“Man is the measure of all things.” So said my intellectual hero, the sophist Protagoras. I have always thought this entails an obligation to behave in such a way that the measure is ennobled and enhanced. Our actions should add to the pride we feel in belonging to the human race.
But what if we could become more than human, using technology? Apparently, a “transhuman” movement exists that advocates just that. Who knew? This review in Reason, pushing more-than-humanism, reads like a scene edited out of Young Frankenstein:
Specifically, transhumanists welcome the development of intimate technologies that will enable people to boost life spans, enhance intellectual capacities, augment athletic abilities, and choose their preferred emotional states.
Intimate technologies. . . Surely this is an exquisitely deadpan parody. The giveaway is the leftist ideology with which this superhumanism cloaks itself: “Bill and Jane want to use ecstasy for great sex? We’ll leave them alone quietly. John wants to grow a new liver through therapeutic cloning? We’ll bring over the scotch to help him break in the new one.”
There’s talk of giving the UN taxing authority, and setting up an “international army,” I imagine of supermutant leftwing pacifists, with genetically altered cheeks that could be turned again and again under any kind of punishment. The author of the book being reviewed is described as a “social democrat.” That’s his preferred emotional state. And why not? Transhumanists can be dinosaurs. Libertarians can be conformists. The biologically enhanced future can look just like 1968.