I saw a fascinating movie today, my own personal “Trilla in Manila.”
A new science fiction movie is out, Ghost in the Shell, directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Scarlett Johansson, who plays “Major.” I liked her understated acting approach to this role. It convinced me that Major was not comfortable inhabiting a robotic shell.
While the film presents the latest take on the trans-humanist debate, Ghost in the Shell also pays homage to earlier science fiction movies. Its Sino-Japanese cityscape is is Bladerunner on acid, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
We also see a green dump truck similar to the ones in Soylent Green. There are also De Lorean cars as in Back to the Future. Oh yeah, and the bar scene (really more of a strip club) is reminiscent of Total Recall. One reviewer called the movie “thrillingly sordid” but the slums were not particularly apocalyptic and there was no sinning with cyborgs.
Ghost in the Shell revolves around the basic conflict between a trans-humanist corporation, on one side, and one of its victims, a man in an experiment gone awry, and who seeks answers and revenge, on the other side.
Scarlett’s “Major,” whose human mind (and ghost, or soul) has been transplanted into a robotic machine, finds herself caught in the middle of this conflict. She is a government agent, at first defending the corporation, but its maniacal chief executive forces her to reconsider her position. Her Japanese handler also works to rein in the company (but not to terminate its mission).
This movie very cleverly advances a trans-humanist agenda of merging humans and machines. In one scene, a female doctor declares that in time, “everybody” will have their brains downloaded into machines – you know, the inevitability of it.
Near the end, the film actually begins to reject trans-humanism, and it begins to value the human soul. The scene of Major and her long-lost mother was touching.
However, the very end of the movie celebrates her trans-humanism. It glorifies her trans-humanism, as if she were heralding The Dawn of a New Era.
Personally, I think using technology (like brain transplants and merging minds with computers) is designed to thwart human development.
Trans-humanism is a conspiracy to reroute human development. It’s a seductive detour that will take us onto the off ramp. At present, there are all kinds of tycoons pushing for trans-humanist technologies. Some are useful idiots; others are charlatans.
Human DNA already has the capacity for going into mental and intellectual overdrive, even for telepathy. Human DNA already has the capacity for extreme longevity (longer than 120 years).
What would be required to enhance or “augment” humans in a natural way? It would require, at a minimum, a willful effort to improve ourselves in every way possible, and to produce a society and an economy that actually reinforces and stimulates human development, rather than stunting it.
Consider the very term “trans-humanism.” The term implies that the goal is to go above and beyond humanity. That should not be the goal. Our goal should be to become truly and fully human.
Trans-humanism is a diabolical trick, intended to make us forget who we are and who we can become. On our own.