Grinder Thought - Why We Are Here And What We Do

edited February 2015 in Community
Hello All,

As you've probably noticed the Grinder community is getting a lot of press. We've already been faced with tough questions. It would not be unreasonable to assume that as our augmentations become more and more functional and extreme that many more people will begin to take notice. The people that I work with have their own ideas about what Grinding is - but we don't want to put words in the mouth of the community.

Instead of a manifesto in the style of the old school transhumanist movements I will take the posts in this thread and frame it. It seems like the most fair and democratic way of doing things. If you don't want your name mentioned in the final documents you can just send me a PM and let me know, or just mention it before you make your post.

Now on to the most important parts. Here is my current conception of a Grinder:

  • Open source augmentation and citizen science
  • Body autonomy (avoiding carbon copy augmentations) 
  • Anti-coercion in favor of or against human augmentation (“The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree.” Gandhi - Hind Swaraj,  (1962), p. 71) 
  • Working towards preventing a divide transhuman divide by making augmentation inexpensive and accessible to everyone that wants it
  • Realistic augmentation today instead of waiting for the future 
  • Augmentation may not always be safe, but we (must) understand the risks and act accordingly. We must also not be pursuaded to do nothing because there is a risk. 
  • The future may not be utopian - it's up to us to build it
  • "We" believe that once a device is implanted in an individual it is them. Thus, no government or corporation can own a device in someone's body
  • We may be freaks, geeks, and outcasts but the scientific method is still vital to the development of functional technology and sound science
What does Grinding mean to you?


  • I think this is a good list in line with my thinking. I'd also add to my list that elective transcendence is a human right and therefore not subject to approvals by society, the state, owners of related ip, or an ethics committee. 

    There is probably a more eloquent way to say that.
  • I agree, that's a good list.  I'd include something about how the incorporation of technology in a body is a logical evolution of technological advancement.  Improving the tools we use to go about our lives is the most natural thing in the world.
  • It is exceedingly important that we get across that what we do, all the risks we take, are taken for the rest of humanity. Cyborgs, AI, augmentation...these are concepts that carry a connotation of fear, not hope or inspiration, for the average person. Skynet and the borg are pop culture references often made.

    We don't grind with the purpose of oppressing or exterminating "regular humans". Obviously we aren't even capable of augmentations for this purpose at this time. But I believe it's reasonable to expect fear and even persecution if and when we become more successful and commonly known of.

    As an example of the type of thing I think we should avoid: @DirectorX has mentioned eventually becoming weaponized. You know I respect you, Director, and I even think I understand your reasoning for wanting to be "cop proof": expect resistance. It is entirely likely that our augmentations will not be understood and may, as I said, lead to persecution. But the cold-war style preparations you seem to be making, and particularly the fact that you express your desire to be weaponized publicly, are not things I wish to be associated with. I do not dispute your right to augment and express yourself however you choose, or any other grinders rights to do so. I simply ask that you consider your words, and the fact that they may be taken to represent grinders as a whole.

    Just my $0.02, and not intended as a personal attack on @DirectorX, although I'm sure it came off that way.
  • @Saal The greater biohacking community and the transhumanist community said the same thing about Grinders. They wanted to distance themselves from us for pr and branding reasons. We are still considered by wikipedia to be a subculture of biohackers.

    I've seen most movements develop in a similar pattern. Radicals form from within a movement and the larger body of the movement feels an obligation to divorce themselves from the radicals in order to keep up appearances. Examples: Biohackers vs bioterrorists, Bikers vs 1%ers, Islam vs Al Qaeda, etc.

    The hacking culture did it best in my opinion. They labelled themselves into white, gray, and black hat designations. This shows the world that hackers are not an organization with a central leadership; it is a culture or a community with individuals. Those individuals might have a wide range of goals, backgrounds, politics, etc. Their common interests are what keeps them together as a community.

    I know my personal code of conduct is worthy of a black hat, so I've always let it be known that I'm a black hat transhumanist to allude that not all transhumanists walk the same road that I do. I thought it was important to make the distinction early and to be open about it so nobody has to apologize for me later on down the road.

    Nothing you said was taken as offence. I think it is good for the community to see the spectrum of attitudes within the community and to decide what hat they wear in advance. My style isn't everyone's cup of tea and I'm not really trying to recruit anyone to it either. So in summary I think it is possible to keep a leaderless community in acceptable graces with society by showing them a spectrum of characters in the community so that the entire community doesn't get labelled as terrorists WHEN something does get negative attention. People can feel free to denounce me and I promise that I won't feel sore about it.
  • I think that it's an excellent idea to make a distinction between white, grey and black hat Grinders. It's a better alternative to having the entire community shed in a negative light. 
  • I agree. It should also be easy enough for the general public to digest, because we can pitch it as the application of the hacker mentality and methods to biology rather than computer science.
  • This is a compromise that I can certainly accept, although I would like to mention that the term "hacker" carries a strong connotation of malicious opportunism to the average person, no matter what hat the hacker professes to wear. At some point humanity will have to discard this ridiculous association between a skillset (hacking) and malicious intent. Comparisons can easily be drawn to hedge doctors in the middle ages that were said to commune with demons because they could splint and poultice a wound. Ability and morality are not correlative concepts, but the widespread infection of insecurity in individual humans makes this fact difficult to accept.
  • Can someone explain to me what White, Gray and Black hats are?
  • Great list and I agree with directorx my body my rules but I don't think saying we do this for humanity is right, let's be honest we do it because 
    1 we are inquisitive, we read shit n have ideas 
    2 we want to play 
    We may hope that something bigger comes from it but who didn't play with there magnetic implants before they healed who didn't get there tdcs device arrive in the post n feel like a kid at Christmas , we are high functioning idiots, we do dumb shit but we research and understand the risks and benefits 
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