Transhuman Responses

by Jon Lebkowsky

Natasha Vita-More has guest edited the Metanexus Institute’s “GlobalSpiral.” She’s created a response to a “Special Issue on Transhumanism.” In her intro, she says

There are numerous forbearers of theories on human evolution and traces can be found in a plethora of sources, all suggesting that the biological human is not the final stage of evolution for the Homo sapiens sapiens.  The philosophy and social/cultural movement of transhumanism has developed not only from the words “trans” and “human”, but also through an understanding that the human condition is one in which we might go outside to gain perspective, a process in becoming, an evolutionary transformation:

  • “Trans-human” and the Italian verb “transumanare” or “transumanar” was used for the first time by Dante Alighieri in Divina Commedia.It means “go outside the human condition and perception” and in English could be “to transhumanate” or “to transhumanize”. 
  • T.S. Eliot wrote about the risks of the human journey in becoming illuminated as a “process by which the human is Transhumanised” in “The Cocktail Party”, Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950.Julian Huxley wrote about how humans must establish a better environment for themselves, while still remaining man in New Bottles For New Wine, which contains the essay “Transhumanism”.Teilhard de Chardin wrote about intellectual and social evolution and ultra-humanity in The Future of Man.Abraham Maslow referred to transhumans in Toward a Psychology of Being.
  • The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedia Dictionary defined “transhuman” as meaning “surpassing; transcending; beyond”.The Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defined “transhuman” as meaning “superhuman,” and “transhumanize,” as meaning “to elevate or transform to something beyond what is human”.

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