Etamui Religion: Transhumanism

Sects

Transhumanism is, at its core, the belief in and active work towards the potential of active transformation of humanity into something post-human. It is a nearly universal belief on Celestial Station––when one believes in anything at all, that is. However, there are several transhumanists sects that vary wildly in their practices and approaches:

  • Singularitarians (or Singularists), who believe we’ve already achieved the technological singularity and just don’t realize it or are in denial about it. They treat the neuralnet with all the respect and reverence of a deity, and treat computerized objects with the care one might show to a demigod or messenger of a deity. Programs are prayers. God is in the machine.
  • Matricists, who believe that we’ve already gone beyond humanity and uploaded our consciousnesses into the neuralnet. They claim to believe all our experiences are virtual, rather than actual, and life only has the consequences you allow it to have. They think that if you can truly understand that experience is an illusion, you can do anything at all and attain godlike power; to work towards this end, they engage in any number of activities to free their minds. Martial arts, drugs, trance-inducing neuralnet programs, meditation, and reckless activities to try to awaken their minds. Some matricists die of this enlightenment-hunting every cycle. (Supposedly, the matricist sect began as a joke. Some people still participate in it as a joke or recreation. Some certainly do seem to be true believers, though.)
  • Spiritualists, who believe that the spirit reflects the body, and the body reflects the spirit. They seek to modify their body to show what they feel their spirit looks like, or to influence what they want their spirit to be. If they can align body and spirit just right, they might achieve enlightenment, or empower themselves with supernatural abilities. Often their modifications make them look alien, inhuman, animalistic, or give them a deviant kind of beauty.
  • Shapeshifters, who strive to be more than a singular individual, using technology and modifications to “become” or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple perspectives. They believe every person is a multiplicity and in losing their individual selfhood, they can join with the collective consciousness of humanity. Ideally, this is a very serious philosophy and practice. In actuality, this is the domain of those privileged and wealthy enough to be able to take on new roles and afford the constant biomods needed to change their appearance and merge with another perspective every few cycles (though people with less access to such luxury can still engage with this through virtual reality, drugs, and neural programs). These are often SciDevs who engage in cultural tourism, “slumming it” with Glitches until that becomes uncomfortable or loses its appeal, and they declare they’ve learned what they were meant to learn from the experience before moving back to the Research and Development ring.
  • Uplifters, who believe that all sentient beings deserve to be sapient and have that sapience recognized. They advocate for enhancing animals and plants towards greater cognitive capacity, and also strive for increased self-awareness in artificial intelligence. For many, it’s because they feel humanity deserves to not be alone in the universe. For others, it’s that they believe many animals, plants, and/or artificial intelligences have already achieved sapience but it’s not respected or recognized sufficiently by humanity, and they want to join with other sapient beings in the pursuit of transcendence.

Basic Tenets

  • Seek perpetual growth and progress in all aspects of human existence, taking an active part in one’s own biological evolution. Mankind shall be the director of its own destiny.
  • Transcend the constraints of body, mind, and society.
  • Empower people with conscious choice over their lives, bodies, and deaths.
  • Knowledge, culture, and resources should be shared among the population for the betterment of humanity and swifter human evolution.

 

Basic Practices

These vary by sect.

  • The only one that exists across almost all transhumanists is that of modifications. Biological, genetic, and cybernetic modifications are ubiquitous aspects of transhumanism, viewed as ways to push the evolution of humanity or the self to the next stage of the species.
  • Spiritualists, Shapeshifters, and Matricists often engage in some form of meditation to increase self-awareness or seek enlightenment. Sometimes this is a sitting meditation focused on the breath; other times it’s with biochemical or virtual assistance to enter a trance state.
  • Singularitarians often engage in prayer and program-driven communication with the Superintelligence of the neuralnet. Some engage in divination by scrying the code of the neuralnet and claim to have received information from the Superintelligence through this practice.

Miscellany

What happens after death? This belief varies wildly by sect and individual. Many transhumanists believe there is nothing after death, only oblivion, and so this is part of their drive to seek to extend life indefinitely. Matricists believe (or claim to believe) that consciousness is uploaded into the neuralnet and lives on therein. Spiritualists and Shapeshifters often subscribe to the belief of some form of reincarnation or another. Uplifters and Singularitarians may have any number of beliefs about the afterlife.

Dream: To reach the next stage of humanity’s evolution, and the next after that. Pleasure and being free from suffering.

Nightmare: Stagnation. Suffering. Ignorance.

Light side, positive qualities: At its best, transhumanism encourages compassion for all living beings, egalitarianism, sharing of resources, helping the sick and poor, and universal care and education.

Dark side, negative qualities: At its worst, transhumanism becomes a rationale to take away the choice of individuals in order to enhance the greater good or the evolution of humanity as a whole.