November 30, 2007

Buddhism vs Transhumanism?

Here's my response to The Contrarian's article, "Buddhism vs Transhumanism."
Hey Casey, great post.

Regarding your statement, "Buddhism seeks to improve conditions not through transcendence, but rather acceptance," one must acknowledge the need to accept things when they are beyond our control.

Consequently, as compassionate Buddhists who are concerned about not just the suffering of all sentient life, but the optimization of subjective experience as well, we are motivated to work to find solutions that put as much control into our hands as possible. Buddhism does not imply passivity.

Also, transhumanism, as a form of applied science and technology, is an epistemological tool whose proponents seek to find the true nature (and alternate modes) of being and existence. That's also the goal of Buddhism -- the seeking of the true nature of reality.

And finally, one of my favourite Dalai Lama quotes (which I'm sure you've already read): "My Tibetan goals are the same as those of Western science: to serve humanity and to make better human beings."


1 comment:

casey said...

Can you amplify your statement about Buddhism being concerned with "the optimization of subjective experience?"

It seems to me that subjectivity, or the idea that there is a discrete "you" to futz with, is the first thing to be transcended through unconditioned acceptance.

Take away the film, the projector and what do yo have? The bulb, which is analogous to the necessarily mysterious, unconditioned mind.

Buddhism is fundamentally against "add-ons" to the individual sphere, as mind is already junked up with the projections of ego as is. The practice, as I understand it, is more about stripping away.

That said, I'm curious about scientific improvements to the biological species, as well as the possible transference of consciousness to a non-bio realm. But for now, I'll continue plodding down the Path.