Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Self-transformation is the essence of humanity

Philosopher Ray Tallis recently wrote an article called 'Enhancing Humanity' that discusses how many of the high-tech changes have not so far come about as change takes a slower pace rather than sudden cyborgian transformations:

Of course, people are worried about more invasive innovations; in particular, the direct transformation of the human body. And this is where the gradualness of change is important, because as individuals we have a track record of coping with such changes without falling apart or losing our sense of self entirely. After all, we have all been engaged all our lives in creating a stable sense of our identity out of whatever is thrown at us. This idea is worth dwelling on.


And that the evolution of the human species is about continual change and working upon our self-redefinitions...

We assimilate these changes into an evolving and continuous sense of our own identity…
Yes, we shall change; but the essence of human identity lies in this continuing self-redefinition. And if we remember that our identity and our freedom lie in the intersection between our impersonal but unique bodies and our personal individual memories and shared cultural awareness, it is difficult to worry about the erosion of either our identity or our freedom by technological advance.


Tallis is more sober on this acccount, yet ultimately does believe that 'the distinctive genius of humanity is to establish an identity which lies at an ever-increasing distance from our organic nature...in the expression of human possibility in ever-advancing technology'.

The question that concerns us is indeed the 'Time' factor, as the long-term 'organic' evolution may no longer be an option if technological advance out-strips our evolutionary mindfulness of how to control such advances for our betterment... now the age-old argument...

2 comments:

A.V. Michaels said...

That was an interesting article; it reminded me of another article http://www.alternativescience.com/no_brainer.htm which is about people with no detectable brains - what is it that makes us 'us' anyway? Perhaps not our organic selves at all...

Pooj said...

ya... do agree that self-transformation is the essence of humanity...

on a different note,
as per some spiritual beliefs, 'self transformation leads to world transformation which in turn leads to world peace'.
:)