Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Transhumanism Might Really Be Like

Much like my future prediction process, understanding the true nature of the human mind as communicated by Freud is a revelation that keeps on giving, the applications nearly infinite.

Let's talk about transhumanism, and see what Freud can inform on that topic.

I want to get specific about transhumanism for a moment, what it will really be like. It always amazes me how vague the discussion is on this widely believed but poorly envisioned and communicated topic. Let's see if Freud can't help us put a finer point on this.

As with the nature of 'greater intelligence', to which ideas of transhumanism are intimately linked, this vagueness is a liability, because it is not actionable. Sometimes it seems like transhumanism might be the ability to solve math problems as fast a computer, while having prehensile tails and kangaroo legs. Of course, this is nonsense.

With Freud's insights, it becomes clear that there is only one meaningful transhuman improvement of importance. With it, other transhuman enhancements are optional; without it, other transhuman enhancements are not only marginally useful, they in fact could be tremendously dangerous, particularly improvements to the human brain.

The only truly meaningful transhuman enhancement that would unequivocally improve the state of humanity are those that assist the Freudian ego in attaining true control over the id and superego.

Even a cursory examination of this idea should indicate that this is indeed 'deep' transhumanism: changing the balance of power of the components of human intelligence.

The implications are staggering. Really, assuming this becomes possible (and I believe it eventually will, but not in our lifetime, no way, forget about that), it would enable us to be as we think already are, but are not: rationally controlled.

I don't believe this will result in the 'elimination' of sexual desire, aggression, or any of the countless emotions that we are heir to. However, the hope would be that it makes them truly controllable by the Freudian ego, our reasoning center. Timid and weak now, it could eventually become the true master of our brains - perhaps.

But, there are few things that I can contemplate that will be more difficult. Hence, why I say not in our lifetime. We're just now, slowly, figuring out where the Freudian centers of power are situated in our brain. We must understand that (extremely well), before we even think about 'improving' those centers by reconfiguring the balance of powers there.

Why would this particular transhuman adaptation be such a big deal?

Quite simply, that enhancement, even if unaccompanied by any other, would change the nature of civilization (if widely adopted of course, lol).

In the second lecture I provided on Civilization and its Discontents, there is detailed explanation of how much of the nature of both government and religion are oriented to controlling the human id, especially the male id, since its aggression seems to be greater than that of females, as a general statement.

If each individual could control their own irrationality, over time it may become feasible for those governmental and religious structures to morph over time to reflect that reality. This is a very sound prediction, because the nature of our economic, governmental, and religious systems are really a complex mirror of our own individual human psychology.

It may even make such systems as Communism, which is a deep failure now because it reflects an idealized and deeply incorrect picture of human psychology, feasible. I'm not predicting that, but that could be one of almost an infinite number of ramifications of such a transhuman enhancement.

But of course, there's a problem - these impacts won't be realized until most or all of humanity, all 10 billion people or however many, have this adaptation. In fact, those without the enhancement might have an advantage, because their unpredictable aggression, their irrationality, may be beyond the ken of those that are rationally controlled.

As an aside, I believe that the demands of civilization already are heading this way. But, evolution being slow, without the aid of technology this process could take hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years.

1 comment:

Mxlplxn said...

I deeply enjoyed reading several of your posts on the different aspects of the possible future, however, I would like to bring to your attention something that I believe you should rethink(though you likely already thought about) and perhaps post a counter argument too.

If evolution as you stated based on your own observations along with scientific evidence and the support of Freud's research is meant to gain an advantage to procreate and better a species then why would a more developed ego which supports rational brain function be a possible change? you said yourself that the irrational action of a "lesser evolved" brain may in fact be an advantage due to the spontaneous nature of their personality which would give them a chance to abuse a communist system(which would be the choice government of transhumans) placing the nontransed humans at the top of control in the most comfortable of places(in terms of aspiration). the only way for the transhumans to fight this would be to use their rationalizing brain function to theorize a plan to counter such a irrational takeover OR to develop their ID into an equally dominant state to reset the playing field to a fair advantage.

I think? lol sorry about my poor grammar and lack of sentence structure, it's a good thing I'm not an English student

I dont mean to attack you or rant or anything pointless like that I just wanted to ask if you had thought about that angle of it.