Miguel A. Fernandez
The Dangerous Deception of Transhumanism
The intellectual movement referred to as “transhumanism” appeals to a theoretical human-technology symbiosis that is claimed can empower the evolutionary potentials of the human being. This current of thought is very common today in high-tech networked societies, and has persuasively permeated the minds of a vast sector of scientists in many fields, also seducing the minds of the general public who relate to technology on a daily basis, and who are very much fascinated by the products of Artificial Intelligence.
This current of thought grew powerfully in the U.S. during the last decades and has been massively exported to the world, serving as a perfect justification for technological development at all costs. Characterized by a very sophisticate jargon full of “-isms” that mix ethical, social and political areas of analysis, the current of “transhumanism” allows to intellectually justify actions in the present for the exclusive sake of the future, so in this sense it´s clearly another sub-product of the ideology of progress that characterizes modern societies. Therefore, the idea of time “transhumanism” embraces is linear and chronological, and consequently it´s no coincidence that some of the major proponents of this current of thought, the American futurist Ray Kurzweil, proposes the notion of a “technological singularity” that shall –according to Kurzweil- take place in the future once IA technological development shall “outrun the capacity of humanity to direct such development”. In Kurzweil´s arguments we can clearly observe a transposition of linear Messianic narratives which prove the soteriological/Salvationist value that high-tech societies grant to technology, and this religious texture has efficiently served to reinforce the mystique that surrounds multimillionaire public figures like Elon Musk who emphatically embrace this narrative and the outsourcing of the human mind to artificial intelligence.
As “transhumanism” justifies very specific human actions at a collective level, it therefore constitutes a strict form of propaganda that has been promoted and incentivized during the last 50 years by high-tech academia and corporations (M.I.T, Silicon Valley, etc.) especially in order to counteract the sociopolitical pessimism that emerged in the West after the First and Second World Wars, when was still present the memory of how an exacerbated techno-industrial progress can easily lead to war and disaster. It was then necessary to reintroduce in the minds of the population a stubborn social faith in the ideology of progress and technological development, or in other words, it was necessary to render technological development a religion.
As a result of this intense propaganda, today in Western liberal societies one is free to discuss about countless sociological, scientific and political topics, but the questioning of the religion of technology and all its “transhumanist” sectarian branches is completely forbidden, hence condemning the criticizer to remain outside of the influential establishment of corporate-sponsored thinkers. But anyone who has a deep operative understanding of the technical phenomenon per se shall realize that the main assumptions of “transhumanism” are extremely naïve and infantile, lacking any serious understanding of the actual type of relations that humans establish with the technological cosmos. It´s no coincidence that “transhumanists” carefully ignore the works of Jacques Ellul, Marshall McLuhan and other relevant authors in the field because these works demonstrate that the human condition has already established in the past symbiotic relations with technology, and that technique is always an extension of the human senses. So when “transhumanists” refer to the enhancement of the human brain by technology as something that evolves the human condition, and as something to occur in the future to look forward to and to “prepare for”, they´re just exposing the naiveté of their narrative. Also, the only idea of human intelligence or human biology that “transhumanists” accept is extremely limited by the cybernetic paradigms of nature that became commonplace in the U.S. since the 1940s, in which all form of knowledge or science is forced to surrender to the operatives of code, program, algorithm, feedback and control. But if “transhumanists” dared to break the siliconised shell of their dearest cybernetic paradigms, they would have to recognize that humans always have, here and now, the potential of transcending the human condition and its biological determinations without having to wait for any future “singularity”. They would also have to recognize that biological dynamics are still far from being reducible to scientific explanations based on cybernetic paradigms.
In truth, the spiritual evolvement of the human being towards transcendence, here and now, is what can be referred to as a pure path towards a real transhuman condition, already outlined in many spiritual traditions of the past, but “transhumanists” consciously or unconsciously promote an ideology of progress in which the spiritual evolvement is encouraged to not be fulfilled in the present moment but can only be fulfilled eventually in the future by totally surrendering the human senses today to every single technological development that emerges, or in other words, “transhumanists” constantly encourage populations worldwide to become more and more attached to any new device that supposedly “upgrades” their senses. As a consequence, it´s very common to see the “transhumanist” narrative underlying the advertisement of new technologies that tend to present images of future utopian societies where the human will shall require no effort, no spontaneity nor any type of initiative, since in such society humans shall only have to passively surrender to the dictums presented by the new ruling God: Artificial Intelligence.
“Transhumanists” fail to realize that technology, as an extension of the human spirit, does not have the same effects in individuals or cultures, depending on their specific values. Any technical extension always enhances the idiocy of the idiot and the intelligence of the intelligent, this is, it serves the core values of the person but it cannot mold the values of such person, because this molding depends on existential and spiritual aspects that transcend the influence of technology. Also, “transhumanists” fail to realize that technological development not only serves as an extension of the core values of the individual, but above all, is a very powerful extension of the State. So when people, at an aggregate level, are persuaded by the “transhumanist” narratives and accept technological development as something “good-in-itself” this concession grants extreme technological power to the State, which is then free to make use of such power for total control and its progressive aggrandizement and global centralization, at any human cost. Recently we´ve had the chance of being spectators of this persuasion during the a·n·t·i·c·o·v·i·d jab rollout, in which the “transhumanist” narrative excellently served to temporarily conjure up human the fears of the population with a technological inoculation that has nothing to do with a classical v·a·c·c·i·n·e, demonstrating that the “transhumanist” narrative has acquired much more power in the minds than any serious medical explanation.
“Transhumanism”, by claiming it aims for bettering the human condition exclusively through technology, actually serves as a very sophisticate pretext for degrading the human condition to that of a being that outsources all its power to the forces of technological development, a development that serves the global centralized State and all its strategies for growth, whether its expressed in the form of total human control or war.
None of the above implies that technological development is either “good” or “bad” because this type of development not only transcends always the limits imposed by human morality, but also transcends all anthropomorphic and humanist worldviews. This development aims for material power at all costs, and the question that then arises is whether both humans as communities aim to maintain their freedom amid such changes and then determine their own goals-values, or either decide to surrender to the goals defined by the States, which in today´s planetary context are States that are beyond all governmental power and operate based on the scenarios determined by I.A. and all the “transhumanists” who firmly support such type of faceless politics. In the first case it´s required an understanding of our operative relation to technique, as an antidote against the false vision of technology promoted by the “transhumanist” current of thinking, and also is required to discover how to fight against these subversive forces in the specific sociopolitical and economic conditions that are already characterizing the 21st century.