Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A human face to transhumanism




There are still quite a few people who don't "get" transhumanism.

The motivation for it, I mean.  Do you take vitamin supplements?  You're transhuman.  What about other medicines?  Well, you're modifying your body through the use of technology, so that's...you guessed it...transhumanism. You're doing these things for typical reasons, I'm guessing, meaning good health, longevity, etc. etc.  But wanting to accomplish the same things through the use of say, cybernetic implants?  Well now we seem to have crossed a sort of imaginary demarcation point.  If you were Nikola Danaylov, you might not see it that way.

Nikola is a blogger and editor-in-chief at The Singularity Weblog.  I've come to know him just a bit through his posts and his insightful Singularity 1-on-1 interviews as well as talking with him about my recently published article on the site (shameless plug, I know.)  Just recently, Nikola suffered three deaths in his close family in as many weeks.  That is more than any one person should be allowed to suffer.  It also, to my way of thinking, lends a "face" to the aims and objectives of most transhumanists.  The raw honesty of Nikola's reaction is enough to make anyone take pause and think:

"And so it should be no surprise that we have learned to cope with it [death]. To rationalize and accept, even embrace it: “Death is natural.” “Death is inevitable.” Some dare call it even “necessary.”
But go tell that to a 14-year-old who just lost his 38-year-old mom to cancer. Or a mother who has just lost her baby. Why not try a husband mourning the love of his life, even if it is after 50 years of marriage. Go ahead – rationalize! Bullshit all you want. Tell me to be reasonable; to embrace what I can’t stop.
But I refuse!
I will not be reasonable. Or quiet. Or accepting. Or gentle. I will not embrace the biggest scourge humanity has ever had!
I WILL RAGE!"

In large regard, this is what transhumanism is about.  Take control of your biology and thereby take control of your destiny.  Why die if you don't have to?  Humans, to one debatable degree or another, have intelligence.  Chance or design has granted us this largesse, allowing us to create technology that is ever-growing in sophistication.  Why not eliminate "natural death" to the point where one would have to choose for it to happen?

Read Nikola's story.  You just might reconsider your answer.





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