Matthew Lehmitz

Why are you transhuman (ist)?

I am transhuman because I am human.  To improve oneself, to reach for the stars, to seek deeper understanding, and to seek beyond what we know are all fundamental traits of humanity that are also the underpinning philosophy of Transhumanism.  In many ways, we, as a species, have always been Transhumanism.  From our earliest days we made and used tools to extend our capabilities and improve how we live and what we can achieve.  We have sought to better understand the world around us and used that knowledge to improve the conditions in which we live.

To be transhuman now then is to take those next steps and boldly seek to discover how we can transcend our current world and solve its problems.  We can take ourselves to other worlds both beyond the Earth and delve into places crafted by our own minds in new ways.  A Transhuman perspective can help us to dream larger.  We can too easily become lost within the present and all the frustrations we currently suffer from and can find it difficult to envision that which is greater.  We look at speculative fiction as escape from our current world but often as not these stories are the futures we should be considering.  Too often though our SF is dark and dystopian whereas Transhuman thinking tends toward the positive and embraces a brighter future.  We can look to solarpunk and similar positive genres to provide that guidance.

Such thinking is all the more important since the technologies dealt with both by works of fiction and postulated by science are coming ever faster.  We are in an age of constant technological transition whether or not it is a future we would choose.  Humans like the advantages that technical solutions provide to the problems in their lives and acquire them rapidly and sometimes without full thought to the long term consequences.  In this regard I embrace Transhumanism for the focus it can bring to this state of affairs.  Sans the mundane thinking so often seen we can seek to mitigate the perils and problems that we face as a result of our own striving.  We know that technologies are neither fundamentally good or evil but that their moral situation is derived from their usage.  So to better understand their effects and mitigate their harms we must understand the people behind them.

Indeed the best way to do that is to be the people behind them.  We will not make technology disappear nor ideas evaporate.  The dire warnings we may hear about the negative things we hear about technology are not removed because research is made illegal or unfunded.  It just means these things go underground and are handled by the less scrupulous.  I am Transhuman because Transhumanism can bring greater ideals and ethics to the development of superior solutions and technologies.

Finally, I am Transhuman because I am human.  That is the focus of the movement and it is in the very term that is used to describe it.  I want to bring happiness to others, health for the world, and joy all around.  I want to live longer and better and want everyone else to do the same.  I want to increase the opportunity for people to communicate and embrace each other and we have shown that technology, well used, can help with many of these things.  We see in the modern world the largest number and largest percentage of healthy and happy people the world has ever known.  Through Transhuman efforts this can be expanded with more people better fed, better clothed, better sheltered and with more time to live and love.  Even more opportunities for creative outlets and incredible media experiences to improve our lives as we share them with each other will come out such focused efforts.

There is beauty and hope in a brighter future that we can see through the Transhuman lens.  There are challenges and pitfalls as well.  There are even ways that we can be better humans with deeper friends and lesser suffering.  Being Transhuman means working to find and build the best futures that we can and bring our humanity with us to grow it along the way.  Nurturing people and their tools for a brighter tomorrow.

First and foremost I am curious.  I want to know about the world around me and engage with new ideas, solutions and experiences.  As a result I am something of a generalist with knowledge and skills in a very wide range of areas.  This interdisciplinary approach to life results in distinct perspectives that are sometimes at odds with prevailing viewpoints.  Perhaps this is why I am so interested in talking with people and learning their perspectives while also seeking common ground.  I’m very interested in getting to know folks and developing friendships and happy to meet new people.

Professionally I am working to develop science and technology especially in the area of biology and ecosystems.  My current work is in the field of Astrobiology and I am heading up the PlantSat project to put a 3U cubesat into Low Earth Orbit with epiphytic vascular plants on board as an experimental basis for micro-stable habitat development.  Using artificial gravity and natural insolation should also prove interesting additions to an independent cubesat experiment.

Prior to this to this I was working on the intersection of Botany, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science working on my Thesis.  Essentially the goal was to develop an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle methodology to enable research on plants in hard to reach places.  The specific focus was on gathering data on the ecology in the canopy of neotropical forests but it could be generalized easily to any of a variety of locations and fields.  Once you understand how to fly a UAV through dense canopy and still get it within twenty centimeters of the desired photographic target it translates over easily.

I enjoy the outdoors and often relax in nature.  Various outdoor sports work in support of this as well as a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise.  I am currently working as a professional skier and this helps keep me outside and active even during the long cold winter months.  During the summer I often engage in hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing.  I engage in combat sports such as Airsoft or Swordplay at any time of year.

As to the arts I write frequently and am working on a novel.  I have a goal to finish two books next year.  One will be fiction and the other fact.  I am working on my drawing and hope to be able to put out an occasional comic along with the articles I write.   I’ve long done acting and am always eager to jump on any opportunity to be on stage or screen.  For additional challenge and engagement, I have also taken up an instrument and songwriting.

My long term goals at this point are to finish getting a doctorate and continue in a research field related to space science and biology.  Developing full regenerative ecosystems that could survive and thrive on Mars would be wonderful but life has a way of putting you interesting places and giving surprising opportunities.  Wherever I end up I’ll continue to engage with the world and learn and contribute as much as I can.

So overall we Transhumanists are just that: Human.  We have our hopes, goals and dreams.  We make mistakes but strive to enjoy life and accomplish our goals.  We make friends and develop relationships.  We come from all kinds of different backgrounds and have a whole range of skills and talents.  What holds us together is our shared view of how we can make society and the world a better place.

Related Web Sites and Posts On This Site: 

#IAmTranshuman Going to Space

The End of the Transhuman House 2.0

Transhuman Poetry:

A B C B A C

A shining starship on the hill

A happy AGI to call my friend

A philosophy of technological grace

The growth of art and more to lend

People changing as they will

New chance to take us all to space

 

These things we all seek to create

A future vision we desire

An extension of our humanity

That with our striving we inspire

Ourselves and everyone to animate

Happiness on earth and galaxy

#IAmTranshuman (ist)

3 Comments Add yours

  1. David Kelley says:

    I’ve enjoyed all your great work and your help at the Transhuman House.

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