A recurring theme in science fiction literature since the very beginning of the genre is imagining a future in which humans have evolved to the point where they are no longer human but posthuman or transhuman.
Due to the rise of “transhumanism”, the prospect of a future populated by post-humans has recently attracted significant philosophical attention.
The term “posthuman” refers to a person or entity that exists in a state that is distinct from that of a human being, and has roots in the realms of research, science fiction, futurology, modern and contemporary art, and philosophy.
The idea seeks to address several issues, such as interdisciplinary’ s intellectual aspirations, language and transparency interaction, ethics and justice, and social systems.
1. Posthumanism versus Transhumanism:
Posthumanism is not the same as transhumanism, which supports biotechnologically enhancing humans, or restrictive definitions of what the posthuman is as the imagined transcendence of materialism.
The concept of posthumanism is raised by both posthumanism and transhumanism, but each movement gives it a different interpretation. In a critical theory, a posthuman is a hypothetical being that embodies or tries to reimagine the human.
Posthumanism is a school of humanist philosophy that holds that humanity is self-sustaining, rational capable of making decisions, and unifying in itself as the pinnacle of existence. It also holds that the humanist essence is a universal indicator of where mankind evolves.
Its critique of humanism casts doubt on this assertion. To understand the world from a variety of perspectives maintain intellectual integrity and adhere to unbiased observations, one must first acknowledge their imperfection and disunity. This is the essence of the posthumanism position.
Posthuman practice requires the ability to easily manifest oneself through different identities and change perspectives. The post-human, according to critical theorists in the field of research, is an individual who can transform into or embody various identities and view the world from a variety of different perspectives. They consider that the posthuman has an emergent rather than stable ontology.
2. The Concept of Posthuman:
“Human and non-human beings relate as part of the planetary process. Since humans not only participate in but depend on this process, their future is compromised by the problematic ways in which they currently relate.”
Modern techno narratives, whether functional, semi-fictional, or factual, are permeated by the utopian dream of a better world.
In this perfect society, the descendants of today’s unaltered, natural humans live in cities surrounded by greenery, have an endless lifespan, and possess superhuman abilities.
The term “posthumanism’, which as a whole discourse acquired a very broad meaning ranging from the most expansive, corresponding to the continuation of mankind in a significantly enhanced form, to the most limited, suggesting the world without human beings, a world “after human”, which can be utilized to characterize many of the visions advanced through the most prominent contemporary representations in science and technology, including George Church, Elon Musk, or Micho Kaku.
For instance, ‘The Girl with All the Gifts’ by M.R. Carey explores the relationship between the human condition, rights arising from nature, and the political implications of transhumanism.
In the tradition of dystopian literature, Carey’s book is unique in that it depicts humanity’s impending extinction as the result of human inaction rather than human action; neither has technology created by humans escaped the control of its masters nor is there an outside, extraterrestrial force destroying the world as we know it.
The eventual annihilation of mankind is not inevitably a bad thing in the context of the book. It turns out that the initially depicted zombie-like creatures are the descendants of humanity- sentient beings with human intelligence but few of the human vices.
The premise of Carey’s book is that humans have the ideological and philosophical ramifications of a humanity that is ultimately constrained by the whims of nature through the prism of Carey’s novel.
3. The Utopian Perspective & Idea of Humanity:
The utopian perspective is all about how this can exist as a Utopian being. Humans dream of a perfect, happy life in the future, despite the fact we know we aren’t going to get there.
A significant obstacle to utopia is trying to envision a world in which people become extinct or cease to ‘be human’ as they adopt animal or machine modes of existence. Our inability to consider alternative ways of thinking, conceiving of, and connecting to the world outside is primarily to blame.
The community in this posthuman world is more centered around objects, living things, and the environment than it is with other people (Braidotti 2013, Ferrando 2019, Haraway 2017).
One might go under if the solution to the impracticality of individual utopia does not come from the perspective of object-oriented ontology and related theories, which call for the expansion of the notion of human into a kind of posthuman that is not just a heightened human being, but one interconnected into the community with others: similar to effective systems, where all objects relating to human can be referred to as “wide humans” (Asma 2020, Roden 2015).
