Embodiment and mortality are the source of much of human glory
Humans are embodied beings; they are not simply an abstract mind that is imprisoned in a body, as transhumanist anthropology presupposes, but rather beings whose mind and body are holistically interdependent. Transhumanists are particularly disdainful of human embodiment, because it is imperfect, subject to limitations, and above all finite and mortal. Transhumanists are obsessed with fixing the limitations of the human body so as to improve its performance, extend its life indefinitely, and defy its impending death, but humanists who study the human experience in time, appreciate the wisdom of embodiment and mortality and the preciousness of organic life, the very life which transhumanists denigrate and wish to make obsolete.
The glory of humanity does not lie in the disembodied consciousness that will be uploaded unto super-intelligent machines where it will engage in perpetual computation, but in the complex mind-body interplay that resists reductionist to either “spiritual” mind or “physical” body. It is the interdependence of mind-body that allows us to sense, perceive, feel, desire, yearn, hope, communicate, and create sophisticated civilisations. Embodiment and mortality should not be viewed as human deficiency that should be eliminated by science and technology but rather as the source of much of human glory, since philosophy, religion, and art are all expressions of human awareness of death and the human response to the fact of mortality.
Source : in praise of human dignity: the humanities in the age of big data, oneducation.net, 2018
We are still the masters of our fate. Rational thinking, even assisted by any conceivable electronic computors, cannot predict the future. All it can do is to map out the probability space as it appears at the present and which will be different tomorrow when one of the infinity of possible states will have materialized. Technological and social inventions are broadening this probability space all the time; it is now incomparably larger than it was before the industrial revolution—for good or for evil.
The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.
It was man’s ability to invent which has made human society what it is. The mental processes of inventions are still mysterious. They are rational but not logical, that is to say, not deductive.
Humankind has colonised the future. We treat it like a distant colonial outpost devoid of people where we can freely dump ecological degradation, technological risk and nuclear waste – as if nobody will be there.
This resembles the attitude of the British in their colonisation of Australia, which was based on a legal doctrine today known as terra nullius or ‘nobody’s land’, in which the continent was treated as if there were no indigenous people there when they arrived. Our societal attitude today is one of tempus nullius, particularly in high-income countries. […] The future is seen as ‘nobody’s time’ ...
Chris Hadfield, reassuring a five-year-old who was worried about the Voyager satellite, a space probe launched by NASA in 1977, the most distant man-made object from Earth still operating after 42 years.
Voyager is so happy, because it’s the bravest satellite of all. It has gone the furthest. And it’s not lonely, because it’s talking to us. It phones home. And it tells us all about the wonderful things that it’s seeing. …There’s a whole universe to explore, and it’s just leaving our Solar System right now. It’s very brave and very lucky to be doing what it’s doing, so it’s not going to get lost. It’s traveled further than anything we’ve ever built has traveled before. It’s actually showing us the way. …
It might have been safer for it to just stay home, and stay inside a building, but then it would have been sad forever, because it never would have done its purpose. It never would have discovered things. It’s all a wonderful story of great discovery and success, and it couldn’t have happened if Voyager hadn’t been brave…
It’s not really the fact that everything always has a start and an end, it’s what happens in the middle that counts. What do you while you’re alive? What do you do while you’re laughing? And I think we’re doing exactly what makes Voyager joyful and as happy as it could be.
Think about the fact that you’re a little bit like Voyager. In that you’re going to go see the world, and you’re going to call your mom on the phone and tell her about the wonderful things that you see. … You wouldn’t want to spend your whole life hiding under your bed and never seeing anything in your whole life, you want to be able to do what makes you happy and joyful and learn about things to discover. You might be the person that discovers something really important for everybody else on the world, but you can never discover that if you just hide and only do things that are safe. So think about yourself a little bit like Voyager. What makes you laugh? It’s not just staying, hiding underneath your bed safely at home