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Posthuman: To modify or not to modify?

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posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 11:44 AM
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For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, the word posthuman is often used by Transhumanists ( www.transhumanism.org... ) and Extropians ( www.extropy.org... ) in order to describe the next level of evolution that humans can reach when they embrace physical enhancements through science and technology. We have, to a limited extent, seen such advancements in our present time with the advent of various medical procedures, but very little in the way of scifi film cyborgs. So my question to you is if there was no chance of harmful adverse evens, would you allow yourself to be modified? Now I am not talking about inserting your brain into a robot, but rather technologically enhancing pre-existing systems such as memory capacity, reflexes, strength, agility, etc. The most argued aspect of this tends to be the ethics of recreating ourselves and what it means to have a soul.

I, for one, would jump at the chance to become more than human, to actually be able to experience evolution within my lifetime. I have always believed that our current physical and intellectual state is merely a rung in the evolutionary latter and nothing that needs to be clung too.


[Edited on 28-4-2004 by Jonna]




posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 11:49 AM
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This is an interesting thought, Jonna, and although I am usually in accord with your writings and opinions... I will have to disagree this time.

Incorporating machinery into an organic species will make them drones. This is the kind of idea that Enlil supported and forged thousands of years ago in a little place called Babylon. This is also the kind of thing that the Illuminati want to make the public more succeptible to their commands, and since Enlil is basically a progenitor of the Illuminati, you can see the pattern emerge here.

In contrast, yes, it would be neat to have implants that would allow me to zoom my eyesight in and out and stuff like that. It could be interesting to refit my body in a manner that would allow me to explore space without the use of a spaceship. It would even be downright cool if I had modifications to utilize 100% of my brain 100% of the time, but I would never willingly do any of the above out of fear for compromising the organic integrity of my spirit.

[Edited on 4/28/2004 by AlnilamOmega]



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by AlnilamOmega
Incorporating machinery into an organic species will make them drones.


What about pacemakers, steel rods (for broken bones) and the like? These people did not become drones and the devices improved their lives? Sure these things are not normally considered as cyber modifications, but they fit the definition of using technology to enhance the fragile state of current human form.


I would never willingly do any of the above out of fear for compromising the organic integrity of my spirit.


Well, that is a question in itself. Where, if we have one, is the soul located? Funny story. My mother is completely against cremation because she believes that the soul/spirit is somehow connected to the body in such a way as harming one would be to also do so to the other. My step-father had to have his leg amputated and now it is normal medical procedure to cremate such things. So when I asked dear old mom about it she said that even though the leg was cremated it is waiting for him in heaven.
Needless to say, I don't discuss such things with her anymore unless I want to be completely confused.

PS Love the Xenosaga 2 avatar.



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 01:11 PM
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Thanks, Jonna, for noticing! Yep, that's chaos from XS2. I'm such a fan of that storyline and find so many things in common between myself and his character! He must be a Libra! anyway...

You make an excellent point about pacemakers and similar devices. As a fan of technology, I am all for the use of technology to help save lives, so you pretty much got me with that. What I meant by incorporating machinery, however, was a conversion of 50% or more of organic tissue to synthetic compounds. That amount of transition worries me, but probably because it is something I am not very familiar with.

Eventually, it is very likely that there will be an option to make such mechanical modifications to the human body no matter how scared I am of running into a borg and being assimilated. Nobody has direct control over the future, and I am positive that someone, someday will sponsor the development of cybernetic technologies.

Your mother thinks that about cremation, as well? I have had similar fears, but I also like to postulate on the idea that cremation may be a more purified form of allowing your spirit to roam freely after death. What with all that fear people have of zombies and ghosts, you know? I find myself leaning towards the latter these days, as I have become aware that our spirits are actually forms of condensed energy. Fortunately, no matter what is tried, energy cannot be destroyed so our spirits are practically invincible. I find that very comforting, indeed.

Some cultures and belief-systems speculate that the spirit is linked to the pineal gland located at the center of the brain. The pineal gland itself has been called the seat of the soul, as well, which is why I place a high priority on treatment or decalcification of that tissue (another way fluoride serves to deter humanity is by damamging the pineal gland's ability to operate). I also think that our spirits or souls are physically represented by the energy fields that surround our bodies and are interlocked to our internal chakra points. A kirlian camera can take a picture of this energy field, thus proving its existence. Sadly, it costs USD$700 for such a device. And with good reason, too...



