22.01.

2011

Transhumanism – the world's most dan…

FUKUYAMA PÅ AARHUS UNIVERSITET

TRANSHUMANISM – THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS IDEA
By Francis Fukuyama
For t h e la st sev er a l deca des, a st r a n g e liber a t ion m ov em en t h a s g r ow n w it h in t h e dev eloped w or ld. It s cr u sa der s a im m u ch h ig h er t h a n civ il r ig h t s ca m pa ig n er s, fem in ist s, or g a y -r ig h t s a dv oca t es. T h ey w a n t n ot h in g less t h a n t o liber a t e t h e h u m a n r a ce fr om it s biolog ica l con st r a in t s. A s "t r a n sh u m a n ist s" see it , h u m a n s m u st w r est t h eir biolog ica l dest in y fr om ev olu t ion 's blin d pr ocess of r a n dom v a r ia t ion a n d a da pt a t ion a n d m ov e t o t h e n ex t st a g e a s a species. It is t em pt in g t o dism iss t r a n sh u m a n ist s a s som e sor t of odd cu lt , n ot h in g m or e t h a n scien ce fict ion t a ken t oo ser iou sly : W it n ess t h eir ov er -t h e-t op W eb sit es a n d r ecen t pr ess r elea ses ("Cy bor g T h in ker s t o A ddr ess Hu m a n it y 's Fu t u r e," pr ocla im s on e). T h e pla n s of som e t r a n sh u m a n ist s t o fr eeze t h em selv es cr y og en ica lly in h opes of bein g r ev iv ed in a fu t u r e a g e seem on ly t o con fir m t h e m ov em en t 's pla ce on t h e in t ellect u a l fr in g e. Bu t is t h e fu n da m en t a l t en et of t r a n sh u m a n ism -- t h a t w e w ill som eda y u se biot ech n olog y t o m a ke ou r selv es st r on g er , sm a r t er , less pr on e t o v iolen ce, a n d lon g er -liv ed -- r ea lly so ou t la n dish ? T r a n sh u m a n ism of a sor t is im plicit in m u ch of t h e r esea r ch a g en da of con t em por a r y biom edicin e. T h e n ew pr ocedu r es a n d t ech n olog ies em er g in g fr om r esea r ch la bor a t or ies a n d h ospit a ls -- w h et h er m ood-a lt er in g dr u g s, su bst a n ces t o boost m u scle m a ss or select iv ely er a se m em or y , pr en a t a l g en et ic scr een in g , or g en e t h er a py -- ca n a s ea sily be u sed t o "en h a n ce" t h e species a s t o ea se or a m elior a t e illn ess. A lt h ou g h t h e r a pid a dv a n ces in biot ech n olog y oft en lea v e u s v a g u ely u n com for t a ble, t h e in t ellect u a l or m or a l t h r ea t t h ey r epr esen t is n ot a lw a y s ea sy t o iden t ify . T h e h u m a n r a ce, a ft er a ll, is a pr et t y sor r y m ess, w it h ou r st u bbor n disea ses, ph y sica l lim it a t ion s, a n d sh or t liv es. T h r ow in h u m a n it y 's jea lou sies, v iolen ce, a n d con st a n t a n x iet ies, a n d t h e t r a n sh u m a n ist pr oject beg in s t o look dow n r ig h t r ea son a ble. If it w er e t ech n olog ica lly possible, w h y w ou ldn 't w e w a n t t o t r a n scen d ou r cu r r en t species? T h e seem in g r ea son a blen ess of t h e pr oject , pa r t icu la r ly w h en con sider ed in sm a ll in cr em en t s, is pa r t of it s da n g er . Societ y is u n lik ely t o fa ll su dden ly u n der t h e spell of t h e t r a n sh u m a n ist w or ldv iew . Bu t it is v er y possible t h a t w e w ill n ibble a t biot ech n olog y 's t em pt in g offer in g s w it h ou t r ea lizin g t h a t t h ey com e a t a fr ig h t fu l m or a l cost . T h e fir st v ict im of t r a n sh u m a n ism m ig h t be equ a lit y . T h e U.S. Decla r a t ion of In depen den ce sa y s t h a t "a ll m en a r e cr ea t ed equ a l," a n d t h e m ost ser iou s polit ica l fig h t s in t h e h ist or y of t h e Un it ed St a t es h a v e been ov er w h o qu a lifies a s fu lly h u m a n . W om en a n d bla ck s did n ot m a k e t h e cu t in 1 7 7 6 w h en T h om a s Jeffer son pen n ed t h e decla r a t ion . Slow ly a n d pa in fu lly , a dv a n ced societ ies h a v e r ea lized t h a t sim ply bein g h u m a n en t it les a per son t o polit ica l a n d leg a l equ a lit y . In effect , w e h a v e dr a w n a r ed lin e a r ou n d t h e h u m a n bein g a n d sa id t h a t it is sa cr osa n ct . Un der ly in g t h is idea of t h e equ a lit y of r ig h t s is t h e belief t h a t w e a ll possess a h u m a n essen ce t h a t dw a r fs

