Why Haven't We Started a Body Modification Religion?

edited February 2015 in Community
I mean wouldnt that be the wisest choice to try and get religious backup in the future. I know right now their are procedures that would be illegal in the U.S imagine 20 years from now when people can implant lethal weapons in their arms. So why not back it with a religion like Kopimism has with spreading information *cough*torrents*cough*?

Human modifications of all kind should be recognized as a sacred ritual; used to expand the evolution of the human body and spirit.

Human modifications of the spirit would include all forms of medicine,knowledge,personality; through practice of any religion(s), drug(s), and reading.

Human modifications of the body would include all forms of Excercise,implants, and replacement of body parts.

Let me know what you think\suggestions on what should be listed under religious practice\how we could actually form a religion....


  • I can only talk for myself. But I am sort of glad I left religion behind, in favor of science. So the idea is not appealing to me.
  • its not a science vs religion debate, that has nothing to do with it. its about using religion as a means of protecting the science. 

    we seriously need a "Quote" function on the forums.
  • There is something sort of like this...but they're very close minded and reluctant to bring anyone in.  
  • edited November 2013
    The idea here isn't to incorporate some sort of dogmatic top-down moral framework and disregard science.  "Leaving behind" religion doesn't seem particularly relevant.  Instead, the point is to take our broad ideological/philisophical frameworks and start calling them 'religion' or looking at them through the lens of religion, without really changing anything qualitative about the beliefs

    Religions and their beliefs have a whole host of legal rights that mere ideologies do not possess.  Most relevantly, religions have more of a say on what medical/pseudo-medical procedures can and can't be performed upon them.  "I like it" is probably not a very good reason to convince a doctor not to remove an implant when they want to give you an MRI.  "It is against my religion" on the other hand, will stop most dead in their tracks and make them re-evaluate what can be done.  On the opposite side of things, regulating authorities are not big on allowing people to cut into flesh to perform anything other than approved medical treatments, much less allowing necessary drugs for such procedures...  Yet controlled substances (Peyote) and uncontrolled medical procedures (e.g. circumcisions) are allowed to religions and even specifically protected by law.

    Barriers to conscription, rights to religious materials/symbols/practices which cannot be denied even in the case of incareration, limited rights not to work on religious days of rest, and the ability to perform marriages wouldn't be so bad either.

    There is nothing that says that religions need to be dogmatic, authoritarian, or hierarchical (see: Taoism, most variants of Buddhism), and there is no reason that what we have now has to be viewed as particularly different from religion, except in the fact of a declaration.  There is no reason that the existing biopunk/grinder manifestos out there cannot be viewed as religious documents.
  • edited December 2013
    Tiak you hit it right on the money. I dont think the whole Counsel approach the Church of Body Modifications has going, and i would prefer a more open (source) "religion" for the biohacking community, and this seems like a great place to get that going. The legal persecutions we can be avoiding in the future with a declared religious status could be extremely useful. 

    How could we start biohacking\grinding\bodymods declared as a religion though?
  • You don't get declared a religion. There isn't like, any paperwork or anything. You just call your group of people a religion. Beyond that it's just a matter of tenure. Well, tenure and money. You need to establish a precedent, ie you didn't make yourself a religion last week and then start claiming amnesty. This is why most of the established religions are old and / or controlled very wealthy individuals. Being tax exempt is a different matter entirely, and would only apply to the religious leader of the group in a location, like a pastor.

    Ritualized behaviours, restrictive membership, Some houcus pocus about the spirit or energy or what not. re: Jedi is now a religion as of 2006. Registered non-profit and everything.

    As an attempt to steer this conversation back to rationality, let's try this. Is the real question here is maybe: "How do we get people to start taking us seriously, and not discriminating against us for sticking bits of metal in our bodies?" Is that what you are asking? If so, religion isn't necessary. Just presence, legal standing, and repeated exposure.  Even the Christians used to be a minority at one point.
  • That bit there in the middle is not me being glib. The IRS definition of religion is kept fairly simple to not tread on any 1st amendment issues.
      1.     A distinct legal existence
      2.     A recognized creed and form of worship
      3.     A definite and distinct ecclesiastical government
      4.     A formal code of doctrine and discipline
      5.     A distinct religious history
      6.     A membership not associated with any other church or denomination
      7.     An organization of ordained ministers
      8.     Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed studies
      9.     A literature of its own
    10.     Established places of worship
    11.     Regular congregations
    12.     Regular religious services
    13.     Sunday schools for religious instruction of the young
    14.     Schools for the preparation of its ministers.

