“There is an immense, painful longing for a broader, more flexible,fuller, more coherent, more comprehensive account of what we human beings are, who we are and what this life is for.” ~ Saul Bellow.
We live in interesting times in which a “more coherent and comprehensive account of what we human beings are” will by default include a comparison with what we are not- the new generation of intelligent machines. Those who will laugh at the very notion of a Turing Test are about to become either our peers or our masters.The challenge is whether we can find our own definition of what it means to be human and what advantages and deficits are inherent in ourhumanity.
The adaptation of human consciousness to the framework of a fluid and undefined reality that is pregnant with infinite possibilities (in a finite set whose borders we may never perceive with our human senses,) evokes the suspicion that like the biblical Moses, we are able to travel to a certain point and then merely glimpse the horizon of the”promised land.”
A new generation has arisen, those who aspire to be the bridge between what “is” and what “can be” humanity. The intrepid explorers of this new terrain that stretches from infinity to infinity are Transhumanists. The requisites of this new tribe include a willingness to explore the landscapes of the infinitely small (the nano of nanos;) the hinterlands of biological and technological complexity combined with a truly pioneering spirit that catalyses an urgency to move beyond the apparent mirage of the horizon of reality that others conveniently disregard as illusion.
An examination of “what we are” could be the most risky and disconcerting of all. As we slough off our preconceptions and fals ebeliefs that have been ingrained in us by generations of so-called thinkers, we are challenged to face the notions that we may be merelytangled webs of wires and signals; intangible pre and post-synaptic happenings that can be identified by spikes and electro-magnetic images; reactions in chemical soups or simulated characters coded by a”Cosmic Joker.”
“What this life is for” is a question that Transhumanists are engaging with all of the time. Most of us wish for longer lives so that we can live up to a potential that has not yet been defined by the confines of the human brain. To “see eternity in a grain of sand” is all very well, but to LIVE in that eternity and to experience it multi-dimensionally (with senses that are not dulled by the confines of the present human paraphernalia) would be true bliss. Responsible Omniscience; Omnipresence; Omnipotence AND Benevolence would be the totality of the sensory apparatus of the new human.
What then is humanity? I would posit the opinion that humanity is the seed of all potential that could flower into what we have painted as Divinity. The lines will blur. The true revelation will be that Human and Divine are one and the same.
May we transcend the limitations of time, space and most of all our limited thinking about what it means to be human; Transhuman and Divine.