Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Inside TESCREAL, the new techno-religion that's becoming an obsession of billionaires

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Inside TESCREAL, the new techno-religion that's becoming an obsession of billionaires

Truth, as the saying goes, is stranger than fiction. And nowhere is that more the case than in describing the very bizarre combination of political and religious beliefs that has come to be known as TESCREALism.

The ideas behind TESCREALism — humans merging consciousness with machines and supposedly knowing what's best for trillions of hypothetical people living thousands of years in the future — are so bizarre and far-fetched that they seem like bad science fiction rather than a political philosophy that’s captured the minds of some of the very richest people on the planet.

And yet, it is absolutely the case that billionaires like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX infamy are obsessed with this stuff, which means that no matter how absurd and ridiculous it sounds, TESCREALism is very, very relevant to the rest of us.

This radical philosophy is so all encompassing and strange that I can think of no better guide to helping us explore its contours than Emile “Phil” Torres, the person who coined the term to describe this combination of beliefs.

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Audio Chapters

02:16 — TESCREAL, an acronym to describe a new and very bizarre secular religion

04:07 — Transhumanism, where it began

10:47 — Extropianism radicalized transhumanism

12:51 — Singularitarianism, seeking to merge human and machine

26:31 — Cosmism, space as destiny

29:16 — Rationalism, libertarianism meets Dunning-Kruger

36:51 — Effective Altruism, selfishness disguised as generosity

40:23 — Longtermism: hypothetical virtual humans are more important than today's people

52:35 — TESCREAL ideas are so ludicrous that many people can't take them seriously

56:07 — Conclusion


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Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? Join Matthew Sheffield and his guests as they explore larger trends and intersections in politics, religion, technology, and media.