by Aaron Franz
First posted Monday June 1, 2009
The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) recently posted a white paper written by two of its members: George Dvorsky, and James Hughes . The paper is titled "Postgenderism: Beyond the Gender Binary." The title alone speaks volumes, but the details paint a picture that defies belief. From the very first sentence onward this paper doesn't cease to rattle the very foundations of human life as we know it. Here is a quote from the abstract:
"gender is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation on human potential... Postgenderists contend that dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment of individuals and society. Assisted reproduction will make it possible for individuals of any sex to reproduce in any combinations they choose, with or without "mothers" and "fathers," and artificial wombs will make biological wombs unnecessary for reproduction."
The seperation of humanity into male and female is deemed a terrible burden. The postgenderist goal is to use science to Transcend the two sexes and create a new posthuman gender Singularity. By overcoming natural human genetics, a beautiful new world can be created. Are you sold yet? I'm not, in fact I'm downright angry at this attack on humanity delivered under the guise of forward thinking.
"our Enlightenment values and emergent human potentials have come into conflict with the rigid gender binary."
If you're so "Enlightened", why then do you have a problem with the natural world? The answer is that the natural world just isn't good enough. It never has been (for them), and the truth behind the postgenderist/transhumanist vision of the future lies hidden somewhere in the distant past. But that's another story altogether. In regard to the more recent past, this document describes many radical feminists who had postgender ideals. Their particular viewpoints were labeled "cyberfeminism", and "technofeminism." For them, the only way to be liberated from the patriarchal system of control was for females to find a way to self replicate without the help of males. Doing this would require scientific advances that were not commonly imagined in their time.
"The heart of women's oppression is her childbearing and child-rearing roles...To assure the elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and seizure of control of reproduction...so the end goal of the feminist revolution must be unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself; genital differences between human beings would no longer matter." -Shulamith Firestone, 1970
Females will benefit by not having to endure the pains of childbirth. In addition, she will no longer have to take care of the children at home. This will leave her ample time to jump headlong into the workforce and gain "equality" with men. Sounds progressive doesn't it? But, females aren't the only ones who will benefit from transcending the gender binary. Men can also join in the benefits of reengineered humanity. By genetically modifying the male to be less aggressive he can finally become at peace with the world around him. Now that he isn't busy getting into fights all day he will be far less prone to injury.
"If the Left program of social reform is to succeed, Singer argues, we must employ the new genetic and neurological sciences to identify and modify the aspects of human nature that cause conflict and competition."
Yes, they are serious, and yes, this is feasible through the use of converging technologies, however the complete genetic recreation of humanity is not enough. To complete the postgenderist work requires that neuroscience be employed to rewire our brains.
"...but only the blurring and erosion of biological sex, of the gendering of the brain, and of binary social roles by emerging technologies will enable individuals to access all human potentials and experiences regardless of their born sex or assumed gender."
The crux of the postgenderist argument is that life as male or female is limited. What we need to do is blend male and female to go beyond the limitations of our given gender. Transhumanism takes this concept even further with it's radical speculations on posthumanity. Androgyny is a common theme within transhuman symbolism as we have pointed out in previous posts about Ray Kurzweil, and Marilyn Manson. Transhumanists are not happy with humanity in it's present form, they make this point perfectly clear. What is less clear is how far they really want to go. What I can appreciate about this paper is it's honesty. It makes no bones about how radically different posthumanity would be.
"trans-or post-humans would at least be able to transcend the limitations of biological sex and would eventually be able to transcend the biological altogether into cybernetic or virtual form."
This is what transhumanism is all about. It seeks to lead humanity out of it's present state and into the the New World of posthumanity. This of course is a delicate process, and will take time. Unfortunately, whether we are conscious of it or not, we have already travelled a great distance on this path. The next step is the widespread proliferation of virtual reality. This paper describes in detail how virtual sex has already softened us up. Of course the positive spin is that electronic sex is safer, easier, more convenient, and tailored to individual desires. What they don't mention of course is the sad consequence of alienation which comes along with "safe sex." What do you think happens when any sexual desire can be accessed so easily? It is not hard to understand how addictive and perverse this cruel joke can become. The exploitation of human sexuality knows no bounds, and this document gives chilling reference to where we may find ourselves in the near future:
"The growing sophistication of AI and robotics to detect human emotion, anticipate human desires and respond in ways that simulate a human response will also speed the virtualization of sex."
While we are busy fulfilling our wildest desires in virtual reality, some very serious work will be done in actual reality. The complete destruction of the human condition can only be achieved by removing it's defense mechanisms. Men are designed to protect their tribe, this protective instinct is incorrectly labeled by postgenderists as meaningless aggression. It is not meaningless, it is an integral part of the survival of the species. They also grossly misrepresent women's natural inclination to be caring nurturers. Taking care of a child is portrayed as a hindrance, when in reality it is a beautiful and life-sustaining thing. Postgenderists and transhumanists sincerely wish to see the complete and total destruction of the male/female relationship. It is important to understand just how serious they are about achieving this goal. A high-tech war has been waged on humanity, and now is the time to start calling things for what they are. The truth is right in front of us, written in plain English:
"but the final liberation from dyadic, gendered, heteronormative relationships will likely come about through use of drugs that suppress pair-bonding impulses."
I hope that this article has helped you comprehend the brevity of the situation we now collectively face. If you feel like learning more, I highly recommend reading the official copy of this document from the IEET's website. And of course make a point to return to TransAlchemy.com regularly for more great posts. We are currently working on a video about "Postgenderism" that will expand upon this subject.