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Transhumanism

Brittney M. Walker | 7/27/2011, 5 p.m.

You can live forever. Well, maybe not today, but in just a few short years you could possibly dodge death, never age a day more, retain that youthful, heavenly skin, and watch your children's children's children grow up into their prime. Yes, perhaps in this lifetime, you could live forever.

With the help of mad scientists and a vision stemming from vanity, curiosity, and health, the fountain of youth has been discovered. But it's no fountain at all. The key to everlasting life is not from a mystical stream of glowing sweet nectar. It's hidden in the codes embedded in microchips and cyberspace.

At least that's what science is suggesting. Based on years of research, a relentless pursuit, and constant upgrades, scientific ingenuity may have discovered a way to stop time, preserve the present, and extend the future.

Technology is moving at an incredible rate, giving humanity the opportunity to probe its curiosity to the point of possibly compromising values and morality. Depending on the perspective of the individual, technology has challenged scholars, common folk, medically disabled, and even the religious and spiritual communities, with the question of whether or not mankind is stepping too far out of bounds.

From genetically modified foods to cloning, every aspect of societal norms is being transformed from its foundational makeup to a progressively accepted copy, or what others believe is a preservation of the original.

But even more than just the physical, humanity is progressively transforming in a metaphysical manner, where spirituality and science blend in a more evolutionary way.

An introduction to transhumanism
In 1957, a scientist and philosopher Julian Huxley, who was the first director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is often credited to coining the term "transhumanism," although that is up for debate.

According to James A. Herrick, author of "The Making of the New Spirituality," transhumanism is "a doctrine of evolutionary progress toward a morally or spiritually perfected race." But to reach this type of perfection, it would be through the combined forces of spirituality and possibly technology.

In his introduction of this new idea, Huxley pointed out that humanity had come to a plateau in the evolutionary process. He claimed that mankind had been "afflicted with misery in one form or another--poverty, disease, ill-health, overwork, cruelty, or oppression." And he further explained that humans have found means of coping with this dreadful reality by creating hopes and ideals. But reality never measured up to humanity's hopes.

So he proposed that it would be through "zestful but scientific exploration of possibilities and of the techniques for realizing them will make our hopes rational, and will set our ideals within the framework of reality, by showing how much of them are indeed realizable."

And so goes the induction of transhumanism.

A futuristic philosopher and speaker, Max More, Ph.D., expands on the decades' old idea with a modern twist, defining transhumanism as the "philosophies of life... that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values."
Natasha Vita-More, chairperson of Humanity+, explained that transhumanism is not only a philosophy, but also a movement.