Worldview Weekend By Carl Teichrib (www.forcingchange.org)
"Lucifer is the embodiment of reason, of intelligence, of critical thought. He stands against the dogma of God and all other dogmas. He stands for the exploration of new ideasâ€¦ Join me, join Lucifer, and join Extropy in fighting God and his entropic forces with our minds, our wills and our courage. God's army is strong, but they are backed by ignorance, fear and cowardice. Reality is fundamentally on our side. Forward into the light!" Transhumanist Max Moore, 1991
Standing at the guest booth on the outskirts of the Temple grounds in Salt Lake City, the young lady behind the counter asked if we were attending "the conference."
"Not the conference," my wife explained, "but a conference."
A momentary look of confusion crossed the greeter's face. After all, the Latter-Day Saints' General Conference was only hours away, and for the Mormon community GC is the event of the year. Why else would we be in Salt Lake City?
I tried to clarify; "We're here for a conference sponsored by the Mormon Transhumanist Association."
This didn't help.
Like the Mormon greeter, you too are probably wondering; "What in the world is transhumanism?"
In short, Transhumanism is the ultimate goal of Technocracy. In past editions of Forcing Change, a series of articles were published on Technocracy as a meta-movement: the idea that the works of Man's hands can save Humanity â€“ hence, technology and science forms the basis of a Technocratic society. Transhumanism takes this to its ultimate conclusion: The development of the post-human or neo-human.
Based on the premise that evolution is true, transhumanism looks to shape the human species through the direct application of science. In other words, by employing technology we can take hold of the evolutionary process and change it as we desire, thus becoming the masters of our future. To this end, advocates of transhumanism ascribe to a multitude of possible options.
The Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA) gives us an overview,
"â€¦visions of a neohuman future will evolve as time goes on. As imagined now, possible neohuman traits, all involving technological enhancements to current human capacities, include:
- highly advanced intellectual capabilities, greater than ours in magnitude as ours are greater than those of other animals
- physical bodies that are immune to disease and aging
- the ability to communicate complex thoughts and emotions instantaneously without visual aids or speech
- expanded sensory inputs that enable higher awareness of even distant environs
- superhuman strength and agility
- perfect control of individual desires, moods, or mental states
- increased capacity to experience joy, love, pleasure, and other emotions."[i]
Superhuman strength! Longevity and disease-free living! Mind-to-mind communicationsâ€¦ Does this sound like science fiction, or science-magic?
Although less magical sounding, the following examples are no less mind-blowing. They represent a portion of this author's research, and are considered to be paths moving us beyond humanity.
1. DNA: Now that we are unlocking the secrets of DNA, we can alter our genetic makeup to augment desirable traits and block negative characteristics. It's hoped such a move will bring longevity and eradicate diseases. Other possible outcomes include the production of designer babies in the womb, and even introducing DNA from other species into the human code; thus building a "Human Plus" equipped with advanced physical and cognitive traits. Such a trans-human would be "transgenic" â€“ literally a human GMO (Genetically Modified Organism).
2. Computer Interfacing and AI: As the secrets of the brain are discovered, it is anticipated that a time will arrive when the mind is efficiently interfaced with cyber-space. It is believed that in such a scenario the brain, once "plugged-in," could allow the mind to surf the network, download and upload from the web, receive memory upgrades, and converge with a global mind-to-machine community â€“ forming a type of cyber-hive. Or, according to some cybernetic purists, to allow one's consciousness to completely leave the bounds of flesh and enter cyber-space as an electronic entity. After all the brain, it's argued, is an electrochemical organ. This mind uploading, it's believed, could culminate in what the Catholic mystic, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called the noosphere: the emergence of a living, global consciousness. The web would thus "come alive."
When asked what the single most important development will be in 20 years, George Dvorsky of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies said,
"Interface technologies that bridge the gap between the human brain and the internet. In twenty years, our interaction with the web will be so seamless that it will be considered an exosomatic organ. Implications include ubiquitous access to all knowledge stores on the net and 'techlepathy'."[ii]
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