Transhumankind - Being One With The Primitive

Whether humankind began among higher apes or as enlightened, ensouled images of God, one thing is clear to me: as long as humankind has existed, it has been transhumankind. What that means is that to be human is to continue to evolve, not just biologically as critters do, but mentally and techno-organically. This isn’t generally acknowledged. An unspoken assumption pervades our discussions on transhumanism: that our foray into merging with technology and changing humanity into something new is somewhat recent, a product of the Information Age or, at most, the Industrial one.

We may soon become posthumans if we play our cards right, but what about going back and seeing where this already happened before? Our tailed ancestors tens of millions of years ago were monkeys, then trans-monkeys, then post-monkeys (apes), then trans-apes, then post-apes (humans). Marking that latest transition was the development of expanding and evolving language, symbol usage in drawings on cave walls, wearing plant and animal skins, and the creation of ever more complex wood and stone tools with steadily improving forms and functions. More so than with any previous evolutionary stage, we had become able to change our station. We became changing humans ... trans-humans, by our very nature.

Transhumanism is associated with cyborg culture, and how is that defined? Wearables? Enhanced prosthetics? The concept of wearing technology is not new. Clothing and handheld tools have been with us since before the Stone Age, and are indistinguishable from humanity. These were present with Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon men, over 30,000 years ago. These advancements allowed us to spread beyond the tight habitats where we find our primate cousins. We could build shelter and manage homeostasis in the most extreme environments. These were the first steps in personal climate control.

Transhumanism is also focused on the confluence of art and science, of humanism physically and metaphysically. This fascination has been with us since the dawn of time, as evidenced by the notion that prehistoric cave art was showcased in the most resonant areas of human cave dwellings, as if to suggest that storytelling was intimately verbal AND visual. The earliest humans were drawn to places where their symbols in language and art could be most easily expressed. They made conscious choices to enhance their communication, developing a science of acoustics associated with the structure of their visual recordings, twenty thousand years before sound recordings were made possible.

This is not to say that the level of introspection we see today on the state of humanity and our capacity to permanently overcome our greatest threats was present in the minds of ancient humankind. The heaviest questions have only been asked in the last millennium, prompting the frenzy of engineered evolution we have experienced particularly in the last 200 years. These advancements were not the start of technology, though, and not the start of transhumankind. Those define each other, and both started together when hominids were formed.

We must consider whether we should tightly restrict our conception of transhumanism to only include the recent movement towards transforming humanity through life-saving technology. Anything broader and we must accept that our oldest family members shared our same desires: live longer, happier lives, and use our wits and everything around us at our disposal to make it so and make things easier for those that follow than it was for us.

Human 1.0 came out somewhere between 6,000 and 200,000 years ago. A new update was finally announced in the last 1000 years and was just released. The Internet is the installation key. The Installation Wizard for Humanity 2.0 is now showing 99% complete. We are the Next Best Thing.