Printer Friendly

TRANSHUMANISM AS A NEW TECHNO-RELIGION AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: IN THE FRAMEWORK OF A FUTURE TECHNOLOGICAL SPIRITUALITY.

1. Introduction

The technological developments of the 21st century bring ever closer the aspirations of the contemporary human concerning the desire/necessity to reconfigure not only the biological-material life, but also the spiritual-personal one. This aspect also draws the imminent process of redefining Judeo-Christian tradition within the limits of the ideology of technological progress, of transhumanist theories: a process that will lead to the domain of religion losing its metaphysical character and moving towards a technological 'regime of truth' (Foucault 1980, 109-34), where the power/ideology of religious discourse is no longer given by the transcendence of God, but by a technological 'post-transcendence' (Schacht 1997, 73-92). Consequently, these aspects require a paradigm shift in relation to the transcendence of God, which we find undermined in favor of this technological post-transcendence that not only puts in brackets God's transcendence--by bringing the concept of religion (in the Western paradigm) closer to its manifestations in the fields of science, art, philosophy and technology, in contrast to the old traditional-metaphysical concepts of Judeo-Christian religion (Schacht 1997, 73-92)--but also brings with it a new set of values, which put into focus the mechanisms of the expression, assertion, and personal development of the contemporary human, seen as a trans-posthuman individual (the new Ubermensch). The result of such a process is both an abandonment of the traditional concept of religion--governed in Western culture by a theist position--as well as an ontological reorganization of the concept within the limits of a secular spirituality, where the focus is rather on the personal development of the individual within the paradigm of a techno-optimist ideology. In this situation, where the spiritual and religious domains lose ground in front of technology, personal development mechanisms use technology to achieve the same goal that we find in the Transhumanist Extropian philosophy of life, namely, personal growth and improvement of the condition of human life. This makes the arguments of the seven Principles of Extropy--principles of perpetual progress, self-transformation, practical optimism, intelligent technology, open society, self-direction, and rational thinking--where the term 'extropy' refers to the evolution of values and standards for the continuous improvement of the condition of human life, through science and technology, with the aim of increasing longevity (to the point of achieving immortality), vitality, diversity, and of the complexity of human nature (More 2013, 3-5; 1993, 15-7)--become the new model of personal development. This is the sense that intelligent technology, on which transhumanist philosophy is based, has the role to help human nature grow and drive its personal growth towards a trans-posthuman condition.

However, the desire of the individual to liberate himself from the tradition of Western metaphysics and the tradition of Judeo-Christian religion is a desideratum already fulfilled, along with postmodern philosophy and the "theory of the death of God", as supported by Friedrich Nietzsche (2001; 2006). This affirmation concluded to some extent an important chapter in the history/philosophy of western religion--that of the transcendence of God. The reason behind this is that today the stakes no longer represent the ontological rupture of contemporary man--within the paradigm of the binary relationship God-Man or Religion-Science/Technology--but that of an ontological transcendence of the human, within the limits of an emerging ontology of technology, with the purpose of substituting the metaphysical character of religion (of Christianity) with that of a technological and a post-transcendence religion (of Transhumanism). This means that the binaries of these relations are dissolved in a fusion process achieved within the boundaries of a relative deterritorialization (Deleuze and Guattari 2005), which leads us to the new Ubermensch (Nietzsche 2006) created by the technologies of the 21st century: namely the trans-posthuman individual who, following the death of God, aims to capitalize on life within the techno-optimistic limits of the singularity era. Which makes it possible for us to talk in the present about transhumanism, not only as a simple cultural movement or philosophical theory, but also as a form of non-dogmatic, non-doctrinal, de-reified, rational, scientific and singularitarian techno-religion (Kurzweil 2005, 273-75; More and Kurzweil 2002). Similarly, the theories of Jay Newman (1997, 110-20) advance the hypothesis of a technological spirituality, which in the secular spirituality paradigm dissolves the binarity of religion-technology and turns technology into the new "creed" of the contemporary individual. This new form of technological spirituality short-circuits the ontological dimension of spirituality--understood as the central concept of Christian religion and Western metaphysics--through an undermining of God's transcendent position, in favour of a technological eschatology promised by the immanence of the Paradise of cyberspace, created by the trans-posthuman individual.

