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john smyth (M, 29)
Immortal since Dec 18, 2007
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    What happened to nature?
    How to stay in touch with our biological origins in a world devoid of nature? The majestic nature that once inspired poets, painters and...

    The great enhancement debate
    What will happen when for the first time in ages different human species will inhabit the earth at the same time? The day may be upon us when people...
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    the value of imperfection.
    Project: The great enhancement debate
    i think we need to be really careful when it comes to this whole pursuit of perfection.

    a lot has been said for the negatives of human nature, we are irrational, often violent and hurtful, and essentially slow paced and fragile creatures.

    but is this necessarily a bad thing?

    i am strongly inclined to believe that the positives of human nature are largely inextricable from the negatives. without the potential for war and for violence we would have no appreciation of peace, without suffering we would have no conception of compassion, without insecurity we would have no need for love.

    i feel that to eliminate uncertainty would limit creativity (the more we know the less we wonder), that to sharpen the precision with which we view the world will dull our perception of beauty.

    i thought it was interesting to hear about how nina's relationship fell apart after her boyfriend heard about her interest in transhumanism. i must admit i sympathise with her boyfriend's discomfort. human connection is based upon the mutual sharing and understanding of flaws, and the resulting support that stems from this sharing. if we were to spend all our time enhancing ourselves to perfection, what room is there for relationships?

    also, the speed at which our bodies and our personalities could change given this new technology is disconcerting. long term relationships are based upon the security of knowing your partner well and having faith that they will remain essentially the same. if we could come home one day an entirely new person thanks to a single implant, how would such relationships function?

    it is a tempting prospect to shed the limitations of our biological form, but in the end, i see it as a grave mistake in many ways.

    when the time comes to put enhancements into action, i would urge people to give careful consideration not just to the negative aspects of humanity they are removing, but also the potential positives they stand to lose.

    Wed, Jan 2, 2008  Permanent link

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    jo be     Wed, Jan 2, 2008  Permanent link
    It is impossible to be perfect in every context in the flux of existence—that is why our brains are more adaptable then they would be considered "efficient" because efficiency is relative to situation as to where adaptability relies on fewer parameters and is less vulnerable.
    That being said, perfection would then require the halt in the changes of situation, i.e. being fully aware of the variables of life and be in complete control of them, thusly being able to create the most efficient model able to respond in such circumstances.

    After thinking it through, I now wonder if our goal shouldn't be perfection but rather perfect adaptability...
    Orizyn     Thu, Jan 3, 2008  Permanent link
    Perfectly imperfect, we are!
    Or, at least, that's the way I like to see it.
    Spaceweaver     Thu, Jan 3, 2008  Permanent link
    Striving for perfection is one thing, being perfect is quite another. I do not worry we will run out of imperfections anytime soon, or ever. So I keep striving full engines on :-)

    ... And love based on insecurity sounds to me not fun at all. Is it not when bond becomes bondage?

    ...And cellular technology and the internet are already the worst enemies of relationships. Or are they? In many ways, we are already transhumanists.

    Still, there is a lot of space for love, and much more is yet to come :-) Love might transform into new forms, obsolete patterns might fade and disappear, yet the flowers of love will suddenly bloom in fields least expected, new emotions to be discovered, new sense-thoughts to be explored.

    Just imagine one of those implants that might connect you telepathically to a close friend.
    Wildcat     Thu, Jan 3, 2008  Permanent link
    Eudemonia can be described as the Endeavor for excellence of well being, if this is the meaning of a strive for perfection, then perfection as a goal though inherently unattainable is perfectly desirable.

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack in everything,
    That's how the light gets in.
    ~Leonard Cohen
    FrankLloydWrong     Thu, Jan 3, 2008  Permanent link
    john, you said:

    "long term relationships are based upon the security of knowing your partner well and having faith that they will remain essentially the same"

    Everyone is continually changing. I think successful long term relationships are based upon supporting your partner in whatever direction they choose to grow, even when it seems scary or threatening.
    jTp     Thu, Jan 3, 2008  Permanent link
    The sweet isn't so sweet without the bitter.

    paulteagan     Thu, Jan 3, 2008  Permanent link
    I agree, mostly. Perfection is a corrosive idea, an alien mutant in our brain which was, itself, born out of chaos and non-absolutes. The pursuit of perfection, I believe, should be distinguished from Eudaimonia(a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous), because contentedness is non-pursuit, is anti-want. The pursuit of perfection may very well bring fruits for others, but for the pursuer it is, more often than not, a labor in futility. It distracts you from the fact that the way things are is better than any monochromatic, preciseness that we can conjure in brain.

    I have so many friends who talk about what they want out of life in terms of absolutes; the perfect job, the perfect girl, etc. Ultimately, I see it as selfish. "What, this universe ain't good enough for ya?"

    This is not to say, definitively, that pursuit of perfection is the antithesis of peace. If you know the score and still want to play that game, by all means play.
    aeonbeat     Mon, Jan 14, 2008  Permanent link
    Great posting! Constructive solving of a problem/mistake is possible by preventing it to happen again, not by fixing/handling/denying/getting rid of the results.
    Michael Garrett     Wed, Jan 16, 2008  Permanent link
    I agree with FrankLloydWrongs statement in regards to relationships and the changes that will inevitably occur over time. My wife and I have sustained a relationship for 32 years, seems like just yesterday! Support, it seems to me, has been a most important factor.

    Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.
    - Salvador Dali -
    Samski     Thu, Mar 20, 2008  Permanent link
    I see your point on the value of imperfection, and from being brought up in an extremely spiritual family, this also leads heavaly into the idea that human nature, both the good and the bad has created what and 'who' we are.

    But then this idea is based on the statement that withought the negative, we cannot fully apreciate the positive. Which i belive to be flawed. As a few people have said, the "sweet is not so sweet withought the bitter" (etc.) and although this may be true, when looking at emotions, i have always wished for happynesss, and my sad times i would gladly give up, even the memory of, in order to remain happy. Just as i have never known of any good coming from anger, or mistrust. I think the only way to go is forward, and alow our charictor to define us, rather than our ailments.