Anti-Humanism and Transhumanism
Anti-Humanism and Transhumanism: Redefining Humanity in the Age of Technology
Two contrasting ideologies are shaping the trajectory of human civilization today: anti-humanism and transhumanism. These philosophical outlooks have far-reaching implications for human life, society, and the future.
Anti-humanism challenges the traditional belief in human potential and social connection, emphasizing the need to limit potential harm caused by humanity. Some climate change activists see human extinction as a net gain for the planet, while state-sanctioned euthanasia becomes increasingly accepted as a solution for individuals disenchanted with life. Simultaneously, social connections diminish, and traditional pillars of community, such as family, church, and neighborhood, wither away, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
The historical roots of anti-humanism can be traced back to figures like Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich, who warned against overpopulation as a threat to human prosperity. Malthus, an 18th-century British economist and cleric, expressed concerns about the potential negative impact of population growth on resources and societal well-being. While his dark predictions never came true, his ideas provided the cri de coeur for the modern environmental movement, which views human beings as a problem rather than creative and socially connected creatures capable of wondrous creations.
Ehrlich, a biologist, gained prominence with his 1968 best-seller "The Population Bomb," which prophesied that continued surges in population would lead to mass starvation. Advocating extreme measures to avert disaster, including adding sterilants to the water supply, his work contributed to the rise of anti-humanism as a dominant worldview.
The big business-funded Club of Rome report in 1972 also embraced an austerity agenda to address perceived population-driven threats. These historical antecedents laid the foundation for the modern climate agenda's apocalypticism and its highly toxic view of humanity as the biggest problem on the planet.
The decline of religion and family structures further reinforces the anti-humanist worldview. The United States and Europe are experiencing a significant decline in religious affiliation, particularly among the younger generation. Over 50% of those under age 40 in Europe do not identify with any religion, and in the United States, almost 40% of people ages 18-29 have no religious affiliation. As religious observance wanes, feelings of disconnectedness and isolation become more prevalent, impacting family formation and community engagement. Studies reveal that regular religious observance is linked to feelings of connectedness, purpose, and community engagement.
Conversely, transhumanism envisions a future where humans transcend their biological limitations by merging with machines and gaining control over mortality. Technology and artificial intelligence play a central role in this vision, offering the potential for unprecedented advancements.
The ultimate goal of transhumanism's proponents is to create a "superhuman," where the merging of technology and biology leads to enhanced cognitive abilities, prolonged lifespans, and greater control over one's destiny. Transhumanists, such as former Google chief scientist Ray Kurzweil, believe that humans can "transcend the limitations of our biological bodies and brains," leading to a new era of human existence.
This perspective raises ethical concerns about the redefinition of humanity and the potential for an unequal society. The idea of a superior elite of upgraded humans, capable of transcending the limitations of their less gifted counterparts, echoes historical examples of eugenics and oppressive regimes.
Critics caution against the dangers of creating a "proletarian alms bag," where most humans are economically redundant and unnecessary, relying on part-time entrepreneurial "gig work" and government aid. The tech elite's vision of a scientifically ordered society detached from traditional family structures, religious beliefs, and a broad sense of community raises questions about the impact on social cohesion and equality.
The clash between anti-humanism and transhumanism is a defining feature of our time. As anti-humanism challenges traditional values and connections, transhumanism seeks to redefine humanity through technology and artificial intelligence. As society moves forward, it must navigate the implications of these competing ideologies to ensure a balanced and meaningful future. Striking a balance between embracing technological advancements and preserving the core values that define us as human beings is essential to charting a sustainable and equitable path forward.
The clash of anti-humanism and transhumanism represents a pivotal moment in human history. Anti-humanism challenges the traditional belief in human potential and social cohesion, leading to the decline of family structures and organized religion. The rise of transhumanism presents the possibility of technological advancements that could revolutionize human life, but it also raises profound ethical concerns about the redefinition of humanity and potential societal implications.
Striking a balance between embracing technological advancements and preserving the core values that define us as human beings is essential to charting a sustainable and equitable future. Society must grapple with the implications of these ideologies to ensure that humanity continues to thrive in an interconnected and meaningful way, while remaining mindful of the ethical boundaries that govern our pursuit of progress.