation of new veins and arteries to the clinic. Here is news of progress on that front.
Rapamycin Improves Heart Function in Old Mice - Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Long term administration of rapamycin has been demonstrated to slow aging in mice, and here one aspect of that outcome is examined in more detail.
Read More http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2013/06/rapamycin-improves-heart-function-in-old-mice.php
Considering Reversal Cells in Osteoporosis - Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Researchers are digging deeper into the mechanisms underlying the loss of bone that accompanies aging.
A complete understanding of how imbalances occur between ongoing bone creation and destruction that takes place at the cellular level should eventually lead to ways to manipulate that process
Arguing that Mitochondrial DNA Damage Isn't Simply Random - Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Mitochondria are the swarming powerplants of the cell, a bacteria-like herd of self-replicating machines that produce the chemical energy stores that power cellular processes. They bear their own DNA, and damage to this mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage is important in aging.
Per the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging, some types of mitochondrial DNA damage spread throughout the population of mitochondria in a cell, subverting the quality control mechanisms that normally destroy damaged mitochondria. This leads to harmfully altered mitochondrial function and malfunctioning cells that export damaging reactive compounds into the surrounding tissues.
At this point the fastest way to confirm theories on aging and mitochondrial DNA damage is to implement one of the ways to replace or repair mitochondria DNA. There are a range of potential methods that might result in therapies. In the future, people will probably have their mitochondrial DNA globally refreshed every few decades, removing this contribution to degenerative aging.
Here researchers argue that the spread of mitochondrial DNA damage to all the mitochondria in a cell can't be just random, and thus has be driven by some advantage in selection - such as the ability to fool quality control mechanisms, as is proposed in mitochondrial theories of aging. If damaged mitochondria are culled by the cell less often, they will eventually out-compete undamaged mitochondria.
SENS Research Foundation Mentioned in Los Angeles Magazine - Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Here is a recent article from the local Los Angeles press, in which the author manages to touch on a broader range of the pro-human-longevity community than is usually the case.
IMPROVING THE DELIVERY OF GENES TO RESTORE SIGHT - Thursday, June 13, 2013
Researchers have produced an improvement in methods of gene therapy used to treat some rare forms of blindness, and which may allow the use of gene therapy in the treatment of more common forms of degenerative blindness that occur in old age.
Read More http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2013/06/improving-the-delivery-of-genes-to-restore-sight.php
INVESTIGATING FINGERTIP REGENERATION IN MAMMALS - Thursday, June 13, 2013
Young mammals, and occasionally adults, can regenerate lost fingertips.
This seems like a good place to learn more about the mechanisms of regeneration, gaining insight into why it is that mammals cannot replicate the feats of limb and organ regeneration exhibited by species such as salamanders and zebrafish. More importantly, researchers hope to find that it is practical to adjust human biology to allow this sort of exceptional regeneration.
REVIEWING THE LITERATURE ON CALORIE RESTRICTION AND OXIDATIVE STRESS - Friday, June 14, 2013
Oxidative theories of aging place the blame for the damage of aging on reactive oxidizing molecules, generated most notably in the mitochondria of your cells, and which tend to break the protein machinery they react with.
Oxidative stress is the term given to ongoing damage (and efforts to repair it) caused by the presence of oxidative molecules in and around cells. Levels of oxidative stress can alter as a result of heat, exposure to ionizing radiation, the details of diet, and all sorts of other environmental influences.
The relationship between oxidative stress and the pace of aging is far from straightforward, however. There is more oxidative stress with age, but this is an expected result of carrying a high level of cellular and molecular damage. Some very long-lived species, such as naked mole rats, show very high levels of oxidative stress but don't appear to be particularly harmed by it. Mild oxidative stress can be beneficial, triggering increased cellular maintenance for a time to produce a net benefit. Oxidative compounds are also widely used in our biochemistry for necessary signaling purposes.
CALORIE RESTRICTION VERSUS RESVERATROL TREATMENT - Friday, June 14, 2013
Researchers here compare the effects of calorie restriction and dietary resveratrol on the pace of sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. What I take away from this is that calorie restriction produces meaningful results on this front, albeit modest in comparison to what we'd like to see, and resveratrol doesn't.