To understand that doing the right thing is its own reward is a higher form of transcendence than many other things, because it makes possible a whole realm of things that come from nowhere but within. Power over the material world, including one’s own body, cannot make up for what lacks on the inside.
Now let me push the discussion even further: Is it possible that the transhumanist mission will make it all the easier to do just this? It might, but so far I haven’t seen evidence that it will. There might well come a time when we have a working technocratic approach to spiritual needs, but so far I don’t see it.
Serdar calls out a major issue here that transhumanism as it stands now isn’t exactly pushing us to forms of transcendence that seem to be, well . .. transcendent. There’s a lot of immortalism and brain-downloading and AI in the mix, but there’s not a lot about becoming better people in any way we really understand it. Living forever means little when most people kind of wish you weren’t around since you’re such a jerk.
I’ve noted that I consider a lot of transhumanism that’s simplistic, that which I call “Simplistic Immortalism,” is really quite immature. In this case, as opposed to seeing that as just a criticism, we should consider it as a state.
Transhumanism as we know it in the west, a kind of human-enhancement futurism, is really relatively new. In my admittedly random is broad readings of science and culture and fiction I can’t find much evidence of it past a century or two (and some of that being cautionary). The idea of positive evolution isn’t as common as people may think these day; witness how “the good old days” is something many people have talked about in many cultures throughout the ages.
Therefore, we should consider Transhumanism as we know it as essentially immature in the vein of a newborn or an young adolescent. It has to grow up and probably will at some point. Right now it’s still in a stage of gee-wiz, cool technology, and few thoughts of repercussions. It’s probably not helped by a consumerist mentality
How it will mature and what will help it mature is an interesting question. It’s also interesting to ask what mistakes can and will be made along the way, how movements and interests will split and come together, and how allies and enemies will be made. Transhumanism as we know it now has really just started.