Thursday, July 07, 2011

James Hughes - Buddhism and Transhumanism: The Technologies of Self-Perfection

Another episode of Changesurfer Radio that looks at the assumed intersection of Buddhism and transhumanism - an offering of the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, of which James Hughes is executive director.

I can see the impulse toward thinking of transhumanism as a form of self-perfection, which feels to me misguided, but to claim that is somehow similar to Buddhism misses the basic awareness that Buddhism seeks to dissolve identification with the self.

Furthermore, one strand of transhumanism seeks to prolong human life, ideally ending death - but in Buddhism death is a crucial part of the cycle of life - karma and rebirth move us along in our journey of enlightenment (notice I did not say journey TO enlightenment - like consciousness itself, enlightenment is a verb in my world, not a destination, not a noun).

For a more "official" refutation of the transhumanist identification with Buddhism, check out this Tricycle article from last year - Could Transhumanism Make Buddhism Obsolete?

Buddhism and Transhumanism: The Technologies of Self-Perfection

Changesurfer Radio

Posted: Jul 1, 2011

James Hughes, IEET Executive Director, speaking at the August 5, 2004 Faith, Transhumanism and Hope Symposium, Trinity College, University of Toronto. (and yes, seven years later I’m still working on that book…)


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