Moscow seminars on transhumanism

We would like to share with you our experiences in holding a regular seminar on transhumanism in Moscow, Russia, what were our goals and what we managed to achieve. I hope that our experience can be useful to transhumanists around the world. See also the announcement of the coming 10th seminar.

More about Russian Transhumanist Movement in English

The idea for the seminar appeared when 4 Russian transhumanists (and one Ukrainian), including Igor Kirilluk and Igor Artyukhov, met in St. Petersburg on the 6th International Congress on Philosophy and Cultural Studies (organised by UNESCO and RAS) in August 2004. There was a separate section there on transhumanism, which gave us all a chance to meet in person and get to know each other. After going back to Moscow, the two Igors wanted to repeat the experience, but since a congress was beyond their reach, they agreed on a seminar. It took about 3 months to plan everything, agree with the Fedorov society about the premises, send out invitations, think over the format of the seminar, etc.

And on January 15, 2005 the first seminar was held. The seminar was named Moscow Interdisciplinary Seminar on Transhumanism and Immortalism.  Immortalism is a movement distinct from transhumanism with rather obvious goals. It has a long history in Russia, starting, perhaps with Nikolaj Fedorovs ideas in the 19th century.

See the report of the first meeting here .

The second seminar followed soon enough on February 19. This was the first seminar that I (Danila) personally attended and where I introduced the audience to the international transhumanist movement. The report in English is available here.

Now a few words about the format. We consider a seminar format significantly superior to just occasional meetings between local transhumanists. Although we do meet often (Moscow transhumanists, but also people coming from other cities regularly) and we enjoy getting together, these meetings arent very conductive to recruiting or even promoting the H+ ideas. Its just an opportunity for us to discuss our work and projects, not to reach out to the masses. Seminar, on the other hand, allows us to invite others specifically to learn about transhumanism.

Another advantage is the regularity. It helps us to be organised and focused, it helps build the expectations and status for the event, it fosters the community. Since January we had 9 seminars - one every month, except for the summer holidays. It does take time, but the efforts are well worth it.

About 40-50% of presentations are done by RTD (Russian transhumanist movement) activists, ranging in subject from introductory talks (about transhumanism, life extention, cryonics, etc.) to basic lectures (e.g. on nanotechnology). Since the seminar is multidisciplinary, we have visitors from different areas and very specialised talks would be only interested to a small minority. There are between 3-5 presentations each time.

Speaking about visitors, there are between 25 and 35 people in the audience on every seminar. Overall there are probably about 150 active seminar participants now, forming a large pool of skills that RTD can tap into for carrying out its various projects and promoting transhumanism.  Basic information about each visitor is collected during the seminar, so we have a database of seminar members. Among the members there are many professionals from Moscow and other Russian cities working in the areas such as gerontology, cryobiology, computer sciences, etc. People from both academia and business are well represented.

On June 16, 2005 the seminar was registered as a primary unit of the Russian Philosophical Society of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RPhS RAS). Thus ISTSI has become the first transhumanist organization in Russia officially registered in the structure of RAS.

After the summer vocation, the seminar continued. The report of the 6th seminar in English was published on the WTA website.

Now in just 10 days we are going to have a double anniversary. One year since the first seminar and organisation of the 10th seminar.

On January 20th the seminar will be held in Moscow. One of the presentations will be an analysis of transhumanism technologies and transhumanist futurism (see here). We also expect to reach out to the fringes of transhumanism movement. smile We expect guests from a Russian Raelian movement and the Yogi transhumanists. Youd never expect this, but there is a website on transcendental transhumanism which talks about uniting the ancient wisdom of yogi and the modern scientific technologies.  I am not so sure about the usefulness ancient wisdom, but other than that I agree with them completely. smile

I know its a long way from where most of you reside but if you think you can manage to come to Moscow we will warmly welcome you (ask Gianni La Conti or Joseph Jackson) and not only during the seminar. The seminar is organised every month and is held around the end of the month. Check out the official site for news.

I have also had a great opportunity to meet with some of the members of the Finnish Transhumanist Association during my visit to Helsinki and Aris visit to St. Petersburg. I think we should use every opportunity (not just TransVisions) to get in touch in person (even though I fully support the ongoing VR efforts by Giulio) and pool together our skills, knowledge and resources.

If you have any questions about transhumanist movement in Russia, please visit our website (for most of the site you will need



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