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 01:36 PM
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I don't care abotu the whole humanity deal. If you cna amke em mroe cna than man, go for it. MBW, muscle augs, cat's eyes, skillwires, the works.

As for what happens when you die- well, some poor bloke is going to want that rig of yours...

DE



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 01:36 PM
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It IS a very interesting question you posed, Jonna

But my answer, and I didn't even have to think about it (didn't need to) would be a definite "no".

My belief system tenets stress to stick as close to the natural as possible, and something like this just doesn't fit in.

If I want all those improvements and enhancements, I guess I'll just have to wait till my next life when I'm fresh and new again lol.

I'm aging gracefully and naturally.

But hey, everybody to their own thing I always say.

[Edited on 28-4-2004 by KayEm]



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 01:48 PM
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Originally posted by AlnilamOmega
What I meant by incorporating machinery, however, was a conversion of 50% or more of organic tissue to synthetic compounds. That amount of transition worries me, but probably because it is something I am not very familiar with.


Change is always difficult especially when coupled with such a degree of the 'unknown' as in this case. Losing our humanness is a valid fear, but we rarely realize that we are actually losing it and have been for some time. Thousands of years ago it was nearly unheard of to leave one's family/community and have a life away from everything that was known to that society. It was seen as cold and emotionless and being that a large part of being human is the human emotion of attatchment to kin, our current way of life and family values would have seemed less human to them. I often feel quite emotionless at times (especially towards family) and very analitical in that voids place. Am I less human? No so much in this society, but to a past one I imagin I would be seen as very much so. Now jumping to man-made parts is a much bigger leap, but you get the point that our definition of what it is to be human is always changing.


and I am positive that someone, someday will sponsor the development of cybernetic technologies.


Companies are already doing research and development today, but it is not big news as very few or minimal things have been created. Cryonics were all the rage in the odd news catagory years past, but without nanotec to repair the hairline fractures that the nitrogen causes during the freezing process its whole development comes to a standstill.

Ziggy (Xenosaga 1) was a great mixture of machine and man. It almost seemed more so like a machine becoming human than a human becoming a machine.



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 01:56 PM
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Im webbed, it is a dominate trait. I can also swim really good not from being webbed as much as spending time in the water. I can foresee humans branching off some being webbed swimmers, others having more hemoglobin in their blood for high altitudes, dark skin for extreme sun exposure, fat and hair for colder climates, ect...

We are all still human and there is already plenty of diversity out there and naturally we will slowly evolve.

A hybrid gill/lung system like in Water World would be something I could live with.



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 01:57 PM
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Originally posted by KayEm
My belief system tenets stress to stick as close to the natural as possible, and something like this just doesn't fit in.


This makes perfect sense, but as our enviornment changes what will we consider nature in the future. Will we be able to commune with nature if we colonize Mars or elsewhere? The sad thing is that with the way things are our grandchildren will never experience nature in the way that we have because it will no longer be that way. Nature will be something completely different from their point of reference.

Anyway I agree with DE on getting cats eyes.
Not that I want to go all Island of Dr. Moreau or anything



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 02:15 PM
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Fascinating...

For my money, this type of technological augmentation is not only to be welcomed and encouraged, but is inevitable. As technology becomes increasingly fundamental to our daily lives - and becomes less distinct from ourselves - cybernetics will be the obvious step. After all, one hundred years ago the idea of a pacemaker or a prosthetic limb or even (gasp) breast implants would have been unthinkable - even heretical. Time brings progress - I guess I'm fundamentally optimistic


jrod - wouldn't webbed feet and gills be something of a evolutionary backstep? We spent a bajillion years geting rid of them!

Thanks for the interesting topic, Jonna. I'm curious, though - would you welcome artificial improvement (transhumanism) via genetic manipulation as readily as you would welcome technological improvement?



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 02:23 PM
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Sometimes you gotta go backwards to go foward. A mammal with a gill/lung system hasnt existed yet. I know nothing of humans spending a bijillion years to get rid of webbing. Only a small fractions of monkeys have webbing and they are adapted to be good swimmers.



