Do you like this website? Please support Integral World!
INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Dr. Joseph Dillard is a psychotherapist with over forty year's clinical experience treating individual, couple, and family issues. Dr. Dillard also has extensive experience with pain management and meditation training. The creator of Integral Deep Listening (IDL), Dr. Dillard is the author of over ten books on IDL, dreaming, nightmares, and meditation. He lives in Berlin, Germany. See: integraldeeplistening.com
The challenge of transhumanism
The following is taken from “Healing Integral,” which is available as a free or “pay what feels right” download here. In either case, the text is requested by emailing Joseph.Dillard@gmail.com. A summary of “Healing Integral” has been posted on IntegralWorld.net and is available here. Those who share a solution focus on increasing the relevance of Integral for the world are invited to join our working group, the Integral Healing Reading Group on Facebook.
Transhumanism is by definition bigger than any one of us can understand.
Transhumanism deals with connecting with something larger than ourselves, whether working on collectives, nature or higher order contexts. It offers a powerful collective redefinition of the self in all quadrants, which is why it is being addressed here. Disciples of transhumanism, a growing and influential minority, typically believe that the future of humanity lies in a cyborg symbiosis with artificial intelligence via a “neural interface.” Translated into common speak, imagine your iPhone reduced to the size of a chip that resides inside your brain. Is this Brave New World, 1984, or The Matrix? Take your pick. There are a lot of thought leaders, from technologists like Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil, to integralists like Robb Smith, who have reached the conclusion, “Transhumanism is a likely future, so we need to figure out how to make the best of it.” These people view those who consider a transhumanist future as inherently dystopian as luddites, unable to embrace the glories of a Borg collective. A cynic might conclude that, like Matt Tabbi’s vampire squid, these people smell money to be made.
Such a cyborg symbiosis would at best generate not some “great leap forward” beyond self-consciousness, but a regression to mid-prepersonal. I don’t like it, I don’t trust it and I don’t respect it because it is regressive to symbiosis. However, I do know that it is powerful because it stinks of money to be made in the short run“damn the long-term consequences; we will let future generations figure that out.” Transhumanism is going to become overwhelmingly powerful in short order, because it represents money to be made. That power is going to affect all of us, whether we understand AI or not. Therefore, that power has to be recognized, understood and respected.
The financial and status incentives, combined with the Sisyphean quest for immortality, make it unlikely that AQAL or integralists will either stop or create a sufficient containment chamber for all this prepersonal polonium. AQAL does not appear prepared to deal with the growing and incessant onslaught of the transhumanist movement and “transcendence technology.” But who is? Integral does not at present seem to have an answer to human greed and collective systems of socially-accepted and promoted avarice. However, for Integral to even have a shot at it, like Lila with her existential dead end, Integral is going to have to grow up. This means getting over its narcissistic exceptionalism, to stop making excuses for neoliberals and other types of progressives who have sold out to the Deep State, to stop rationalizing the moral turpitude of those claiming spiritual leadership roles and to develop a genuine, functional ILP that is coordinated by triangulation, which means in consultation with interviewed emerging potentials.
The reason these steps are essential is in order to break free of collective prevailing groupthink and to develop the necessary objectivity regarding collectives and world views in which the self is enmeshed. Transhumanism is by definition bigger than any one of us can understand. What that means is that we have to approach it with forms of collective intelligence. Because it is a subset of collectives entranced by the transhuman mythology, the self is intrinsically incapable of seeing a path that transcends yet includes a future with strong cyborg components. Such objectivity can only be provided by a radical, experiential multi-perspectivalism, that is, one that includes the intrasocial perspectives of the interior of the cultural quadrant.
To meet the challenge of transhumanism, which is now quickly becoming as great a threat to mankind as nuclear war and anthropogenic global warming, we have to get over ourselves, that is, the myth of the self and its prepersonal addictions to status, economic security and power. This is not about mass evolution to 2nd Tier. It is about figuring out how to balance and tetra-mesh at prepersonal, because the issues of the over-reach of capitalism and globalism are prepersonal, because the above-named addictions are prepersonal. If we take care of balance and tetra-mesh, where we authentically are, at mid-prepersonal struggling to create a healthy late prepersonal self and society, transformation will take care of itself.
 Musk says that the invention of a true AI is inevitable, even if he's personally terrified of what could come about from such an invention. ‘If the AIs are all separate, vastly more intelligent than us, how do you ensure that they don't have optimization functions that are contrary to the best interests of humanity?’” “If we achieve tight symbiosis, the AI wouldn't be "other" — it would be you and with a relationship to your cortex analogous to the relationship your cortex has with your limbic system.” Urban, T. Elon Musk: The World’s Raddest Man. Wait but Why.
 There are alternative perspectives: “What we mean by life happens in biological bodies, what we mean by intelligence happens in biological brains in society, what we mean by progress happens in historical struggles among the diversity of living intelligent beings who share the presentand to say otherwise is not to be interesting but to be idiotic.” Ten Things You Must Fail To Understand If You Want To Be A Transhumanist For Long, Amor Mundi.
 A more immediate example are driverless cars. This technological tidal wave is about to put millions out of work and forever change the transportation market. Whether these changes are better or worse can be debated; what cannot be debated is that this revolution is largely driven by companies who see ways to make lots of money. This is a mid to late prepersonal priority; it has nothing to do with the greater good for humanity. We know this is the case by the great corporate vacuum regarding what is going to happen to all the unemployed industrial drivers. If we lived in a society that did not have prepersonal priorities such exploitation and hollowing out of the middle class would not be allowed. The motivations for this transformation do not even rise to early personal.
 “Emerging potentials” is a term used by IDL to refer to both dream characters and personifications of life issues that are interviewed. As explained below, they are of indefinite ontology and can neither be reduced to self-aspects or to objectively real entities.
 In this regard, I highly recommend the important work that Tom Atlee has done with his Co-Intelligence Institute to collect and explore means of collective decision-making.