    Make yourself a club. Build a clubhouse. Make some special books. Do secret club activities regularly. 
  • Honestly, I feel that it if took off it would be inevitably detrimental to grinders/transhumanists. It just seems like it would cause a bunch of infighting between all the variations that transhumanism presents itself.
  • Yeah, and we already have enough of that. Seriously tho, don't encourage factions in an already schismatic system.

    However, some of these things are useful.  A distinct legal existence. Literature. Established areas for practicing. Regular activity. Why go the religion route? Why not go the biz route? Or something, else. Regardless, there are a lot of ways to gain legal and societal validation that don't involve people asking you to clarify the "church of sticking metal into my body" platform.
  • The major problem, at least IMO, is that you're purposefully alienating those not in the grinder faith.  Grinding is faith agnostic, it should not matter if you believe in flying spaghetti monsters or superman (or whatever the kids are into these days).

    There is a saying, never bring up religion or politics in conversation.  I told the people I work with (set in their ways bible thumping republicans) that I had magnets installed, and they gave me a weird look-asked a bunch of questions-and then never judged me since.  If I told them I joined the 'church of sticking metal into my body' I probably would have been ostracized...for all the same reasons that I don't tell them I'm an atheist.

    I do have to agree though, having a religion would really open some doors.  I'm just not sure that the benefits outweigh the costs.
  • edited December 2013
    The reason i say religion is just because of the legal standing religions get after they become popular\powerful. It wouldn't ostracize anyone if they have any other belief or don't want to say they are a part of the "religion" but for the people who do say they are a part of it, it would benefit. Obviously to avoid creepy guidelines that people are forced to do like cut your childs penis skin off would be a no no. 

    The idea would be that it is completely open source  so anyone can believe or do anything they want and still be a part of the "religion". Anyone who joins would be free from going through passages they don't believe in. So for example it couldn't be possible for anyone to say "if you want to be a part of the grinder religion you have to put magnets in your finger as the first step".

    it would be with no hierarchy (ideally). and if a form of hierarchy is produced then they would only speak for themselves and not other grinders....

    But yes Glims for now this is me just being an open optimist, the first step would be to just continue the growth of the grinder community but slowly work out forms of protection because with how the world is going now (NSA snooping, creepy internet laws in england and all the other superpowers) i would expect their to be a people who try to "censor" the grinder community because it brings even more power into the individual and what they can do with their body. And fatcat big wigs don't want these deviant hooligans changing their traditions and how they see the world.

    iexiak- What costs do you mean? the time, effort, or cash? because if its time or effort. Grinders right now are putting their time and effort to grinding because they want to see if its worth it. Many times people will get harmed, just look at Lepht Anonym. But those of us who do get hurt but learn about the grind are the Space Monkeys (Fight Club term).

    Glims ~ the IRS definition makes forming a "religion" seem very plausibly achievable.

  • The problem with your no requirements anybody can join religion is twofold. The first is legalistic. You need a special set of rules to have the organization defined as a religion (items 2, 4, 8).
    Then second is more of a social issue. Bear with me here. See, if anyone can just pop up and say "i'm a grinder!" well, that's how we do it now. The problem is, without a defined set of rules, then anyone might try to call "being in grinder religion" as their fall out clause for anything. That openness is great when you are a bunch of people hanging out on the internet, chatting it up, swapping magnet implant stories... but when you start having legal accountability for your actions and the actions of those that associate with you, you might suddenly realize that you don't the deal with the real world ramifications of a 14yr old who was sticking a bit of circuit board into his arm and told his parents that grinding is his new religion. An that's not even that outrageous of an example.

    Also, by superimposing your concept on to the framework of a religion, you give it validity. That is, the validity works both ways. And while it would be minor, I have an unpleasant feeling associating the benefits of a healthy diet and nootropic supplements with the benefits of eating a communion wafer. You get what I mean?
  • Honestly what we need is maybe a good pr campaign, some sort of loose organization, maybe something like a certification program for piercing shops? I mean the best we can do right now is make this stuff not so scary to other people.
  • How would you make a certification program? While there are a handful of individuals who can do, say, magnetic implants as a professional body artist, there is no protocol. There is no data other than ancedotal information on the effects of the procedure. As far as certification or general community acceptance, the concept is one step away from electro muscular stimulation to build muscles, or crystals. It just happens to be effective. The certification would be useless. There are, as far as I can see, zero scientific papers on the procedures and effects of magnetic implants.