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 02:30 PM
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I apologise jrod, I wasn't being entirely serious - of course, a mammal with a dual system would have a serious advantage, and not just for sports. Think of the potential for colonising the shallower regions of the ocean...

I believe the challenge would be designing or creating a gill system that processed enough oxygen from the water to keep human brains and physiology active, since lungs are so much more efficient... but I'm not a biologist, so that may be nonsense!



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 02:37 PM
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Originally posted by StrangeLands
Thanks for the interesting topic, Jonna. I'm curious, though - would you welcome artificial improvement (transhumanism) via genetic manipulation as readily as you would welcome technological improvement?


Well it would seem as though genetic manipulation would need to take place over an extended period of time for the organism to adjust properly. Now if this is something that would be have to be done in the embrionic stage then I wouldn't have the fun of choosing.
I also think that this would be a much more dangerous procedure. Sure it would be difficult to technologiclly modify humans as well, but we are already doing that (think of catarac lenses that are inserted into the eye as oppose to shoving a pair of bonoculars in your head).

Grafting a gun to your arm seems like it would be doomed to fail as the flesh will not merge with the metal, but what if the gun was not made of metal? In cases of emergency, hospitals use manufactured blood plasm when no real blood is available and the body accepts it. We can create things that our bodies will not reject, however to mess with our existing boilogy on a celular level seems much more difficult.

But to answer your question, Yes I would be modified geneticly....IF I was sure that it would work just the same as cybernetic enhancements. I'm not looking to be a test rat.



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 02:40 PM
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Kayem, have you considered the alterantive of bioware (biological augmentation)? It's interesting- gorw a human bit, involve it, modify it for a certain purpose...oh, such as diffusing kinetic energy or increased pheremone production adn VOILA! The natural asthetic...


My custom kit (cultured and delta, of course):

Ceramic Bone Lacing
Dermal Sheathing lv 3.
Move-by-wire lv 3
SKillwires 9
Multislot chipjack

Cat's eyes
Muscle toner and Augmentation
Enhanced articulation
Tailored Pheromones


Well, I'm out of time. moving out adn all that....if anyone wants a description of any of the above, drop me a tell.

Leves me with .07 bioindex and .37 essence. Beautiful.

DE



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 02:48 PM
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Mammals cant live on gills alone, no way they'd get enough O2. A hybrid system could enable one to stay under water for 4-5 times longer. Think of a Navy Seal with that kind of advantage



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 03:29 PM
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I don't know whether I'd do this to myself. I certainly wouldn't allow myself to be one of the first but maybe when I becomes normal or relatively normal I wouldn't mind doing some stuff to myself to increase my potential.
But back to your original post I wouldn't call it evolution really.



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 03:30 PM
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Originally posted by DeusEx
Enhanced articulation
Tailored Pheromones


Yaaaaa! Like I don't know where that's leading.



posted on Apr, 28 2004 @ 03:40 PM
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Originally posted by UglyBoy
But back to your original post I wouldn't call it evolution really.


Why not?

Main Entry: evolution
2 a : a process of change in a certain direction : UNFOLDING b : the action or an instance of forming and giving something off : GROWTH (2) : a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance d : something evolved
3 : the process of working out or developing
4 a : the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species) : PHYLOGENY b : a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations.

The definition does not state that an organism can not manipulate its own evolutionary process. Natural occurences were the deciding factor historicly, but who is to say that it is not also nature that has brought us to the point were we can manipulate our own evolution. Maybe this was natures plan, in an anthropomorphic sense, all the time. Merely the means to an end; the next logical progression.



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 05:52 PM
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Originally posted by Jonna

Originally posted by DeusEx
Enhanced articulation
Tailored Pheromones


Yaaaaa! Like I don't know where that's leading.



I have to please the fans... at any cost.

hEh...it'd be just plain smooth with the MBW in there.


But yeah... are there any specfics that people would want?

DE



posted on Apr, 29 2004 @ 08:19 PM
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I think the real question is about choice. Jonna, what if you didn't have to go throgh all that stuff with implants ect. ect. The technology is already here and is in use. At the end of the road, just what do you hope to find/want? Immortality, immortality with the physical body or just what is it you are hopeing to find?



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