Steward Brand of The Long Now Foundation reflected on his “ecological wildfire” post earlier this year with a fascinating insight:
“Hominins” is the right term for the long us — includes pre- and post-human. We hominins mastered fire and may master fusion.
What’s the context for this thinking? Understanding The Long Now Foundation:
The Long Now Foundation hopes to “creatively foster responsibility” in the framework of the next 10,000 years, and so uses 5-digit dates to address the Year 10,000 problem (e.g., by writing “02016” rather than “2016”).
I pay attention to the “futurist” crowd as much as possible. In part, following conversations among futurists has led me to adopt a skeptical attitude toward the Ray Kurzweil/transhumanist crowds.
We humans mastered fire, and we seem destined to master fusion. These will be epochal points in our history as creatures. We’re still people, though. And I think the fantasy (and explicit goal of some) to create “post-human” people is really a convoluted means of engineering our own extinction for the paradoxical and contradictory goal of human enlightenment.
The problem is that enlightenment doesn’t come from transcending our realities, but instead from coming into contact with our realities.
Anyway, this sort of discussion can quickly lead down a rabbit hole.