Buddhism and Transhumanism – Lankaweb

According to some versions of Buddhist apocrypha, the condition of our species mankind varied tremendously across vast ages. We live in an age of decadence and finitude wherein life is short and mankind is inexorably menaced by pain and death. Under these conditions, The Compassionate Buddhas bearing a salvific message appear before us and preach the sublime doctrine of total liberation from the forces of Karma and endless reincarnation.

All is not gloom and doom however because of the cyclicity of nature and its processes there were periods in the grand history of the Cosmos when our kind Homo sapiens were long-lived giants leading a salubrious existence with pain and suffering a distant shadow. Such beings, perforce, were unreceptive to the noble message of salvation and total release from the bondage of Karma hence The Buddhas did not appear to solace a grieving cohort of mankind and the healing truth lay in abeyance for long periods.

The great question to be answered is whether such periods of existential joy can be recaptured by the clever use of the science and learning now available for the advancement of our species when heavens and hells are forgotten and Planet Earth albeit briefly becomes the New Elysium.

The Transhumanists led by such stalwarts as Ray Kurzweil and Noah Harari believe that Homo sapiens can be made Homo deus by the clever use of the science and technology currently available if this goal is assiduously pursued. They pose the question What is it to be God-like? They find and most will agree that immortality, bliss and the power to do things at will are key attributes of divinity.

These seemingly divine attributes can be made part of the equipage of Homo sapiens with a sufficiently advanced science and the collective will to make the best of what we know and have. Heavens and Hells become paltry and negligible when divinity becomes commonplace.

Most futurologists believe that the life-span of Homo sapiens can be indefinitely extended and our knowledge base made God-like so that we can have what we wish. The issue of bliss is tricky because conventional Gods are debarred from the Four Fs and spend their idle days contemplating a non-functional navel.

Transhumanists believe that Homo deus can do much better with a form of active divinity based on a study of virtual worlds and computer simulations. In brief, death and the terrors of the associated afterlife can be actively expunged while all that is good and gracious can be made the norm.

If such a beatific scenario is a possibility our best efforts must be attuned to its realization religions must fade away and the torture-chambers called hells that disfigure all religions will become emblematic of a false spirituality that sees the suffering of others as a kind of sounding board for the boastfully virtuous.

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Buddhism and Transhumanism - Lankaweb

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