The Transhumanist Candidate

The following is a post written by Dr Alexander Karran, who is standing as an independent electoral candidate in the UK constituency of Liverpool Walton. For more information about Dr Karran’s campaign, which is being supported by the emerging Transhumanist Party, please see this earlier post and watch this blog for developments. The Transhumanist Candidate Voters are more open to transhumanism than you might think My name is Alexander Karran and I am an independent Transhumanist candidate for the constituency of Liverpool-Walton (UK) fully supported by the Transhumanist Party UK (full disclosure, yes they paid my registration fee and campaign leaflet printing). Issues beyond Party control necessitated that the Party must run an independent Transhumanist candidate if we wanted to make any impact in the current election. After some internal debate, I was voted in as the best candidate out of the choices available, which after much searching of that which may be termed the “soul” I accepted. I could use many expletives here to convey the sense of absolute terror associated with a task of this magnitude (personally), but suffice to say the charge of becoming an independent candidate standing for Transhumanist goals and philosophy has been one of struggle and education. I would like to share some of things I have learned about the practicalities and the insights I gained from talking to the people within the constituency. Practical lessons   Documentation Do official paper work early, and if you think it’s too early it is really not Check paper work not once, not twice, but thrice (and then check it again before you hand it in) When reading the UK electoral committee documents be sure to face magnetic north and if you believe in gods have at least one pantheon in your corner. Ok, I jest but the electoral documents created to aid a candidate in standing for an election require a certain amount of patience and must be read stepwise, any speed reading or skimming will result in a mistake that can set back a campaign significantly Leaflets are probably best as A4, 1 fold to allow for more “glitz and glamour” i.e. “in the community” photo ops, standing by road sides with the name of the constituency etc. (this seems a really popular approach even though it is a really cheap shot). Have a PR and Campaigns manager, it is very hard to keep track of what is going on externally to a particular campaign and opportunities for engagement can be missed Leaflet / Poster One cannot simply put up a political poster anywhere, if it is in a city centre then you need council permission, locally shop windows etc. are acceptable Leaflets simple design, simple message, as few words as possible to get the point across, depending on your tastes, inflammatory defamations aimed at other political parties seem the norm, but is rather déclassé in my opinion so I avoided it To use the “free” Royal Mail election distribution service, if you are an independent (even if supported by a party, like in my case) you must avoid any advertising, that includes any mention of websites .com,.org etc. You can have open endorsements but they must be specific to the individual, if you stand for a party then you must have party branding and you can include the party website Check the Royal Mail candidate documentation, not once, not twice but …… (I hope you see the recurring pattern here) Line up a printing service before sending any leaflet to the Royal Mail artwork verification service, you need to ask the printing service if they will allow you to place their full address on the front of your leaflet, furthermore you should ask the print service if they can label the boxes appropriately (said label is in the Royal Mail document) and package it to the Royal Mail stringent packaging requirements (it will be refused and then binned if it doesn’t), not a problem if you are doing it at home, but again time will be a factor. Have your leaflet ready at least 5 weeks in advance of the closing for candidate nominations, do this to stop the absolute and terrible panic that accrues from running out of time, the Royal Mail Artwork checking service (where you send your leaflet for vetting) takes 48 hours to process an email, and if they request changes this then takes a further 48 hours and if further changes are required …… after this is complete you get a verification code, and you can send your leaflet to a printing house Learn how to read a catch 22 situation and deal with it effectively, the Royal Mail prefers to give out delivery time slots for the collection of leaflets at the distribution office (DO) (the label mentioned above must include the DO on every box or it will be refused), they also prefer the leaflets to be delivered by a service and not an individual, which is strange because they also require form EL1 to be associated with the delivery notice which you can’t fill out until the royal mail gives you a delivery slot, which you can’t know until you know when it is going to be delivered…..  