Occasionally, as regular readers here know, I blog about some aspect of the techno-insanity that calls itself the transhumanist movement. And usually, this takes the form of commentary on the latest techno-wizardry and all the wonderful "benefits" it's supposed to bring. But today, in conjunction with the following two articles, I want to propose an experiment, to see if perhaps others are noticing the same things, or, as the case may be, if I'm all alone at the end of the twig, perched precariously with the weight of my high octane speculations vastly exceding the load-bearing capabilities of the twig.Consider first this story about genetic anti-aging research:
While it's good to know that others have noticed the same thing that we've commented on here, namely, that some members of the elites already appear to have access to some unknown or hidden medical life-extension technologies - as the article points out, think of Queen Elizabeth II, Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, and so on - there's something that is not mentioned here, and for a few moments, I'll leave it for you the reader to think about what that is, while we ponder this more recent story out of Germany about "spermbots":
Again, the magic of science and technology conquers cruel nature and the invirile male or infertile female with the technological wonders of solutions to their problems: in vitro fertilization, test tube babies, maybe even cloning, or, more recently, three-parent babies, sperm banks, and now, "sperm bots."
When I read these stories, a new thought occurred to me, and it concerns both my own and perhaps others' reactions to such stories, and hence, my "experiment of the day" rather than our typical "high octane speculation" of the day, for I've noticed myself slipping into a pattern of thought that omits the mention or consideration of the traditional remedies for such problems.
To be sure, I have pointed out, in conjunction with the life-extension technologies, that there may be a moral and ethical flipside that needs to be mentioned. One can, I have stated, imagine a Mother Teresa or an Albert Schweitzer having decades beyond a normal life span to do their good work and good works. So too, one might imagine a Mao Tse-dung or a Joseph Stalin having similar extended life spans to wreak havoc and evil. Indeed, as the first article suggests and implies, the elites already appear to have access to some sort of life-extension, and perhaps this fact does account for the craziness and insanity let loose in the world.
But it's the "omitted thought" here that disturbs me, for it is reflecting a pattern that all too easily slips into our own alternative community critiques of such trends, and that is the habit of mind and thought that critiques these technologies and techniques by omitting the standard and traditional assumptions, and that plays into the implicit materialist cosmology and assumptions by accepting their premises. It used to be the conventional wisdom that a long life was the reward for virtuous living, hard work, a healthy diet, and, yes, reverence for the Good, the Virtuous, and God, or reason, or some facsimile thereof.
For myself, I noticed this trend as I contemplated the second article about the "spermbots." To be sure, it is full of technological promise, but there's an omitted thought, a traditional answer, to childlessness, and that's adoption. Have we become so enamored of technological solutions to our predicamentrs, that we no longer even entertain, in our thinking, the traditional answers as being at the top of our list of considerations? This thought intrigues me, for I suspect too this question is linked to the narcissism of the age: we'd rather develop expensive technologies and techniques to solve a problem of infertility or lack of virility, than to open our hearts to orphans. And perhaps too, this is a sign of the materialism of the age: we'd rather pass on our DNA, via some technique, than embrace a far more difficult task of opening our hearts and minds, a far more important thing. I suppose it is easy for me to talk like this, since I am not married and have no children. But it was the first thought that occurred to me when reading the article. Is it much easier to become consumers of a technology, than it is to embrace an ancient human solution to an age-old problem, because that solution requires so much more, spiritually and emotionally, for it does indeed appear to me that transhumanism is presenting humanity with a kind of ultimate choice: embrace the materialistic solution, or the spiritual one, and there's little middle ground between the two.
Perhaps I'm simply seeing things that are not there, and hence, I've put this one in the "you tell me category," but I would be interested to find out if others out there are thinking the same thing, or if on the other hand they think I'm "seeing too much" in a trend that really isn't there at all.
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