2. Transhumanism and Personal Development

Today, personal development--seen as an activity that was still present in ancient Greece as a concern for mind, body and soul--goes from the "care of the self (Foucault 1990) into that of "technologies of the self" (Foucault 1988). In the sense that it has made a transition from a concern of the self, within the limits of spirituality (as a concern to the soul, but not as a substance, but as an activity), to a "technologies of the self", which involve reason, knowledge, science and technology, within the limits of a 'regime of truth' (Foucault 1988; 2005). This does not mean, however, that the various techniques of personal development, now completely eliminate the Delphic principle--"Know yourself--which include the "care of the self principle (Foucault 1988). They redefine it within the limits of a technological spirituality and self-direction, where self-discovery is practiced with the support of technology, that takes the inner introspection to a new level, through cyberspace, virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). This exercise of self-direction, self-respect and the respect for others, critical thinking, perpetual learning, personal responsibility and proactivity--within the limits of rational optimism--are currently being achieved through technological progress (More 2013; FM-2030, 1989). These aspects make a link, not only at a theoretical level but also at a practical one, between transhumanism and the new theories of personal development (Jaokar 2012) that use technology as a tool--iPods, smartphones, (AR) glasses or different applications--to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, to implement a positive thinking or to stimulate creative and successful thinking etc. Thereby, in a more in-depth analysis, we observe that both in the transhumanist philosophy (More 2013, 1993; Kurtzweil 2005) and in the theories of personal development (Tracy 2005, 2011; Covey 2004; Ziglar 2014; Pavlina 2009) the goal is one and the same, namely, the welfare and the improvement of the quality of human life through knowledge/reason, on the one hand, and science/technology, on the other.

The transhumanist model of personal development refers precisely to what contemporary society (as an open society) promotes, at the level of the successful individual, namely an individual found in continuous growth, through information technology and rational thinking, namely--"people with updated information, with a multitrack information base, people who receive their information from many sources, and who process information intelligently" (FM-2030, 1989, 21). This means that both transhumanism and personal development (both as an activity and as a research field) have, as a principle, the anthropocentric belief, in the sense in which both place human nature in the spotlight, with its power to define itself to self-develop, or to choose who and how it is, through perpetual progress--which is the ideological foundation of the principles of extropy. Both thoughts, in this anthropocentric paradigm, do not seek to deny the values or the characteristics of human nature (the anthropos), but only to improve them, through the human potential of overcoming its own condition, through reason, knowledge, science and technology--i.e. to be a transhuman. Thus, if the philosophy of transhumanism is rooted in rational humanism, that is, in the "faith" in human reason and science (Bostrom 2011, 1-30), the current personal development techniques follow closely the same line of thought by applying this rational optimism, specific to the transhumanist thinking, in the service of knowledge, seen as a form of unlimited power that man possesses and uses in the direction of self-improvement (Tracy 2005, 136-54; Pavlina 2009). This power of knowledge is a form of a 'metapower', i.e. a "regime of truth" in Foucault terms (1980; 2005), resulting from the scientific discourse, seen as a universal truth--but not as an absolute truth (transcendental), but as a 'general politics'--of disciplining the individual in the name of progress, success, performance, happiness, health, longevity, etc. (Ziglar 2014; Tracy 2005, 2011; Covey 2004; Pavlina 2009).

According to Tracy (2005, 205; 2011, 21-35), the more knowledge we acquire, the more competitive we become. But simple knowledge and reason are no longer enough for an optimal personal development at present. Thus, the Internet, computers and, more recently, intelligent devices, are the simplest examples of how technology is used as a tool in the current process of personal development--i.e. through access to knowledge and information that these technologies provide to us for personal growth and self-improvement (Pavlina, 2009, 111-153). This is why science and technology play an important role in this equation of personal development (Pavlina, 2009; Tracy 2005, 53-54), and in our attempts to become transhuman--namely, human, but at the same time augmented in our human condition, both physically, mentally or morally, and intellectually or genetically, through synthetic intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, intelligence intensification, and neurochemical modification (More 1993; 2013).

