6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Provocative, sophisticated counter-intuitive take on trans/posthumanism,
This review is from: Humanity 2.0: What it Means to be Human Past, Present and Future (Paperback)
`Humanity 2.0' are the various ways in which people are already thinking (and doing, in some cases) about their lives that go beyond the standard conception of the free-standing human. Fuller sees the entire issue as a secular, techno-scientific version of long-standing theological debates that go back to the Middle Ages. The basic question is: Should we become more re-embedded in nature or blast off into the spirit world. In the Middle Ages it was a battle between pagans and Christians, now it's between animal lovers and cyberfreaks. This is the tabloid version of how Fuller sees the issue. I was at the book launch at the Royal Society of Arts in London a couple of weeks ago. There was a very interesting debate (you can find it online) about how new and subtle forms of eugenics play into this space. One of the panellists, the dystopian science-fiction writer China Mieville, became very disturbed by Fuller's view that we are due for a serious culture clash that may be resolved by people coming to give a more positive spin on death, even at a mass level. I strongly recommend the book for provocations like this, but you need to realize that Fuller isn't really interested in the gee whiz side of `Humanity 2.0' but in how it's getting us to re-think our past as a way of leveraging into a new future. Several interviews are already available of Fuller concerning this book are on the web. He basically supports the cyberfreak transhumanists but without the rose-coloured libertarian spectacles that these people often wear. In an exchange with Mieville at the RSA, he described himself as a kind of `Cold Warrior' of transhumanism, presumably analogous to the Cold War defenders of democracy (whose spectacles were anything but rose-coloured). The book confirms that image.
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Initial post: 4 Mar 2013 20:01:12 GMT
Any book offering an x or y choice as summing-up our entire historical situation should make you *very* suspicious. Have you stopped beating your wife, or not!? And wouldn't it be nice to get some page references at some point? Putting "(Such and such 2004)" after a massive generalisation isn't evidence of close reading. For a critique, don't bother reading any philosophy, sociological, historical, or other literature - certainly not in any detail - just watch Donny Darko re the "hope" and "fear" binary. In fact, you'll learn a hell of a lot more reading The Magic Mountain, Mr. Castorp.
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