    My father is still iffy about necessary medical surgery. I mean, he's solid on the concept and the importance, he just doesn't like having holes made in his body.

    This is the pr question you need to address:
    Currently the party line is, "its painful and risky and the potential for infection is higher than brushing your teeth. doctors scowl at the practice and my parents cringe. but really, it's neat and totally ok". While we are not the "church of cutting myself and sticking bits of metal into my body" we are "the people who like to cut themselves and stick metal in their body". heck, there are huge chunks of the united states where gauged ears and tattoos are still not acceptable.

    There needs to be a reputable baseline of work that shows the positive effects, not a pile of web pages where people talk about how they glued their finger hole shut.  There needs to be more sensible experimentation done. published work
    There needs to be a reduction in the amount of pain involved. True fact, people don't like being hurt.
    There needs to be a single established protocol for coating. There needs to be an established protocol for implanting. probably something easy, like the rfid chip needles.

    There needs to be an collaboration between the high and the low brow. the grungy grinder hoi polloi need to put on their good shoes and make friends the the elderly transhuman philosophical elites. And, importantly, get people to do something. Get yourself half a dozen tenured professors with magnetic implants, then we can start talking about getting the pr bowl rolling.
  • btw, that what not meant to dissuade or talk down on the efforts that are being made, but to outline and encourage potential future activity. Legitimacy is very much tied to normalization.
  • edited December 2013
    The costs were all social stigmata.  If you are in America, go tell your neighbor that you follow the grinder faith-then tell your other neighbor you're a god fearing christian.  I almost guarantee the second neighbor will be more friendly to you in the future.

    /agree with @glims, I don't mean to dissuade your efforts, just to express my opinion on some things that had yet to be mentioned.
  • Well then we start up a small non profit, start testing rigorously anything new, and eventually develop a standard for it. Because you're all right. We've got a large group of incredibly intelligent individuals with a high pain tolerance, and ridiculous amounts of anecdote, and while this scene is still very new, we should probably start thinking about consolidating our knowledge a little bit in a more structured way. It's totally feasible to start something like this, obviously our best bet for penetration is the body mod scene so let's stick with that until more advanced/invasive mods come along. Obviously this wouldn't be something that can be done overnight, it would take a lot of effort, a lot of exposure to be done right, but it is entirely doable.
  • Already on it ;) Did you see the NIR vision project that @Cassox, @Saal, and I crowdfunded? The research will be scientifically repeatable and we hope to publish in an open source journal. And grindhouse, they are working on projects as well, though i wish i could get better access to their protocols...

    My point is exactly this. That we all need to be doing this. Collaborative effort and not just monetizing or sharing blog posts. Designing and developing protocols that can be replicated easily while simultaneously developing a normalized basis of information that compares risks and benefits.

    I plan on bringing my very best shoes to the Feb 1 conference.
  • @glims Yeah I definitely did, and was kicking myself, because I read an article about tests in world war 2 and always wanted to test it and this was before soylent was a thing, but yes I await eagerly at your findings and can't contain my excitement for the implications of a successful run.

    and sidenote. what conference are you reffering to?
  • doing it without soylent would be possible, and as we have been having issues with the follow through on that end, we may be attempting it without, making our own master mix for the test. Getting the A2 is just a matter of money and connection. The rest is a matter of follow through and hard work (yay for @Cassox, the builder of ERGs)

    on the meetup:

    feel free to bump it up to the top as discussion about accommodations has come to a gentle yet solid halt.
  • edited December 2013
    woah okay, taking the scientific route does make way more sense. i just said the religious part because it seems like in the future it cold come in handy.

    Glims- If the campaign is successfully funded will the journal count as "scientific research" or do you guys need to publish it through someone with a P.H.D?

    ~would it be possible for grindhouse wetware be considered a non profit that does scientific research on themselves and\or volunteers? That way they can get funds and the research would be open to using real anesthetics\doctors\body modifiers without legal repercussions.
  • our campaign was successfully funded, but yes, we do need to publish. peer review, while broken, is still the best method we have for evaluating scientific fact.

    having a PhD isnt necessary per se, it just need to be reviewed and people need to be able to replicate the process..
  • As a lawyer, I am with you in this one, SpaceMonkeye.
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