The SuperHumanist Manifesto (Long Form)
Fork on the road: will we become less or more human?
So far technologies we created brought tremendous progress. It didn’t come for free though. We paid the price by losing our humanness and well-being to a certain extent. If we make a projection based on the past, we can predict that dehumanization will intensify as technology becomes exponentially more powerful.
The Agricultural, Industrial, and Information Ages have been characterized by the standardization and objectification of humans. In the pursuit of survival, economic efficiency, and productivity, humans have often been reduced to mere cogs in the machine, molding themselves to fit the needs of the prevailing systems. In many ways, we have downgraded ourselves to a function rather than a being.
As an unprecedented change brought by AI looms like a Tsunami, we find ourselves grappling with its magnitude and implications. Even though it is impossible to fully control the trajectory of the change, we can attempt to channel its force towards a vision of the future we would like to end up in.
This manifesto offers a vision for the future of humanity. It appeals to a revised relationship with technology and progress so that we can become more/fully human, i.e. superhuman, and tailor-fit our environment for human needs and actualization.
We are like Ferraris in off-road conditions
Much like a Ferrari struggling in off-road conditions, we are grappling with environments that our biological, psychological, and social systems are not compatible with, causing a host of challenges to our physical, mental, and social well-being and fulfillment.
Now when the car acts up, we blame the car. While we may have improved the landscape for certain measures, we also have decreased our functioning.
Many modern-day maladies stem from this discord between our needs and the modern world we created. We largely failed to leverage technology in a way to create a world that satisfied the basic needs of humans. We failed because we did not even try.
Humanity is already suffering; what will happen when we start mindlessly changing our environments further with unprecedented speed based on this powerful new technology?
There may be, however, a way to reverse the trend this time. It is the first time in history we have the technology and knowledge that can liberate us from objectification as tools for creating economic value.
This may be our chance to design our lives to fit our nature rather than forcing ourselves to pay the cost of the mismatch brought upon by mindless progress.
Superhumanism is a call for harnessing our technologies to set the stage for human flourishing and help us become superhumans.
Instead of compulsive and mindless use of technology for “progress”, we can intentionally purpose technology to serve the needs of humanity.
Like a track designed to showcase Ferrari’s full potential, we can design our conditions to enable and support human potential and its diversity.
Superhumanism is a form of self-love at the species level. Self-love does not require superiority over others. It encompasses self-acceptance, appreciation, compassion, and supporting action.
Superhumanism is a take on what it means to be human and what makes us worthy. Our existence is the product of billions of years of evolution, shaped by unique circumstances that have formed us into the beings we are today.
Our consciousness, an incredible mystery yet to be fully understood, bestows us with the ability to experience life, connect with others, and create meaning in the world.
Superhumanism proposes embracing our evolutionary baggage so that we can preserve and actualize the essence of humanity in a world increasingly dominated by machines.
The Term “SuperHuman”
Here the term superhuman is intentionally used differently from its common usage. The word super has multiple meanings; “above or beyond” and “to a high degree” are the most commonly used ones.
In the past literature, superhuman has commonly been used to mean beyond human but we chose to use the meaning to a high degree; like sweet to supersweet, human to superhuman.
The reason we make this choice is to put the value back into being human. When we use the term to mean beyond human, there is a presupposition of the inferiority of being human. The aspirational term leads us to strive to go beyond it, not towards it. We propose to attribute superness to the actualization of who we are and our potentialities.
It’s also important to note that we don’t use the term to refer to perfection or a perfect human being. We believe in embracing our imperfections and evolutionary baggage and finding the beauty in its unique expression of life that is not replaceable.
Similarly, our construct of the SuperHuman Era does not refer to a perfect world or a paradise of eternal happiness but an era of a new form of freedom enabled by abundance and knowledge to actualize our potential.
Superhuman Before Transhuman
Superhumanism proposes that we first understand and actualize our existing potential before attempting to change our nature. This idea comes as a response to Transhumanism, which is a movement that wants to use advanced technologies to go beyond human limits.
Sure, using technology to go beyond our natural limits sounds exciting. It could open up lots of new possibilities. But we believe that we still have a lot to discover about our natural individual and collective abilities.
We haven't fully explored or understood the power of our minds and bodies, and how they work together. There are many uncharted areas that we haven't tapped into yet because we have been living in a world that is mismatched to our needs.
We believe rushing transhumanistic efforts without profound understanding can backfire and degrade our powers and experiences. We are not against Transhumanism itself but the premature attempts of it.