So your choices: pay through the nose for a guaranteed delivery service that gives exact time slots and send your EL1 to them via special delivery or just get it sent straight to your home / business (see above “get a campaign manager”) and go against preference and take it personally where you can guarantee a time slot. A final note on leaflets: do not under any circumstances deviate from the vetted design in any way, even the smallest change will result in it being returned or binned, they have the vetting code and a copy of your artwork and will further vet it to check its authenticity. Media If you get an opportunity to talk about what you are doing and the party message, take it, no questions asked. Try to have a conceptual framework that you will work within when you talk and try not to deviate from it, journalists will always ask leading questions in order to get that juicy sensationalist sound bite, and this could then play against you at some future time. With that said however, go full bore, give concise answers yes but if you have leeway enjoy the moment and talk around the subject. I’m told any publicity is good publicity by trusted sources, I remain sceptical on the issue. Personal Lessons on a Journey Not Yet Over So not only did I have to canvass for signatures to support my nomination as an independent Transhumanist candidate from my local constituency but I also needed to speak to the people on general principles (this after all is supposed to be the basis of politics). I was very nervous about this part, not that I have a problem opening lines of communication with people just that, after talks with other Transhumanists and the general feel from the Facebook population there is a belief that “the general population” just doesn’t get Transhumanism and as far as saying the words goes, in this they are right but they are also dead wrong. I will explain my reasons for such a statement, the internet Transhumanist community likes to pontificate upon how “out there” Transhumanism is, when in fact only the more esoteric arms can be seen in those terms (i.e. cryopreservationists, singularitarians). However, I would argue what could be more natural than our technology? it IS an extension of our humanity in and of itself, needing no label and no real philosophical debate. We are a tool-using species, the very basis for our big brains is tool use and communication. So the reason for my nervousness? What does Transhumanism and Transhumanist philosophy mean to non-Transhumanists? Well having talked to around 250 people in my local constituency, I found that in essence it means nothing! and this is a good thing. The time is now to start pressing ahead with the Transhumanist message, to move as part of a “movement”… The Transhumanist movement has thus far failed to externalise its philosophy in such a way as to appeal to a greater audience of “non-Transhumanists”, if indeed such a thing can be said to exist. As with all things, agreement appears to be a matter of degree and not philosophical difference, after all technology is one of the pillars western civilisation is built on. So when I explain to the so called average person (who is anything but average) that I stand for the core principle that “technology can and should be used to overcome human limitation in all its forms”, specifically to manage and shepherd the accelerating changes happening in the world around us (and relating this principle to personal issues such as accelerating technological unemployment, poor education and health care), Transhumanist thought suddenly became relatable. To tease apart what I mean by relatable in this context, not a single individual made any link to transsexualism or other negative connotations, all were open to having the terminology explained and when it was explained that I advocated the use of technology to overcome problems and enrich their lives and the lives of their children the Transhumanist message was well received. You will note the word “transcend” is missing from the above principle (which was part of the original central unifying meme proposed by Amon Twyman and discussed at great length) was replaced by “overcome”, in my opinion transcendence be it technological, spiritual or other, and arguably the end goal of the Transhumanist ideal, is sadly hard to conceptualise and relate to. However, to “overcome” is almost instantly relatable, in our day to day lives each of us aims to overcome many obstacles, no less so for the hard-working electorate of Britain who face many challenges from an ailing NHS, heavy taxation, a system of governance seemingly interested only gaining financial and societal status through the selling off of public services, to more personal issues such as affordable housing, access to education, finding employment and subsistence. Now I am aware that this may appear to “water” down the full gamut of Transhumanist philosophy and goals, thus rendering the message somewhat unrecognisable to the extreme polar advocates of the movement. However, I believe, and the Transhumanist Party in the UK believes that this central unifying principle provides a valid middle ground which we as Transhumanists can get behind, and moving forward can provide the bedrock for well-reasoned evidence based policy in a whole host of areas. This approach also has a fringe benefit as, at the moment the mass media are in complete control of how transhumanism is perceived by the general public, if we as advocates of transhumanism in the UK (and indeed worldwide) push this unifying principle and relate it to real world issues, then that is the message that the mass media receives and when sensationalist headlines, replete with killer bots, head transplants, pictures of the terminator are created in our name we in an attempt to demonise the movement, we can point to them and validly claim misrepresentation. In the UK there appears to be a large nascent population that want political change and they don’t appear to care where that change comes from, providing their issues are addressed openly and transparently. So let’s make it happen!

