Chronicles of Immortality. The enhanced paradise as a path to Posthumanism?
This project is dealing with the human urge to overcome mortality and focuses on the recent technological attempts of prolonged existence in the discourse of Transhumanism. The event of death represents a structural break in the anthropological being and has experienced multiple explanations through different times and cultures. Since the emerging of homo sapiens, the social interpretations of the passage between life and death were providing an anchor point on situating humans in their world and thus creating meaning of their very existence. While early cultures were considering mankind as being part of the cyclic cosmos, amenable to the laws of evolving and decay, monotheistic societies were giving an eschatological outbreak through the power of god and therefore linking the end of one’s worldly life to the beginning of an eternal afterlife. Yet, with the secular movement of modernism and proclaimed ‘death of god’ in western societies, humans could no longer put their hopes and trust on a better life in heaven but needed to create paradise on earth by themselves. These attempts failed tremendously in the dictatorial regimes of the 20ths century, creating a hell, which even the most dark-minded priests, in their rage against pagans, would have had problems to imagine. Disillusioned by these abortive experiments to transform society as a whole, the 21st century is now inaugurating a marvelous era, which provides special tailored options for a new, better, more satisfying, more beautiful and this time truly immortal existence for every human individual. Or so it seems, if the prospected research projects of leading scientists in neuroscience, genetics and informatics will begin to take shape. Whole Brain Emulation, Neuro-Enhancement, Genome Editing, Cyborgization and Artificial Intelligence are the potential key technologies that could give birth to a future without the limits of mortal life. But what are the driving social forces behind that development and what worldview might support these trans-border dynamics? How exactly could this transhuman phase be initiated and how would a posthuman world look like? And even if the strive for immortality might not actually be brought into realization, could it still induce a transformation for a more free, equal and just world or will homo sapiens finally put an end to its own history?
Author: Justus Pötzsch