We believe the first step should be leveraging technology to create a bespoke world that’ll allow us to understand and make the most of our natural abilities, thus enabling us to become superhumans.
Grade Card of Past Progress
We assume that technology is good for humanity. Let's question that assumption and look at what past technologies provided humanity.
While technology and socio-economic development have invariably brought about progress, their impact on the satisfaction of fundamental human needs—as outlined by Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs—remains complex and multifaceted.
Figure1. Scorecard for Past Technologies
Rationale for the Score Card click here.
Our Vision for the Future
We envision a future where we ace this scorecard. In the superhuman era, technology is not used to objectify and forsake humans for compulsive progress at all costs but to design our environment and systems to enable self-actualization at the species level.
Our new capabilities are used to satisfy the basic and higher-order needs of humans unlocking the growth trajectory of humanity. Even though this may not mean that every individual will satisfy all their needs and become superhuman, it means they will have the chance to.
Resources and available technologies are leveraged to provide sustainable food and clean water access for all, personal and physical safety, and economic security.
Kids' and adults’ inner-directedness (inborn desire to grow and improve) is supported through technology and rich social experiences.
Individual and collective freedoms are expanded, catalyzed by the abundance and opportunities offered by technology. Collectives enjoy the liberty to choose their way of life, integrating technology at their collective discretion.
Social life is seen as the cornerstone of our humanity; our environment, systems, and technologies are designed to enable strong human connections rather than eroding them through addiction, dependence, and artificial relationships.
Play in its many forms is reintegrated into adulthood, not just as a means of relaxation but as a tool for bonding, innovative problem-solving, self-expression, and skill development.
Recognizing contribution as a basic human need, every human is supported to contribute in unique ways, which takes numerous forms far beyond the conventional definitions of 'work' or 'jobs'.
In our vision, our need for challenges is fully embraced, and the detrimental effects of easy, fast, convenient, and excess are considered. Conveniences are tempered to leave room for meaningful challenges that foster personal growth and resilience, satisfying the human need for achievement.
Furthermore, this era brings shifts in our environmental and universal perspective, fostering a deep sense of interconnectedness with nature and the cosmos, and triggering a curiosity that propels the exploration of new frontiers.
“If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you are going” Lao Tzu
There is a problem though…this envisioned future does not seem to be where we are headed. Existing values and incentives do not seem to support the stated vision for humanity.
We are facing many dangers including existential threats to humanity. Current projections warn of potential dystopian futures if humanity continues prioritizing profits and progress at all costs over human values.
For a vision to materialize, it is crucial that both values and incentives align with the desired outcome. We must reassess our values and incentives before venturing into uncharted technological territories.
A point can be made that our current value and incentive systems worked so far and that we owe tremendous progress and welfare. Even if true, what got us here, won’t get us there [^1].
As species, it's our responsibility to adapt to change and discover ways to flourish in evolving environments. Relying solely on past successes could potentially mislead us. As Emre Soyer insightfully states, experience is a great teacher . . . except when it isn't [^2].
It is important to recognize that this manifesto outlines an abstract vision and guiding principles for a SuperHuman future and does not claim to have a clear roadmap to get there. It is only the initial step in our collective journey.
Achieving the stated goal is ambitious and complex, with hurdles in our existing socio-economic and political structures.
The specifics of how we will address these challenges, how we will translate these principles into concrete actions, how we will navigate the complexities of power structures and truly ensure inclusivity – these are precisely the issues we aim to figure out as we progress on this journey.
Lastly, technology's trajectory and its impact on society will not be fully predictable and controllable.
As the changes will be fast and hard to predict, we believe in having a guiding principle and trusting people to pursue whatever strategies make the most sense and whatever environment they are in and with whatever additional information they have [^3].
Call to Action
Join us on an extraordinary journey to imagine humanity's future by creating a Superhuman Society—a collective dedicated to exploring and enabling human flourishing amid rapid technological advancements.
By joining the Superhuman Society, you will play a pivotal role in:
Collaborating with diverse minds from various disciplines to work on how these principles can be translated into technology, policy, education, industry practices, and other concrete actions.
Thinking through the ethical, social, and psychological implications of our relationship with AI and other advanced technologies.
Lead intellectual, scientific, and policy efforts to set the stage for human flourishing.
The future of humanity is in our hands—Join us and shape it together.
With hope and determination,
[^1]: Marshal Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, Title.
[^2]: Emre Soyer & Robin M. Hogarth, The Myth of Experience: Why We Learn the Wrong Lessons, and Ways to Correct Them, P.
[^3]: William MacAskill, What We Owe the Future, P.