Numerous innovations have the potential to dramatically augment human cognition and capabilities. They could magnify the economy and give rise to other, even more powerful technologies. Our response to this is crucial.
Feb 6, 2016
“McMindfulness”: is Buddhism contaminated by capitalism?” - interview with Terry Hylandby Hank Pellissier
Terry Hyland is an expert on Buddhism who was interviewed by IEET for a previous article, in August 2015. He is Emeritus Professor at University of Bolton, UK and Lecturer in Philosophy at Free University of Ireland, teaching courses in mindfulness. He has written over 150 articles, 19 book chapters and 6 books.
Feb 3, 2016
Vajrayana Buddhism: Preparation for the Posthuman?by Gareth John
What is it like to be the Buddha? What, for that matter, would it be like to live as a posthuman? In this text I’m going to argue that the two could be symbiotic, mirroring each other in terms of exotic fluidity and personal transformation. In particular, I’m going to focus upon one particular brand of Buddhism - that of Vajrayana, more commonly know as tantra.
Jan 31, 2016
Epictetus: What Can We Control?by John G. Messerly
Epictetus (c. 55 – 135 CE) was born as a slave in the Roman Empire, but obtained his freedom as a teenager. He studied Stoic philosophy from an early age, eventually lecturing on Stoicism in Rome. He was forced to leave the city in 89 CE, after the Emperor Domitian banished philosophers from Italy. He then established his own school at Nicopolis on the Adriatic coast in Greece, where he taught and lectured until he died around 135. Today he is regarded as one of the preeminent Stoic philosophers.
Jan 25, 2016
Review of ‘Against Transhumanism’ by Richard Jonesby Giulio Prisco
Physicist Richard Jones, author of the (highly recommended) nanotechnology book “Soft Machines: nanotechnology and life” and editor of the Soft Machines blog, has written a short book provocatively titled “Against Transhumanism – The delusion of technological transcendence.” The book, an edited compilation of essays previously published on Soft Machines and IEEE Spectrum, is free to download.
Jan 23, 2016
Seneca On the Proper Use of Timeby John G. Messerly
Yesterday I wrote about the impending death of the great neurologist and author Oliver Sacks. I was particularly struck by this line from Sachs’ public goodbye: “I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential.” This brought to mind the Stoic philosopher Seneca who touched on a similar theme in his short piece, On the Shortness of Life:
Jan 22, 2016
Be Mindful: Your Pot of Gold Could be Your GraveBig Think
Your brain creates all the narratives in your life, from fear to loneliness to anxiety, etc. But it’s possible to train your brain through mindfulness to transcend its innate urge to storify everything. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a respected medical researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, explains what years and years of study have taught us about the taming of the brain.
Jan 21, 2016
A Response to ‘Michael LaTorra explains Buddhist Transhumanism in a nutshell’ by Giulio Priscoby Gareth John
This essay is a response to Giulio Prisco’s article on Mike LaTorra’s essay Buddhist Transhumanism in a Nutshell.
Being the ex-Buddhist that I am, who studied and practiced Zen for three years before migrating to the Tibetan tantric tradition, I guess it’s only to be expected that I would have some criticisms of Michael LaTorra’s perspective. However, bear in mind that these are my criticisms alone, so should in no way be taken as authoritative.
Jan 20, 2016
Transhumanism: Are We Decommissioning Evolution?Big Think
Transhumanism, a tech-centric philosophy of humanity, has grown so rapidly in popularity in recent years, it even boasts its own 2016 presidential candidate. But what does Transhumanism truly aspire to? What is the core of the transhumanist manifesto? According to philosopher, futurist, and overall cool guy Jason Silva, Transhumanism is all about harnessing technology to overcome the limitations of humanity. For example, our lives are limited by the mortality of our physical bodies. Transhumanists would therefore support the creation of technology that transfers your consciousness into an immortal coil, like software being run on better hardware. At the core of this philosophy is the idea that there isn’t really anything that separates the natural from the artificial, that technology is not something external from our experience. Technology is us. And why wouldn’t we want to use it to upgrade humanity to the next level?
Jan 19, 2016