Greetings, fellow LessWrongians.
What follows is an as-yet poorly formed notion on my part that I am relating in an attempt to get at the meat of it and perhaps contribute to the higher-order goal of becoming a better rationalist myself. As such I will attempt to restrict any responses to comments I give to explanations of points of fact or explanations of my own opinions if directly requested, but otherwise will not argue any particulars for purposes of persuasion.
For a few years now a general notion -- what originally led me to discover the LessWrong site itself, in fact -- has rattled around in my brain, which I only today have derived a sufficiently satisfactory term to label it with: "acrohumanity". This is a direct analogue to "posthuman" and "transhuman"; 'acro-' being a prefix meaning, essentially, "highest". So a strictly minimal definition of the term could be "the highest of the humane condition", or "the pinnacle of humanity".
In brief, I describe acrohumanity as that state of achieving the maximum optimization of the human condition and capabilities *by* an arbitrary person that are available *to* that arbitrary person. I intentionally refrain from defining what form that optimization takes; but my own personal intuitions and opinions on the topic, as a life-long transhumanist and currently aspiring-rationalist, tend towards mental conditioning and improvements upon ways of thinking and optimization of thought, memory, and perception. "Acrohumanism", then, would be the belief in, practice of, and advocacy of achieving or approaching acrohumanity, in much the same way that transhumanism is the belief in or advocacy of achieving transhuman conditions. (In fact; I tend to associate the two terms, at least personally; what interests me *most* about transhumanism is achieving greater capacity for thought, recollection, and awareness than is humanly possible today.)
Instrumental rationality is, thusly, a core component of any approach to the acrohuman condition/state. But while it is a requirement, it is not sufficient in and of itself to focus on one's capabilities as a rationalist. There are other avenues of optimization of the self that should also bear investigation. The simplest and most widely exercised of these is the practice of exercising the body; which does little to improve one's rationality and if one's primary goal is simply to become a better rationalist exercising does little to nothing to advance that goal. But if one's goal is to "in general optimize yourself to the limits available", exercising is just as key as focusing on instrumental rationality. Additional examples of a more cognitive nature could include techniques for improving recollection. Mnemotechnics has existed long enough that many cultures developed their own variants of it before they even developed a written language. It occurs to me that developing mnemotechnical skill would be convergent with becoming a better rationalist by making it easier to recall the various biases and heuristics we utilize in a broader array of contexts. Still another, also cognitive in nature, would be developing skill/practice in meditative reflection. While there is a lot of what Michael Shermer calls "woo" around meditation, the simple truth is that it is an effective tool for metacognition. My own history with meditative practice originated in my early-teens with martial arts training which I then extended into basic biofeedback as a result of coping with chronic pain. I quickly found that the same skill-level needed to achieve success in that arena had a wide array of applications, from coping with various stimuli to handling other physiological symptoms or indulging specific senses.
Taken as an aggregate, an individual with strong skill in biofeedback, a history of rigorous exercise and physical health, skill and knowledge of instrumental rationality, mnemotechnics, metacognition, and through metacognition strong influence over his own emotional states (note; as I myself am male, I am in the habit of using masculine pronouns as gender-neutrals), represents an individual who is relatively far from what at least consists of my personal image of the baseline 'average human'. And yet I am certain that there might be other techniques or skillsets that one might add to his 'grab-bag' of tools for improving upon his own overall capabilities as a person -- none of which individually exceeding what is humanly possible, but definitely impressively approaching those limits when taken as a whole.
I believe this is a topic that bears greater investigation and as such am sharing these rambling thoughts with you all. I am hopeful of a greatly productive conversation -- for others, and for myself.