FRINGE SCIENCE, TRANSHUMANISM, 3D PRINTING, AND …January 31, 2014
A regular reader here, Mr. V.T. has shared two important articles, and as I mentioned in a previous blog, this week's blog-scheduling task was a lot of fun for me, because so many of you sent so many wonderful articules on strange and wonderful things, and downright bizarre things, happening in the world of transhumanist science that the "final cut" selection process in determining what to write about has been very difficult. In fact, it's been so difficult that my normal day-long process of reading, selecting, and scheduling two weeks' worth of blogs has taken me two days, not just one. But it's been well worth it, and these two articles that Mr. V.T. sent along for our consideration here at this site are worth mentioning.
First a bit of background about the first article, which I enclose because in a way it is the fulfillment of a prediction, in this case, a prediction made by the noted British literary critic, Oxford don, member of the well-known "Inklings" group with Charles Williams and J.R.R. Tolkien, and science fiction author, C.S. Lewis. In the final version of his space trilogy, a novel called That Hideous Strength, Lewis envisions a fictious entity much like the Diabolically Apocalyptic Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. In his case, the agency is called the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments, otherwise known as NICE. Lewis' NICE is anything but nice, but is rather a kind of amalgam of every transhumanist meme one can think of, including grizzly experiments designed to cut off a person's head (in this case, an executed criminal) and keep it alive via a variety of technologies.
Well, it seems the idea of transplanted heads and experiments in consciousness preservation are not new:
That's right: monkey's heads have been transplanted from one body to another and the result stayed alive for seven days, preserving the monkey-personality as well. The phenomenon is not all that unusual, for organ transplant recipients often record that they have some access to the memories and even personalities of those from whom they have received organs, and this suggests, of course, that there is a link between genetics and memory that is not well understood, but that is often speculated about under the heading of "genetic memory." Indeed, co-author Dr. Scott D de Hart and I both suggested in our book Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas, that accessing such memories appears to be a component of some shamanistic practice, as revealed by the research of anthropologist Jeremy Narby.
But now there's this:
Now this use of 3D printing as a medical technology is nothing new, for those who have been following the 3D printing meme will be well aware of the various stories already reported relating the successful use of 3D printing in creating various organic tissues, with the idea of whole organs being the inevitable follow-on. The usefulness of such a technology is readily apparent, and, for those with moral scruples about stem cell research, also intriguing, for imaging being able to 3D print an organ without using stem cells, to replace an ailing organ in an individual with, say, a deteriorating heart, or, as the above article on neurophysiology suggests in this context, a new brain for someone suffering from always-terminal glioblastomas. With the head transplant technology already in hand and demonstrated, replacement brain transplants are already imagineable.
But there's another implication here, and I hope the reader caught it. I've been blogging all week about strange advances in technologies and capabilities, and I've touched upon the idea of combining two things - one a technology and one a phenomenon - to create a first generation version of a Star Trek transporter. The phenomenon is quantum entanglement, and the technology is the 3d printer. Combine the two, and one might conceivably have the technology to teleport not just atoms, but whole objects, including organic objects.
So the printing of an entire organ, as this article states might happen in 2014, will be another step on the road to a transformation of human capability, society, and culture that will dwarf any previous "age of transition." This story is one to watch folks, for if it happens, as I believe eventually it will, then the expansion of capability will follow quickly. Imagine not having to ship things any more! Want to buy that new set of patio furniture? just download it online, and print it. Need a heart transplant? Consult your 3D Printing Medical Specialist... And to draw from the Fringe series once again, it may come to the point that even the 3D physician is rendered superfluous in this respect, just "bake that ear" in the oven like Dr. Walter Bishop, and schedule the appropriate out patient "procedure" with your local general practitioner or nurse practioner...
See you on the flip side...