"Beyond the fear & chaos of contemporary life, there is good news to share": David Wood's Sustainable Superabundance

A politics that’s about generating alternatives to a stultifying, frozen status quo, shouldn’t rule out anyone’s optimistic, can-do vision. And at the very least, this is the spirit of the new book from our friend, organiser of the London Futurists group David Wood (who’s written for DA before).

Titled Sustainable Superabundance - on sale now as a Kindle, and in draft form here - it’s the latest in a series from David where he takes a “transhumanist” perspective on politics and sci-tech. A shorthand definition of transhumanism might be “the conscious application of technology and science to transform human capacities and abilities”.

There’s a lot of resistance to transhumanism as a term - it easily conjures up images of marauding cyborgs in SF movies - but we are interested in what they cover, from what could be described as a “full human” perspective.

If radical innovations challenge our definitions of work (automation substituting for mental and physical labours), or of health and longevity (bio-engineering that increases our lifespan and vitality) - then why do these changes always seem to be imposed on human communities from the outside, by charismatic moguls?

Who can suggest a politics which harnesses these forces for the “benefit of the commonality”, as the original Luddites put it - and what some in the transhuman community call “a radically techno-progressive future”?

This seems to be David’s aim in Sustainable Superabundance (and his previous book, Transcending Politics). We invite you to explore, but here’s a taster from his introduction:

The key to this new era is to take wise advantage of the remarkable capabilities of twenty-first century science and technology: robotics, biotech, neurotech, greentech, collabtech, artificial intelligence, and much more.

These technologies can provide all of us with the means to live better than well – to be healthier and fitter than ever before; nourished emotionally and spiritually as well as physically; and living at peace with ourselves, the environment, and our neighbours both near and far.

This is not a vision of today’s society writ large – a mere abundance of today’s goods, services, activities, relationships, and rewards. It’s a vision of a superabundance, with new qualities rather than just new quantities.

This is not a vision of returning to some imagined prior historical period – to some supposed bygone golden age. It’s a vision of advancing to a new society, featuring levels of human flourishing never before possible.

This is not a vision restricted to the few – to an elite percentage of today’s humanity. It’s a universal vision, for everyone, of a wide, diverse fellowship in which all can freely participate, and in which all can enjoy unprecedented benefits.

This is not a vision of the far-off future – something relevant, perhaps, to our great-grandchildren. It’s a vision of change that could accelerate dramatically throughout the 2020s – a vision that is intensely relevant as the year 2020 comes into view.

This is not a vision of a fixed, rigid utopia. It’s a vision of the collaborative creation of a sustainable, open-ended, evolving social framework. In this new framework, every one of us will be empowered to make and follow our own choices without fear or favour.

More here. And if you want to see our two year long archive of thinking about the link between future prospects and community power, see this “Futures” category link.