On BioScience and Life and Such

Epiphany: Transhumanism, – not ?

In Transhumanism on April 30, 2008 at 3:19 pm

While this may be old news for some, it’s a revelation to me. I just discovered another -ism, “Transhumanism”:

……………..radical extension of human health-span, eradication of disease, elimination of unnecessary suffering, and augmentation of human intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities…….

…………This affirmation of human potential is offered as an alternative to customary injunctions against playing God, messing with nature, tampering with our human essence, or displaying punishable hubris…….

Transhumanism” apparently began in 1998 (founded by two philosophers) and it is all about how we relate to (the promise of) technology. It is especially relevant to our perception of modern biology and biomedicine.

The concept is extremely intriguing: – why not use technology to transcend biology and all become super-human.

…..OK…..

But then again, …Super human ? all of us ???

Surely, some must loose out and surely, technology must have limitations we cannot overcome.

Well, I am going to turn a blind eye on these objections and dive into Transhumanism ideology with a skeptic, but open mind.

I will start out by exploring the World Transhumanist Association website. Then I will move on to a book published in 2005 by Raymond Kurzweil where apparently, much of the ideological inspiration behind Transhumanism can be found.

Many other books have been published on the subject and in the periphery of this ideology one can find writings by Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Marie Curie and Stephen Hawking. Thus, there should be plenty to pick from and a lot to cover.

While I am on this personal mind-trip, I am going to write (several) blog posts documenting my thoughts. Since the possible consequences of all of us becoming super-beings are scary and at the same time wonderful, I believe this is going to be a (bumpy) ride. I would appreciate greatly if you want to follow me into this (mine)field of near sci-fi ideology and comment on my findings.

Let’s start with some quotes, all from The World Transhumanist Association web site:

“Transhumanism is more than just an abstract belief that we are about to transcend our biological limitations by means of technology; it is also an attempt to re-evaluate the entire human predicament as traditionally conceived.”
Nick Bostrom, “What is Transhumanism” (1998).

…..and…..

“‘I believe in transhumanism’: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.”
Julian Huxley “Transhumanism,” in New Bottles for New Wine 1957

….and…..

“The Singularity [human-surpassing machine intelligence] is a frightening prospect for humanity. I assume that we will somehow dodge it or finesse it in reality. One way to do that is to warn about it early and begin to build in correctives.”
Stewart Brand

More to follow……….

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  1. […] Epiphany: Transhumanism, – not ? […]

  2. […] Become a Transhumanist or not (previous posts Epiphany: Transhumanism, – not ? and Diving into Transhumanism I and […]

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