UK Election Update & TPUK Newsletter

This is an update on Transhumanist Party support for Dr Alexander Karran, who is standing as an independent candidate in the election for the UK constituency of Liverpool Walton. Alex is the first Transhumanist to ever face an election on an explicitly Transhumanist platform, and he is doing so in order to raise awareness of Transhumanist approaches to the world’s problems, and of the Transhumanist Party. Alex’s campaign leaflet is being sent to households in Liverpool. We don’t just want to spread the message in Liverpool however, and we need your help. We want you to help by spreading Alex’s message, to know that political Transhumanism exists, and that we will be moving onward and upward from this promising beginning. What else can you do to help? Regardless of where you are in the world, you can join the Transhumanist Party in the UK. You can help us work toward fielding candidates in the future, and to promote Transhumanist ideas and causes. To join the party or donate to the cause, please follow this link: JOIN NOW: More information from TPUK: To find (or even start!) a Transhumanist Party group in your own country, please do take a look at the Transhumanist Party (Global) website: TPUK monthly newsletter: The Transhumanist Party in the UK is a very new organisation, still getting itself established, and up until now we have been focussed on getting ready to support Dr Karran’s independent candidacy. From May 2015 however, we will be able to focus on broader goals, and will be keeping our members informed through a monthly newsletter mail-out. Members of the general public will be able to read copies of the newsletter, here in this blog. So, please do consider joining the party and stepping up to help as a volunteer, but at the very least stay informed by watching this blog for updates, and help out by sharing the latest news with your friends!

TPUK 2015 Election Announcement

We have previously announced that the Transhumanist Party will be supporting an independent candidate in the UK national elections next month, and are now glad to announce that this will be a founding party member, Alexander Karran, in the seat of Liverpool Walton. An unofficial public statement placed Amon Twyman, the TPUK party leader as our candidate of choice. However, as part of our ongoing campaign strategy it has been decided that the party can be most effective by fielding and supporting a single candidate at this time, and that this candidate be someone who lives in a safe electoral seat. Why run in a safe seat? It may seem strange to put up a candidate in a seat where everybody already knows the result. A seat that hasn’t changed hands in decades. Why would we do that? Don’t we want to change the world for the better? Of course we do, but we don’t think a single independent MP could achieve this goal, even if we could get them elected just weeks after the Party’s launch. Our goal in the short term is to spread core Transhumanist Party ideas with a view to increasing public awareness of the Party for future electoral campaigns. Every five years, people naturally take their chance to ask who will take care of local matters like their roads, hospitals, and schools. Between elections, however, people begin to think of the bigger picture… and the bigger picture is that they are very unhappy with politics and politicians. The world is changing fast, and our political system cannot keep up. We want to start a conversation with the people of Liverpool Walton and the world about that bigger picture, and people who live in a safe seat can afford to do that at election time. Alexander knows the area and its people, and can have an honest conversation with them about the things that need to change and what the Transhumanist Party can offer to effect that change. People can even vote for the Transhumanist Party, and help us spread word that it is time to start thinking about the future and a new way of doing things, without worrying that their vote might be wasted. Stay tuned for more news! Updates and news from the campaign will be posted in this blog, at the TPUK website (, and across international TP web presences. Stay tuned, and join the conversation! Alexander Karran: Biographical information Alexander Karran was born in 1973 in Liverpool, where he has resided almost continuously until this day. Alexander is a published academic and has recently  completed a PhD in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University in August 2014. The focus of his research was physiological computing, which is a multidisciplinary area of research encompassing neuroscience, psychophysiology and computer science. Alexander previously earned an MSc with distinction in Computer Network Security, with a research focus on cyber security and social network analysis and an undergraduate degree in a computing subject. Alexander currently consults for a recent start-up in Singapore that focuses on wearable computing and e-health and works in the area of cognitive neuroscience at Edge Hill University in Merseyside. Alexander is a founder member of the Transhumanist Party and co-founder and research consultant of the Transpolitica think tank, headed by David Wood. Alexander is a keen follower of current trends in accelerating technologies and their potential to transform human behaviour and society. He also stands for the Transhumanist ideal that technology can and should be used to transcend human limitation in all its forms.

Making History: Transhumanist Party Supports First Candidate!

