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Looking To A Post-Human Future

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Looking To A Post-Human Future

Looking To A Post-Human Future

Looking To A Post-Human Future

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Are you post-human?

People hate being called "post" anything, whether it's post-traumatized, post-apocalyptic or just plain postal. It's understandable. The word "postmodern" used to drive me batty whenever professors used it. It sounded to me like they were saying that I wasn't modern anymore.

And "post-human" is even worse: It sounds like you're no longer human. But then, what was so great about being human in the recent or far past? Was it great to be human in England in the 19th century, working in Dickensian rags in some polluted cotton mill? Was it great to be human in the Soviet Union when making jokes about Stalin got you sent to Siberia or shot? How great was it to be a Jewish human between 1942 and 1945?

And how human is it to be the most successful biologic animal on the planet, devouring its way to the extinction of everything that isn't human? Frankly, I think that it would be nice to be a wolf or a bear in a place never frequented by humans, but since I don't have that luxury, I'll stick with "post-human," which means, at least to me, that I'm transitioning to a new kind of animal, a wired, connected and, hopefully, less arrogant creature that might use its successful tools to rejoin the nature humans have nearly eliminated.

Evolution is inevitable, but it's hard to know what kind of animal it is making out of us. Since we have no predators except ourselves, it's really up to us to decide the future shape of our organism. I like to think of it as three-bodied creature, one electronic, one green and one plain old flesh-human.

Our virtual e-body is already at least as real as our flesh body, and if we add a thoughtful green energy body by rethinking our trash habits, there will be three of each of us. I don't know what it will be called if we make it, but we are in a transition now, the best word for which is "post-human." I hope we get past it to something like "neohuman" or "homo harmonious," because good old "human" just won't do.

Andrei Codrescu is the author of The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess.

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