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2011 Transhumanism – the world's most dan… m a n ifest differ en ces in skin color . T h is essen ce. Ev en ou r m or t a lit y pla y s a cr it ica l fu n ct ion in a llow in g ou r species a s a w h ole t o su r v iv e a n d a da pt (a n d t r a n sh u m a n ist s a r e ju st a bou t t h e la st g r ou p I'd lik e t o see liv e for ev er ). ca n a n y on e a ffor d n ot t o follow ? T h ese qu est ion s a r e t r ou blin g en ou g h w it h in r ich .au. w h a t r ig h t s w ill t h ese en h a n ced cr ea t u r es cla im . Ou r g ood ch a r a ct er ist ics a r e in t im a t ely con n ect ed t o ou r ba d on es: If w e w er en 't v iolen t a n d a g g r essiv e.a n d t h e t h r ea t t o t h e idea of equ a lit y becom es ev en m or e m en a cin g . Bu t do t h ey r ea lly com pr eh en d u lt im a t e h u m a n g oods? For a ll ou r obv iou s fa u lt s. is a t t h e h ea r t of polit ica l liber a lism . a n d w e w ill n ev er be a ble t o a n t icipa t e t h e u lt im a t e ou t com e. Nobody kn ow s w h a t t ech n olog ica l possibilit ies w ill em er g e for h u m a n self-m odifica t ion . m or t a l. if w e n ev er felt jea lou sy . w e w ou ldn 't be loy a l t o t h ose close t o u s.dk Tl f : 8942 1 1 1 1 Fax : 8942 1 1 09 CV R-nr : 31 1 1 91 03 P-nr : 41 82661 4-1 0081 52493 © Henv endel ser ti l w eb edi tor http://www. w e w ou ld a lso n ev er feel lov e.dk/fukuyama/boger/essay/ 2/2 . Bu t m odify in g t h a t essen ce is t h e cor e of t h e t r a n sh u m a n ist pr oject . dev eloped societ ies. bea u t y . A dd in t h e im plica t ion s for cit izen s of t h e w or ld's poor est cou n t r ies -. Modify in g a n y on e of ou r k ey ch a r a ct er ist ics in ev it a bly en t a ils m odify in g a com plex . a n d w h a t r ig h t s w ill t h ey possess w h en com pa r ed t o t h ose left beh in d? If som e m ov e a h ea d. If w e st a r t t r a n sfor m in g ou r selv es in t o som et h in g su per ior . w e h u m a n s a r e m ir a cu lou sly com plex pr odu ct s of a lon g ev olu t ion a r y pr ocess -. if w e didn 't h a v e feelin g s of ex clu siv it y . w e m a y u n w it t in g ly in v it e t h e t r a n sh u m a n ist s t o defa ce h u m a n it y w it h t h eir g en et ic bu lldozer s a n d psy ch ot r opic sh oppin g m a lls.22. W e n eed a sim ila r h u m ilit y con cer n in g ou r h u m a n n a t u r e. in t er lin ked pa ck a g e of t r a it s.01. T h e en v ir on m en t a l m ov em en t h a s t a u g h t u s h u m ilit y a n d r espect for t h e in t eg r it y of n on h u m a n n a t u r e. a n d ev en in t ellig en ce. Bu t w e ca n a lr ea dy see t h e st ir r in g s of Pr om et h ea n desir es in h ow w e pr escr ibe dr u g s t o a lt er t h e beh a v ior a n d per son a lit ies of ou r ch ildr en .for w h om biot ech n olog y 's m a r v els lik ely w ill be ou t of r ea ch -.pr odu ct s w h ose w h ole is m u ch m or e t h a n t h e su m of ou r pa r t s. Artiklen blev o prindeligt bragt i tids s k riftet Fo reign Po licy i s eptem ber 2004 A ar hus U ni v er si t et N or dr e Ri nggade 1 8000 A ar hus C E-mai l : au@au. a n d t h e v iew t h a t in div idu a ls t h er efor e h a v e in h er en t v a lu e. w e w ou ldn 't be a ble t o defen d ou r selv es. n a t u r a l bein g s t h ey see a r ou n d t h em in fa v or of som et h in g bet t er . a n d t h ey a r e h a ppy t o lea v e beh in d t h e lim it ed. T r a n sh u m a n ism 's a dv oca t es t h in k t h ey u n der st a n d w h a t con st it u t es a g ood h u m a n bein g . If w e do n ot dev elop it soon .

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