Ethics · Future · Psychology

Revisited: Transhumanism against violence

transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities (Wikipedia).

This topic, about transhumanism, is broad. I will discuss a small part of this topic, that is: “Can we make use of transhumanism in a way such that we won’t have to recur to violence (I am talking about violence that results from disagreements – may them be between nations or two people) this often?”

I am writing this article because I don’t have the answer to why would we recur to violence when we feel like we didn’t have our say, we feel that an injustice against us has been made, we get annoyed with somebody, or we had been tricked etc.?

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

–Mahatma Gandhi

Some examples of violence to make you understand why it would be better for us to quit using it so often:

Violence comes in various forms and may be the result of various circumstances and social situations.

Violence is of several kinds. One can exhibit violence in physical, psychological, or sexual form or simply by neglecting someone to the point of deprivation. The extent of violence ranges from self, to family and friends, to community and the largest expression is the entire war situation between and/ or within the nations. Violence has affected civilizations. It is evident from the historical facts that wars that are the epitome of violence have ruined millions of lives. Those who resort to violence justify their action by citing various reasons but in the end it is only the personal perception that leads to such kind of behaviour (MEENAKSHI, 4).

An act of violence(rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment) is one’s response when a maximum of tolerance has been reached. Also, bear in mind that people are very receptive to other’s words or actions – which may bend their understanding of ethics at some point in time – A good example of how one’s behaviour is influenced by what one sees and hears is the following:

Think of the Medieval times, more exactly the Dark Age. That was the time when nothing moved in Europe without the approval of the Catholic Church. Educated to behave as ‘sheep,’ people believed the Earth is flat, Muslims are the devil’s army, that doctors with a vast knowledge in medicine are actually witches, and so on.

Witch being burnt at stake

Mad things such as crusades would still be happening today if it weren’t for people to have begun ‘lighting up some candles in the darkness.’ As time was passing, these ‘candles’ started to shine more brightly, and people to become more aware of what was happening. 
Violence could be seen as a symptom of a disease that is caused by one’s inability to judge, or reason, against it . We all act violent at some point.

Have you ever gotten in an argument because you were accused of something that you were not responsible for?

Man is a ‘social animal’. Hence, showing an aggressive behaviour is equivalent to showing an animal behaviour. Psychologists say that though violent behaviour is inherent but can be managed (MEENAKSHI, 6)

Some of us do it more often than others.

What I am saying is that we are all disease. We’re all in the dark more or less, but we’ve become smarter and we’re growing more intelligent everyday. Intelligent enough to replace our ‘candles’ with ‘flashlights’ and see further.

I would like to associate the batteries that power up the flashlights with the trashumanist movement, and the flashlights with the all of us.

Let me explain why I choose to talk of transhumanism as a solution to this problem:

I have observed that the amount of stress one can tolerate before recurring to violent actions, eg: screaming, slapping or punching somebody, is strongly relate to, among other things, the education one has. I believe that tolerance is something that one learns through experience, and not something that you are born with. However there is something that suggests that education is not the only factor playing a part in how fast can people become violent. That something is the fact that even some of the most educated people sometimes lose their temper and let animal impulses get the best of them.

Those people can, indeed, become more educated if you were wondering. But not enough to resist such impulses. So there has to be something else involved. That is, I believe, genetics – a natural predisposition to recur to violence or to avoid violence. Genes cannot be altered in our world yet, not because it is impossible but, because ethics wouldn’t allow it.

To permanently alter the DNA of an organism you must ‘inject’ new genes into the embryo at a very early stage of life. Otherwise, if new genes are added to an organism that has had time to grow past a number of cells, so for example a two months old foetus, only some cells’s DNA will be altered for as long as those cells are alive (about three days).

That means that we have the ability to cure genetic disease but we just won’t allow more than a treatment.

To find out more about genetic diseases, and their treatment, you can read this article on Cystic Fibrosis.

People who join the transhumanist movement have already updated their ethics to the upcoming technology. They are prepared to take some steps ahead and approve an evolutionary leap. I support transhumanism simply because it will bring about the changes in ethics we need in order to proceed.

We all have to agree with what Gandhi. When violence does seem to make good it only worsens things. Therefore the best method of solving a problem remains the peaceful, calm way.

P.S. Related to this topic are all the tragic events that are happening now-a-days in Ukraine, and Asian countries such as Syria. People have reached a level of ignorance that is way too high, and simply cannot stop from committing violent acts. They believe that by continuing to do so they will prove a point and somebody may give them WHAT THEY WANT. Maybe if they become stronger they will attempt to take what they want themselves. However, we are not in the Middle Ages any longer, and globalisation process has been taking place for some time now. The “if you want something, go and take it” method hardly works any more.

We ought to rationalise more, and become more empathetic. We ought to understand each other, and help each other, because we all share this place and this time.


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