The US Presidential Elections is due in November next year, and one of the Presidential Candidates is Zoltan Istvan, an atheist transhumanist and founder of the Transhumanist Party. Of all the Presidential candidates, Mr. Istvan can be described as the most crazy and absurd for two reasons: 1. He is running under the premise that he can make Americans and the rest of the world live potentially forever and 2. He is almost sure that he won’t win the 2016 elections, but is still spending money on the campaigns anyway.
1. Humans can live potentially forever
This is the core ideology of transhumanists. A transhumanist, by a broader definition, is any human being who develops or/and uses science and technology to make his/her life better. Any human being who uses medicine to recover from diseases, transportation technologies to travel faster, Agri based techniques for increased farm yields, communication technologies to keep in touch no matter the distance – any human being who is reading this, is a transhumanist.
In a narrower sense though, a transhumanist is that person who subscribes to the “international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.” Transhumanists believe that “human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label posthuman“.
To have an introductory understanding of transhumanism, the YouTube video below by the British Institute of Posthuman Studies, biops, is a good start. Important to note is that transhumanists seek to modify the human beings so that they can achieve three key improvements: 1. Super Longevity (immortality if you like) 2. Super Intelligence and 3. Super Well Being (e.g. eradicating depression and physical pain).
2. Zoltan knows he is unlikely to win the 2016 and probably the 2020 Presidential elections
When guys like Peter Kenneth, Martha Karua, Abduda Dida, Musalia Mudavadi, James Ole Kiyiapi and Paul Muite ran for the 2013 Presidential elections in Kenya, none of them acknowledged, during the campaigns, that they were likely to lose – or rather, that they won’t win the 2013 elections. Each and everyone of them assured their supporters that they would emerge the winners. They were running simply to win the elections.
Mr. Zoltan Istvan on the other hand is running, not really to win, but to introduce an agenda to US politics. Zoltan wants the US people to start thinking and debating the issues of transhumanism. His intention for running for the US presidency is not to become the 45th US President, but to shape the country’s dialoge such that party politics, national policies, and economic decisions are made after factoring in the transhuman agenda. Zoltan wants Democrats and Republicans to question and debate about the possibility of giving every human being a robotic heart in the next ten or so years; the possibility of allowing designer babies to flourish, and the possibility of enhancing man and machine interaction so that in the next thirty or so years, there will be no distinction between man and machine.
But it is nice to conclude this section by stating that Mr. Zoltan intends to win, in the very least, the 2024 US Presidential Elections. According to him, by 2024, science and technology shall have progressed to a state where technologies like robotic hearts, exoskeletons, 3D printed organs, stem-cell technologies, and many other related technologies shall have become common place. At that time, it will be easy to speak the transhuman language to the voters and they will be very likely to vote for a transhumanist.
Who is Zoltan Istvan?
In the Interview with Zoltan I didn’t remember to ask Mr. Istvan who he is. I have therefore went to the net to gather as much as I could, and there is a lot of things to talk about him. I won’t do that – please visit the Wikipedia Page about him and learn as much as you could. What I will share is what I learnt from his TEDx talk about his defining life moments, one of them is about Kenya.
Zoltan says that there are two important events that he considers precious – beautiful. One of those moments is when a person tackled him out of death. When reporting about Vietnam villagers who had abandoned farming to become bomb hunters, he was just about to step on a landmine when this guy, is interpreter, grabbed him from death.
That’s an experience that changes anyone. Most people get saved and start worshiping God to no end, but Zoltan changed to become fully dedicated to transhumanism with an aim to eradicate death and the fear surrounding death – not just for himself, but for everyone.
In the TEDx talk Zoltan also mentions his wife. His wife used to work for government hospital in Mombasa Kenya at a time that medicine was scarce and people were very poor. One day, a young teenage girl who had just miscarried walked into the hospital, bleeding – and broke. The policy at that time was that if someone was unable to pay for treatment they were to be turned away. Zoltan’s wife was therefore obliged to turn the young teenage girl away, but turning her away would have meant pronouncing her dead; so she decided to do a remarkable act. She walked across the street to a pharmacy and bought all the required antibiotics and other medicines she needed to treat the bleeding teenage girl – and that story touched Zoltan in ways unimaginable – he realized just how some people would do everything possible to help others out of suffering and death – a spirit that should be given proper funding by all concerned.
Zoltan is also a trained journalist and philosopher. As a trained journalist Zoltan has worked with National Geographic. He has also written numerous articles for several online publications including Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Gizmodo, Singularity University’s Singularity Hub among others. As a philosopher, he has written a science fiction book aptly named The Transhuman Wager, a best selling science fiction book that lays down the Istvan’s three laws of transhumanism:
- A transhumanist must safeguard one’s own existence above all else.
- A transhumanist must strive to achieve omnipotence as expediently as possible—so long as one’s actions do not conflict with the First Law.
- A transhumanist must safeguard value in the universe—so long as one’s actions do not conflict with the First and Second Laws.
Finally Zoltan has become a politician following which he founded the Transhumanist Party, a tool he is using to vie for the 2016 US Presidential Elections. I was able to track Mr. Istvan via the interwebs and got to ask him a few questions in regards to his presidential candidacy and where Africa stands in the transhuman progress. I have reproduced the interview without alterations in Page 2.