December 12th, 2017
|12:34 am - Spiritual Musings Of an Otherkin Transhumanist|
I’ve been thinking more about my spiritual beliefs of late, and since it’s been rather a while since I’ve written about them at length, it seemed reasonable to share them. They essentially come down to my being both otherkin and a transhumanist, and how these fit together (and more generally, how being a neopagan occultist and a transhumanist fit together).
There are two factors that are part of my identification as otherkin. The first is obviously my own internal experiences, many of which seem to have been the (quite long-lasting) result of a special initiation in the eccentric Alexandrian Wicca + dragon spirits coven I trained in, when I lived in Los Angeles in the early 90s. Since that time, I can call forth the experience of being a dragon, which is both impressively powerful, includes both physical sensations, like the feel of wind of my wings, changes in thought patterns and way of perceiving the world, and bit of memory, and beyond that is rather difficult to describe.
The other aspect of being otherkin is social - as I describe in this post, the otherkin community feels like home to me. I’ve previously tried being part of several different communities – including SF&F fandom and the neopagan community, and never found a place where I truly “fit”, until I encountered the otherkin community.
However, my identity as otherkin interfaces oddly with the fact that I don’t particularly believe in any sort of afterlife that involves a continuity of identity and thus don’t really believe in reincarnation. Sure, spiritual fragments may be recycled, and in some cases fairly large fragments, but I’ve never encountered any solid evidence (either in person or via any sort of reliable intermediary) that any true sense of identity or personhood persists from one life to another.
In part, that belief is why I’m a transhumanist. Instead, I believe that there are connections between different entities (both human and not) that go across time and worlds. I ran into this fascinating theory of what being otherkin means more than a decade ago, and it still makes sense (although likely as not the only explanation). In it, the author states:
The crux of my own argument is that people who call themselves Otherkin (and that term refers to the humans, not the spiritual forces acting upon or through them) are in fact the unwitting channel through which the psychic aspects of these forces are working to make themselves known. This makes sense to me, except perhaps in some cases for the “unwitting” part, since in many ways, my draconic initiation can be seen as a deliberate and voluntary version of this.
As for being a transhumanist, there are again for me two aspects. On a personal front, I have absolutely no interest in ever dying, I believe in souls, reincarnation, and suchlike, but it is clear to me that retaining even a fraction of one's memories after death is exceptionally rare and I firmly believe that my personality w/o my memories is in no useful way me, so I believe that death is a final ending for me. As such, I have no desire for it to ever occur.
Also, the world is full of many wonders and joys and it seems to me that I would require a minimum of several thousand years to experience them (at which point, I would likely be very different than I am now, at which point I am almost certain that the me I will be then will find many other interests to pursue. In addition, I would strongly prefer to be able to do complex math in my head and to never forget anything unless I wanted to. Also, I want everyone to have access to the same options and firmly believe that if we can change or improve something in a way that would aid both ourselves individually and our species as a whole, then we should do so.
The final aspect of my spirituality is how otherkin and my overall mystical interests relate to my interest in transhumanism. The answer, unsurprisingly is that my interest in both is identical. On the purely practical side, I am interested in the uses of both magic and technology to extend my physical and mental capacities, and more importantly, on a spiritual level, I am interested in using both magical techniques and transhuman technologies to enhance my spirituality. More specifically, I am seeking to understand and encompass more of the divine, and am interested in both using various spiritual practices and (when they become available) technologies for improving my intelligence, memory, and ability to access and process information to enable me to understand both the physical world around me and the spiritual dimensions of existence.
However, my fascination with transhumanism is more than simply a desire to be smarter and live forever. I think it is the best path for our species as a whole. Far too many people do not sufficiently consider the consequences of their actions and short-term thinking is disturbingly widespread, even among the heads of governments and transnational corporations. Increased intelligence and increased lifespan would almost certainly improve both. Our world is changing increasingly rapidly and w/o some sort of horrid disaster, these changes aren't going to slow down anytime soon. I do not believe in paradise or utopia and in fact find the entire concept stifling, since nothing is ever perfect and everything can be improved and tinkered with in some useful fashion, but the world can clearly be far better than it is now and transhumanism seems to obvious path.
Also, I think intelligence enhancement is important in a larger sense because my worldview is in some ways Lovecraftian. Not in any depressing or nihilistic sense, instead, for me, the universe is not only vastly complex, it is far more complex than our limited minds and brains can possibly understand, resulting in all manner of seeming contradictions that actually make sense when viewed from a larger perspective. I believe the world is full of all manner of wonders, terrors, and strangeness and all manner of unexpected surprises of all sorts. As a result, I believe that only by drastically expanding both our brains and our lifespans can we understand far more of both the spiritual and the physical cosmos around us, which looking to both wondrous transhumanist technologies and also to various forms of spiritual practice.
Also, in my odder and most hopeful moments, I like to think that some of what otherkin is about is reflections back through time of what we (as a species, and perhaps/hopefully as individuals) become in a transhuman future more strange and wondrous than we can now imagine or understand. We shall see...
In any case, when I think about transhumanism and spirituality both, two quotes come to mind: When I think about such topics, two quotes come to mind for me – the first by David Zindell from his novel The Broken God:
"What is a human being, then?'
An acorn that is unafraid to destroy itself in growing into a tree."
The second is my own from more than a decade ago – "I have no interest in worshiping gods, what I want to is for more people to play god." To me the idea that "playing god" is thought by some as something bad or wrong baffles and saddens me.
Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comments there.
Current Mood: thoughtful