Musings on what comes after “being human”
October 2, 2015 § 2 Comments
What would a world be like where no one died from cancer? Where everyone was too rational to bother with the idea of mutually assured destruction? Where populations were perfectly managed for their resources?
This would be the realm of the post-human.
Science-Fiction writers across the globe are perpetually drawn to the possibility of bettering (and some would say escaping) our humanity through science. Gene-recombination with alien species (as seen in Octavia Butler’s Dawn), robotic enhancement, and cloning the best of our race all could potentially contribute to the development of something beyond our run-of-the-mill man, aka the post-human.
But while Science-Fiction may revel in the potential of post-humanity, I for one am not so quick to assume that genetic modification can change our world into a utopia. After all, to successfully develop a post-human society, you’d have to assume that humans were capable of overcoming some of their basic flaws and systems. Big business couldn’t capitalize on certain desirable genes for profit. Individuals couldn’t reject new scientific modifications because of fear or moral conviction. Scientists would have to be wise enough to accurately predict the effects of combinations of gene modifications (if they didn’t have the help of some scientifically advanced alien third-party, of course).
The post-human, in this sense, may be limited to our tv screens and our imaginations, but this doesn’t limit its potential for influencing humanity’s betterment. Through the pursuit of scientific knowledge humanity learns much about the care and keeping of our race (shoutout to immunizations and gene therapy here!). Science and the idea behind the post-human can make daily reality better as we push towards a better quality of life and bettering our own biology. We may not be able to ever get past being human, but hey, post-humanity might just help us get closer and closer to our own limits.