Re: -=A Couple Q's=-

J. R. Molloy (
Sat, 8 May 1999 16:22:35 -0700

Anders wrote,
>What is the goal of the human form? I don't think it is useful to talk
>about the goals of a species, it is much more relevant to look at the
>goals of the individuals making it up. What would the goals of
>posthumans be? Likely as varied compared to human goals as human goals
>are compared to animal goals.

The utility in defining the goals of a species relates to how it helps us understand the epigenetic rules associated with biological evolution. Comprehending these rules would allow further insight into mechanisms which would then make possible the actualization of posthumanity.

An important aspect of this centers on what E. O. Wilson refers to as "gene-culture coevolution" conceived of by Charles J. Lumsden and himself in _Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process_, 1981 and _Promethean Fire_, 1983 -- with early help from Robert Boyd, Peter J. Richerson, Mark W. Feldman, L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, William H. Durham, Kevin N. Laland, and François Nielsen.

What this allows us to extrapolate concerning the "ultimate goals" of posthumans remains nevertheless theoretical, if not altogether speculative, because we assume that posthumans could manipulate epigenetic rules to suit themselves (as humans cannot). In general, notwithstanding this disclaimer, we can say that posthumans will extend the range of control and complexity that life has in the universe.

Ultimately, having completed and perfected the Theory of Everything, posthumans could for the first time in history allow life to break with its biological imperatives, to act independently of instinct, and to devise a culture beyond politicality and religiosity. In this respect, I correlate posthumans to buddhas, to entities functioning in an expanded universe of knowledge discovered by themselves when they leave behind them instincts and genetic predisposition, when they surpass the congenitally mystic aberrations of tribalism, shamanism, spiritism, and especially nationalism, to liberate their innate intelligence.

>> I hear talk about
>> over population, econimic gitchs due to immortality, ect. It seems to me
>> that the whole point of becoming post-human is to break the limitaions of
>> human restriction; and there have been statements about future issues due
>> to transhumanism that are already human issues right now.
>History will never end; there will never be a point where all problems
>are perfectly solved and there is no need for change or alertness. All
>new abilities will solve some old problems, transform others, and
>introduce new problems - but I prefer a state with many possibilities
>rather than a state with many limitations.

Then again, history may never stop repeating itself, a là Nietzsche's "eternal recurrence."

Meanwhile, the majority of people seem to need to keep on sleeping in organized belief systems more than they feel a "need for change or alertness." The first posthuman will constitute a minority of one, and may suffer persecution (or even execution) similar to that of other minorities of one. As several here have pointed out before, we just don't (can't) know.

>> My second q is
>> that of the emotion that a human experiences. What is the relevance of an
>> emotion in post-human form?
>Emotions are modes of thinking, adaptations to the need of acting
>differently in different situations. Many emotions are fairly useless
>or destructive in the current or a posthuman setting, but can be
>changed or refined into something useful (a non-physical threat
>usually cannot be handled by the instinctive aggressive responses we
>currently have, a rationality reflex might be much better). But I
>think the need for modulation of cognition will remain, so our
>posthuman selves will indeed having emotions.

Yes, indeed. Emotions link the senses to the intellect. Don't leave home without 'em.


--J. R.