To Be Fully Human
Heidegger views modern society as disconnected from our telos because we lost our understanding of being, which has its basis in the verb ‘to give’. This waywardness is directly tied to our disconnect with modern technology and the way we can use these instruments to cast epic technological systems that transform the planet but never think about the fundamental reasons why we do this, or even the need for it. This philosophical flaw seeded from the outset of western philosophy has led us towards nihilism; with the ultimate end goal being the demarcation of being into smaller and smaller parts used for technological ends, creating many worlds of vast, soulless enterprises. The ancient worldview understood technology in epistemological terms as being apart of poiesis , or ‘revealing’. The root-word of technology is: techné, which means ‘knowing something’ to a more intimate degree than the simple manipulation or mastering of an object. It held its worlds in both the arts and manufacturing; tying directly to the craftsman ideal of care and responsibility towards the object being crafted. To summarize the point more succintly, the language of revealing means that instead of sheer mastery over an object there should be a giving causality between the subject and object. A mutuality of beings with Dasein being the one aware of the indebtedness and the care involved.
Now to contrast this ancient ideal of techné with the transhumanist movement is striking not only with its obvious differences regarding humanity and its relationship with technology but in Steve Fuller’s rationality regarding the transhumanist movement at-large, which from other readings seems to fit with his ability to perform mental gymnastics to get any ideal to fit his overall worldview despite obvious logical inconsistencies. There is one passage in particular that speaks volumes, “In most general terms, ‘transhumanism’ says that indefinite projection of our most distinctly human qualities is worth pursuing as a value in its own right — even if that means radically altering our material nature. This definition of transhumanism captures by implication all those who might be against such a movement…” I take this statement as his way of saying that transhumanist ideals are indeed human ideals. Thus, to be a transhumanist means to be, in essence, fully human. However, his argument from the outset is founded on a metaphysical rift of what it even means to be human in its essence. His analogy from the outset in comparing inevitable evolutionary progress with innovative, enterprising incentives is laughable among Heideggarians because that analogy cancels out the human element by objectifying our experience. This idea of progress is misguided from the beginning because it is a continuation of the modern technological idea, which denotes all life into technocratic solutions. This worldview will always be fought against by an element of society, which Fuller and his acolytes will view those individuals as nieve luddites but, in their own heart know that transhumanism will never be able to answer our deepest spiritual crises by simple technocratic solutions.