Thursday, August 24, 2006

Are You Bilingual?

In a discussion regarding recruiting more women to H+ sites and causes on Michael Anissimov’s blog:,
I realized in the midst of my own argument that the discussion over what kind of women did participate, whether other women could be encouraged to participate, etc., was really irrelevant. The real discussion is about how H+ ideals are communicated to all people, everywhere, regardless of gender.

The hoped-for recruitment will fail because transhumanism is not offering those on the outside of the cause anything they think they want, because H+ers don’t bother to communicate in a language that our great, big, diverse world can understand. There is rich irony that the transhumanist world, a world dedicated to positing the technological future, is stuck communicating to the infosphere with the printed word, often through academia, which could be defined as the dying communication/educational paradigm. I’m not saying its dying is a good or a bad thing. It’s simply happening. The language H+ers speak is intellectual, logical, dispassionate, scientific, disciplined, and philosophical. (They also think they’re objective by virtue of the application of the scientific method, but of course, that’s an illusion, if not an arrogance, because there is no objectivity in human perception. But that's another topic for another day.) But the great big world out there was formed by 20th C. media – mostly television – and the language its denizens were taught to speak is moving visuals, aural, emotional, subjective, intimate, instant, and most importantly, in a narrative.

The question of recruitment is not really one of male vs. female. The question for H+ers is: Are you bilingual? Can you speak to humanity in a language they can understand?

And the next wave of media technology? What language will that technology teach us to speak? And will those who think about and discuss the future need to be multilingual in multiple communication paradigms to bridge the many gaps from humanity’s uneven acceptance of communication technologies?

Am I a child of Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman? You bet your boots I am. But then, so are you, whether you know it or not. Because the medium will always be the message and what we call humanity will always be molded by our technologies. Whether we want to be or not.