Merry Christmas, Transhumanists!
by Lincoln Cannon on 25 December 2006 (updated 24 November 2019)
My wife knows at least two things about the Christmas presents that she will receive in the morning. First, she will receive a firewire. And second, she does not want a firewire. But she doesn’t really know what a firewire is yet.
It began as a new word in the subject line of an email that she saw over my shoulder. It became something to ask her friends about. Currently, it is perhaps a cable for a bigger computer monitor. Or maybe it’s something that would enable her to share recorded video on multiple televisions. But it’s not something she really wants.
She really wants to be able to edit home videos. She knows she needs software for this, and hinted to me this interest. As it turns out, however, we already have the software.
What we did not have is a way of transferring video from her camcorder to the computer. That’s where a firewire can be useful. And I suspect that she’ll end up wanting it when she understands how it may help her.
This evening, if we turn our hearts and minds to Christ then it is because we feel and understand how that can help us get what we really want, beyond death and hell.
Not all of us feel or understand Christ. Despite wanting something like immortality and eternal life, and despite knowing something about possible technical enablers for the approach to fulfilling such desires, some do not want Christ.
Christ began as a new word, became something to ask friends about, and currently is perhaps a galactic tyrant or maybe a historic fraud. But it’s not something we really want.
For the pursuit of life, Transhumanists trust that we need genetics, nanotech, and robotics. And, as it turns out, information technology is trending toward enabling such things. What is more difficult to discern is whether we are trending toward being the kind of community that will choose to use that technology with compassion. That’s where Christ can be useful.
From the manger, through the garden and cross, to the heavens, Jesus Christ assured his disciple’s hope in a better world. This hope was not new to early Christians. But rather, the Gospels were, for them, the latest and grandest confirmation of hope, inherited from their ancestors. This hope moved them, as today it moves so many of us, to teach of and engage in the work of God toward immortality and eternal life.
I suspect more of us will end up wanting Christ when we understand how Christ may help us. Merry Christmas, Transhumanists!