Transhumanism - saving grace or certain doom?

Imagine, one day you could wake up and have a robotic arm that could fetch you anything that is more than an arms distance away without you having to get up from your bed or that you could have a brain so powerful that you would memorise anything just by glancing over it for a second, imagine..

As one grows older, questions like can humans live forever? Is immortality possible? seem very bogus, however as technologies evolve along with new philosophical ideas that are born, the hypothetical situation that was thought to be impossible, may not seem too far off.

Growing up, watching movies like the matrix or the terminator or avatar where ideas like living forever and enhancement of the human body, made many people wish that the idea of living forever, was not an idea anymore. From ancient times, transhumanism was portrayed from Icarus flying too close to the sun to many others.

From the media to the mythos, the idea of incorporating technology into humans seems plausible. Thus a movement was born, to make all this advancement possible. So the movement that encourages this advancement, is called transhumanism.

According to the, ‘The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology and Philosophy of the Human Future,’ transhumanism is a scientific and philosophical movement that calls for the improvement of human existence via the advancement and increasing prevalence of advanced technology capable of significantly altering or enhancing human intelligence and physiology. The movement makes use of the scientific knowledge of human anatomy to allow people to transcend their current biological limitations.The fundamental belief of transhumanism will help cross humans biological limitations by augmentations. Human capabilities are enhanced by augmentations like objects, extensions or technologies. Spectacles, footwear and robotic arm are some of the augmentations.

Transhumanism is viewed as an extension of humanism. According to transhumanism, the present phase of homo sapiens can be seen as an intermediate stage on the road to post-human life forms, which can be achieved by modifying ourselves. Transhumanism originated as a philosophical movement that is currently a growing field.

Science and technology are used to enhance or alter body chemistry to stay healthy and be more in control of our lives. We are all transhumanists (people how advocate for transhumanism m to varying degrees. However, some people advocate transhumanism more broadly, where they advocate for mechanical parts in the body to make the biological figure more enhanced.

Inevitable Evolutions: Human-transhuman-post-human –: Homo sapiens have a range of emotions, experiences. Even though humans are considered the most intelligent species to ever exist, humans do face some limitations. Lifespan – Human character is cut short by death. Humans died and their intelligence dies with them. Intellectual capacity- Humans have cognitive limitations etc, are some of the limitations of the human form. Emotions- Sometimes, emotions may be seen as a disadvantage as, imagine you’re in an argument, and suddenly you start crying, it may show signs of weakness.

Transhuman refers to an intermediate form of being between the human and post-human. 

Being posthuman entails breaking free from the constraints that characterise the least favourable dimensions of the “human condition.” Disease, ageing, and death will no longer be a problem for posthumans. They will have much more physical capability and morphological independence. These beings may show a certain type of emotion or no emotion. The distinctions between post-human brains can not be as clear as they are between humans.

However, as every coin has two sides, transhumanism along with its pros also has its cons. Some of the most discussed cons of transhumanism are dehumanisation wherein our uniqueness will be lost and everyone will have the same beliefs, immortality though is regarded as a pro, sometimes maybe a con, as due to immortality, overpopulation may be an inevitable problem, as well as the laws of nature and science would be broken. Transhumanism may also lead to a social divide on the already existing divides in the society, it may just make the rich or the people who will be able to pay for augmentations, thus making the rich even more powerful. 

However, the situation is quite complex. Before this movement reaches its peak, one should know, if this movement could be our saving grace or our certain doom.

To know more about this movement, the following sources/books can be referred:

  1. The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology and Philosophy of the Human Future, First Edition. Edited by Max More and Natasha Vita-More. 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  2. Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas – by Scott D de Hart and Joseph P Farrell.

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