The awareness of our own limits pushes us towards the desire of overcoming and self-improvement, which begins with knowledge and continues with science and technology (Covey 2004; More 2013). This aspect strengthens the maximum of the intelligent technology principle, according to which the use and management of technologies are being made to use them as effective means of improving and extending life (More 2013, 5). Therefore, the difference is that, in this century of technological uplifts, personal development techniques and methods are not simply limited to seeking, identifying and maximizing human potential in order to achieve well-established personal goals, as described by the classical self-actualization theory (Maslow 1954, 149-03), but are aiming instead for a kind of perpetual progress--that is, towards a perpetual development and overcoming of all constraints and possibilities that imply human nature, as an individual, with the ultimate goal of becoming a posthuman--that is to overcome the human condition (anthropos) and to move to a higher level, the post-anthropocentric one (More 2013). These objectives of transhumanism have as a consequence, at present, the maximization of the phenomenon of personal development--seen as a means in the development of the process of perpetual progress. This is because the actual personal development is a "technology of the self" that allows the individual to model himself--"in order to achieve a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality" (Foucault 1988, 18). Namely, exactly what the Trnashumanist Extropian philosophy of life involves, as "a measure of a system's intelligence, information content, available energy, longevity, vitality, diversity, complexity, and capacity for growth." (More 1993, 15).

According to the principle of self-transformation, the continuous improvement of our physical, biological, intellectual or ethical dimensions is envisaged, on the one hand, by using the classic methods of personal development--such as creative and critical thinking, perpetual learning, personal responsibility and proactivity--and, on the other hand, by using technology (AI or AR) to optimize these methods (More 2013, 5; 1993, 15-24). Thus, according to Extropian philosophy of life, the attainment of these objectives is achieved not by the mechanisms of traditional personal development, but through technological interventions in the sphere of the existence of the individual, "in the broadest sense to seek physiological and neurological augmentation together with emotional and psychological refinement" (More 2013, 5). That is why the principle of self-transformation is nothing more than a new form of personal development--albeit much more complex--that pursues perpetual progress towards physical, intellectual, moral and psychological excellence (More 1993, 15-24). Personal development in this techno-optimistic paradigm has a more complex efficacy, meaning that there are already various devices (AR or VR glasses), as well as many apps on smartphones, or in the form of podcasts or online journal options, that can help individuals maximize their personal development--towards a transhuman condition. Whether we are talking about applications, podcasts, or various intelligent accessories--those aimed at a healthy life (diet, exercise, fitness, etc.) or those that monitor the individual's state/mood (by detecting moments of depression, stress or anxiety, by giving advice on positive thinking and optimism, or by offering a series of spiritual exercises to reduce stress or anxiety) or, last but not least, those of a cognitive nature (stimulating rational, critical and analytical thinking, alongside a continuous learning process in real time through the 'learning on the go' system, i.e. through a continuous moving learning based on AR)--it is clear that technology is indispensable to the dynamic process of these new approaches to personal development (Pavlina 2009). However, according to More's arguments (More 1993, 15-24; More and Kurzweil 2002), in the near future, self-transformation methods will far outweigh our present experiences--we will have the capacity (due to discoveries in the domain of nano-biotechnology and genetic engineering) to model /augment and rebuild ourselves as humans, in a progressive manner, including at the genetic level or at the level of the neurochemical modulation of our state of mind or knowledge, as well as at the level of neural-computer integration--i.e. to become posthuman.

