THE TRANSHUMANIST SCRAPBOOK: CONSCIOUSNESS AND COSMOLOGICAL CHOICESeptember 9, 2014
Mr. L.B. shared this article with me, and it's so thought-provoking I had to pass it along, because it raises the implicit cosmological choices behind the transhumanist agenda. Just by way of refreshing our memories, when Dr. Scott D. deHart and I were writing Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas, we struggled to find a way to explain it. We finally hit upon the idea that what it really was was not only a kind of alchemy, but an alchemy rooted in a fundamentally materialist cosmology, as it sought to "re-ascend the ladder" of alchemical descent from androgyne through mineral, vegetable, and animal man via the creation of technological chimeras using Transhumanism's four favorite technologies, the GRIN technologies - genetics, robotics, information processing technologies, and nano-technology - to engineer, chimerical creatures and blends with man. At the top of this ladder - what we called "alchemo-mineral man" - was the fusion of man and mineral, i.e., of man and silicon in the form of computer chips, and so on.
But there's another implicit danger, and this interesting article does a fairly good job of outlining it:
Now don't worry, I'm not into the practices of "astral projection" or any other of these "spiritual practices" being suggested here. Indeed, I have profound reservations about many of them. What the article does do is remind us of a very important point: the choice of a "transhumanist life" is also the implicit choice of a cosmology by which one intends to live one's life. Mind you, I am not talking about a Parkinson's victim choosing a chip to help deal with the tremors associated with it. Rather, I am talking about the more genuinely transhumanist agendas of "memory enhancement," and "downloading and uploading' a person's memory; I am talking about the use of genetic and nano-technologies to extend human life spans dramatically, into, conceivably, the realm of "virtual immortality." I am talking about those "telepathic" technologies referenced in the article itself, and about which I blogged previously this week. I am talking about what the article is talking about: the implicit possibility that an individual person could, by dint of the technology itself, be more or less chained, perhaps indefinitely, to the material world, and not allowing consciousness or personhood - whatever one wishes to call it - to "move on" even if he or she wanted to. And for those genuine materialists out there, for whom emotional and intellectual life is nothing but the sum total of chemistry and electronic impulses and so on, the prospect is no different. One can easily imagine reaching a stage of weariness and moral apathy, a kind of sociopathy we can only guess at now.
Either way, in other words, the choice to walk down the transhumanist path is a cosmological, and yes, spiritual choice. Indeed, as the article itself points out, this could actually serve to deaden human consciousness (howsoever one accounts for it), and make such humans truly post-human:
"While spiritual awakening sets consciousness free from the limitations of the body and the five senses, depending on a body integrated with technology for evolution and heightened perception only serves to further bind our existence and perception to the the transient material realm, which is only a small part of our existence, and has a definitive end. Furthermore, altering the body with technology could interfere with our natural capacity to use our time in the physical world to awaken consciousness"