Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science Fiction: Consciousness and the Posthuman

Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science Fiction: Consciousness and the Posthuman

Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science Fiction: Consciousness and the Posthuman

Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science Fiction: Consciousness and the Posthuman

Synopsis

"Addressing a key issue related to human nature, this book argues that the first-person experience of pure consciousness may soon be under threat from posthuman biotechnology. Presented here for the first time, the essential argument of this book is more than a warning; it gives a direction: far better to practice patience and develop pure consciousness and evolve into a higher human being than to fall prey to the Faustian temptations of biotechnological power. As argued throughout the book, each person must choose for him or herself between the technological extension of physical experience through mind, body and world on the one hand, and the natural powers of human consciousness on the other as a means to realize their ultimate vision."

Excerpt

Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science Fiction: Consciousness and the Posthuman

This book argues that the first-person experience of pure consciousness may soon be under threat from posthuman biotechnology. In exploiting the mind's capacity for instrumental behavior, posthumanists seek to extend human experience by physically projecting the mind outward through the continuity of thought, body and the material world. Posthumanism envisions a biology/machine symbiosis that will promote this extension by artificially enhancing our mental and physical powers, arguably at the expense of the natural tendency of the mind to move toward pure awareness. As each chapter of this book contends, the posthuman condition may undermine human nature, defined as the effortless capacity for transcending the mind's conceptual content, by forcibly overextending and thus jeopardizing the neurophysiology of consciousness.

The definition of human nature underlying the argument of this book hinges not on specific qualities such as morality, rationality, feelings and general patterns of behavior, but rather on the neurophysiology of metaphysical insight into the ground state of consciousness beyond cultural attributes of any kind. As Robert Forman says, “Consciousness itself is a, or perhaps the only, nonpluralistic feature of what it is to be human” (1999: 132). We can approach human nature through a thirdperson objective ontology based on sacred texts, dogma, theology and philosophical support, as well as through a first-person subjective ontology based on non-dualistic spiritual experience. These experiences . . .

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