However, if we are to remain within the traditional Maslowian paradigm of personal development mechanisms, we notice that the concept of transhumanism was not alien to Maslow, who defined it as "a psychology and a philosophy that transcends the human species itself" (Maslow 1954, xxvii). This is an extra argument for seeing the Transhumanist Extropian philosophy of life as a new form of personal development processes--a superior form in which technology is not only a means, but also a tool that drives human nature to physical, intellectual, moral and psychological excellence--that is, for the beginning, to an intermediary, transhuman condition, and then to the posthumous state. Additionally, for Maslow, a self-actualizing person is one who, as in transhumanist philosophy, seeks to conform to a series of higher values that aim to improve their quality of life and go beyond the satisfaction of simple biological needs or survival, converge onto the perpetual progress of the individual. From this it follows that what is at stake in transhumanist philosophy is the posthuman individual (the new Ubermensch), who will have far more cognitive capacities and more refined emotions, and who, in addition to guaranteeing primary needs, will seek to capitalize on their (post-)transcendence (More 2013, 4; Garreau 2005, 231-32), a dimension which presages the dissolution of anthropocentrism as a consequence of the fusion of the (post)human individual with various technological entities, such as artificial intelligence. This means that, with this technology, current personal development methods will reach a new level: that of self-transcendence, as Maslow calls it (1993).

This concept of self-transcendence--unlike self-actualization, which seeks to attain its own potential--seeks self-transgression (Maslow 1993; Sandu and Vlad 2018, 94): namely, a personal motivation and development that transgresses simple personal needs and benefits, and which, as Koltko-Rivera (1998, 71-80) argues, seeks a union "with a power beyond the self, and/or service to others as an expression of identification beyond the personal ego". However, in this case, the power that transgresses the self and transcends the individual in its human condition is the technology that opens the possibility of this union between man and artificial intelligences. This means, according to the theories of Vernor Vinge (1993), a merging and a transgression of the human condition through technology. At the same time, the self-transcendence phenomenon--through technological interventions (concerning the nature of artificial intelligences when merged with biological intelligence)--results in the paradigm of singularity: both an ontological dissolution of the present human condition, within the framework of an emerging ontology of the (post)human, and an exponential growth of information technologies (Kurzweil 2005; More 2013; More and Kurzweil 2002). From here, it follows that self-transcendence will occur, both with the ability to upload the [human] mind to a computer, and with the use of brain chips, chips linked to AI, or [other] brain-computer interfaces. Yet unlike the current paradigm of personal development mechanisms that involve the self and the consciousness of a single individual, the technological singularity will afford the possibility of personal development at a holistic level--involving the existence of a collective self-fused with nature, the cosmos and non-human entities of the type of artificial intelligence--and will extend the principle of self-transcendence to the level of the uploading of the mind (in the form of a mindclone) and its connection to a cloud of the type of a mindcloud (More and Kurzweil 2002; Kurzweil 1999; 2001; 2005; Rothblatt 2015; Sandu and Vlad, 2018, 91-08; Sandu 2015, 3-26).

Although Maslowian theory does not extend in this futuristic direction, Maslow himself nevertheless emphasizes, within the self-transcendence theory, the image of the transhuman individual: that is, the individual who transcends their simple biological-human, individual and egocentric condition--being transdividual (Koltko-Rivera 1998, 80) and pointing to a posthuman condition. In this situation, personal development will have to go from the anthropocentric paradigm (which is the basis of the transhumanist principles) to the post-anthropocentrism of the post-human individual--which is the ultimate stake and the supreme goal of the Transhumanist philosophy--where we will have to do with a collective, virtual and holistic (post)personal development.

