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What Does It Mean to Be Human? Essay

What does it mean to be human? What makes who we are? What drives us? Could it be the desire of becoming better, faster, and stronger, perhaps? All throughout history, humans have been known to have advanced in their respective eras through planning and their own advancements in technology. Technology is one of the many things that people in the 21st century debate about, whether it’s good or bad, or even neutral. Why do so many disagree with the idea of becoming better through the advances in technology?

The main the topic of becoming something more, something post-human, revolves around the “luddites” (artisans in the early nineteenth century who protested technology by destroying it) believe we’re “playing God. ” What does it even mean to play God? Technology has taken us very far indeed, but we haven’t made anything so uncanny that will surely match God himself. If anything, we’ve been doing exactly what’s in our nature: grow, expand, nurture ourselves, and evolve. We can only do as much as the environment allows us; we only make what we can with what we have.

The advances in technology today are just our own way of reaching another step in our evolutionary cycle, and we shall continue to move forward. We shall reach another step in human evolution, whether it’s mentally or physically; we know that we’ll be holding technology’s hand for now and forever more, because as it is, we’ve become dependent of it. Should we fear our future endeavors within the technological age? I’m ready to move up to a new level in my evolution, whether I’m wired in circuitry, a cyborg, or fully mechanical; it’s time to let go of those fears, of those demons holding us back.

Our limits are only set by our own standards, our own hands, so if we keep moving forward, then our limit is not what the kind of humans we’re now, but ‘transhumanism. ’ I always imagined achieving what could be deemed as the impossible as a child: becoming something more, something great… To my surprise, I would’ve never thought that the method I would stumble upon would be technological. I always imagined a miracle would be bestowed upon me, like in a movie or a superhero comic book…I was a dreamer and still am.

In Max More’s essay “On Becoming Posthuman,” he talks about a group of tranhumanists known as the “Extropians,” these “Extropians” seek what everyone seeks: to further “extropy”( the prediction that human intelligence and technology will enable life to expand in an orderly way throughout the entire universe) which includes, intelligence, information, energy, life, experience, diversity, opportunity, and growth. If someone was trying to sell me something through these words, I’d be sold rather quickly. Ultimately, don’t we all have that same goal? To expand as much as possible?

Isn’t that one of the main reasons we head to college? Max More’s essay proposes that we not seek to play God or become anything remotely god-like, but instead, strive to become post-human; even if we managed to reach immortality and harness incredible power, we would still be bound by the natural laws of physics…of nature. Why should humans accept their limits? What does having a limit even mean? If we have managed to surpass our “limits,” then by default and obvious reasons that’s not our limit. The “Extropian” philosophy is the following: they believe in self-transcendence, expansion, optimism, technology, and order.

Believe it or not, we’ve already surpassed our human limitations through technology, I mean, we already have artificial/bionic joints, pacemakers, contact lenses, Artificial Intelligence, and they’re already making bionic eyes to restore sight to the blind. If the film “The Matrix” taught us anything, it’s that we live in a world full of possibilities that we could always overcome, just like in the movie, and even if we’re bound by the laws of nature, we should all still know that life is a grand adventure full of mystery awaiting to be discovered.

We can only attain higher place, a higher peak, by applying ourselves, our intelligence, cooperation, optimism, focus and determination on our expansion. My biggest fear is and forever will be running out of time do everything I ever wanted to do in my life…I suppose that’s how it all began, one big fear of not having the time to accomplish those certain goals in life: Travel the world, learn several languages, jump off a plane, get married, have children, have grandchildren, and so on.

Being able to live longer through technology would help us achieve as many goals as possible before leaving the face of the Earth. Obviously, there are those who seek immortality, but really…who wants that? Who wants to live forever? In my opinion, I don’t really know what exactly it means to go against God and his work. Research suggests that a man getting pregnant falls under such category, is that against God’s original work? Who knows? Such unrefined ideals make this the discrepancy.

Although, if it were possible, just for the sake of argument, storing our inner self in a machine wouldn’t so terrible come to think of it, would it? “Deux Ex Machina” or “Spirit of the Machine” would be the next step or one of the steps to post-humanity, Artificial Intelligence is fine, but why can’t we be the spirit or the intelligence inside the machine? What if we could be around for far longer than one hundred years? Sincerely, I wouldn’t call it immortality if one has already lost his/her’s original body. What does it mean to be immortal anyways?

It’s been said that being immortal could be defined by being part of someone’s memory; never forgotten by loved ones. It’s almost poetic, isn’t it? We should consider one other thing in our technological odyssey…it’s said God made us in his own image, God is said to be perfect, no? Then why can’t we reach our own human perfection under his rules? How come technology is so frowned upon? “Oh! We’re so dependent on computers and cell phones! ” Honestly, how weak minded does one have to be to fall victim to their own pieces of hardwired silicon chips with a touch screen?

Some say television is bad because it eats away your mind, but in all fairness, we use a television sets for several purposes: gaming, cable TV, movies, music, pictures, etc… I think in order for technology to be successful in everyone’s eyes, people just need to learn to control themselves, stop being so hopelessly dependent on their god-forsaken technological belongings and learn to live off their own ability and instinct. Every coin has two sides, correct? They say that too much of a good thing is actually quite bad, for anyone and everyone.

Some human beings really cannot exercise self-restraint or anything of the sorts, which is wrong because who’s going to restraint them? Who’s going to show them the way of balancing life with and without technology if everyone is adapted to it? We do need space to evolve, grow, expand, and roam free however. Finding a problem in this kind of technology that might help us, make us better and even enhance our abilities to live a more fulfilling life seems somewhat hard to come across. The only way to so make this blasphemous is if we were to put religion/faith vs. rogress/technology, but that isn’t the case most of the time…it’s all based around our morals. What I would like to make clear is that technology is man-made, it’s not alien, it’s not a gift from the heavens, or the Greek gods, and it’s not a miracle, it’s just something made by human hands. Our evolutionary cycle revolves around making our lives easier, better, more satisfying and yet more simple at the same time, and technology does that for us, so why shun innovation through hardware? Why be so afraid to move on to another plane? Another level perhaps?

I think we’re long overdue to start to move ahead in life, whether it’s through natural methods or technological methods, but…what is natural really? Humans are naturally born, which makes them exactly what they are now, and it’s only natural for us to expand and build, it’s in our nature. This also applies for the advancements in technology, does it not? Something like limitless life offers everything, from unexplored possibilities to unbounded self-development, but think about this…do we really want to live forever? Or do we just want to explore enough to satisfy our avarice for knowledge and advances?

I think it goes both; It’s normal for humans to overcome their limits, its natural even, and for “posthumanity” it’s no different. Max More’s final words in his essay “On Becoming Posthuman” were: “No more gods, no more faith, no more timid holding back. Let us blast out of our hold forms, our ignorance, our weakness, and our mortality. The future belongs to posthumanity. ” He comes on a little too strong, but who can blame him? He’s right to a pretty wide extent however. This is it, the 21st century, it’s time to let go and evolve, let nature take its course, let us be who we’re meant to be.

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