Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Microstory 918: Posthumanism

If you redirect your attention to this post, and this post, you’ll see that I’ve already spoken on the subject of transhumanism. If you’ve already read those stories, and don’t feel like going back, or if you just don’t want to, here’s the gist of it. Humans are weak and fragile creatures, just like most other creatures. There are too many things that can destroy life. Even the most ferocious beasts, and the hardiest of extremophiles are susceptible to multiple dangers. A lot of people have this belief that evolution is heading towards some level of perfection, but that is not how it works. A specimen develops a trait as a random mutation, and if it’s a bad mutation—one that hinders their ability to survive—then they simply won’t live long enough to procreate. If it does happen to help, then they’ll pass those genes on to their offspring. The reason humans have hair still, even though we’ve learned to fashion clothing, build houses, and invent central heating, is because there’s no one to change it. Having hair isn’t a problem for us. At best, our descendants might evolve out of it due to sexual selection, if mates begin to favor less hair enough, but that’s so unlikely, because for humans, it takes all kinds. The point of this is that evolution isn’t going to give us gills or wings, because we don’t live in environments that would require them. Winged humans wouldn’t have an advantage over non-winged humans, because we do just fine right here on the ground. If the floor suddenly literally turned to lava, we would just die out by the time our physiology changed to accommodate our new conditions. If you want wings, then you’re going to have to have them implanted. You’re going to need two things to do this, though. One, superhuman pecs. Seriously, look at any bird. There’s a reason the breast contains so much more meat the rest of any poultry. Two, you’re going to need to live in the future, because we can’t attach wings to people yet. We can’t implant gills, or artificial eyes, or neural interface chips. But we will be able to. One day. That’s what posthumanism is all about, and posthumanism is what I’m all about. Like I said, humans are weak, and I am no exception. I have allergies; my hands are in a permanent state of pain. I wear glasses, frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves, can’t smell the black mold in a house, can’t taste the difference between a hundred dollar steak, and a ten dollar steak, and can’t ever tell when my skin is wet, or just cold. I used to be adamantly opposed to body mutilation, like piercings, and tattoos. I guess I still am, but it wouldn’t bother me to have one, even if it seems permanent, but I know a secret: it isn’t. I’m young enough to still be around when we can replace any organ with a 3D printed upgrade. That’ll let me live long enough to see a time when my consciousness can be transferred to some other body; say a robin, a dolphin, or maybe a sentient tree. Posthumanism is looking forward to breaking the limits of our birth, which is why I love it.

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