3. Transhumanism as a Techno-Religion--in the Framework of a Future Technological Spirituality

The ascendance that transhumanist philosophy has enjoyed in the last decade, as a consequence of scientific developments and technological interventions in the lives of individuals, has made it increasingly present in the space of religion and spirituality. Far from seeking to situate the values and principles of the transhumanist tradition within the paradigm of the tradition of Western metaphysics, we can observe this mode of thought does not deny certain bases that it shares with the Christian religion--like immortality or salvation (Pugh 2017, 51-61; Fisher 2015; 23-39)--which transhumanist philosophy seeks to integrate into a secular, non-dogmatic paradigm of spirituality (Walach 2015). This endeavor of transhumanism is a consequence of the Enlightenment legacy that sees spirituality as coextensive with religion (in an ethico-moral and cultural-historical paradigm), while remaining opposed to the dogmatic and doctrinal character of the Western-Christian religion, of a metaphysical kind (Walach 2015, 37-65). This is a result of the principle of rational thinking: "favoring reason over blind faith and questioning over dogma. It means understanding, experimenting, learning, challenging, and innovating rather than clinging to beliefs" (More 2013, 5). The mechanism of substituting religion with science and faith with reason/thought has led, throughout the Enlightenment and especially in postmodern culture, to a reconfiguration of the spiritual/religious dimension of human nature, by a process of relative deterritorialization of religion/spirituality from their transcendental-metaphysical and sacred dimensions, and to their reterritorialization (Deleuze and Guattari 2005) onto a post-transcendental territory. This is the first stage of deterritorialization (the relative one), which automatically initiates a process of reterritorialization: both the dimension of spirituality and that of religion (from the Christian sacred paradigm) suffer a series of transitions and subversions at the level of cultural-axiological tradition, which places them in a post-Christian secular paradigm (with an emphasis, in the case of spirituality/religion, on human thought, potential and evolution, and not on the transcendence of God). This means that this first stage of the relative deterritorialization process of religion/spirituality (and of the transhumanist paradigm) is achieved within the framework of post-transcendence, which also plays the role of a code in the relation between deterritorialization and reterritorialization. Thus, the relative deterritorialization of transcendence from its vertical structure (and with it, that of religion/spirituality from its sacred /metaphysical structure, to a post-metaphysical one), initially followed an isolation process (undertaken especially within the framework of postmodern culture and the death of God theory), and then a reterritorialization onto a new territory, that of technology (in contemporaneity)--in the form of a rhizomatic post-transcendence technology (in the future of technological singularity). This territorialization of religion/spirituality within the limits of a future technological singularity, under the incidence of a post-transcendence technology, has as a consequence the immanentization of the domains of religion/spirituality achieved within the limits of a technological post-determinism, which in turn dissolves the oppositions of science/technology-religion/spirituality on a plane of immanence that constitutes the new rhizomatic system of singularity governed by the absolute deterritorialization principle (Deleuze and Guattari 2005; 1994). This absolute deterritorialization, which is the fundamental condition of the relative deterritorialization process and the construction of the plane of immanence (Patton 2011, 187-204), takes place, in the case of transhumanist philosophy, within the limits of technological singularity--which is situated at the level of the order of the virtual (future) and not in the current (present). Thus, the singularitarian philosophy of transhumanism takes the process of relative deterritorialization (religion-spirituality) and passes it into one of absolute deterritorialization (rhizomatic post-transcendence technology); specifically, it makes it pass through the plane of immanence (Deleuze and Guattari 1994)--where we are dealing with a fusion of that which can be thought (rationality, specific to science-technology) and that which evades thought (faith, specific to religion-spirituality)--transposed under the sovereignty of artificial intelligence. The necessity of this plane of immanence resides in the fusion/reconciliation approach between the metaphysically opposed binaries, between science/technology and religion/spirituality: that is, between the rhizome of thought/reason and the verticality of faith/sacredness (in a holistic singularity). However, according to the arguments of Deleuzian philosophy, this does not totally abolish transcendence, but merely short-circuits and deterritorializes it from the boundaries of God's ontology, and reterritorializes it onto the plane of immanence created by this post-transcendence technology that belongs to the rhizome of singularity, and which opens the necessity of an incursion of a technological spirituality into the life of the individual--converging towards an emerging ontology of human nature, of a posthuman type (the new Ubermensch), governed by the post-transcendence of artificial intelligences. Technological spirituality desacralizes spirituality from its transcendental and religious dimensions, according to traditional teachings (Newman 1997, 110-20), and places it on a plane of technological immanence, where spiritual practices are interconnected with both technological devices and technological entities such as artificial intelligences, in the name of the principle of perpetual progress and of (techno)immortality. This new dimension of spirituality, within a techno-optimist ideology, is one that comes to define the new spiritual/personal practice and experience, that allows the individual to exist within the limits of a technological 'regime of truth', which is the condition for the functioning of a scientific and technological (post-determinist) discourse. In this sense, the power of the scientific/technological discourse can be conceived as a scientific knowledge that tends to transcend the human condition (and with it, the transcendence of God) and to fall outside our power of knowledge: specifically, within the singularitarian paradigm of artificial intelligences, that take the place of God's transcendence in the paradigm of the post-transcendence technology rhizome (of a singularitarian type).

