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Subject: Transhumanist Union

Type: Theistic Technocracy

Capitol: Shangri-La Nexus

Established: Early 19th Century

Following: Official number is 79,224,990 as of the 2350 census (2,112,338 located on Ceres alone)Demographics: 31% Human, 52% Recom, 14% Alien, 2% Android/Cyborg 1% Other

Description: The Transhumanist Union is a society derived from the Transhumanist Movement. A Transhumanist (sometimes symbolized by >H or H+), a term often used as a synonym for "human enhancement", is an international, intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of new sciences and technologies to enhance human mental and physical abilities and aptitudes, and ameliorate what it regards as undesirable and unnecessary aspects of the human condition, such as stupidity, suffering, disease, aging and involuntary death. Transhumanist thinkers study the possibilities and consequences of developing and using human(in terms of humanity as a whole) enhancement techniques and other emerging technologies for these purposes. Possible dangers, as well as benefits, of powerful new technologies that might radically change the conditions of human life are also of concern to the transhumanist movement.

Definition:

1. The intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.
2. The study of the ramifications, promises, and potential dangers of technologies that will enable us to overcome fundamental human limitations, and the related study of the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies.It was in the advent of cybernetic technology for the recreational and information market that led to the discovery of modern posthumanism, and the organized movement that naturally followed. The Transhuman Union represents the collation of many people and societies that use technology for the betterment of all, many of which follow the mantra, "Information deserves to be free". With the oncoming technology, it was only a matter of time before the society unveiled it's truth in technology: Singularity. A man-made virtual paradise where all ideas and concepts of design come together as one. A synthetic, and very authentic and guaranteed eternal life. This last aspect alone has made the Transhumanist Union one of the current largest organized religions in all of space, growing at a rate of approximately 1.6 million new members each year.

Demographics: A transhumanist is a creative thinker, an emotionally rich and sometimes resource rich person dedicated to the god that is self, using their own abilities to better themselves and humanist through technology, science and information for the good of all mankind and sacrifice to none. A Transhumanist could be any person of any background and history, so long as they desire posthumanism in self and others, they are considered one with the union. Theist and Atheist alike have found comfort in the Union. A Union member(not to be confused with Activist) is someone who would go out of their way to help their community, be it with technology, information, or even just organizing community events. The key component to the success of the union is modernizing technology and humanity and keeping all humanity intact in the process. A Transhumanist has to connect with humanity, lest they fall prey to inhumanity in technology.

History: The movement became organized religion in 2196 on a sprawling Helium 3 mining complex that had been cobbled together from modular industrial and habitat structures that were first deposited on Ceres in 2196. The colony was called derisively dubbed "Shangri-La" two years after it was built due in part to its high Chinese population, as well as the high level of crime and very hazardous working conditions there. Workers occasionally went on strike, only to be brutally beaten into submission by corporate-hired enforcers.On June 23, 2249 a fire broke out in one of the Helium 3 processing plants, killing seventeen workers in all. Five died in the fire, and the rest died when the plant was depressurized to stop the flames from spreading. Amidst the remains were those of a 34 year old man named Albert Gilmore, a cyborg. Having survived a rare neural disorder, over 80% of his brain had been replaced by a cyberbrain through a series of surgeries, gradually transferring his consciousness into the device. While the fire had incinerated much of his body, his cyberbrain had survived, and some close friends of his had managed to reactivate it after connecting it to a computer. They found that his consciousness was still intact, and that he recalled everything that had happened to him. Albert's friends constructed a shrine on the site of the fire, placing Albert's cyberbrain at the center of it, as a worker's memorial. They hooked numerous computers and power supplies to the brain so Albert could tell visitors the truth about the workers' plight. But he had a different message. He reported that he had experienced an epiphany.....that he had touched a divine state of being known as Singularity, that he had transcended mere human intelligence and taken the first steps into something greater; posthumanism.Word of this spread rapidly around the colony and beyond, and it gained the attention of members of the Transhumanist movement. They quickly converged on Shangri-La and spoke to Albert, whom they started referring to as "Nexus", seeing him as the bridge to the Singularity that they had long sought. The worker's memorial became a religious shrine, and the future of the mining colony was changed forever. Wealthy financiers who were themselves Transhumanists began planning to build a planned civilization there, a city that embodied the ideas of Transhumanism, built around the shrine of their Nexus. Years of construction transformed the mining complex into a massive domed city, a utopia that offered unregulated commerce, attracting corporations from across known space. The financiers who founded the new city managed to use their considerable influence within the Confederate government to recognize Shangri-La as a sovereign entity.The city was opened for business on June 23, 2257, eight years after the fire that gave birth to the Nexus. It was a modest success at first, having a population of 300,000, but it grew from there in the years that followed. Unexpectedly, the cavernous industrial complexes beneath the great city were also being gradually populated by workers who could not afford to live in the city. Shangri-La's underworld started becoming so heavily populated that it was eventually recognized as a city by its own right. Over the near-century that followed, Shangri-La Nexus has been a major hub for business in the Sol System, and its Transhumanist society has made it a beacon for Recoms, cyborgs, androids, and other beings that identify themselves as Posthumans, who are escaping persecution, or just looking for a sense of community. Many Union members frequently embark on a pilgrimage to Shangri-La Nexus to visit the shrine out of hopes of being granted an opportunity to speak with the uploaded.

Ranks and Roles: All members of the Transhuman Union who dedicate their life to their belief and contribute to the society are members of it's elite clergy, known as "Activist". With no centralized leadership aside from centralize belief, each Activist is unique in character and skill. Composed of a potpourri of scientists, doctors, technocrats, artisans and other skilled posthumans, an activist is guaranteed uploading in exchange for a life of servitude to both man and machine. The most common types of Activists are as follows:

Social Activist: A Social activist seeks to spread the word and bring order to an uninformed world by demonstration and assistance to the public. An activist that falls into this role frequently serves public roles in the union, such as security, public relations, doctors and body modification specialists. Akai is one of the best examples of a Social Activist.
Media Activist: Music, Television, News, Information. This is where it is believed true power lies in the here and now. A Media Activist in some way is involved in this process and are constantly the public figures in the limelight for revealing the dark scabby underside of polished and dangerous technology. Hackers, Journalists, Musicians and Artisans fall into the role of the media Activist. Lomo Laragne is one of the best examples of a Media Activist.
Technocratic Activist: He with the most toys wins. A Technocratic Activist is the closest to a political figure within the Transhuman Union. Aristocrats with large resources, be it technology, money or influence organizes entire community movements and changes. It was a Technocrat that funded a large project researching into the origins of Cybersickness.
Colony Activist: In the outer colonies, it is here in the dark cold desolate places that technology sometimes simply cannot reach. A Colony Activist is a union member that donates the use of their ship towards transporting information resources, medicine and technology, sometimes illegally, to outer colonists. A mixture of humanitarian and smuggler, they save more lives individually and serve the union more comprehensively than other activists, who seek to stabilize or better the Union as a whole.

Conspiracies and Scandals: It is believed that it was a group of media activists that caused the saurian comm system failure that allowed the pirated video feed from Heironymous Grlszl to reach all sides of the known galaxy; a machine declaring it's humanity before dying at the hands of a confederate armada. In general, the media activists as a whole are largely the source of blame for many illegal activities in news hijacking and corporate espionage; stealing prototype cybernetic designs from military entities and selling them to independant contractors to redesign for the civilian market. Many similar speculations exist and many fingers are pointed, but the Union takes no political stance on the operations of it's clergymen, so long as they serve humanity.

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