I didn't realize I hadn't made this obvious, but seeing as I've had two people over the past few weeks refer to me in some way as a "transhumanist", apparently my disconnection from that subculture has gone somewhat under the radar.
So anyway. I am not involved in "transhumanism" at this point.
I do not call myself a transhumanist anymore.
I used to, but then I got tired of the baggage associated with it.
I also got really tired of the constant (boring, distracting) arguments over "What is transhumanism?", in addition to the stealth-eugenics stuff that some (not all, but enough to be a problem for me) transhumanists were trying to defend all the time.
I actually started feeling cognitive dissonance pretty early on, when I got involved in discussions where it seemed I was expected to dismiss the arguments of, say, disability-rights advocates (who I saw as making really good points) as "disability extremism".
But I stuck around hoping that maybe I could help some of the people calling themselves "transhumanists" (who I did find myself also agreeing with on some points) see how their own strident defenses of morphological liberty in the direction of permission/enablement to self-modify as desired actually converged with the disability advocates' long history of similarly defending atypical, nonstandardized bodies and brains and their existence in the world.
But I was up against too much. I had a few apparent allies, but not enough.
And eventually I couldn't find any good reason to keep calling myself a transhumanist -- not when I was at the point of feeling like if certain people on some of the mailing lists I was on had had their way, I'd never have even been born in the first place.
Mind you, I know that different people are at different points on their individual philosophical existential learning-about-the-world journey. I do not immediately reject the views of people who happen to be calling themselves transhumanists now (and am thankful for those who did not reject my views or assume I had nothing to say when I was calling myself that).
And I don't have any problem being friends with someone who still calls xyrself a transhumanist, or engaging in respectful discussion with such a person. With very few exceptions (e.g., Nazis, Raelians, Amway salespeople), I don't care a lick what someone's associations are -- I am very much about taking people on their own terms, probably to a fault.
But, the bottom line is that I am most definitely not self-identifying as "transhumanist" these days.
There's nothing about being interested in biogerontology and robots and cyborg body parts and whatnot that beholds anyone to a highly self-referential (and sometimes irritatingly insular and hypersensitive) subculture such as transhumanism.
And I am not a "pessimist". (See blog title? Yeah, I really mean that.)
Just because I think superlativity tends to distort dialogue and make it difficult to focus on what can actually be done in the real world does not mean I disparage the power of human imagination or our capacity to change things for the better.
When I say that superlativity is annoying and damaging to longevity-medicine dialogue, I am saying that no, it will not in any way, shape, or form help your grandmother live longer if you go around spouting off and gesticulating about how someday super-AIs will be able to extract the molecular patterns of people long-dead out of the atmosphere and reconstitute those people in some strange zombie homeopathy.
What will help is advocacy to improve elder care so that people don't end up wasting away in nursing homes. What will help is good, solid research. What will help is a shift in attitude away from judging people on the basis of how many hours they can put in in the cubicle farm and toward greater valuation of all kinds of people, regardless of age or disability or anything else.
I'm sorry if that sounds plodding and boring, but I actually want people to live, and I am not getting the sense from actually looking at reality that engaging in homeopathic zombie and upload fantasies in any context outside science fiction or salon philosophy is going to help anyone actually live.
And anyway, my interests themselves haven't changed.
I am still advocating for actual morphological freedom (that is, the right to control one's own configuration regardless of whether that means modifying or not modifying one's various aspects).
I am still absolutely in favor of and eager to support good, solid, biogerontological research. I still volunteer for the Methuselah Foundation and plan to keep doing that for as long as I can be of help.
I haven't suddenly decided that it's great to die of probably-preventable things at ages when you'd much rather be writing novels or stargazing.
I haven't stopped thinking robots and AI and cool science-fiction stories about parallel universes and Vast Amazing Futures are really nifty.
I've just realized that I don't owe anyone anything for having the interests I have, nor do I need to be a "member" of any transhumanist organization in order to have the kinds of interesting discussions that I've always been interested in having.
If that's somehow not okay with you -- well personally I don't care, but you might want to seriously examine your thinking. I can't survive cognitively in environments that force everything into false dichotomies, and nobody should feel hurt, slighted, or bitter because of my doing what I need to do for the sake of being able to actually use my brain.