Cosmism as Old-Style Philosophy

While this Manifesto focuses on some highly modern (post-modern? post-postmodern?) ideas, in some ways it's quite old-fashioned.

It reflects an approach to philosophy that was more common before 1950, before philosophy become so academic and formal.

My methodology here is much like that of Nietzsche, or Schopenhauer, or Plato -- I'm presenting my overall understanding of life and the world, with a view toward practical guidance as well as conceptual understanding. Greatly inspired by the prior ideas of others, but also with a strong personal slant.

Robert Pirsig and Paul Feyerabend are two fairly recent philosophers who inspired me with their direct, "old fashioned" approach to philosophy -- writing simply rather than technically, and giving their holistic understanding rather than focusing on painstaking disection of micro-issues. I think we need more philosophy of their sort, which is one of the reasons I wrote this book.

Cosmism versus Academic Philosophy

Most of the "philosophy" done by professional philosophers today involves complex, abstract and refined approaches to deeply understanding particular aspects of the world, in a highly precise and intellectual way.

Cosmism does have this aspect -- but it's not the aspect I'm going to emphasize here. I will touch on abstract topics as necessary (especially in the first third of the text, in which I strive to articulate the deep conceptual foundations of Cosmism), but by and large I'll move past them fairly quickly to get on to more concrete stuff.

I'm going to mostly focus on Cosmism as a practical philosophy for living ... both now, and (especially) in the radically different future that we are creating with advanced science and technology.

Cosmism versus Religion

I have a lot of issues with the institution of "religion," but I have to give it one thing: unlike academic philosophy, it excels at providing people with practical guidance on how to approach their lives and themselves.

But none of the religions around today are going to be of much use as advanced technology unfolds. Heaven above and hell below are going to seem increasingly irrelevant as uploading, human-level AI, brain-computer interfaces and molecular assemblers unfold.

Cosmism is the practical philosophy I try to use to approach my own life and self -- and intend to use to face the very different situations that I may confront in the future -- and my point in writing this Manifesto is to share this practical philosophy with others, in a simple and explicit way.

Cosmism may seem an eccentric bundle of ideas right now -- but the relevance of the Cosmist perspective will become evident to more and more individuals as the next years, decades and centuries unfold.


  1. In my view, heaven and hell are what we make of whatever means and opportunities we have. Technology alone will not determine our ethics, the values we seek and how we seek them. Technology alone will not integrate our lives with our central vision or give us purpose. It is value neutral except for the obvious value of giving us a larger range of choices and abilities.

  2. I also think that religions are an attempt by humans to address many of the issues of that we dream of addressing by technology. Particularly in terms of transcendence of limitation and ending suffering. They have also attempted to address what types of beings we need to become, how our consciousness may need to be upgraded, how we overcome our evolutionary programming [base nature] in order to actually become as gods rather than effectively demons or over-powered apes. This is not a body of work that should be facilely dismissed as irrelevant. It is a serious mistake to do so and will turn away many that know better.

  3. Let's see now ... I want to invent a brave new world in which rationality and logic, not human emotion, will determine outcomes. So I re-invent the human being as a citizen of a virtual place or state of being that is only possible by inventing a technology to do so. Then I envision and begin building that technology. Then I must make sure that every human being is re-invented (or reconfigured) to live within that technology, which I have invented specifically to accommodate that human. You see the circularity here. But nobody yet has explained how that future is better (or "progress") other than to say we leave our emotionality behind and become, it seems to me, remote disinterested machines. So the vision of the future is a vision of a machine future, in which we are all replaceable parts of an impersonal (but rational!) mega-machine ... prophesied and self-fulfilled, if you catch my circularity. I am willing to be convinced here ... if every single man, woman and child on the planet is equally a willing participant in the wonderful future. I believe that future may be built ... astoundingly more corrupt and arrogant than any autocracy previously envisioned by anyone, and because it is corrupt it will preserve itself as power preserves itself now, through manipulation and repression of dissenters as heretics. Just as today every objection against science is called a descent into myth ignorance and superstition. Argue against religion all you please, but that is not your nemesis. Your nemesis will be people who see the injustice in separating humanity into two distinct and even genetic classes ... "them what have and them what have not" surrendered their individuality to the machine. Those who oppose the idea will not be religious. They will be simply biological humans. As soon as anyone claims that biological humans are inferior or "obsolte," human extinction is inevitable.

  4. drat. a typo. seems i'm human. LOL