The Light Millennium
FALL 2000 - Homepage ART & ARTIST History as TODAY REACTIONS

"When He Returns…"

An interview about FM-2030 visions of the future with Flora SCHNALL
as part I:

by Bircan UNVER

When I heard FM-2030’s name as first, I thought it was a code or a spaceship name. Right after I read an article in the New York Times on July 11, 2000, which was about his body’s suspension until the year 2030. Then his beliefs cryonics suspension, and possibly physical immortality struck me...

He didn’t just theorize his ideas, he had lived his ideas in his own life and he awoke our minds to the future.

Since first reading about FM-2030, I decided to dedicate The Light Millennium's Fall issue to FM-2030. I felt that I would need something to support this dedication... I was seeking someone to write a profile about him for the magazine. I asked Brian Kase, my boss at the New School, and he referred to Prof. Gabriel Greyson. Prof. Greyson was one of FM-2030’s student at the New School University (previously was the New School For Social Research) during the ‘60’s. Prof. Greyson strongly recommended that I talk with Flora Schnall, who had known FM-2030 for over 30 years. I contacted Ms. Schnall, FM-2030’s long-term companion, colleague, and supporter.

I would like to thank each of them for helping me to realize this interview.

- I feel that, he may be awake by year 2030!

- That’s good.

The big question is, when he is revived, will he remember who he was he? Scientific achievement will, he believed be able to resuscitate him, hopefully by the year 2030, give him a new body of his choosing. I hope his memory of the 20th century will be intact. We are storing a memory box with videotapes of him, photos, his writings and other materials which should jog his memory.

- Why did F. M. Esfandiary change his name to FM-2030?

- I would like to refer to his own words about his name:

FM-2030 was born with a conventional name but he changed both his first name and his last name, to reflect his belief and his confidence in the future. He said that conventional names define a persons past, ancestry, ethnicity, nationality and religion. "I am not who I was 10 years ago and certainly not who I will be in 20 years. The name 2030 reflects my conviction that the years around 2030 will be a magical time. The solar system will be alive with people linking in and out of planets and moons and orbital communities. In 2030 we will be ageless and everyone will have an excellent chance to live forever. 2030 is a dream and a goal."

- How did he define immortality or envision it?

Well, one of his major focuses and one of his interests was immortality. He felt that throughout past ages many writers have written about the tyranny of death and how it affects our thinking? FM envisioned advances in science and technology which would permit humankind to overcome death. Everyday, where we're learning more and more about cells and how the body works. It seems inevitable that science will reverse cell death.

Flora Schnall, FM-2030’s long-term companion, colleague, and supporter.

They can sow clone animals, they can replace body parts. Many of us have implanted teeth, replaced hips, replaced knees, pacemakers so we are all in effect not quite human as we were in the 19th century or even the 20th century.

We have mechanical parts that permit us to function replace worn out parts but he can envision a time when we will be able to completely re-design the bodies that we have with bodies that can live forever. I was always very taken with some of the science fiction where, perhaps we’ll just be minds without bodies. It’s hard today to envision what we will look like 100 years from now but FM was absolutely persuaded that we are now on the way to a different stage in human evolution.

- As I understood from his (below) quote that he interpreted this century a beginning of the transhuman history. Do you agree with this comment?
"Millions of years from now-
whereever we are in the Universe-
whoever we are-
however we look-
we will always remember these years."

- I know a movement started the publication of his book, "Are You A Transhuman?" but I don’t really think that his focus was the development of a transhuman movement nor do I think that he ascribes to all of the ideas that have developed. To FM, a "Transhuman", as he wrote, "…are the earliest manifestation of new evolutionary beings." Many of the breakthroughs embodied in transhumanism are nothing less than the beginning of the eventual transformation of the human "species".

FM was a philosopher and his books, "Optimism One", "Up-Wingers", "Telespheres" and "Are You A Transhuman", embody his ideas of optimism, universality, immortality and abundance.

FM had a very optimistic view not only of human nature but of the world and it’s future.

He saw abundance where other scientists, economists and writers saw only scarcely. He saw a new democratic process evolving which would be more participatory, a world without leaders.

- One of the American utopist and science-fiction writer *Ursula DeGuin defines the "utopia" as a place we have dreamt about for a long time but never have reached there. Although if we have reached there, there won’t be any other place to go and it will be very controlled place because the concept of the ‘utopia’. Her definition has taught me that; we should re-define the concept of the utopia!