The tendency of contemporary religions to abandon the metaphysical-transcendental character and to focus on human potential and dimensions, along the lines of this post-transcendental technology of progress, breaks the traditional concept of religion, as it is understood in Christian-Western societies: that is, as the belief in a transcendental entity (God), whose ontological support is founded in the practices, rites/rituals or dogmas associated with this faith. This approach makes it so that in the current circumstances, transhumanism tends to become a new form of religion (a techno-religion) for the contemporary individual, who sees in the ideology of this movement a more convincing and accessible discourse, as it relates to the stakes of immortality/salvation, which the Christian religion also promises and supports on basis of its own dogmas and a belief in God (Fisher 2015, 23-39). This form of transhumanist eschatology not only places the apocalyptic eschatology of Christianity between brackets, but it also promotes a new mode of acquiring immortality/salvation: technologically. Thus, the acquisition of immortality through the mind-/consciousness-uploading hypothesis promoted by the singularitarian transhumanist philosophy--whereby a mindclone (a twin version of our mind equipped with cyberconsciousness) consisting of a mindfile (represented by a series of digital files/copies that have the role of storing all the data/details of our past/present and are updated in real time) is processed by a consciousness software called mindware (capable of generating thought) (Rothblatt 2015, 14)--determines the contemporary individual to be within the bounds of a singularitarian plane of immanence. This technoimmortality hypothesis leads to a redefinition of the spiritual and religious values, which move from a dogmatic paradigm, to a non-dogmatic and secular technological one. The salvation hypothesis, on the other hand, comes through the same technological intervention at the physical/psychical level (by eliminating suffering, mortality, weakness, limitation, depression, anxiety, etc.), but contravenes Christian eschatology by suspending the concept of "sin", and with that, immanentizing the concept of salvation (by placing it at a material and techno-optimistic level). Thus, salvation in the transhumanist paradigm became rather a techno-salvation, which is an immanent process of becoming of the individual (on the way to become posthuman), subject to technology, who has the possibility to choose to overcome their limitations (physical, mental, biological, spiritual) by themselves, along with the reconfiguration of their biological-human condition, through the possibility of transferring their entire existence onto a virtual level, in cyberspace (More and Kurzweil 2002). Thus, this techno-salvation is placed outside of dogma and of the institutionalization of the traditional Christian religion, which requires the involvement of an external and superior force to man (God) to achieve this goal. This opens a new eschatological dimension of a techno-scientific nature--undermining the metaphysical-Christian vision of apocalyptic eschatology--which is based on technological evolution and the possibility of salvation/immortality on an immanent plane of the Paradise of cyberspace, where the possibility of technoimmortality represents a post-transcendental variant on the "Kingdom of God on Earth" (Tirosh-Samuelson 2015, 168-69). Transhumanist philosophy as Christianity (without making any reference to the principles advocated by Christian transhumanism), takes into account the stakes of immortality, but from a different perspective to the Christian one: a techno-spiritual and a techno-optimist perspective, which undermines the entire Christian metaphysical history and tradition, whose discourse is built on the dogma of the immortality of the soul (and thus on the soul-body duality of human nature). These positions, somewhat similar in terms of the stakes of Christian religion and those of transhumanism, create a point of intersection between the two ideologies within the context of a culture centered on the ideology of this technological 'regime of truth'--which, in the Foucauldian paradigm, is reproduced by the scientific discourse (and the institutions that produce it) and "which creates types of discourse that [it] accepts and makes function as true" (Foucault 1980, 131). This universal value of scientific and technological truth aims to function as a mechanism of power, which is the condition of the functioning and development of this techno-religion and of technological spirituality, meant to detach [individuals] from the old religious/spiritual practices, with the aim of transforming the ideology of perpetual progress into the new creed of the individual. The attempt to bring together both religious and scientific discourses takes place within the paradigm of this techno-optimistic culture--built on the ideology of God's death, and that of the secularization of spirituality and the reterritorialization of Christian religion within a post-transcendence and techno-scientific eschatology, created by the rhizome of singularity--which is substituted for the sacred dimension of spirituality, with this technological spirituality placing the whole process of salvation in the hands of technological science/reason, of individual choice and of human progress to extend life. Thereby, this techno-optimism that transhumanist Extropian philosophy of life promotes--for instance, in the practical optimism principle, seen as a foundation of techno-spirituality--creates a vicious circle of technological supremacy, which overrides this discourse of the technological 'regime of truth' and places it within the limits of the new transhumanist techno-religion. In this sense, the new transhumanist eschatology transforms the ideology of the finitude of this world and of man into a process of alienation, situated in an immanent future of techno-religion and techno-spirituality, aiming at a perpetual transformation of human nature, involving the dissolution of its anthropocentric and binary principles (body-soul) within the framework of an emerging ontology, created by the paradigm of technological singularity that is meant to save the present world.

