Anarcho-primitivism and transhumanism are two ideologies that place a lot of importance on technology, but they do so in completely opposite ways. This makes the task of combining them into a cohesive ideology very difficult, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying. While previous attempts have had many desirable features, there is still plenty of room for improvement. As such, I wish to propose a new combination of the two which I believe makes many of the available improvements.
To build this new ideology, we first need a model of the ideologies we’re building it out of. It’s common to model anarcho-primitivism and transhumanism as being on opposite ends of a technology political axis that lies orthogonal to other axes like the left-right axis. The key to combining these ideologies will be to split this axis in two.
We’ll divide technology into two categories, which I’ll call “social technology” and “economic technology”. Social technology is technology that influences how people interact with each other. It includes things like social media, radio, and even writing. Economic technology is technology that improves people’s ability to satisfy their needs and desires. It includes things like money, agriculture, and electricity. Unfortunately, these categories aren’t all that separate. Writing is not only useful for sending letters to loved ones, it’s also useful for the record-keeping required to run an advanced economy. Likewise, money often has a big impact on how people interact with each other. The two are highly intertwined.
My proposal is for this new ideology to be a project centered around disentangling these categories. The goal of this endeavor would be to minimize the use of technology for social purposes while maximizing its use for economic purposes. The intent would be to keep the gains made in areas like healthcare and wealth while eliminating the losses in areas like social cohesion and trust.
To separate these categories, each technology will need to be classified as either economic or social, even if it fits into both categories. If the technology is classified as economic, it will remain and its improvement will be actively encouraged, but there will be a ban (informal or otherwise) on using it for social purposes. If the technology is instead classified as social, its usage will cease so as to foster a more natural social environment.
As more and more economic technologies are separated from their social consequences, at least to the degree that this is possible, society’s efforts will start shifting toward developing these technologies further and toward developing entirely new technologies that can similarly be classified as economic. The gains made from these technological improvements will enable even faster innovation, creating a positive feedback loop without the drawbacks associated with accelerated changes in social technology.
Ultimately I believe this ideology has a lot to offer for both transhumanists and anarcho-primitivists. Transhumanists get to keep enough technology to allow the construction of a pretty glorious transhumanist future. Anarcho-primitivists get to destroy the social structures that lead to oppression and alienation. This proposal likely won’t quite satisfy either group; that’s just unavoidable when combining opposite ideologies. But I think it’s a coherent ideology that’s worth exploring further.