Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

The Anthropology of Immortality and the Crisis of Posthuman Conscience

Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

The Anthropology of Immortality and the Crisis of Posthuman Conscience

Article excerpt

Introduction

The human condition has undergone a number of transformations and the transhuman condition of human beings has been technologically improved (biological-genetic, psychological and communicational), but the human condition does not yet changed its ontological status. Artificial immortality, through symbiosis between the bio-psychological and technological areas of alleged posthuman beings, could be the condition for a different ontological premise, completely distinct from homo sapiens, including homo sapiens sapiens (modern man), or homo sapiens +, a technologically enhanced human species.1

We call immortality a state of indefinite time of life-a conservation of self-consciousness. We differentiate immortality into two concepts: religious immortality, seen as the survival of a spiritual part of the human being, and the method of obtaining an indefinitely long physical life through technological means, which does not ensure invulnerability towards common environmental threats.

In this article, we aim to outline a distinction between the transhuman and posthuman condition, based on their anthropological, ontological and ethical natures. We will show that the current historical moment can be considered the beginning of a transhuman civilisation, given that the characteristics of the transhuman being are already present in today's human beings. We will show that a series of decisive limitations that constitute belonging to the human condition are in the process of being transcended due to acquiring attributes of divinity that human beings do not yet possess: omnipotence, omnipresence (ubiquity), ex nihilo creation-starting from the divine creative ideation- and immortality. Humans are increasingly taking on the attributes of a divinity in the process of human enhancement.2

We will argue the unjust nature of creating a population with longer life expectancy than current people. We will also examine whether morality and the nature of social justice may be invoked in the creation of regulatory systems of access to the benefits of life-prolonging technologies.

Technology is the turning point in expressing the power of science to re-organise the world. If the ecclesiast wonders who would dare to correct the work of God, one could present entrepreneurs such as Dmitry Itskov (who created the Avatar 2045 Program) and Sergio Canavero and Robert White (the creators of head transplant surgery) as pioneers of developing the posthuman condition.

We tend to believe that the development of posthuman technologies created in order to improve the human condition is referential for further generations. Generally, discussions concerning transhumanistic anthropology and the posthuman condition regularly reference phrases such as "they are not here yet." Anthropologically speaking, the posthuman condition does not have to be regarded as a quantum leap from the current human condition towards a super-human condition; neither does it need to be considered a blazing apparition in the sky of planetary consciousness. The posthuman transition may be considered as similar to the supposed biological evolution of anthropoid primates towards the human state. The twilight of the biological evolution recorded in the twentieth century, precisely by the avoidance of the species from the evolutionary milestones, is today overturned by the evolution of knowledge. A knowledge-based society (KBS) is truly different from the cognitive systems of previous eras because it opens the path towards "intelligent evolution." The transition from homo sapiens to homo enhanced will not be achieved through the mechanism of natural selection but through the process of "artificial selection." Artificial evolution introduces humanity into an existential singularity of a demiurgic nature.

God gave to the first people the urge to rule over nature, which has been reconfigured into a responsibility for the vulnerable people in anthropogenic nature. …

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