Transhumanism is a broad idea and it has an equally broad group of people who support it. There are many amazing folks out there with interesting ideas that don’t make as much of a splash as they should. One such group is the Freedom of Form Foundation ( https://freedomofform.org/ ). This organization is dedicated to the concepts of morphological freedom. Its particular goal is to develop and make available the best possible scientific and engineering approaches to allow people to alter themselves to fit their personal preferences.
Now one may say “But morphological freedom is something everyone does in Transhumanism. What makes them so special?” Well now I’m glad you asked. The FFF as they are often called aren’t just typical transhumanist types. Indeed many of them wouldn’t even identify as such. They are passionate about morphological freedom because they are interested in how it can help them achieve their desired forms. Most of these forms are related to those of animals of one kind or another. There is something primally interesting about this idea. Who hasn’t at one time or another thought about what it would be like to have a tail or webbed feet? Modern society reinforces this idea with the popularity of ‘talking animal’ characters which are very common, especially among childrens programming. So the idea is there from our earliest ages.
Of course not everyone wants to be an animal nor the same sort of animal nor even the same degree of the same species of animal. This variety is part of what makes this such an important attitude for us to keep in mind as transhumanists and one area where an organization like the FFF can really provide a useful lens to consider the wider realm of transhuman thinking.
Of course there are plenty of groups that are excited about adding things or taking a different shape. What sets the FFF apart is their commitment to do something about it. They currently have multiple projects such as integument review, anatomical modeling and social considerations. That last is particularly interesting since it something that often gets less consideration than it should. There are a lot of issues that will come up as people begin modifying themselves in ever more radical ways. We’ve already seen mixed responses to various piercings or the very limited animal mods that have been made to date. The FFF and some of its thinking will help in making that transition a bit easier and, hopefully, bring a little more attention to the issue ahead of its full realization. Professionalism and community engagement will set a more positive tone and dovetail nicely with technological improvements the FFF is working on.
To date the Freedom of Form Foundation has published and funded a few studies but it is early days yet. It is likely safe to say that they are off to a good start but there is a long road ahead. We as transhumanists should be excited to see technology and ideas in these fields advancing. After all if you can make a working tail you can solve a lot of other biological problems and the inverse is also true. Greater morphological freedom and opportunity to be who we choose is something that is meaningful across the full spectrum of possible forms we might consider. Just like becoming a robot or uploading to the cloud or simply improving our existing human selves to be stronger and faster we want all options on the table. So go check out the FFF and say hi to some of the more esoteric arms of transhumanism. We’re all in this together.