- Well, I don't think FM would agree with that vision at all. I think that he would think it was laughable. Remember, Huxley, wrote about 1884 and certainly that didn’t come to pass. Today with the flow of information through radio, TV and the Internet it is impossible to control the flow of and access to information. FM was always against embargoes because he felt contact with the rest of the world would help change. South African policies hanged because of world opinion the flow of information. Communism collapsed because of this free flow information. It is impossible to stop because it comes from so many sources, chat rooms on the web, the web is a global telephone a global information resource.

The other thing he focused on was, the fact that since man was no longer bound to the planet earth, resources were available is limitless abundance in Space.

- How did he describe that?

- He felt that we would have space stations, that we would be exploding into the universe and that eventually earth would not be the only planet that was inhabited. He felt that the years ahead are going to be a magical time that in fact we would have going to be interplanetary travel.

- This is a very exiting issue...

- Another thing, the Clup De Rome in the 70’s, they were a group of pessimistic, doomsday scientists and economists, concluded that wrote the world would be overpopulated, and that resources to sustain the overpopulation would be scarce. That was a sign of 'single track thinking'. When you think about abundance and the resources we are discovering on the moon and on other planets, we have (or will have) there are unlimited resources. We haven't been able to harness them yet, but you know we are going to.

- He wrote that, the ‘Olympics’ or ‘Academy Awards’ as a "waste of time", but at the same time he imagined ‘Space Olympics’(according to one of the report about him). Thus, I would like to understand that how did he differentiate from each other?

- Well, he went to the Olympics and he was a great athlete, but later he felt that competition was detrimental and he disliked the basis of the Olympics. He didn't like award ceremonies like the ‘Academy Awards’. He thought that this "who’s the best?", " who’s the prettiest?", "who’s the most informed?" were terrible things and that it was detrimental to the development of humankind. He felt that, man would strive to achieve with out this cut-throat ruthless, competition. Competition, he felt, ruins so many lives. He wanted the world to be a kinder, gentler, more humane place. I know he never supported or favored the idea of 'space olympics' or any other kind of competition. He felt it was a bad in the work place and bad in sports.

- But this is how we shape the daily life especially business or the system.

Well, you know there are changes taking place. I think there are more teams and teamwork in business, more cooperation between bosses and workers, there's less authoritarianism. There is a different air in the workplace - they have found that teamwork is more productive. The workplace atmosphere is exemplified by something that FM anticipated by about 30 years. He refused to wear a tie, anytime, never saw him in a tie for the past 30 years, wore comfortable clothes. Who would've anticipated just 10 years ago, that today, in law firms and in banks and all over the United States working people are dressing down, they don’t go to work with suits and ties. I mean, I'm a lawyer and I find it so refreshing that not just on Fridays anymore, but everyday is a dress down day. I think that shows a new informal air taking over the workplace where your will achieve more because your are going to work as a team and everyone will make suggestions, everybody’s going to work together to improve the product.

- Recently, I read in a Turkish newspaper about one of the Chinese man, who is pregnant and he announced it on his web site. According to the report, that created a big discussion in Europe. Today, there is still a big question that, "can a man be pregnant?" or "how can it be?" Despite of these, FM-2030's ideas about "gestation outside" hasn't discussed by media or people yet! Thus, would you explain that how did he forecast on this subject?

I guess, we can anticipate that eventually children will develop outside the body so that men and women can produce children. I mean, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to me. I guess one of the things that FM focused on was single track thinking. You can not forecast the future by looking to the past. Rather than looking back, you must look forward and imagine and integrate all the different forces that may impact and change things that are developing. Like in the 19th Century they were developing faster horses so that they could get between places faster not envisioning the development of new technologies like airplanes, railroads and cars.

*During a reading session and followed up an interview with Ursula DeGuin at the New School University, Tischman Hall on Oct.18, 2000.


Part II of the interview will be published in Winter - 2001 issue.

This issue is dedicated to: FM-2030
The Ligh Millennium TV The Light Millennium

of Fall 2000


©The Light Millennium magazine was created and designed
by Bircan Ünver. Fourth issue. Fall 2000, New York.

Links and Logos are updated in this page in August 2015.