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SCIENCE TO THE LIMIT OF POSSIBLE


transhumanismo@sapo.pt

Transhumanism = Scientific current trying to improve Man's Intelligence, and Happiness.

Domingo, 28 de Dezembro de 2014
TRANSHUMANISM AND INTERCULTURALITY

António Carvalho, PhD (University of Exeter)

 

Science and the technology are absolutely crucial for the contemporary societies. The model of linear evolution, associated to the galloping proliferation of new instruments, techniques and easiness in the mediation between human beings and nature, must, however, be questioned. Instead of thinking in terms of continuity, linearity and teleological consumption, we can incorporate some ideas extracted from the debates within philosophy, history and sociology of Science and Technology that contribute for the quarrel with terms such as paradigm, rupture, localization, situation or ethnicity.
A certain tension is associated with questions such as: What is knowledge? Who can produce it? Where shall it be developed? Who shall take usufruct of it? It is also notorious the constraint provoked by the dissemination of other knowledge and cultures with distinct epistemological conceptions.
Transhumanism, assuming itself as a movement aiming at reaching the post-human-being state, must take into account the existence of other approaches, that can be designated as non-technological, to the human improvement. The integration of these other conceptions can confer an intercultural and universal load to the improvement of the human being, rejecting the conception of Transhumanism as a by-product of the advances reached in the “orthodox” Science and Technology of the “developed” countries.
Being impossible to catalogue all the non-western forms of approach to Transhumanism (and some of them are even western, however in a state of “anachronism” or non-conventional), we can allude to the practices connected to Yoga, meditation, the control of breath, the alteration of the corporal functions through all a series of exercises that transform the being of the subject. These practices, united under the aegis of what Foucault called “technologies of the self”, depend on an investment of the human will in which the individual takes for itself the full responsibility of its performance: they are, in this sense, an intensification of the agency of those who practice them.
Although they are quite distinct (a naive vision on these “other” practices could lead to their simplification and crystallization), these procedures depend on the interaction between human will and (psychophysical) condition, with the aim to “improve” the last one. They are and integrant part of an approach to knowledge and spiritualitythat values the embodied and experiential dimensions through a project of access to the “truth”.
These visions of improvement, carried out by individuals throughout specific periods of their lives, and which result in an amelioration of the mental aptitudes, better physical performance or development of paranormal capacities, shall be placed side by side with narratives extracted from the genetic engineering, the emergent technologies and hypotheses extracted from imagined future applications. We can, through the intercultural relation with other approaches to transhumanism, identify some interesting indications to rethink one of the great ethical concerns associated to the technological transformation of the human condition: the loss of the agency. In fact, the aprioristic redesign of the human biology, the introduction of technological devices in the body or the chemical stimulation of the neurophysiologic processes for the creation of states of higher pleasure, can imply the dissolution of a will and a consciousness associated to the image of the rational animal. These concerns still promote bigger distrusts when dystopias, present in the popular imaginary, are glimpsed, in which technological innovations are recruited by authoritarian regimes to format the citizens, facilitating and speeding the investments of power. The promotion of interculturality must ally practices of intensification of the “will” to the appropriation of the possibilities offered by the non-human artefacts and devices, opening, on the one hand, new possibilities for the human agency but, on the other hand, maintaining the anthropologic referent , avoiding the risk of what an author designated as “the organic totality”.

The hypotheses of improvement of the human being, in a global society, doubtlessly reflect the perplexities generated by the multiplication of perspectives on what is Man and what must be the future of his condition. The hypotheses supplied by the scientific and technological applications must, in a multicultural paradigm, be allied to a panoply of procedures that are recruited by individuals to modify their condition as spiritual beings. However, we cannot ignore that new associations between humans and non humans will give rise to new synergies and, eventually, to the reconfiguration of what it is understood as Ethics.



Published by Transhumanismo às 17:46
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Terça-feira, 15 de Setembro de 2009
TRANSHUMANISM AND INTERCULTURALITY

António Carvalho, PhD (University of Exeter)

 

Science and the technology are absolutely crucial for the contemporary societies. The model of linear evolution, associated to the galloping proliferation of new instruments, techniques and easiness in the mediation between human beings and nature, must, however, be questioned. Instead of thinking in terms of continuity, linearity and teleological consumption, we can incorporate some ideas extracted from the debates within philosophy, history and sociology of Science and Technology that contribute for the quarrel with terms such as paradigm, rupture, localization, situation or ethnicity.
A certain tension is associated with questions such as: What is knowledge? Who can produce it? Where shall it be developed? Who shall take usufruct of it? It is also notorious the constraint provoked by the dissemination of other knowledge and cultures with distinct epistemological conceptions.
Transhumanism, assuming itself as a movement aiming at reaching the post-human-being state, must take into account the existence of other approaches, that can be designated as non-technological, to the human improvement. The integration of these other conceptions can confer an intercultural and universal load to the improvement of the human being, rejecting the conception of Transhumanism as a by-product of the advances reached in the “orthodox” Science and Technology of the “developed” countries.
Being impossible to catalogue all the non-western forms of approach to Transhumanism (and some of them are even western, however in a state of “anachronism” or non-conventional), we can allude to the practices connected to Yoga, meditation, the control of breath, the alteration of the corporal functions through all a series of exercises that transform the being of the subject. These practices, united under the aegis of what Foucault called “technologies of the self”, depend on an investment of the human will in which the individual takes for itself the full responsibility of its performance: they are, in this sense, an intensification of the agency of those who practice them.
Although they are quite distinct (a naive vision on these “other” practices could lead to their simplification and crystallization), these procedures depend on the interaction between human will and (psychophysical) condition, with the aim to “improve” the last one. They are and integrant part of an approach to knowledge and spiritualitythat values the embodied and experiential dimensions through a project of access to the “truth”.
These visions of improvement, carried out by individuals throughout specific periods of their lives, and which result in an amelioration of the mental aptitudes, better physical performance or development of paranormal capacities, shall be placed side by side with narratives extracted from the genetic engineering, the emergent technologies and hypotheses extracted from imagined future applications. We can, through the intercultural relation with other approaches to transhumanism, identify some interesting indications to rethink one of the great ethical concerns associated to the technological transformation of the human condition: the loss of the agency. In fact, the aprioristic redesign of the human biology, the introduction of technological devices in the body or the chemical stimulation of the neurophysiologic processes for the creation of states of higher pleasure, can imply the dissolution of a will and a consciousness associated to the image of the rational animal. These concerns still promote bigger distrusts when dystopias, present in the popular imaginary, are glimpsed, in which technological innovations are recruited by authoritarian regimes to format the citizens, facilitating and speeding the investments of power. The promotion of interculturality must ally practices of intensification of the “will” to the appropriation of the possibilities offered by the non-human artefacts and devices, opening, on the one hand, new possibilities for the human agency but, on the other hand, maintaining the anthropologic referent , avoiding the risk of what an author designated as “the organic totality”.

The hypotheses of improvement of the human being, in a global society, doubtlessly reflect the perplexities generated by the multiplication of perspectives on what is Man and what must be the future of his condition. The hypotheses supplied by the scientific and technological applications must, in a multicultural paradigm, be allied to a panoply of procedures that are recruited by individuals to modify their condition as spiritual beings. However, we cannot ignore that new associations between humans and non humans will give rise to new synergies and, eventually, to the reconfiguration of what it is understood as Ethics.



Published by Transhumanismo às 14:16
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