Come to think of it: Transhumanism

The publication that I write my Come to think of it column thought that opinion piece was too controversial to publish. I will leave it to my thoughtful readers to ascertain the reason why.

The transhumanist ideal is to use technology to make man more capable, but such technological improvement stands in the same relation to man as a crutch stands to an invalid with a broken leg.

All this talk about transgenderism makes me worried that there is something on the horizon so horrible one would rather not think on it, and transgenderism may just be the first step to transhumanism, which is the final solution, to coin a phrase. 

The idea in transgenderism and transhumanism is the same: the artificial replacement and construction of a new or improved biological entity through technological intervention. Transgenderism may be the nascent ideological and technological development of a deeper and darker movement toward replacing man as such with machines.  

Postgenderism, for instance, seeks the elimination of gender in the human species by applying advanced biotechnology and assisted reproductive technologies to normal healthy human beings. True, the thinkers behind this idea say it is “voluntary,” and stress ethical considerations along the way, but ethics has little meaning anymore when human nature is denatured, since all ethical considerations are based upon nature and primary principles of reason, like do goodavoid evil, and such.

In C.S. Lewis’s third installment of his space trilogy series, That Hideous Strength, we get a glimpse perhaps into where all this trans talk is going–and it isn’t good. Ultimately, the end-game for the transhumanists depicted in Lewis’s science fiction is to replace organic man with an inorganic existence, which will end, so the story goes, all death, sickness, poverty, ignorance, and, generally, human misery. The assumption is, I suppose, that if we cut off our heads, we won’t complain of headaches. (The story has a man’s head in a vat of liquid, fed by wires and oxygen: the futurist form of advanced human life and prosperity.)  

Though Lewis may have gone a little far in exaggerating the faults of the transhumanist movement of his day, the ideas swirling around today, though less hideous, are nevertheless just as silly. 

Take, for instance, the idea that human beings can be improved through technology. First off, one of the principles of reason is that no effect is greater than its cause. Thus, whatever technological advancement man can try to make upon humanity as a whole, that piece of machinery will not be more advanced than the man who came up with it. Technology may improve men, but it cannot improve man, since a man made it. 

Ultimately, then, the transhumanist movement is not about improving man as such, but men, with this catch, that the improvers neither can be improved–because they invented the improvement–nor would they desire to be. That’s because technological innovation of man, transhumanism at its core, is only for the weak, not the strong.  

Think I’m making this up? Elon Musk, the tech-tycoon who is famous for his innovative enterprises from space flight to electric cars, is also wanting to make man-machines, or brain-computer interfaces through an injectable mesh-like neural lace.

In a Tweet a few years ago, Musk said, “Creating a neural lace is the thing that really matters for humanity to achieve symbiosis with machines.” The idea is that, as AI becomes more mainstream, humanity will have to adapt to avert the fate of becoming “house cats” to the AI, who will have all the good jobs. Man must, Musk says, go along to get along by becoming a machine himself. 

Come to think of it, I doubt Musk will be injecting his brain with any neural lace anytime soon, since, being the richest man in the world, he is in no danger of losing his job to AI technology–since he invents it.