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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

Wednesday, 4 June, 2008

Today’s Words come from Sir Julian Huxley, English evolutionary biologist and author. He is perhaps notable for being the brother of Aldous Huxley, who authored Brave New World (1932) and thereby created one of the most used resources against transhumanism (however all those critics should go read Aldous Huxley’s later work, Island (1962), before they start rubbishing technology).

Julian Huxley was also he who coined the word ‘transhumanism’, and the coining of that word follows:

“The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself —not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but trans­cending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.” – “Transhumanism” in New Bottles for New Wine (1957) p. 17

I especially like the phrase “man remaining man, but […] realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature”. It has a nice emphasis on the fact that humans/posthumans/transhumans, even with many modifications, will still be human in at least one sense of the word.

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