The Evolution Of What It Means To Be Human
The article “The Evolution Of What It Means To Be Human” by Nathan Gardels, editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine, explores the concept of human identity in the context of our interactions with the natural cosmos and the environment we have formed through technology and culture. The author argues that what it means to be human is not a constant, but is continually constituted, altered, and re-constituted through our interface with an open and evolving world.
The article features insights from Benjamin Bratton, a philosopher of technology, who suggests that technology and science do not erase ’the Human’ but rather reveal what humans have always been. He argues that instead of leading to a ‘post-human’ condition, science and technology might lead to a slightly more human condition. Bratton suggests that our understanding of ourselves is enhanced, not diminished, by scientific and technological advancements.
Bratton also discusses the idea of anthropo-technogenesis, the process by which humans and technology evolve together. He suggests that this process should not be seen as a threat to human agency or autonomy. Instead, it reveals the nature of subjectivity and the qualities of being a human body. He argues that we are not separate from the world, but are embedded in it, and this shapes our identity.
The article concludes by discussing the implications of these ideas for politics and governance. It suggests that we need a theory of governance that recognizes the promise of scientific and technological advances while affirming the autonomy of humans, albeit reconfigured through a new awareness. This would involve a balance between the capacity to act and the ability to amend or arrest action that could lead to harmful consequences.