Oct 04 2011

Posthuman Godhead


Consider transhumanism as a monotheistic religion.  Religion? Transhumanists share a belief in a coming eschatological event — their belief transcends rational conjecture about the advance of technology and posits wild and miraculous progress.  It does so without bothering to worry with the “mere engineering” that would lead to such radical transformations in individuals or societies.  There is an abiding faith that whatever needs to happen to fulfill the singular moment of deliberate evolutionary uplift will happen… somehow.

Monotheistic?  The Singularity is a singular event — but it isn’t simply an event or a phenomenon.  It is a meta-phenomenon in that it is imagined to be able to generate any number of future (post-singular) phenomena.  This is usually imagined to be done by the active will and imagination of the posthuman Singulatarian consciousness.

When we are all “postsingular”, we will also be post-plural: identities will flow into and out of each other with such speed and vicissitude that it will no longer be useful (or possible) to talk about individual beings.  All will be a swirl — a very powerful (organized?) storm of reality-bending consciousness.

That thing — that postsingularity storm — is what we may say transhumanism believes in and aspires to. That storm is effectively all-powerful and arguably supranatural in its ability to rewrite nature according to its own needs, desires, or whims.

Accepting transhumanism as a monotheistic religion gives us room to consider what any nascent priesthood or brahmin class will gain in the run up to Singularity.  Obviously, other parallels may follow: is it a pantheistic or panentheistic monotheism?  What rites are beginning to accrete around the discussion of the postsingular “storm”?  A whole theology of the Singularity may be emerging.

Arguments against this view of transhumanism (as a religion) may be many, varied, and compelling.  But so long as it is possible to see the urge toward posthuman culture as an emotionally driven system of belief, consideration and criticism of the movement may be possible in previously underexplored dimensions.

So to transhumanist friends: how do your original operating systems (or belief systems) affect the type of Singularity that’s “destined” to emerge?

Do you really want to live in the kind of paradise you’re building?