Volume 1, Issue 4
4th Quarter, 2006

On Genes, Memes, Bemes, and Conscious Things

Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D.

page 6 of 6

There are simple principles of cyberliability law that can enable reproducing. One example is if a transbeman cannot be civilly punished, then it cannot meet the obligations of a person, and so cannot have the rights of one.

The psychology of transbemans is important to keep in mind. Maslow[1] stated that our adulthood should not be only a renunciation of our childhood, but also an inclusion of its good values and a building upon those. Transbemans and transhumans have nothing to be embarrassed about their human background. Instead, they should take their human background with them into the future at the speed of light as cyberconscious beings. Transbemanism is a Maslowian approach to human enhancement.

Why should we make the leap into transbemanism? This raises the debate between red dolphins and green chimps. Red dolphins are those who believe that history, data, and empirical evidence shows that technology has caused more pain than pleasure. The H-bomb is the usual example given of this. Because of this, technology is more likely to cause existential events, so they conclude that we should limit technology. Green chimps say that the data shows just the opposite, that technology has reduced pain caused by nature. The emblematic example is the eradication of small pox which regularly wiped out millions of humans. Green chimps believe that because technology has reduced harm, it is logical to assume that it is more likely to prevent rather than cause existential events, so we therefore should maximize technology.

This is an irresolvable debate. Empirical data cannot prove or disprove either side. Red dolphins say, “Stop. Our ancestors wisely gave up land technology and returned to the sea. Humans and technology have done us wrong. The evidence of this is how we swim in ever diminishing numbers in the sea.” The green chimps say, “Put the pedal to the medal. Look at what our thumbs have enabled. We are on the cusp of having human rights. As there is an invisible hand in the market that somehow resolves all issues, there is an invisible leg of technology that allows us to maximize goods and reduce harms.”

Ultimately, this is a debate between long run and short run perspectives. Because the cosmos is definitely deadly, red dolphin rules must mean death for all sentient species on the planet in the end. The earth is not going to last forever. Historically, almost all species are wiped out every hundred million years or so. Green chimps rules may let us survive with nanotechnology. Technology only may be deadly. Thus red dolphin rules mean we only definitely survive for a while, but green chimp rules mean that we might die sooner. It all depends on whether you are willing to take a risk for the long term even though there might be a risk of harm in the short term.

There is a compromise approach. If you blend red and green, the result is brown. There is a brown turtle hybrid approach, which is to move forward with technology, but do so in a way that gets a collective buy-in of society in a consensual fashion. In this way, we will be able to realize the transbeman vision with a maximum of good for everyone and a minimum risk of harm.

1. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) attempted to synthesize a large body of research related to human motivation. Prior to Maslow, researchers focused separately on such factors as biology, achievement, or power to explain what energizes, directs, and sustains human behavior. Maslow posited a hierarchy of human needs based on two groupings: deficiency needs and growth needs. Within the deficiency needs, each lower need must be met before moving to the next higher level. Once each of these needs has been satisfied, if at some future time a deficiency is detected, the individual will act to remove the deficiency. Valdosta State University August 28, 2006 4:55PM EST (back to top)

RothblattMartine Rothblatt started the satellite vehicle tracking and satellite radio industries and is the Chairman of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company. She is also the founder of Terasem Movement, Inc.


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