As you might have gathered by now, I have been more than a bit skeptical in my evaluations of the “promise” held out by the new transhumanist technologies: nano-technology, genetic engineering, robotics, implants, and so on. But not all the developments are necessarily bad. Here is a very interesting story from ABC News that I had to pass along:
The implications of this technology for medicine, and indeed, for what it means to be human, are immense, for as my co-author Dr. Scott de Hart and I pointed out in Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas, the ability to literally grow a heart valve, for example, to replace another, from the patient’s own tissue, or, for that matter, to grow whole organs such as a liver, kidney, eye, lung, or heart, would solve at one stroke – so the reasoning goes – the major organ transplant problem: the potential that a tissue will be rejected by the host body.
But therein lies, perhaps, a danger in the great promise, and the danger is, I am bold to suggest, a spiritual one. Imagine that this capability were eventually extended to the whole body in all its parts and functions. As one part wore out, it is simply replaced by another grown from one’s own tissue. And then, in the ultimate manifestation of this transformative principle, one would perhaps not even have to do this, but merely repair and replace cells in tissue on an ongoing operational basis, say, perhaps, with combinational technologies of nanotechnology and genetics.
One would, as the transhumanists are already foreseeing, end up with a kind of virtual immortality, or rather, longevity, leading to the possibility of lives of hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of years (and yet again, modern science appears to be arriving at capabilities to achieve the life spans spoken of in ancient texts). What would the psychological, sociological, and cultural consequences be? Such technologies would initially be available to the very rich… so imagine a society where the same elites running the world today, would have hundreds of years in which to work, rather than, at best, 70-90.
There are, as we aver in the transhumanism book, a variety of scenarios being contemplated, but rest assured, with this one human ear on one human arm, we have taken a step forward – a big one – into one of those futures.
See you on the flip side.