4. Conclusions

The rise of a techno-optimistic culture that the 21st century brings, with the increase of the human desire to overcome its human condition in a trans-posthuman direction through technology, also attracts an ontological dissolution of binary rapports, between science/religion and technology/spirituality within the limits of transhumanist philosophy--towards a techno-religion and a techno-spirituality. In this paradigm, the means of traditional personal development are undermined by the new techno-scientific reference systems promoted by the Transhumanist Extropian philosophy of life, an aspect which allows these principles of extropy to become a new path of personal development for the contemporary individual.

Transhumanism, in this post-transcendental system, becomes the immanent territory of the phenomenon of technologization and the deterritorialization of the transcendence of religion/spirituality, where the principles of extropy represent the condition of functioning of the power of post-determinist discourse, centered on a technological 'regime of truth' that promotes the techno-optimistic ideology of a technological eschatology. Under this techno-scientific rise, the contemporary individual experiences the delirium of salvation/immortality governed by this post-determinist techno-optimism, for which the new technological incursions within the methods of personal development, spiritual practice or religious conception place human nature within the limits of an emerging ontology of the (post)human, in the Paradise of Cyberspace.

References:

Bostrom, Nick. 2011. "A History of Transhumanist Thought". Academic Writing Across the Disciplines. In Michael Rectenwald & Lisa Carl. Eds. New York: Pearson Longman. 1-30. (originally published in Journal of Evolution and Technology. Vol. 14 Issue 1: 1-30 April 2005). I am citing from the reprinted/revised PDF version available online at: https://nickbostrom.com/papers/history.pdf

Covey, Stephen R. 2004. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York: Free Press.

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. 2005. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. 1994. What Is Philosophy? New York: Columbia University Press.

Foucault, Michel. 2005. The Hermeneutics of the Subject--Lectures at the College de France, 1981-1982. Ed. Frederic Gros. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Foucault, Michel. 1980. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. Ed. Colin Gordon. New York: Pantheon Book.

Foucault, Michel. 1988. Technologies of the Self. London: Tavistock Publications.

Foucault, Michel. 1990. The Care of the Self. London: Penguin.

Fisher, Matthew Zaro. 2015. "More Human Than the Human? Toward a "Transhumanist" Christian Theological Anthropology". In Calvin Mercer and Tracy J. Trothen. Eds. Religion and Transhumanism--The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement. Santa Barbara: Praeger. 23-39.

FM-2030 (born Fereidoun M. Esfandiary). 1989. Are You a Transhuman?: Monitoring and Stimulating Your Personal Rate of Growth in a Rapidly Changing World. USA: Warner Books.

Garreau, Joel. 2005. Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies--and What It Means to Be Human. New York: Random House.

Jaokar, Ajit V. 2012. Meditation in the Age of Facebook and Twitter--Personal Development Through Social Meditation--From Shamanism to Transhumanism. London: Future Text.

Kurzweil, Ray. 2005. The Singularity Is Near. New York: Viking Penguin.

Kurzweil, Ray. 1999. The Age of Spiritual Machines. New York: Viking Penguin.

