I think Posthuman Studios has done a phenomenal job at presenting transhumanism in a level-headed fashion. In many other settings, the Jovians would be the good guys, and anyone even thinking of modifying their bodies and minds would be portrayed as the second coming of Khan Noonien Singh. But in Eclipse Phase, a dedication to morphological freedom is a natural extension of other progressive values.
So why are the exhumans bad guys?
We're told that they are "universally mistrusted by many, and for good reason". The reason given is that they use "extreme" and "untested" modifications, and that this results in them often becoming "insane" or "alien".
Isn't that pretty much the way a typical Jovian would describe a typical member of the transhuman community? The CBEAT would no doubt call most of the stuff a respectable Autonomist puts in her body "extreme", and the thing about testing is that every technology is untested at some point. As for "insane" or "alien", well, that's all in the eye of the beholder.
The fears about exhumans seem very similar to the fears modern biocons express about transhumanism: Surely, those sinister transhumanists only want to become soulless monsters in order to murder and enslave those who still hold on to their humanity? If they weren't evil Frankenfreaks, why would they even want to modify themselves?
Pff. Those attitudes belong on Ganymede.
No doubt there are some violent exhumans who give the whole bunch a bad reputation, but are they really more representative of their kind than Osama bin Laden is to Muslims, or Anders Behring Breivik is to Norwegians?
If we take the fundamental tenets of "exhumanism" to be an inclination toward "extreme" modification and a lack of nostalgia about one's "humanity", I can see exhumans coming in many different forms, not only physically and mentally but also ideologically.
My own "homebrew" way to explain possible exhuman attitudes is to imagine a two-dimensional grid with sixteen different boxes, each representing an intersection of the social axis and the goal axis. To elaborate:
Stirnerites: Stereotypical egocentrics, Stirnerites care only about Número Uno. When they work with others, they only do so as long as it benefits themselves, and they would gladly backstab anyone if they saw any gain in it. Luckily, most prefer to just grab some dirt ball in the Oort cloud and pursue whatever goals they have in solitude.
Amish: This name is not meant to imply any kind of technophobia, rather the opposite, but much like their namesakes they prefer to keep to themselves. Whether surrounded by "normal" transhumanity or hundreds of AU away from the nearest gas station, their insular nature leads them to form their own communities and often even their own languages. The Exoglots, from Rimward, are probably Amish.
Universalists: These guys have found a superior way of living, and they would just love to tell you all about it. Unlike Stirnerites and Amish, Universalists not only welcome others to join them but see it as their personal mission to convert others. At their least offensive, they are simply wide-eyed hippies or the AF version of Jehovah's Witnesses. On the other end, they go full-on Borg, seeking to assimilate new members by force.
Kramers: As long as there have been huts, there have been weird neighbors. Okay, so you're a hyper-intelligent arachnid designed to outlast the Sun. Does that mean you can't hang out with your transhuman pals, talking about the latest game and knocking back some ethanol? You feel just like one of the guys, and in an era when bipedal apes can befriend computer programs and cephalopods, do exhumans really have to be left out in the cold? And if one of your buddies express an interest in getting a less archaic body, hey, the more, the merrier!
Hedonists: This group believes that the fundamental human frailty one should escape is our chronic inability to ever find true, lasting happiness. Of course, they have no interest in simply becoming dumb wireheads, and most try to find a way to experience never-ending bliss while still being productive.
Roaches: Roaches are only interested in one thing, and that is to keep living. The ultimate survivalists, these guys attempt to modify themselves into a form of life that will outlast alien invasions, supernovas, rogue super-AIs and God knows what else.
Superbrains: More or less identical to singularity seekers, the superbrains are only interested in becoming smarter. Most of them are infomorphs, as meat-brains are poorly optimized for thinking, but their one uniting characteristic is an exaltation of intelligence.
Pantropists: Pantropists are dedicated to spreading throughout the universe, and they believe that this expansion is best achieved by changing one's self to the environment, rather than the other way around. They modify both their bodies and their minds to be able to survive and flourish in an immense variety of different environments, from the interstellar dark to the molten innards of geologically active moons.
Now, of course, the above are only broad archetypes. Nothing says that you can't value both intelligence and happiness, and being selfish doesn't mean you have to either isolate yourself or harvest organs from everyone you see.
Anyway, I think I derailed my own thread in the OP, which is a new record for me. In any case, my main point is that I see little reason for why exhumans have to be assholes, especially since I can imagine a wide variety of different philosophies among them. But what do you guys think?
President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.