Body augmentation. What images pop into your head when the idea comes to mind? Athletes’ unnaturally large physiques? Hollywood actresses who resemble comic book superheroes?
Changing our physical appearance is by no means a new phenomenon. Whether you’re talking about ancient methods of piercing or tattooing, modern-day plastic or cosmetic surgery, even dieting and exercise; there are very few people who have not tried to alter their physical appearance in some way.
Is there difference between pumping iron every day or counting calories compared to liposuction, juicing and breast implants? Some techniques are more extreme than others but for the most part we all strive to reach our society’s (or segment of society) image of beauty.
This is not a new idea and modern technology has begun to stretch our comfort levels. Cosmetic surgery and steroids are creating bodies and athletic achievement likely unattainable in the past – with less effort. The debate rages about whether our image of beauty and power is becoming skewed and unachievable without chemical or surgical help.
What does that mean for the future? Are we going to have a sudden cultural awakening? Will we shatter our shallow vanity? Unlikely. In fact, there are movements out there with the design to augment humanity as a whole. We’re talking designer humans. An integration of man and synthetics to increase strength, life-span and intelligence. In essence an improvement of the species to such a degree that the term human would no longer be accurate.
It might sound like science fiction but the post-humanist movement is very real. Sometimes referred to as transhumanism (although that term has two schools of thought one more spiritual than technological) the goal is for ultimate betterment of the species.
Is doping in sports one example of our desire to be better and stronger. Sylvester Stallone, to nobody’s surprise, admitted to using Human growth Hormone in 2008. He does not apologize for using it and suggests it will be a common substance in the future to increase longevity and quality of life. In his 60s, Stallone, at least on the surface, is an example of the benefits of HGH. But, there are many side-effects and no one but Stallone and his doctor know if the hormones are hurting his health.
The point is there are those ready to embrace anything that is a step closer to the fountain of youth and ultimately that could lead to a kind of forced evolution. Which side of the fence would you be on? Would you join the improved post-human race?