ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Post-human is an expression that refers to a being who has abilities beyond a normal person. Well, commentator Andrei Codrescu says he always disliked the term because it sounds like you're no longer human.
ANDREI CODRESCU: 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 a 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.
SIEGEL: Andrei Codrescu is a professor of English at Louisiana State University.
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