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FM-2030

From Academic Kids

FM-2030, Fereidoun M. Esfandiary (October 15, 1930July 8, 2000), a name adopted by the transhumanist philosopher and futurist who professed "a deep nostalgia for the future." He wrote one of the seminal works in the transhumanist canon, Are You a Transhuman?. He also wrote a number of works of fiction under his original name F.M. Esfandiary. FM-2030, the son of an Iranian diplomat, lived in 17 countries by the time he turned 11. FM-2030 served on the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine from 1952 to 1954. On July 8, 2000, FM-2030 succumbed to pancreatic cancer and entered cryonic suspension at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he remains today.

F.M. Esfandiary changed his name to FM-2030 to reflect the hope and belief he would live to celebrate his 100th year in 2030. In his own words, "Conventional names define a person's past: ancestry, ethnicity, nationality, religion. I am not who I was ten years ago and certainly not who I will be in twenty years. [...] The name 2030 reflects my conviction that the years around 2030 will be a magical time. In 2030 we will be ageless and everyone will have an excellent chance to live forever. 2030 is a dream and a goal." Sadly he missed his goal by 30 years.

Many of FM-2030's predictions about social trends from the 1970's through the early 21st Century proved remarkably prescient. FM-2030 argued that the inherent dynamic of the modern globalizing civilization would bring such changes about despite the best efforts of conservative elites to enforce traditional beliefs. Unfortunately FM-2030's more envelope-pushing conjectures about future social and psychological changes opened him up to ridicule because they come across as a compilation of bad science fiction clichés, as if he viewed the scientific "utopia" in Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World a sound plan for organizing the world in the 21st Century. (Curiously, although FM-2030 demonstrated a gift for story-telling in his realistic novels critical of the conditions in Islamic societies, he apparently never tried to show his futuristic ideas in action through a science fiction novel.) FM-2030's optimism about human plasticity seems less defensible now because it derived from progressive opinion during the mid 20th Century, which under the influence of ideologies like Marxism and behaviorism held that human nature could in principle undergo radical transformations for the better through a rationally designed environment. Today theories of human nature based on evolutionary psychology tend to dominate among the scientifically literate, and they hold to a more pessimistic view of the prospects of human perfectibility through improving the environment alone. It looks as if FM-2030 misread the social disruptions he witnessed in developed societies in the late 1960's as evidence of a "permanent" transformation in the human condition, when in fact social patterns have regressed towards the mean since then, though incorporating some of the more reasonable reforms like greater sexual freedom.

Contents

Quote

"I am a 21st century person who was accidentally launched in the 20th. I have a deep nostalgia for the future."


Fiction books

Non-fiction books

  • UpWingers: A Futurist Manifesto 1973 (ISBN 0381982432) (pbk.) Available as an eBook ISBN FW00007527 , Publisher: e-reads, Pub. Date: Jan 1973, File Size: 153K
  • Telespheres 1977
  • Optimism one; the emerging radicalism 1970 (ISBN 0393086119)
  • Are You a Transhuman?: Monitoring and Stimulating Your Personal Rate of Growth in a Rapidly Changing World 1989 (ISBN 0446388068).


External links

Another interview about FM-2030 with Prof. Gabriel GRAYSON]

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