Transhumanism: Reflections from a Non-Scientist
IMAGE: PHOTO OF MAN LOOKING AT GRAPH IN CLOUDS
My name is Matt Howe and I am not a scientist. I am, in fact a business man, and other than a few classes in college, my formal training in most scientific disciplines ended either in college or from what I can gather off the internet or have learned from others. Yes, I have a great deal of expertise in the Risk Management sector and being in sales I have probably a better than average gift for communication, but despite all these seeming limitations, I am a Transhumanist, part of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, and Transhumanism needs me.
You see, like most folks who align with Transhumanism, I have a deep appreciation and love for science and technology. It could be argued that I am an amateur philosopher when it comes to the application of scientific ideas. I love how fast technology is changing our world and every day it seems like there is something new that humanity has discovered/invented that will improve our lives.
One thing about Transhumanism that I especially like is that it's fluid. Even in the MTA we argue direction of its goals. And not everyone agrees in the end. For instance, I actually detest the idea of a Singularity as some have defined it. Any idea in which I lose personal identity is an affront to me. But to others it's essential.
Other than my own philosophical arguments, what exactly do I offer the Transhumanist narrative? The truth is, Transhumanism not only needs me, it needs everyone. It requires that we all advance ourselves one way or another to a superior state of understanding and enlightenment, and frankly, in order for that to happen, the small steps necessary along the way have to be understood and implemented by brick layers, real estate agents, retail managers and yes, even Insurance Brokers like me.
One conclusion that many Transhumanists have arrived at is that technology is the vehicle to reach a post human state, and that technology needs to accessible by all, not just the uber rich or privileged. In fact, to arrive at our lofty goals for redeeming humanity, for becoming a race of people filled with no desire to have wars, that there be no poor among us, that we be all equals, the world needs to play some catch up.
For one, we require to be enlightened. All of us. The UPS driver needs to know why and how and what we are about to buy in if she chooses and how people's lives have both meaning and purpose in the grand scheme. It's clear that perhaps the most pressing goal of Transhumanism is to disseminate as much technology, to as many people, for as low a cost as is possible.
Imagine if all the kids in North Korea had cell phones and access to Google and the rest of the world of information on the internet? If they realized how small the world is becoming, would their ideas of isolation change? Would the old way of thinking die and they embrace the world as so many others have? Perhaps the peace we've so long sought for in the Middle East could be overcome by access to more than one narrative through technology they do not currently possess?
The benefits of a more technological world are nearly endless, and if we can somehow empower individuals with their own access, then perhaps the powers and ability of those who wish to subject others will be either greatly diminished or even eliminated.
These lofty goals cannot be reached however without me. And you. And the guy down the street. We'll even need the critics along the way to help us self reflect, but the level of understanding we require begs that we, all of us, participate. In other words, it can't be just a few scientists and intellectuals pursuing these ends, it must be the entire world.