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

Abstract: In this article we aim to distinguish between the transhuman and posthuman condition, according to 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 are already present in today's human being. We will show that a series of decisive limitations for belonging to the human condition are in the process of being transcended due to acquisition of attributes of divinity that human beings do not currently possess: omnipotence, omnipresence (ubiquity), ex nihilo creation - starting from the divine creative ideation - and immortality. Humans are increasingly taking on the attributes of divinity in the process of human enhancements.

We will discuss the ways in which technology allows the human to overcome these limitations, elevating humans past their current condition, in a process in which they gain technological transcendence. Excepting immortality, all other limitations, once exceeded, generate a transhuman condition. Immortality generates a posthuman condition, since it can only be obtained by modifying the human ontological status from that of a biological being to that of a resident being in informatics networks. In order to clarify this process, we will discuss the concepts of everlastingness and artificial life prolongation.

Key Words: social anthropology, immortality, posthuman conscience, virtualization, life prolongation, enhancement, bioethics, environmental threats, technological transcendence

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. …

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