Transhumanism is an international movement set up with the aim to transform the human condition through sophisticated technological processes. The process itself is aimed at enhancing the human cognitive, physical, intellectual, and social capacities. Fukuyama describes it as the process through which man makes an attempt to liberate himself from biological limitations. The transhumanists firmly believe that society is blindly chained to the evolution theory process in development, and hope to improve the quality of life using biotechnology. This paper seeks to explore the difference in the philosophies between Fukuyama and Bailey and make an argument on the level of concern for human nature regarding this technological process.
According to the excerpt, Fukuyama is somewhat receptive to the idea or intention of creating an improved humankind but believes that any form of development beyond the current state of man will tamper with his real essence. Bailey, on the other hand, believes that transhumanism is still part of the continuation of advancement of human nature, as it has been for over centuries. The human race needs to be concerned with this type of technology due to various reasons. First, as Fukuyama puts it, equality becomes the first victim of this process. Right across all advancement eras, equality has been an issue in the society. Several classes exist based on religion, affluence, political association, and social status. If people across all generations have been unable to create a society in which everyone feels equal, would an enhancement in human ability only enhance this inequality further? How has the current process aided in solving inequality? Evolution has only managed to change affairs like warfare from real field battles to civilized political ones fought with pen and paper behind closed doors. If equality has not been achieved when man still has the power to be compassionate, reasonable, sympathetic, and sensitive towards others, how will a human being programmed to behave in the same manner achieve the same?
Innovations and advancements in medicine seem to benefit the wealthy more than the poor. This is more likely to be the trend, even in trans-humanistic development. I concur with Bailey that man has always been striving to be better and that the transhumanism concept is no less human. However, all improvements have left the human essence intact. For example, steroids make a man stronger, but a stronger man still bleeds, feels the same emotions, and reacts the same way to some processes, as man has always done. Fukuyama believes that biotechnology will take that essence away, but evidence from all the years of evolution indicate that man will still be the same deep down. However, the danger is posed when his abilities are increased. The man himself becomes a lethal weapon with a high ability to cause more damage than before. If the said technology can achieve self-modification, then Fukuyama is right to state that the human essence will be lost. All the factors that transhumanists find limiting in humanity are tied to those that are strongest in the same race. For example, jealousy, hatred and anger are linked to love, forgiveness, and reform. Man will be merely turned into a machine programmed to act the same way. All emotions will be turned to the rationale. Others like compassion, empathy, forgiveness, emotional sacrifice and ability to be reasonable will cease to exist. These emotions make up the human core, and without them, man is merely a being that exists. There will be no pain, hence no ability to feel comfort. There will be no hunger or thirst, therefore, no ability to appreciate food and water.
The human desire to be superior and transcend their capability will make them want the same even in a different state. This means that even in the trans-humanistic era, man will still view himself as lacking something, and strive for improvement. There will be no ultimate satisfaction in the human race as it is. The more the people attempt to come up with an improved version, the more degenerated the human essence becomes, and the more dangerous this process develops into. People will be willing to make inhuman sacrifices just to achieve their goals. For example, using fellow beings as tests to determine the success of their inventions, and eliminating perceived threats.
Fukuyama is concerned about the fate of the weak states and countries. As he puts it, does it mean that those who are unable to develop new technologies less superior? In a world in which poverty is seen as inferiority, will those transformed feel threatened by those yet to change? If the intention is to create a better version of humanity, will they let everyone have access and information on how to do so? Will the rich want to share their wealth with the poor to promote equality? The world as it is, both groups feel threatened by each other. The rich detach themselves from the poor, and both groups have a negative perception of each other. Fukuyama speculates that the wealthy might opt to wipe out the poor who are a threat to them. They commonly view themselves as better people than the poor. Therefore, they may decide to create this world in which they do not have to be threatened by the poor anymore.
Following Baileys stand that striving to be more than human is human, assessing the technological changes that have occurred and their impact gives us insight as to what to expect with transhumanism. Even though the quality of life has been improved, other aspects of war, disease, conflict, political and religious differences have escalated. The more man is refined, the more he develops the art of causing destruction. There is more harm in going further beyond because man still holds the ability to create chaos. Even with the capacity to bring about positive change in the current situation, most innovators are fueled by the desire to be famous or gain self-praise more than giving back to the community. All genuine intentions are turned into business ideas that profit only the wealthy or powerful. Just as implied above, the poor have no chance of gaining from transhumanism.
Both Bailey and Fukuyama make convincing arguments with Bailey being pro and Fukuyama being anti-transhumanism. However, the concept only seems to work best in theory, when everything else is constant. It is based on the assumption that technology will highlight the good values and suppress the wrong ones in humanity, but for the good side to exist, there has to be a bad one to make a comparison. Looking at the current status and trends of the world this technological advancement is likely to do more harm than good. The human essence serves its purpose to create a balance in the universe. Losing it means losing the world as it is.
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