If this is taken a step further, we can envision a panpsychist “universe of things” (Shaviro 2014) without the aid of a human agent conjuring one up. The idea of “humanity” should therefore continue to exist in theory, but the utopian vision would also need to be expanded and enhanced.
The Islamic utopia would then include “non-human people’ as generators of the utopian dream, as well as the humans who live there, actively influencing the overall utopian vision.
For instance, humans would have a community with their human family, pets, and garden plants as well as with their smart devices, holographic memories of their departed relatives, or the biobots inside their bodies.
Can humans still exist in a posthuman world, wonder the utopians? Will they not become extinct, victims of more powerful transhumans or Functional Autonomous Systems (FSAs)? Will utopia perish along with them if they do? Interestingly, the ecological creative thinking of recent decades has attempted to envision this world without humans in a positive light, such as ‘The World without us’ (Weisman 2007).
Even if there currently is no hope for mankind, utopian thinking- imagining a world with zero population- has a place, as Mark S. Jendrysik (2011) notes. He asserts that although this hypothetical universe without mankind may be utopian, the imagination will end along with the extinction of humanity.
This can also be disputed if we take into account Juan Luis Arsuaga’s belief that chimps will evolve and become human in the absence of humans (Hernandez Velasco, 2019), leading us to the decision that utopia will continue to exist unchanged in the form that we know it today.
However, it still doesn’t address the query regarding the utopian dreamer. Is the idea of utopia and its formal characteristics so unchanging that they could appear even during another evolution, where they may come from a human being, an evolved animal, or an Android? Will electric sheep or something completely different, replace the real sheep from our dream, that is to use Philip K Dick’s example.
Will post-humans be so fundamentally different from us that they will invent novel routes and ways to practice utopianism using, overcoming the current intractable conflicts between the individual and the community or the good of the individual on the common good?
Given the lack of reliable data, the answers to the complex theories concerning the prospect of utopia that they raise may not be conclusive. However, the question itself continues to be significant. Utopianism is an expression of optimism and hope for the possible future of the world.
It allows for speculating and ‘dreaming up’ better communities and offers fresh perspectives on the existing reality, inspiring change and progress. Thus, utopian thinking is essential and should continue, but it should be rethought with consideration of the hypothetical turn and non-anthropocentric presumptions.
It can draw inspiration from modern investigations into posthuman anthropologies (Braidotti 2013, Fernando 2019), but it can also draw from ancient shamanic mythologies that emphasize the hybridity of the ascended human (the shaman or the hero, Eliade 1965).
Regarding this, the ongoing research into the relationships between fable and utopia can help and energize the response to the prospect of utopia.
The term “posthuman” does not inevitably allude to a hypothetical future in which humans no longer exist or are otherwise not present on Earth. Both posthumans and humans will still exist, according to Kevin Warwick, but due to their superior abilities, the latter will rule society.
Recently, academics have started to hypothesize that posthumanism offers an alternative interpretation of zombie, movies and dystopian fiction, frequently posting vampires, werewolves, and greys as possible modifications of the human form and being.
The idea of ‘posthuman God’ is a variation on the posthuman theme; it postulates that because posthumans are no longer constrained by the laws of human nature, they may develop into beings who, by contemporary human standards, are mentally and physically so powerful as to resemble deities.
This idea shouldn’t be interpreted as having anything to do with the notion presented in some science fiction that an advanced species might ‘ascend’ to another dimension of existence; rather, it simply means that some posthuman beings might develop to such an extreme level of intelligence and technological sophistication that their behavior would be incomprehensible to modern humans, simply because of their limited cognitive abilities and imagination.
It should be noted, however, that utopia is not everlasting, and neither is humanity, despite the appearance the images of the ideal world persist. Both have roots in specific historical periods and have changed and evolved ever since then. This suggests that there is a good chance that utopia will exist in the not-too-distant future, though in a form that is probably unimaginable right now.
Though it may seem that images of perfect worlds endure, it should be remembered that neither utopia nor humanity is eternal. Both have changed and developed since their origins in particular historical eras.
This indicated that there is a strong possibility that utopia will exist in the not-too-distant future, although in an incarnation that is probably unimaginable at this time. The identical thing can be said of future generation’s imaginations, naturally, despite no enhancement or hybridization.