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Posts Tagged ‘transhumanism’

Before you read the lyrics to the song below please know it is not intended to be a neo-ludite manifesto. The song in this post is not written to persuade folks the only way to reach sustainability and save the planet is to go back to pre-industrial times thus giving up on technology and progress.

The need to take a hard look at the risks and consequences of our existence on Earth and the even greater need to understand what it will take to inhabit this planet sustainably is not in conflict with honoring our inescapable technological and overall creative nature.

I agree with the common view that human progress based on science and technology cannot be stopped unless our species perishes. And I believe our ability to investigate and even shape the world is one of our greatest strengths. However this virtue needs to be checked by a higher human strength which is our values, also known as human consciousness.

Our capacity to shape the environment at the planetary scale brings an equal planetary sense of responsibility. We have been lured by our technological might and in that episode we have made a serious mistake. We have forgotten the responsibility and the respect we used to have for the land. We forgot how to interact with the environment in a harmonious non-disruptive manner. And now we must realize we have created a situation that is destabilizing our life sustaining system with the potential of irreversible consequences for the whole planet.

Let’s get completely out of our comfort zones; let’s stop pretending we are greening the world when quite often we are pursuing our own selfish profit driven but green marketed agendas; let’s for once stop putting our interests before anyone or anything else on Earth; let’s honor truth and justice by taking responsibility of the situation we have created; and let’s use our creative passion to transform our socio-technical environment into a truly sustainable one.

This will not be possible until we can correct our perception of reality and our relationship with Nature. Until then I will sing this song.

The howl of the wolf is the soundtrack of wilderness
And wilderness, the ferment of the soul
Primal humans knew what modern humanity has forgotten,
that life is balance
The world endlessly consuming itself
and joyously making love to itself through its constituent parts
Every species equal, with an inherent, intrinsic value
sacred worth, sacred worth
Civilization is a mere 16,000 year imbalance
after the shared adventure of three and a half billion years of ecstatic evolution
Now called Deep Ecology,
this sacred worldview was the life and practice of all primitive peoples
and it will be the worldview once again of any peoples to survive the Earth’s cataclysmic cleansing

– Lone-Wolf Circles and Friends (Oikos – Songs for the Living Earth)

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Metropolis film poster (1926)

Metropolis film poster (1926)

Continuing on my previous post on trans-humanism I recognize this is a complex subject where a one size fits all analysis could risk the required understanding of and engagement with this movement.

On the one hand I am convinced repressing our human capacity to create and develop technology goes directly against human nature, self-realization and purpose. Subsequently I vehemently oppose the demonization of trans-humanism and by default, the demonization of human progress.

On the other hand I cannot stress enough the urgency to (1) raise awareness of the risks inherent to the trans-humanist agenda and (2) to manage such risks.

I am probably less optimistic or idealistic than most people in our society’s ability to manage the impact of these new powerful life altering technologies effectively and timely. We have been indoctrinated by modern society, primarily by corporations and universities into a blind faith in technology. Such faith keeps us complacent believing technology will save us all in the end. This inability to question technology’s limitations and safety keep us powerless in the face of considerable risks.

History has shown society does not wake up to major risk until we have come to the very brink of the crisis. An example of such human behavior was the insane arms race escalation which drove the US and Russia to the so-called Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) scenario. It was long after both super powers had made enough weapons to destroy several planets like earth that both parties realized nuclear war could not be won by either side. No nation could escape the enormity of the resulting nuclear holocaust. It took such an overwhelming and terrifying realization before the parties recovered the common sense to reduce their nuclear arsenals.

I am still looking for a way to manage the challenges that trans-humanists goals like human life extension will bring to a world where the carrying capacity of the Earth will have been exceeded several times over. We would need fantastic technologies to compensate for the extra people who would live by immediately reducing the ecological-footprint they would add.

And that is where my main argument arises. What will take to remove our anthropocentrism (human centeredness) from technology and from the human perception and interaction with the planet? That achievement would allow us to approach reality with a true consciousness that will call for the most ethical, rational and responsible use of technology. Such level of consciousness would enable us to prioritize our never ending list techno-wish list accordingly and allow us to better manage our development. It comes down to prioritizing planetary threats such as water scarcity over saving 40 year-old women from wrinkles.

It is amazing to see how the egotistical obsession with ourselves can cloud our judgment so much that we can completely detach from reality and  the urgent growing list of planetary issues which make such self-indulgent trans-humanist goals not just unimportant but shamefully frivolous. Resolving the global threats upon us, assuring the health of our life sustaining system and ensuring social justice and equality should take priority over any other goal by humanity. I will support trans-humanism in as much as it may contribute to the progress of sustainability.

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