Space will change us. Mankind will adapt to new environments across the cosmos, and transhumanism will blur the meaning of what it means to be human until eventually being human begins to be something more. Change and adaptation have always been a part of what it means to be human, but transhumanism is raising awareness about our ability to change ourselves more rapidly and profoundly than evolution ever intended. Natasha Vita-More joins us to discuss transhumanism and space travel.
Transhumanism is a cultural movement pursuing the goal of improving the human condition by transforming the human mind and body. While mankind has sought self-improvement for millenia, transhumanism is a modern philosophy seeking to embrace artificial enhancement through advances in technology. While many cultures shun the intrusion of technology into our minds and bodies, transhumanists embrace it, and believe that the artificial enhancement of mankind may in fact be the next stage of human evolution.
While the goals of transhumanism seem esoteric and far reaching, transhumanist thinkers such as Vita-More suggest that the future of transhumanism is already upon is: artificial joints, limbs, organs, and other body parts are regularly used in medicine throughout the world, but the adoption of artificial enhancements into our bodies has been gradual enough to avoid causing an outroar. Even in medicine, which once condoned only “necessary” surgeries, cosmetic surgeries have become common, and are viewed as being for the ehancement of a person’s appearance. Can the enhancement of other parts be far behind?
“The impulse behind transhumanism is to improve the human condition. The condition being a short lifespan ridden with disease. Survival is one element of this impulse which affords a means to overcome the human condition. Survival is based on transforming the current situation into one that is more opportune for our well being. If humans or transhumans are to survive in the environment of space, we need to design that environment to be friendly. We also need to transform ourselves to meet the challenge. In other words, we can design an environment with artificial gravity and reduces the affects of radiation, but we also need to build our bodies to be more adaptable, flexible and sustainable. This would require both medical, scientific, technological and industrial design components. An example of a future body that could exist in a space environment is my design ‘Primo Posthuman.'”
“I think that entities living in different planetary, space and synthetic environments will need different attributes, and this certainly would differentiate their designs. I don’t think this necessarily concludes that there will be all sorts of species, but perhaps numerable variations on the human or transhuman theme. One thing to keep in mind is that our future selves may want to be transplanetary and multigalatic. Why would a newly engineered person want to be confined to a singular locale? I think that most of the changes will be across the territorial lines and that people will want to co-habitat in multiple locations, and even simultaneously.” – Natasha Vita-More