I’ve been thinking about Transhumanism lately, both due to editing a friend’s novel that contains some rational thought about transuhmanism, along with some of the dismal stuff out there.
Now I’d probably be considered a Transhumanist since I’m all for human improvement. I’m just rather skeptical about a lot of the enthusiasm regarding the issue since it doesn’t seem tempered with common sense, though maybe at some point we can genetically alter ourselves to have more of that.
Most times I see transhumanism discussed it’s usually about life extension or intelligence enhancement. Both understandable goals, but goals that I think actually dodge a core issue of transhumanism. We can talk about making ourselves immortal, making ourselves smarter, making ourselves healthier.
What is missing in all of this is the talk of “ourselves.”
A transhumanist should ask ‘What is this “me” that I’m trying to preserve and enhance? What is the point of what I’m doing? Who am I doing this for?’
The ultimate question of Transhumanism is one of identity.
We want an “I” that lives longer, is healthier, smarter, etc. However, let me turn it around and ask if a goal of Transhumanism should actually be “building a better ‘I'” or perhaps better realizing that “I” is really a construct anyway and seeking something more beyond that. Maybe we may want to think about building Nirvana as opposed to a techno-biologic Rapture that’ll sweep us to a manufactured Heaven.
So let’s take Transhumanism to the core – what kind of people are we going to be, what kind of selves should we seek to be, and how can we achieve that. If we’re going to re-engineer who we are let’s forget such things as years of life or IQ, and ask how we’ll identify ourselves and each other, interact, and work together as people. Only when we figure that out can we ask what the rest of it is for.
We might be surprised at the answers.
Come to think of it, we might be surprised at “who” is asking the question.
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.