Transhumanism in the movies

Answers in the recent survey of Transhumanist Party members and supporters featured the word “videos” time and again. Here’s one answer, to the question What kind of activities do you think the Transhumanist Party should run?

Advertisement, to get the fact out that the party actually exists! Videos to explain what the party is about and not scare people off!

And another:

Informative videos about futurist concepts

And one more:

Videos, podcasts, exhibitions.

YouTube is a start. Beyond YouTube, there’s… Hollywood. For transhumanist ideas to change the world, it will help to have transhumanists featured in popular movies. That’s as heroes, not as villains!

Well, there’s a long way to go, but this week’s newsletter has some promising indications on the path to use motion pictures to transform the political landscape. Read on for some details.

Video recordings now available

Did you miss the event in London on 2nd February where Transhumanist Party members discussed the potential for politics to profoundly enhance human wellbeing?

Or maybe you attended the event, but would like a reminder of some of the rich flow of discussion that took place?

Video recordings of all three talks from the event are now available:

The third video also contains an extended dialog with the audience.

These recordings may bring many thoughts to your mind - things you want to add into that conversation.

Why not add your voice, either as a YouTube comment, or by contacting the Party directly via [email protected]?

Progress with our four new teams

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch with us already expressing interest in one or more of the four new teams we recently announced:

  1. Improving mental health - should the Party promote legal reforms in areas such as the “right to try” psychedelics?
  2. Policy review process - what steps should be followed, to agree and change our policies?
  3. Party database system - getting the best out of our current choice, NationBuilder, or switching away from that to something new?
  4. Party branding - which imagery, taglines, and so on, should the Party adopt?

Planning is starting to move forwards on the Slack app where members and supporters of the Party share ideas online. Discussions on the mental health issue have touched on topics such as DMT tea-drinking ceremonies in Peru, the risks inherent in the current black-market system for distribution of psychedelics, and people’s personal experiences.

We’re keen to collect together the best data, and the best thinking, on this topic.

As for discussions about Party branding, and the memes we could use, there’s a lively exchange on our Slack about a certain popular TV and film series: Star Trek.

There’s still plenty of scope for more people to become involved in these teams. Don’t be shy!

The best way for members to discuss online?

Do you have strong views on tools such as Discourse, Discord, Slack, Kialo, and Facebook private groups?

We are keen for the Party to take advantage of the best systems available. We aspire to “be the change we want to see in the world”.

Let us know your opinions. Thanks!

A movie about an Immortality Bus

Movie maker Daniel Sollinger spent some time in 2016 filming a remarkable spectacle - the journey across the United States of Zoltan Istvan, the founder of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Istvan was driving a large bus, decorated to look like a giant coffin, with the intent on raising support for the idea that much more funding should be applied to address aging. The trip culminated in Istvan theatrically reading out a “Transhumanist Bill of Rights” on the steps of government buildings in Washington DC.

(Note: there is no legal connection between the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the Transhumanist Party in the UK, but the two organisations exchange a lot of ideas and have many goals in common.)

The result of all the footage can now be seen in the movie “Immortality or bust”. This movie its first public on Jan 26th, at the historic United Artists Theatre in Los Angeles, as part of the Raw Science Film Festival. The film received the “Raw Breakthrough Award”associated with this festival. In view of the public interest, you’re likely to have the chance to see it on Netflix and/or HBO in due course.

For a short review of the film, see this blogpost, “To make a dent in the universe”.

From time to time, we in the UK Party speculate light-heartedly about driving an Austin Mini (or some other suitably iconic vehicle) to the Houses of Parliament, as part of one of our forthcoming campaigns. Let’s just say that the idea needs more work!

A movie about FM-2030

If you can be in London on Monday evening - Feb 18th - then consider attending the UK premiere of another movie addressing transhumanist themes, “2030”, from director Johnny Boston.

This is taking place in Screen 3 at the Novotel Hammersmith West, Hammersmith International Centre 1, Shortlands, London W6 8DR, as part of the London International Filmmaker Festival. 2030 is being shown from 18:15 onwards.

The screening is free to attend, but you are advised to arrive early, to ensure you get a seat.

Here’s the plot summary of “2030” from IMDb:

Johnny Boston was 10 years old when he first met FM-2030, a futurist who intended to live forever. But in 2000, after his body ceased to function, FM was cryonically preserved. 16 years later, an unexpected call placed FM's future in Johnny's hands.

FM-2030, who was born in Brussels in the year 1930 with the name Fereidoun M. Esfandiary, made many contributions to the emerging field of transhumanism in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, including his 1989 book “Are You a Transhuman?”.

Earlier, in his 1973 book “Up-Wingers: A Futurist Manifesto”, FM-2030 proposed that the positive politics of the future should avoid traditional “Right-wing” and “Left-wing” preoccupations, in favour of adopting “Up-wing” ideas:

To transcend more rapidly to higher levels of evolution we must begin by breaking out of the confinement of traditional ideologies.

We are at all times slowed down by the narrowness of Right-wing and Left-wing alternatives…

Right and Left... are traditional frameworks predicated on traditional premises striving in obsolete ways to attain obsolete goals.

The breakthroughs humanity most urgently needs, FM-2030 maintained:

...are outside the range of all the traditional philosophical social economic political frameworks. These new dimensions are nowhere on the Right or on the Left. These new dimensions are Up.

To find out more about the movie “2030”, take a look at its website, or see this extended trailer:

If you do make it to the premiere screening in Hammersmith on Monday evening, look out for other Party members in attendance!