If You See a Cyborg in the Road, Kill the Buddha: Against Transcendental Transhumanism

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A stream in transhumanism argues that the aims of Buddhism and transhumanists are akin. It is the case that transhumanism contains religious tropes, and its parallels to Christianity are readily apparent. It does not share much, however, with Buddhism’s Zen tradition. Zen tends to focus its practitioners on becoming fully present and human, not on becoming transcendent, super-powered, or posthuman. This paper explores some of the tensions between transhumanism and Buddhism through the lens of Zen, and suggests that transhumanist Buddhists should be careful not to conflate moments of spiritual enlightenment with permanent techno-social transcendence.
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Archival date: 2014-10-03
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