VII. Pedia Sapiens: A Genesis Future on Earth and in the Heavens
3. Positive Personal Enhancement within Community
Fraifeld, Vadim. Healthy Aging and Regenerative Medicine. Biogerontology. 14/6, 2013. An overview of the 8th European Congress of Biogerontology held at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, whose topical sessions give a good sense of the growing scope and promise of the endeavor. Authoritative scientists spoke on Integrative view on ageing, Stem cells, induced pluripotency and tissue remodeling, Fibroproliferate repair, Cellular senescence, Treatment of neuro- and muscle-degeneration, Genetics and epigenetics of ageing and longevity, Biomarkers of ageing, and Lifespan extension - where we are and where to go. As I record this in March 2014 with armies on the move, it is notable that the author, now at Ben-Gurion University, received his M.D. from Lvov Medical Institute, and his Ph.D. from the Institute of Biogerontology, both in the Ukraine.
On the whole, the meeting provided a unique arena for discussing these principle issues, exchanging the ideas, and developing new contacts between researchers. A special emphasis was placed on the mechanistic links between aging and age-related pathology, many of which are associated with an imbalanced fibroproliferative repair. One of the major conclusions of the meeting is that understanding and combating the age-related diseases and fibroproliferative disorders in particular could be achieved only in the context of aging — a view which could lead for developing new strategies in biomedical research and health policy. (570)
Garreau, Joel. Radical Evolution. New York: Doubleday, 2005. A tour of the human future as it may be impacted by revolutionary technologies – genetic, robotic, information, and nanoscale. (“Nano” refers in general to abilities to act upon matter in the billionth of a meter size range to fashion novel medicines, devices, organisms, etc.) A range of scenarios are discussed depending on whether such abilities can be employed in the service of a humanely transformed world – Heaven, or if a rampant technology takes over - Hell. Based on many interviews, Garreau prefers a third option named Prevail where an increasing sanity comes into play. But we seem wholly unprepared religiously and philosophically for these potentials to suddenly recreate and enhance what it means to be human.
Gems, David. Is More Life Always Better?: The New Biology of Aging and the Meaning of Life. Hasting Center Report. 33/4, 2003. A thoughtful article on evolutionary, genetic and social-political dimensions of a dramatic increase in the human life span. New research finds that terminal aging is not preprogrammed. By an array of dietary, life style and medical advances, a vigorous, mentally sharp senescence extending past one hundred years is now possible. Society is wholly unprepared for it is based on people becoming senile and dying as they did for centuries past. Against arguments to maintain the old status quo, Gem defends the great value of a healthy, active longevity. But this will require radical adjustments in religious, philosophical and societal conceptions of the human presence and purpose.
Groff, Linda. Future Human Evolution and Views of the Future Human. World Future Review. 7/2-3, 2015. An introduction to a second special issue with this title. With a transfigurative prowess to intentionally recreate all anew, it is urgent that we wonder what to make of it, including our own selves. The articles span evolutionary, civilizational, sustainability, ecological, planetary, and mindfulness aspects such as John Smart’s Humanity Rising: Evolutionary Developmentalism; Evolution = Sustainability by Michael Marien; A Living Systems Perspective by Duane Elgin; and Design Me a Planet by Michel Saloff-Coste. The Neuroevolution of Consciousness: The New Paradigm of Global Self-Awareness by the Italian philosopher Nitamo Montecucco offers a “Unitary Systems Evolution Curve” of cerebral complexity from atomic quanta to a Gaian sentience. The first issue was 6/3, 2014 with papers by Ted Chu, William Halal, Jerome Glenn, Elisabet Sahtouris, Barbara Hubbard, and Erwin Laszlo.
Harman, Denham, ed. Increasing Healthy Life Span: Conventional Measures and Slowing the Innate Aging Process. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Volume 959, 2003. A composite human intellect and knowledge is applied to Molecular and Cellular Changes with Age, Exercise and Aging, Nutrition, Free Radical Diseases, Mitochondrial Aging and so on to advance the active longevity of the evolved persons from whom it arose.
Harris, John. Enhancing Evolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. A fledgling attempt to grapple with ethical issues of sudden, real, compelling abilities to “make people better.”
Houston, Jean. The Hero and the Goddess. New York: Ballantine, 1992. Ever the visionary teacher, Jean Houston invites men and women to experience their true selves and vast potential by way of mythic empowerment.
Often, some quickening agent of the Life Force, some stimulus from the archetypal world, is need to help us get on with it. This can perhaps be interpreted as the entelechy, the seed pattern within us, the most potent and most personal of evolutionary principles, which constantly seeks to remind us that we are that grand intersection between cosmology and biology, and that the universe seeks to grow through our becoming.
Huppert, Felicia, et al, eds. The Science of Well-Being. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. A extensive book edition of articles on psychologies that emphasize positive qualities and living on individual, community and global stages which appeared earlier in a 2004 issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences.
Huppert, Felicia, et al, eds. The Science of Well-Being: Integrating Neurobiology, Psychology and Social Science. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. 359/1449, 2004. A dedicated issue of papers from a 2003 Royal Society Meeting which discusses novel enhancements for a long, healthy, creative life.
Keyes, Corey and Jonathan Haidt, eds. Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2003. A contribution to the significant shift from an emphasis on illnesses, problems, deficits and their alleviation, of course important, to advance optimism, engagement, kindness, esteem and mental vigor
Khalsa, Dharma Singh and Cameron Stauth. Brain Longevity. New York: Warner Books, 1999. Written by a gerontologist and a journalist, it describes new studies which dispel the common notion that our brain can only wear out. A person can remain mentally astute to go along with extended bodily lifespan and a mental exercise program is here proscribed to aid in doing so. An example of a plethora of books with this message.
Kyriazis, Marios. Technological Integration and Hyperconnectivity. Complexity. Online October, 2014. The author is a physician, gerontologist, and transhumanist who founded the ELPIS Foundation for Indefinite Lifespans (ELPIS is Greek for hope), see his Wikipedia page for more credits. In this extensive, luminous article he turns his intellect to a unique appreciation of complex adaptive systems as they vitalize emergent life and mind everywhere. A novel view is then conceived of a personal “networked self” as a “noeme,” whose activities can be set in the context of a Global Brain. This perceptive witness and avail of nature’s universal creative propensity can further inform and guide epochal improvements in the human condition such as a much extended, healthy life span.
Artificial, neurobiological, and social networks are three distinct complex adaptive systems (CASs), each containing discrete processing units (nodes, neurons, and humans, respectively). Despite the apparent differences, these three networks are bound by common underlying principles which describe the behavior of the system in terms of the connections of its components, and its emergent properties. The longevity (long-term retention and functionality) of the components of each of these systems is also defined by common principles. Here, I will examine some properties of the longevity and function of the components of artificial and neurobiological systems, and generalize these to the longevity and function of the components of social CAS. (Abstract excerpt)