Being human these days can be an amazing experience. Especially when you stop behaving like one.
The idea of the “posthuman” (and its subset “transhuman”) originated in the fields of genetics, science fiction and futurology. The fundamental ideas were first discussed by J.B.S. Haldane, a British geneticist in his essay Daedalus: Science and the Future. He foresaw that the application of advanced sciences to human biology would promote super longevity, super intelligence and super wellbeing. His predictions have begun to manifest with advancements in medicine, AI and robotics. We already have the capability to think beyond our own narrow noggins by plugging into a synergistic brain collective.
But you don’t have to wait for augmented reality or machines that read your thoughts to start behaving in a posthuman way now. First, instead of saying there’s only one “you,” try viewing the world through a diverse set of lenses, like a scientist peering through different microscopes. Recognize that you have the power to think beyond that of a singular, defined individual. With imagination and focus, your mind can embody different identities and understand the world from multiple perspectives.
Here is a list of lenses to get you started. See what appeals to you.
It’s also fun to mash some together: Vermillion man, subatomic maple, Japanese Charli. (Posthumanism is quite freeing.)
The key to your posthuman practice is just that: practice. Until they invent the magic pill that allows you to detach from your brain and body and inhabit the world of a muskrat or a nebula, it takes a bit of time to snap your fingers and fluidly change perspectives. Especially when you’re in the middle of a tax audit or sitting through your son’s second grade violin concert.
You can read more about where we’re heading here:
And to motivate your imagination past your comfort zone, further inspiration:
May your posthuman experience prove to be a rewarding one!
Lemons have suffered from an image problem since they first came to fruition. Perhaps this is due to their stinging acidity and tough skins (although both are considered positive traits in news columnists and football coaches). Not only does a “lemon” refer to a substandard product — most typically a used car — but it’s also used to mean “disappointing result” or “something unwanted.”
But as any SuperOptimist can tell you, it pays to step beyond conventional thinking and seek the truth for yourself. Lemons are healthy fruits, rich in vitamin C and other nutrients, used in a myriad of wonderful products, from lemonade and lemon meringue pie.
Even better, lemons are a natural way to gain control over spiritual forces in the universe. They’ve been used for years by Feng Shui practitioners and Buddhist monks to keep negative energies at bay and enhance both health and mood. By placing a lemon in your pocket and taking it with you as you travel, you can protect yourself from the bad juju you may encounter while you are on the go.* Even easier, you can sport the positive lemon on clothing and save yourself any lemon-juice clean-up.
On the home front, you can halt negative vibes from entering and spreading through your domicile by cutting a lemon into four and spreading salt on each slice. Then place the slices at the entrance to your house and the lemon will absorb the creepiness from anyone who comes to your door.
What’s more, sleeping next to a cut-up lemon on your nightstand will add to your positive energy, as lemons have been used as a powerful aromatherapy oil for ages. Increased concentration, decreased stress levels, and smoother respiratory activity are just some of the benefits the night-time lemon will have on your health. And as an added benefit, lemons also act as natural air fresheners and deodorizers. So why not put the power of the sour to work for you.
*Note: If you choose to carry a lemon, it may dry up rapidly depending on how much negative energy you encounter. So make sure you replace your lemon with a fresh one, especially if you visit Washington, DC or any of these places:
While the digital age offers us more choices than ever to expand our intelligence, it’s actually making it easier to wind up with a shallow depth of field.
Take the internet. Before google, one had to go to a library and snake between stacks of volumes to find the answer to a question. This may seem archaic, but in doing so there was more likelihood of stumbling upon a source one hadn’t considered important. Better yet, pulling a strange volume from the stacks could motivate new a question altogether. It was slower, and therefore, stickier.
Today, we simply type our question into a search engine and accept whatever answers appear first. According to Moz, the first page of Google captures up to 92% of search traffic clicks in recent years. Second-page results are far from a close second, coming in at below 6% of all website clicks. Forget about pages 3 to 3,000,000.
The same goes for news sources. The vast majority of the audience turns to the major media outlets for their reporting. Those organizations are in the business of making money, so they need to get eyeballs on the stories that cater to their clientele. They usually take one side or another, and put forth news and opinion that they think is “best for the public.” But this wouldn’t pass muster in a high school science lab if you were attempting to verify it.
If you’re a curious person who wants to arrive at their own conclusions — or better yet, be surprised by a discovery that 2 billion people haven’t already seen via memes on facebook — you need a way to navigate the network that bypasses the biases — especially your own.
That’s why we like to give our brains a little jolt by uncovering something we weren’t expecting, weren’t intentionally looking for, or had no idea about. You know. Like a surprise. To echo the godfather of punk, “We’re looking for one new value.”
While he went on to bemoan the fact that nothing comes his way, we’ve found several methods to create surprise using nothing more than the keys on our laptop and the stacks at our local library. One favorite is the Wikipedia “Random Article” button. Just today we clicked a few times and found out the following facts we had no clue about:
Moneva is a municipality located in the province of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. According to the most recent census, the municipality has a population of 123 inhabitants. The official flag of Moneva is pictured above.
Scientists are working on a “universal flu vaccine” that would cover every strain of flu in existence and not need modification from year to year (no, it’s not ready yet).
The West African politician Fretïmio Assocão di Planka died of dysentery while giving a speech in a hospital, which seems convenient of him.
Another method is to avoid google altogether and enter the “Dark Web,” also referred to as the Invisible Web. Experts estimate it is about 500 times the size of the web as we know it. On the deep web you can find rare books, read hard-to-find news, and surf without letting the world know you’re doing so.
Now what will we do with such information? Maybe nothing. Or maybe one of these factoids will wind up sparking our subconscious and lead to a major breakthrough in our lives. Who knows? But one thing’s for certain: Staying open-minded is the surest way to gin up enthusiasm for each new day ahead. As Philip Stanhope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, stated:
Let it be your maxim through life, to know all you can know,
yourself; and never to trust implicitly the informations of others.
By order of the king, June 21st has been officially declared International SuperOptimist Day. We invite you to join hundreds of fellow self-experimenters as we take this moment to celebrate the infinite wisdom, joy, and enlightenment that comes from our abiding faith in this class 2 Philosophy.
Below you’ll find a tentative schedule of events. But feel free to create your own method of practice to transcend your current reality and experience a higher plane of existence.
10 am: Vigorous morning yodel, accompanied by coffee and danish.
11 am: Life Drawing Class. Clothed or not. Feel free to draw in the buff should you so choose.
12 noon: Bongo Brunch. Let the spirit, and the congas, move you to dance, sing, or jump in place. The music continues until the last set of arms is exhausted. Then we’ll know it’s time to eat.
2 pm: Guided Meditation and Peace Offering. Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha!
3 pm: Gratitude List. Reflect on why this moment, right now, is a fantastic one for you. If you’re feeling grumpy, think about how lucky you are not to be incarcerated at the Colorado Supermax Prison.
4 pm: Talk to a Stranger. Reach out to someone you don’t know and interact with them. It might lead to something good.
6 pm: Frisbee toss until dinner.
7 pm: Feast of the Mask and Wig. This annual SuperOptimist Rite of Passage initiates those new to the fold in the magic of shamanistic practice.
Goat cheese & crackers
Onion soup gratin
Raspberry water ice
10 pm: Closing ceremony. Fireworks encouraged.