We’re still in the very earliest days for the Transhumanist Party around the world, but things have been particularly hectic in the UK, where we have been trying to get the party set up in time for the national election in early May. As it happens our registration with the government is still in progress, but we are happy to announce that the party will be supporting an independent candidate in the election this May. The details of this candidacy will be officially announced in a few days time. You may wonder what the point of this exercise is, when the party is so new and our hope of actually winning this election is – to be frank – infinitesimal. We have two key goals at this stage: The first is to loudly announce the existence of the Transhumanist Party in the UK, to show that we are serious, and that this is the beginning of organised political Transhumanism in the UK and around the world. To show that standing on a Transhumanist platform is possible. The second is to spread Transhumanist ideas, and show people that the technological possibilities unfolding before our very eyes have the potential to change society for the better. Since announcing that UK party membership is open this week, we have been very pleased to receive enough support to stand a candidate and print 20,000 leaflets, which will be mailed out to the public by the government as part of the candidacy. More details will be announced very soon. If you would like to join the party and help us move forward with this and further efforts, we would be very happy to have you aboard! Dr. Amon TwymanTranshumanist Party (UK) Leader

What Is The Transhumanist Party

The Transhumanist Party is a worldwide movement of groups working to establish political parties based on the idea of Transhumanism; that the human condition can and should be improved using technology. Transhumanism as a whole is an intellectual and cultural movement, and the Transhumanist Party exists to extend that movement into the political arena, promoting the idea of positive social change through technology.

Transhumanist Party Membership Open

The Transhumanist Party wants YOU! The Transhumanist Party is a new political organisation in the UK, part of a network of similar groups around the world, committed to positive social change through technology. Transhumanism is the idea that we must improve ourselves and society using the most effective tools available. To go beyond what we have been, in order to overcome the world’s problems and create a better future.  We will work toward that vision by building an organisation which not only pursues innovative policy, but also strives to become an example of new approaches to problem solving and decision making. For example, Party policy is developed by the membership, rather than by the leadership. In other words, membership means actually having the chance to make and vote for policy, and to influence the party’s development. It also means being a part of something historically significant: A new party dedicated to bringing politics into the 21st Century. You can see a copy of the Transhumanist Party Principles below. Anyone who agrees with them and who is legally eligible to join a UK political party can do so via the link below. If you are not eligible to join this or any UK political party as a full member, you can still join as a non-voting supporter.  JOIN NOW: We are still in the earliest stages of setting up the party, and in the next two weeks will be deciding whether we yet have enough support to send out 20,000 leaflets about Transhumanist ideas, in support of an independent electoral candidate. If enough people join now that’s exactly what we’ll do, so there is a small slice of history in your hands. You can help make this happen. Join us!  Transhumanist Party Principles 1. Evidence, Science, and Technology All policy will as far as possible be evidence-based rather than ideology-based. The Party shall support and advocate science and technology, and exists to improve the human and societal condition through the use of technological tools. TP shall strive to create and implement technologies including but not limited to anti-ageing, rejuvenation medical technology, a policy of making people “Better Than Well” if they want, artificial and augmented intelligence, and other augmentations of human capabilities. 2. Bright Green TP shall use all means to work toward the abolition of unnecessary and involuntary suffering across society and throughout nature where appropriate, with particular emphasis on reforming and encouraging responsible practice in economic enterprises such as farming. The Party is deemed to be Bright Green in the sense of advocating the use of high technology to minimise, and where possible reverse, the negative impact of humanity on the life of earth. 3. Personal Freedom, Social Justice TP advocates liberal social policy whereby all acts between mentally competent consenting adult citizens are legal. Furthermore, any mentally competent adult citizen may do to themselves as they will. These freedoms apply insofar as there is no identifiable victim and no extra-personal law broken. We advocate these freedoms in the context of strong social support for society’s weakest members, and base policy on the principle “Nobody Deserted”. All citizens shall have a right to sustenance, clothing, shelter, energy, healthcare, transport, education, and access to information resources. TP also advocates that all citizens must be able to contribute to society, in their own fashion, without blemish to their dignity or sense of self worth. Where the combination of personal freedoms and a right to guaranteed support would be untenable, then citizens exercising those freedoms may forego social support.

Get involved in the party setup!

Greetings supporters and would-be members of Transhumanist Party UK, the second such national party in the world to bear the name since the founding of the Tranhumanist Party of the United States by Zoltan Istvan. The party is currently in a formation period prior to registration with the Electoral Commission. During this time we have plenty to do! First up, please join our discussions on Facebook and our official forums. There are many discussions to have in the sphere of transhumanist politics, and related pro-science, progressive ideas that will comprise our 2015 manifesto. Secondly, if you feel you can spare time on a more regular basis, there are many official positions and functions we are seeking to fulfil on an ongoing basis in the area of: IT and platform support ...others to follow If you feel you could contribute in this way, please fill in our volunteer form or contact us via email.