Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Which Future is Fairest and Has Us All?


Of the more delightfully positive and ill-considered futures proposed within the technocratic communities with some overlap within the humanist communities comes in the idea of a trans-humanist future and a post-humanist future in which the technological advancements of humanity (“Mankind” seems a little passé) simply run away into the sunset without their lover: human beings, the hyphenations for the “trans-” and the “post-” because of the basis in differential images of technology made sentient and transcending humanity while, in a sense, bringing human beings along for the ride and another in which humanity becomes, in the words of the late Robin Williams, obsolete, human patterns of thought and behaviour aren’t going anywhere. They’re integrated into all possible futures, though some questions arise about the prime focus of the early 21st century.

Why focus on the future with technology so advanced so as to reach the heights of delirious farce and comedy posed as reality? Why fixate on a future of techno-beings and techno-boyfriends and -girlfriends who cater to every whim of the wonderstruck nerd-o-sphere, geek-o-drome, on the long dweeb-a-thon? Why focus on the future at all? Is it all bad simply for the sake of wanting to focus on the future? My proposition: Yes, and no. Yes, we should focus on the future; and no, some of the heights of fancy so as to “space out” on the present conditions of those worse off make a mockery of the utopian orgasmic fantasizing.

Both matter because the science fiction writers of the past, in a sense, wrote the future for themselves as a present (gift and current moment) to us. We live, in some ways, within the wildest fancies of previous writers who thought about the world in terms of the possible and the impossible (to make things interesting) as a proposition of “what could be,” almost as an individual escape from the “what was” of the time. Truly, the spirit of the age is a sense of becoming as if a perpetual adolescent mind with an iron clasp on the mindscape of the culture.

A world in which technology holds the cards and the social environs remains bound to the sensibilities of its youngest members and their dominance of the tech world. Think of the phones, the computers, the laptops, the applications, the gaming consoles, all of the small conveniences as virtues, and as petty (de)vices, to make each day a tad more enjoyable, and trivial. With the technology, we feel as if an inevitable march of progress to some point of convergence. If the world continues to move faster and faster, and if technology is the driver of the “faster and faster,” well, of course, the only possible answer to the question of “What next?” is “faster and faster, until some point of convergence.”

Perhaps, but then again maybe not, it could be different, as we have heard calls of the “End of History” and the ‘return of the Messiah’ before. All for naught, while used to make calls for oughts. Which brings the current incarnation of the transhumanist and the posthumanist visions of the world into glaring and full focus, a proposition of a world with human beings as subsidiary nodes in some vast computational complex or as participants in the recombination of the material constituents of the universe at a local and then a galactic scale at some nth point of progress into the future.

Technology and progressive advancements in the science bringing about the technology become part of the same droning of the technocrats. Have you watched the presentations of the Kurzweils of the world? Are you bored too? It is the same darn thing over and over again. Is this a perpetual claim of inevitability answered and, thus, needing some repeating to the proletariat who vulgar primitives they are require such repetitions, or is it a set of charts with reasonably amorphous claims about the future with thick-enough black markers to draw the trendlines? It pays. That’s one thing. But then, there’s also the long history built by the science fiction writers of old who built the mental landscape of the micro-obsessives.

Those “micro-obsessives” who constructed the foundational technologies for the world seen today in which our lives have been in many ways transformed for the better, and also for the isolatory effects upon a social species. What effects can we expect from such changes? Shall we boot up, chip in, and forget the troubles for a better television or a new first-person shooter? When caught in a time focus on the future, the items of the forever-evolving present moment and the lessons from history can disappear from us, then we can get into some real trouble. Indeed, the systems of technology may be used for ill-begotten purposes against the ideals of the science fictioneers, futurologists.

To miss the present and the past while over-focusing on the future creates a foundation for failure amplified by technic and ahistoricity of the world, though some premises appear true with explicit statement with some further considerations of the matter, human beings as evolved natural objects appear in the world as a natural technology with the capacity for the creation of some technology in a constructed manner rather than a naturalistically evolved manner. All possible human futures derive from the nature drummed into this tribal species with a neocortex, where all constructed rather than evolved technologies will become imprinted with the behavioural and cognitive capacities of the human species and, therefore, make the current here-and-now co-extensive with all possible there-and-thens as a formulation of humanity’s patterns flowering indefinitely into the cosmos.

In this consideration of the future of the human species and divisions into different ‘kinds’ of futures, all functions under the banner of an extended consciousness of humanity apportioned into parts of the future of the universe with a trans-humanism future envisioned as an after-humans future impossible as all futures become human futures in consideration of patterns and unified notions of technology with human patterns of thought and behaviour projected into every possible future. Human beings cannot be obsolete as we cannot be lost in full, only in part, into any possible consideration of the constructed technology timelines and futures over which so much anxiety, hemming, and hawing is had in the world.

Photo by Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash

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