Kurzweil, Ray. 2001. Are We Spiritual Machines?. New York: Discovery Institute.

Koltko-Rivera, M. E. 1998. "Maslow's 'Transhumanism': Was Transpersonal Psychology Conceived as 'a Psychology Without People in it'?" Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Vol. 38 Issue 1. New York: Sage Journals. 71-80.

Maslow, Abraham H. 1954. Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper & Row.

Maslow, Abraham H. 1993. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. Arkana: Penguin Group.

More, M. and More, V. N. (Eds.). 2013. The Transhumanist Reader. (1st Ed.). Malden: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

More, Max. 1993. "Technological Self-Transformation: Expanding Personal Extropy". Extropy. Vol. 10 Issue 4/2 (Winter/Spring). Hollywood: Stationery & Printing. 15-24.

More, Max and Kurzweil, Ray. 2002. Max More and Ray Kurzweil on the Singularity. Originally published on KurzweilAI.net. February 26, 2002. http://www.kurzweilai.net/max-more-and-ray-kurzweil-on-the-singularity-2

Newman, Jay. 1997. Religion and Technology: A Study in the Philosophy of Culture. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 2001. The Gay Science. Translated by Josefine Nauckhoff & Adrian Del Caro. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 2006. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Translated by Adrian Del Caro. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Patton, Paul, 2011. "Deleuze's Practical Philosophy". In Constantin V. Boundas. Ed. Gilles Deleuze: The Intensive Reduction (Continuum Studies in Continental Philosophy). New York: Continuum. 187-204.

Pavlina, Steva. 2009. Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth. USA: Hay House Inc.

Pugh, Jeffrey C. 2017. "The Disappearing Human: Gnostic Dreams in a Transhumanist World". In Noreen Herzfeld. Eds. Religion and the New Technologies. Switzerland: MPDI. 51-61.

Rothblatt, Martine. 2015. Virtually Human: The Promise--and the Peril--of Digital Immortality. (Reprint edition). New York: Picador.

Sandu, Antonio & Vlad, Loredana. 2018. "Beyond Technological Singularity--the Posthuman Condition." Postmodern Openings. Vol. 9 Issue 1: 91-108.

Sandu, Antonio. 2015. "The Anthropology of Immortality and the Crisis of Posthuman Conscience." Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies. Vol. 14 Issue 40: 3-26.

Schacht, Richard. 1997. "After Transcendence: The Death of God and the Future of Religion". In Dewi Zephaniah Phillips & Timothy Tessin. Eds. Religion without Transcendence? Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 73-92.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. 2015. "Utopianism and Eschatology: Judaism Engages Transhumanism". In Calvin Mercer and Tracy J. Trothen. Eds. Religion and Transhumanism--The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement. Santa Barbara: Praeger. 161-81.

Tracy, Brian. 2005. Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life: How to Unlock Your Full Potential for Success and Achievement. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Tracy, Brian. 2011. No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline. USA: Vanguard Press.

Vinge, Vernor. 1993. "Technological Singularity". The original version of this article was presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center & Ohio Aerospace Institute. March 30-31. A slightly changed version appeared in the Winter 1993 issue of Whole Earth Review. http://mindstalk.net/vinge/vinge-sing.html

Walach, Harald. 2015. Secular Spirituality. The Next Step Towards Enlightenment. Basel: Springer International Publishing.

Ziglar, Zig & Ziglar, Tom. 2014. Born to Win: Find Your Success Code. USA: Made for Success Publishing.

Aura-Elena Schussler

Babes-Bolyai University, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of History and Philosophy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Email: aursch2005@yahoo.com; aura.schussler@ubbcluj.ro
COPYRIGHT 2019 The Academic Society for the Research of Religions and Ideologies (SACRI)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Schussler, Aura-Elena
Publication:Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jun 22, 2019
Words:5733
Previous Article:RELIGIOSITY AND CAREER OPTIONS OF YOUTH FROM THE ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN CROSS-BORDER REGION.
Next Article:THE JEWISH FAITH AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AMONG XXIST CENTURY RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters