May 8, 2009

Gazing from the Orion Spiral Arm

Athena Andreadis is guest blogging this month.

I want to thank George for inviting me to contribute to his always interesting blog. When we were discussing specifics, I mentioned I favor story arcs rather than hopping around randomly or banging on a single nail. For this blog, the obvious nexus would be the promises and perils of transhumanism as viewed by a biologist -- since the vast majority of transhumanists still seem to come from the domains of either computer programming or the social sciences.

My views are refracted through the additional prisms of being a woman, a non-Anglosaxon from an ancient culture instrumental in shaping the Western world, a cultural half-breed… someone who falls between too many stools to avoid or count. Briefly, though, I believe that humans need to pay equal attention to the outer and inner world, just as stars remain stable by balancing gravity pressure against nuclear fusion tension. Too much action without introspection, and humans turn into stiff upper lips declaiming about manifest destiny. Too much of the reverse, and they become whining navel-gazers.

So, tentatively, I plan to explore the mind/body problem in transhumanism (and cyberpunk, the Watson to TH's Holmes), artificial wombs, neuroenhancers and conclude with a discussion of the false dilemma between transhumanism and space exploration. I may take sideroads along the way, if something particularly absorbing comes up. Join me for the roaming:

Let me set sail for open water,
With gun salutes and pealing bells!

Odysseus Elytis, from Sun the First

Starship Reckless
Forever Young

Image: Serenity starship, Firefly class

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