The transhumanist stands ready to ascend with his tools: information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology and cognitive science.

Is he the harbinger of the posthuman era, or a self-deluded fool who listens to pseudoscience and science fiction all too credulously? Only time will tell – but it is also up to the transhumanist to prove himself. Can he harness his will to gain the necessary skills, resources and plans to achieve his ambitions?

The scientist/technologist is descended from the magician and still shares his niche in public consciousness. They both seek to understand and influence the world through knowledge and skill. Still, there is a chasm between the outlooks: one seeks to gain control and understanding by experiment and theory that is open to outside scrutiny and testing, the other seeks the same things but fears the sceptics and their demands of knowing how the trick was done. As the scientist clouds himself in jargon and assumptions he becomes a magician. As the magician refines his theories and dares to subject them to testing and publication, he becomes a scientist.

Will. Ambition. Intellectual creativity


With his right hand he points towards the blessed future. With his left hand he presses control-D to break with the past.

Behind him are the stores of past human knowledge and history. Around him are the documents of current knowledge. He needs to make new tools to gain the new knowledge he seeks.

The plant is Ginko Biloba – a living fossil whose family appeared in the Carboniferous era and survived both the ends of the cretaceous age and the latest ice ages. It would likely have died out if not Chinese monks had decided it was sacred and cultured it. It is rich in antioxidants and appears to improve short-term memory by increasing blood throughput in the brain.

The tools are the calculator (dagger), the pill bottle (cup), the DNA model (the wand) and the credit card (the pentacle) surrounding the fullerene molecule. They represent the analytic skills, the health and energy, the sense of destiny and the practical/material preconditions needed to get anywhere.

The infinity sign signifies his lack of limitations. At worst his imagination is unbounded from ordinary assumptions. At best his destiny infinite – far beyond human limitations. But it is a Möbius strip. One has to be careful not to follow it round and round in self-referential loops to get anywhere.

He is standing barefoot – he is still very much connected to his human past and plans to remain so even when he has become something transcendent. But his head is in the air.

And yes, that is a butterfly of transformation and a cryotag. Cannot leave them out.