Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Anti-Humanist Future - It Includes The "Pronatalist" Morons Like Elon Musk


                      One concept entertained by transhumanists: An AI entity to replace humans

Is there really an “anti-humanist” credo driving a segment of society to an anti-humanist future? That depends. It depends first of all, on what we define as a human and thence a human future.  The problem with using loose terms is they assume too much and such is the case with “human”.  Every manjack believes he knows what it means but that’s not really true.

For example, Julian Baggini – in his book The Ego Trick – shows there exists no single center of consciousness or “soul” or even “self” that pertains to a human being.  In his words (p. 114): 

"You have no immaterial soul. Whatever stuff you are made from, it is the same kind of stuff that everything else is made of - be it plankton, cabbages or orangutan."

Humans are basically a dynamic conglomerate of neural processes often in conflict with each other.  I.e. "There is no single part of you that c0ntains your essence."  The entire nature of a consistent identity or self is in fact a big act, a construction, or as he calls it, an “ego trick”.  Our minds get acting in tandem with the brain to create a fiction that we come to believe because it appears so real.  "No single thing comprises the self but we need to function as though there were."  

This is not a totally original concept. For example, Robert Ornstein in his book The Evolution of Consciousness  proposed the “Simpleton” model for describing human behaviors and emotions. For example, every human {H} will be a composite of a number of simpletons, say:

{H} = [A] + [P] + [L] + [R] + ........

where [A] = Altruistic, [P] = Playfulness,[L] = lustful, [R] = reflective and so on. A dozen or more such "simpletons" may "inhabit" each human brain and come to the fore if the correct stimulus appears. As each one comes to the fore it represents one side of the Self. Note: this is not the same as saying "multiple selves" as in schizoid splitting or split personality. Each 'self' is legit and valid, since it arises from the person's own neuronal sub-assemblies.

Thus, a "hostile-aggressive" simpleton may appear if one is cut off in a lane of traffic, or is chewed out by one's boss. A "lust" simpleton may appear for any number of stimuli-images which I won't bother to detail, but which anyone can imagine! A "caring-loving" simpleton may appear in response to words of endearment, or an affectionate hug from one's spouse, or child. A "comic" simpleton may appear spontaneously - and proceed to play a practical joke, or take a humorous perspective on everything for the time it is "in control".

Ornstein points out that many humans "require time to get their simpletons in place" for particular situations. A father of two young children may need a half hour or more after he arrives home from work to "chill out" to allow his "hostile-aggressive" simpleton to depart, to make way for the "loving-caring" simpleton that can address his children's needs - without yelling at them, criticizing them or swatting them.

Ornstein’s model more or less conforms to Baggini’s construction model in his “ego trick”.  Thus, the mirage of a consistent identity applies to Ornstein’s  simpletons as much to Baggini’s “ego trick” model.  We err by thinking or believing the human is a constant, defined entity – which it isn’t. It is neither a soul or fixed self, that is merely an illusion.

 Baggini for his part argues that there is no single thing or part of a person that is "essentially" him, or which can be uniquely pinpointed. One's brain, body and memories all play a part in constructing the Self but there is no particular structure, say in the brain, which confers more than a transient identity. All of which means the concept of a Self is totally fluid, and we ought not treat it as if it's fixed. The Self I am today, for example, is not the Self that I was twenty or thirty years ago, and this goes far beyond mere physical changes. As a results of my collection of unique experiences I am a different self.

This is also important to bear in mind in terms of the fragility of the self. For example, a brain tumor or Alzheimer's can destroy the apparent self, by virtue of eliminating vast memory troves as well as cognitive ability. But certain emotions, such as grief, might still be recognizable in the same person, irrespective of brain deformity or damage. Since each 'self draft' is capable of recalling the previous ones, this capacity is what confers an essential unity of self and stability.

Baggini also uses some powerful arguments to show the nature of a person is a construction. Also, since this is true, there can be non-human persons for which the key attribute is a consciousness capable of recognizing its own existence as a conscious entity. He argues this is applicable to chimpanzees as well as gorillas, and dolphins. 

Hence, the "human person" is in no way a singular, or set apart entity.  If one then generalizes beyond the purely human, to conscious persons, then the nature of anti-humanism is weakened as it should be. For what may appear to be “anti-human” at first glance, may at second glance be pro-dolphin, pro-chimp or pro-gorilla. Say if humans are restrained from killing these creatures, ripping through their habitats and displacing them to the point of their extinction.

In the 21st century, what is called Anthropocene anti-humanism offers a much more radical response to a much deeper ecological crisis. It says that our (human) self-destruction is now inevitable, and that we should welcome it as a sentence we have justly passed on ourselves. Some anti-humanist thinkers look forward to the extinction of our species, while others predict that even if some people survive the coming environmental apocalypse, civilization as a whole is doomed.

Like all truly radical movements, Anthropocene anti-humanism begins not with a political thesis but with a philosophical idea. It is basically a rejection of humanity’s traditional role as Earth’s protagonist:  the most important being in creation.  And as Baggini would argue, this is not true. All non-human persons are of equal import and cannot be simply dismissed as utilities or properties of humans.

It indeed smacks of the same sort of rabid conceit by which myopic, chauvinist humans dismiss the concept of UFOs as intelligently piloted craft of extraterrestrial origin.  Instead opting to do mental backflips to embrace inane prosaic nonsense (like foreign drones, or trash or glitches). All to preserve the hallowed concept of human sovereignty, i.e.  to escape admitting that humans may not be at the top of the cosmic food chain.  

In the same way, human chauvinists on Earth deign to regard all other biological organisms as second or third class entities and hence not worth bothering about - say if food chains start to collapse. Or wait, maybe then the hyper worries commence about human existential collapse.

By contrast, we are informed "Transhumanism" glorifies the very things that anti-humanism decries namely scientific and technological progress, and the supremacy of reason. But this is a false presumption because it still wants to end humanity. Thus,  it believes that the only way forward is for humanity is to create new forms of intelligent life that will no longer be Homo sapiens. How freaking ironic is that?  As I've written about before, some of these   transhumanist crackpots actually believe that genetic engineering and nanotechnology will allow us to alter our brains and bodies so profoundly that we will escape human limitations such as death and confinement to a physical body. Others yearn for AI beings to come forth which will in effect demote humanity to the rank we assign to animals.

The anti-humanist future and the transhumanist future are indeed opposites in most ways, except the most fundamental: They are future worlds from which we have disappeared, and rightfully so.   The ultimate truth here is that humans exaggerate their own cosmic importance and fall victim to the most perverse ego trick of all: that we occupy the topmost rung of the cosmic experiment in consciousness.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the Elon Musk et al-driven pronatalist movement  e.g.

Why Tech Titans Like Elon Musk Want to Have Tons of Kids to Save the World (businessinsider.com)

that stupidly believes "high IQ" babies will save the world when in fact this spawn will result in an exponential increase in ravaging what's left of the planetary environment.  But there's no point arguing these Uber-rats who are captives to their own form of herd instinct and circular ego rationalizations.

When in fact they may be the next thing to the ultimate bottom feeders, i.e. cosmic super roaches who can only prosper by fouling their own nests into oblivion. Best thing for this lot? To encounter first-hand the beings piloting the UAP - UFOs that so many of their fellow overthinkers dismiss. And to finally put these self-serving plutocratic parasites in their place while showing regular earthlings they are also not ordained by the 'gods' to rule this world and the cosmos ad infinitum.

See Also:

Transhumanism : Another Cockeyed Concept Destined To Fail From Human Hubris 

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