I am off to a meeting where Simon Young, a founder of the World Trade Association, is speaking on his new book "Designer Evolution". As usual, I have left it very late to look at the website and collection of quotes (it is not a blog!), but apart from the music (too grand, verging on the bombastic in places for my taste), but am rather taken by what I see.
Hopefully Mr Young is not an objectivist but his book and blog make the right noises in regard to new technology and individualism. The ideas are represented as a compleat philosophy, constructed outside of the realms of academia. This is usually a standard ploy to render the philolosophy impervious to criticism, on the grounds that if you knock away one pillar, the whole edifice will fall. It is all grandly Victorian, echoes of Comte, or Spencer's "Social Statics".
I developed my philosophical system gradually and methodically over some 20 years, while supporting myself as a piano player in the hotels and piano bars of London and Europe (the term ‘Designer Evolution', for instance, occurred to me while playing Jerome Kern/Fred Astaire's ‘Pick Yourself Up', at The Ritz).
The result of twenty years work is a comprehensive philosophical system spanning thousands of pages, based on the original concept of Transhumanism as ‘evolutionary humanism', which I've condensed as best I can into the 417 pages of my book, Designer Evolution: A Transhumanist Manifesto.
Why go, then, if I am striking a rather sceptical, indeed critical, note? It is interesting to see how this system will incorporate libertarianism, as the Ayn Rand quotation suggests an Objectivist bias. Secondly, Young cites Julian Huxley as a forebear, for coining the term and pursueing liberal and humanist concepts of science at a time when Darwinism was also appropriated by the hard left such as Needham and Haldane.
The term ‘transhumanism' was coined in 1957 by the English biologist-philosopher Julian Huxley, as a synonym for his philosophy of ‘evolutionary humanism'. I first came across Huxley's philosophy in 1984, in a copy of the book Beyond The Outsider (1965) by the English philosopher Colin Wilson, that I discovered in my father's study. I immediately adopted the term transhumanism in my private journals, and decided to use it as a starting point for the development of a modern philosophy suitable for the 21 st century (I was thinking ahead!).
I shall report back.