Trans-Humans, Artellects, Robots, Nanobots, AI?

With the current wanton destruction of the biosphere in favor of animating the machinery of civilization, it would seem that the direction of evolution is towards "artificial" creations. Is this drive an expression of parthenogenesis--"male birth", or pursuit of deathless perfection a la "terror management theory", or reductionism in it's crassest form--a simalucrum of "life"?


Musing with all my might these days, as more toxic and radioactive plumes make their "leopard spotted" way across the earth and sky and sea. I am reminded of Marshall McLuhan's saying, decades ago, "Humans are just the sex organs of Machines". 


An estimate by someone on NPR this weekend: "There are approximately as many hyperlinks on the internet now as there are synapses in a human brain". This led me to wonder if our every click on the computer is feeding into the gestation of a being as yet unborn, which will at some unspecified point in time, separate and gain self-awareness! Will "it" look at us, the collective-billion-strong mother-object, and begin the struggle for individuation? 


Tennis, anyone? (With a carbon fiber elbow, you'll never get tendonitis.)





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  • Yes! I wonder as well what or where our technological drive will end. It seems that each successive step towards creating something more complex requires an equally long step towards destruction. It's interesting to imagine us clicking our way to something in our image, but I wonder if we have reached a level of self awareness to create a reflection of ourselves. It seems like much of reductionist science avoids the morass of metaphysics, thus avoids the question of being. I like the thought of accidental gestation, as intentional creation seems far from the service/gratification orientations of technology. I've never heard of parthenogenesis, could you go into that a bit more?

    • Maybe it's parthogeneisis--can't recall! But the archetype of male birth a la Zeus springing Pallas Athene from his head...or Schwarzenneger getting pregnant in "Junior"...Anna Freud's idea about womb envy, that men build vehicles and airplanes and other ambulatory wombs as a compensation for a felt separation or loss from the means of carrying a homunculus into the next generation. 


      Life extension just in the past century has doubled the average lifespan of an individual.  A documentary by BBC 

      spoke of realistic expectations that by the end of this century, a person (babies born now and growing up, even) could be looking at the prospect of 500 year lifespan. That's a Methuselah complex!


      So I am reminded of Bateson's term Schizmogenesis, for what Jung called our massive lopsidedness, our ability to, for instance, stay alive in the same ego-body for 500 years, without even considering the value of living meaningfully, or the grace of the give-away, or how incredibly self centered it is (with a small 's') to think one's particular name matters so much. Here's a film i watched that got me rolling on this nightmarish theme:

    • On a more personal note, I am observing some shifts in the college classrooms that really give me pause. For the most part, my students always give me hope for the future. Even those who are trying to cope with the inofrmation overload and the bad news of the day by numbing out, still are engaged in an institution of higher learning, by definition a hopeful act of confidence in working to build consciousness and expand the mind or soul.


      But the past year or two (maybe i'm just suddenly a total fuddy duddy) it seems to me that the disconnect is more profoundly disturbing among a minority of my students. Fro instance, meeting on March 15, I naturally brought attention to bear on events in Japan for discussion on many fronts. One student groused "I don't see why we have to talk about this. It's not on the syllabus." This was a serious comment, by a student who is accustomed to earning (or at least, getting) top grades and is on the verge of graduating. Wow.

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