Gondal Stories

A blog of a bird with wings, without a cage to hold it, a citizen of all lives.

Transhumanism: the philosophy of hope?

It was during the first semester of this course that I discovered the philosophy of Transhumanism (in fact, my first essay was on this topic). I thought I was going to come across something unknown and new to me, but I realized that this was not quite true, as I realized that our culture (especially science fiction culture is full of transhumanist examples). But first, what is Transhumanism? In the work True Transhumanism, the concept is defined as follows: “(…) seek the continuation and the acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations (…)” (edited by Gregory R. Hansell and William Grassie, 2010: 136). Knowing this definition, we can list several examples: Tony Stark, the protagonist of Iron Man, who carries an Arc Reactor that serves to power an electromagnet in his chest, we could also think of Darth Vader, a man who recovers all bodily functions by becoming a half-machine man after having been calcined by lava.

My concern and fear grew exponentially as I gathered new information. In one of my forays into the world of Transhumanism, I discovered the existence of Grinders: people who make body modifications (by inserting chips) at home without the supervision of a professional. This can lead to disastrous consequences such as infections, as any item placed under the skin is susceptible to creating an infection. This reminded me of the dangers of cosmetic surgery when performed in clandestine clinics for lack of the necessary monetary power, because in doing so, patients are left with serious deformities or die directly. The same happens with grinders: not being able to afford these new advances, they prefer to do it themselves at home with DIY (Do It Yourself) kits.

From this last point emerges the dilemma that I have been facing since I learned about the existence of Transhumanism and that is that it becomes a market where only money matters and not the welfare of people, but I fear that it is only a utopia. Big billionaires are the current pillars of this trend, and they are none other than Elon Musk (co-founder of Neuralink) and Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), who invests money in Unity Biotechnology, a company that researches how to slow down aging. Focusing on Musk, Neuralink is a neurotechnology company that aims to create a chip to implant in the brain to improve physical and cognitive conditions. It wouldn’t seem such a bad idea if we saw it as a resource to help people and make their lives easier, after all, devices such as pacemakers already exist, there are also prosthetic arms and bionic legs. But if these prosthetics are already expensive and ordinary people can rarely afford them, what makes us think that the chips (and whatever comes next) created by Musk’s company are going to be affordable?

It is not the first time that humans and our lives are a market: from the most lurid cases of the organ market to other more sophisticated ones such as pharmaceuticals: human welfare is in the hands of private companies that decide the prices of drugs according to supply and demand. Musk and Bezos are still businessmen with an eye on what can be innovative and profitable. Besides, technology, despite having been a great advance in our lives, can also be used for other purposes that are not as correct as waging war. At the end of the day, war is still a business, since there are arms deals and these weapons can be perfectly improved by this technology, who can assure us that Musk’s chip will not be used to communicate on the battlefield? The power of money can blind anyone

Once these proposed breakthroughs, both those funded by Musk and Bezos, as well as those of other entrepreneurs, come to market, there will inevitably be an even bigger gap in the social scale.  Probably (at least initially), only the wealthy will be able to afford this new technology, so there will be a clear distinction in society: only those in the upper class will be the beneficiaries of the new developments. In this way, life will only belong to the wealthy. If we go further in this digression, we will reach another terrifying but inevitable point: the struggle for existence. Only a fortunate part of humanity will have access to the diverse technology that will facilitate their lives, and, perhaps, this same technology will allow them to live for many years and prevent them from fatal diseases, while people with lower resources will have to face life with the same body they were born with: unmodified. Obviously, the upper class will be the dominant species. This reminds us of what Charles Darwin said: nature can change the conditions of life, but natural selection will determine to what extent the new characters that emerge will be conserved (Darwin, 1859: 21). The richest will survive and prosper, ergo, it will be a world of technologically improved humans and a place where wealth will be the queen.

Many fears arise with this new philosophy, among them, as we have seen, that our health will become a business (we can affirm that it already is, just look at the health system in the USA). Other fears include the desire to merge technology with the human being: we started with chips under the skin to open doors, we continue with a chip in the brain to be able to telecommunicate, but what will be the next device in our body? The list can grow because the human yearning is not going to stop here. We could end up looking more like a machine than a human being, losing all resemblance to what we have always been, both physically and morally.

What do you think? Is Transhumanism the solution we need or rather our undoing? Do you think there can be a middle ground between these two ideas? Let’s start the debate! I read you.


Darwin, C. (1861). On the Origin of Species. D. Appleton & Company. (Original work

published in 1859)

More, Max. “True transhumanism.” Edited by Gregory R. Hansell and William Grassie

(2010): 136.

Video explaining and showing that Neuralink has been tested in humans. Video taken from Future Unity channel
Video explaining what Transhumanism is and how it came about. Video taken from Philosphy Tube channel

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  1. Kaitlyn McNulty December 28, 2022

    Hi Francisca! I also did my first paper on Transhumanism, so it was really interesting reading this post and hearing your perspective on the topic.

    • Francisca Pico Paredes December 28, 2022

      Hi Kaitlyn! Without any doubt Transhumanism is a topic that raises a lot of controversy and arouses different opinions. It’s always beneficial to hear new perspectives. Thank you very much for your comment!

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