Atomism & Transhumanism
Materialism is tantamount to atomism. Atomism, of one form or another, is the logical foundation for every deconstructive enterprise. The primary target of any such enterprise will, of course, be God. Next in line is the concept of humanity. Naturalism, ironically, is just the view that there is no such thing as human nature, or any other nature for that matter. There are no essences, nor anything essential. There are even no natural kinds. There is no meaning. At most there may be an ad hoc, pragmatic functionalism. And who decides what are to be our functions? Whomever, or whatever has the power to do so, of course.
And what is our function? Our function is to remake the world, atom by atom, or to turn the atoms loose to remake the world in their own image. We wipe the slate clean of all the accumulated historical, natural accidents, including ourselves, by the way, and start in from scratch. Atom by atom we reconstruct the human genome and every other genome. Or, better yet, atom by atom we construct nanobots, provide them with artificial intelligence and turn them loose upon the world, that is upon ourselves and the rest of nature. Their task is to reconstruct the world.
This is the vision of Transhumanism. It is the perfectly logical end of any deconstructive world view. If the End is not nihilism, then it is a totalizing, absolute reconstruction. Is this a vision, or is it the ultimate anti-vision? In whose image do we reconstruct the world, and to what End? The Transhumans are perfectly silent on this score. They see no End, only an endless means that is totally self-justifying in its necessary inevitability. Along the way, if these self-organizing atomic beings develop the capacity to create new universes, more power to them.
The only possible limiting factor might be the existing laws of physics. However, given that physics is just another accident of nature, anytime a new universe is created, the laws of physics could be re-initialized, and reset to any desired combination or pattern, one might logically suppose.
Does this train of thought not lead us into a conundrum? This (non-) vision is meant to be a strictly linear one. But isn't there a logical circularity, or a vicious circle hiding in here somewhere? What happened to the inevitable problem of self-reflexivity? If it is possible to create a world, any sort of world, then how unlikely is it that we would be the very first creatures to ever initiate such an inevitable process. Is it not much more probable then that we exist rather far downstream from any such inevitable origin of a (deliberate?) cosmic creation process or chain? This is a view that is strongly muted in the glossy brochures of Transhumanism, but which haunts almost every literary fiction of that genre.
Deconstruction leads either to nihilism or reconstruction. Given reconstruction, is it more likely that we are the reconstructors or the reconstructed? Creators or creatures? How can we begin to find out, if we don't begin to ask?
Would it be fair to say that we might just be afraid to ask? Let us not underestimate the psychic paralysis of this most primal of all fears and its every subsequent denial.
On a perfectly pragmatic note, the Transhumans may say to themselves, 'Well, we'll just go on minding our own business until someone or something demonstrates otherwise.' Fair enough. Stay tuned for the mini-messiah.
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