Addressing a key issue related to human nature, this book argues that the first-person experience of pure consciousness may soon be under threat from posthuman biotechnology. In exploiting the minds capacity for instrumental behavior, posthumanists seek to extend human experience by physically projecting the mind outward through the continuity of thought and the material world, as through telepresence and other forms of prosthetic enhancements. Posthumanism envisions a biology/machine symbiosis that will promote this extension, arguably at the expense of the natural tendency of the mind to move toward pure consciousness. As each chapter of this book contends, by forcibly overextending and thus jeopardizing the neurophysiology of consciousness, the posthuman condition could in the long term undermine human nature, defined as the effortless capacity for transcending the minds conceptual content. Presented here for the first time, the essential argument of this book is more than a warning; it gives a direction: far better to practice patience and develop pure consciousness and evolve into a higher human being than to fall prey to the Faustian temptations of biotechnological power. As argued throughout the book, each person must choose for him or herself between the technological extension of physical experience through mind, body and world on the one hand, and the natural powers of human consciousness on the other as a means to realize their ultimate vision.
"Transcending thought is infinitely more valuable than thinking."
By Robert Boyer - November 29, 2006
This book cuts to the core of what it means to be human. Identifying a crucial concern unrecognized in mainstream modern science, it articulates a deeper understanding of the inherent capability of the human mind of self-transcendence. Through insightful analyses of respected works in modern fiction--from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and William Gibson's Neuromancer to Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World--it enriches scholarly examination of contemporary research in consciousness. It foreshadows the subtle, unseen risks of scientific advances such as nano-technology to enhance the human mind through bionic implants, which could destroy the natural capability of the human mind to settle down to the inner silent, self-transcendent state of consciousness itself.
The book expands our appreciation of how, even with good intentions to improve human life, these technologies are unfortunately based on a crude and incomplete materialistic... read more