Do It Yourself Transhumanism

transhuman1A few years ago when Crisis was still in print, Eric Pavlat wrote a disturbing cover story on the burgeoning transhumanist movement. At the time, the subject was still new to most of our readers; some even wondered if Eric wasn’t exaggerating the dangers.

Unfortunately for us, time has proven him right. Not only has transhumanism grown more popular over the past four years, but it has moved out of the lab and into the garage.

For example, Lepht Anonym, a young British woman involved in the movement, performs her own “self-enhancements” — including implanting trans- and subdermal temperature and electromagnetic sensors into her fingertips.

She does her own surgery, with a scalpel and a spotter to catch her if she passes out, and an anatomy book to give her some confidence she isn’t going to slice through a vein or the very nerves she’s trying to enhance….

She wants other people to share her DIY vision. It’s not the full transhumanist idea, it’s not immortality or superpowers — but even living without the gentle sensation of feeling the invisible is a difficult thing to imagine, she says. One of the implants stopped functioning once, and she describes it as like going blind.

But it isn’t for everybody, this cutting yourself up in your own kitchen. She’s the first to warn people that it hurts. A lot. Every time, you don’t get used to it…

The medical consequences can be both severe and likely to elicit hostility from doctors. She’s put herself in the hospital several times. She nearly lost a fingertip the first time she tried to implant a neodymium disc herself. Various experiments with bioproofing have failed, with implants rusting under her skin, or her own self-surgeries turning septic.

Sounds like a hoot. If you want to get a better handle on this bizarre but growing movement, Eric’s article is the best place to start.

Brian Saint-Paul

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Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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