by Francesca Ferrando
Humans Have Always Been Posthuman: A Spiritual Genealogy Of Posthumanism
Be free from all dualities
Baghavad-Gita, Text 45
This article argues that spirituality, in its all-encompassing signification, corresponds to the core meaning of the posthuman post-dualistic perspective.In this sense, humans have always been posthuman. The posthuman extends over the boundaries of the academic, technological and scientific domains, and can be genealogically traced in different types of spiritual knowledges and understandings, dating back to the beginning of recorded civilization. and still, the significance of spirituality as a genealogical source of the posthuman has not been fully acknowledged in the contemporary field of Posthuman Studies. The need for such a recognition becomes clear when entering the field of pragmatics: what does it mean to be posthuman in our existence? How can we enact post-dualistic non-hierarchical posthuman approaches in the ethics of our daily practices of living? The notion of spirituality helps us answer these questions, as it dramatically broadens our understanding of the posthuman, allowing us to investigate not only technical technologies robotics, cybernetics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, among others, but also, technologies of existence. This article wishes to recognize the important contribution of different spiritual tradition in the development of a posthuman stand point. In order to do so, it first provides an introduction to the topic of posthumanism and spirituality. Secondly, it highlights ancient spiritual traditions which are in tune with the posthuman approach; lastly, it elaborates on the development of the spiritual politics of the posthuman, by emphasizing the relevance of posthumanism as a contemporary philosophy of life.
Posthumanism and Spirituality
Spirituality refers to the human tendency to conceive existence more extensively than the individual perception. Existence, in a spiritual sense, contemplates a non-separation between the inner and outer worlds.
It is a connectedness between the self and the others: within the spiritual realm, there is no division based on caste, color, creed, gender, age, nationality, religion or species. The etymology of the term speaks for itself. "Spirituality" comes from the Latin word The term "spirit" refers, more in general, to the animating, or "vital principle" (Ibidem) common both to human as well as to non-human entities, and it relates to key concepts found in other world traditions, such as "pneuma" in Ancient Greek, the yogic definition of "prana", and the notion of "qi" in traditional Chinese medicine. The interconnection of existence is one of the markers of the posthuman post-anthropocentric approach. posthumanism deconstructs any fixity, dualism or polarity for a nomadic trans-subjective, inter-dependent perception of the human. Rosi Braidotti in "The Posthuman (2013) proposes a re-evaluation of the idea of subjectivity, as a transversal domain which includes the human, the non-human and the earth as a whole. This "post-individualistic notion of the subject, which is marked by a monistic, relational structure" (87) to use Braidotti's words, is related to her notion of Zoe, that is, life conceived as a non-human generative and vitalist force common to all species Braidotti (2006).
Although the spiritual realm is all-encompassing, the effects of the human and humanistic paradigms are actively enacting in the ways spirituality has been historically addressed. Many spiritual traditions still hold sexist, ethnocentric and anthropocentric biases. One example can be found in rituals based on animal sacrifice, which are sustained on the anthropocentric assumption that human animals are entitled to take the life of non-human animals for divine purposes. Throughout the Torah, for instance, God consistently requires animal sacrifice (Genesis 4:3-5; 8:20-21; 15:9) Exodus 20:24; 29:10-42; Leviticus 1:5; 23:12; Numbers 18:17-19; Deuteronomy 12:15; 12:27).
Another example of discriminatory traditions can be found in the sexist practice of forming male lineages of spiritual masters, marginalizing women and their spiritual knowledge. The Roman Catholic Church, for instance, does not allow women to be ordained (Macy 2008) and still, women have been strong supporters of the Catholic religion, finding ways to express their mystical experiences within the limits imposed. Think, for instance, of the rich tradition of Medieval and Renaissance women mystics: from Hildegard of Bingen (1098 -1179) to Caterina of Siena(1347-1380) and Angela of Foligno (1248-1309), from Joan of Arc (1412 - 1431) to Teresa of Avila (1512 - 1582). More in general, "despite being excluded from leadership positions, in almost every culture and religious tradition, women are more likely than men to pray, to worship, and to claim that their faith is important to them" (Trzebiatowska/Bruce 2012). Such contradictions inhabit the historical outcomes of the spiritual domain. How do we deal with them in mapping a spiritual genealogy of the posthuman?
First of all, we shall note that spiritual traditions should not be assimilated to the history of the religions enacting them: religion and spirituality are not synonyms and they shall not be assimilated. There again, an etymological research can be of help. The word "religion" is derived from the Latin "religio" as "an obligation "as of an oath, "bond between man" (in the sense of humans -Note ours) "and the gods", "reverence for the gods" 'The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, n.p.).The origins of the Latin term are uncertain. According to Cicero, "religio" comes from " re-ligare" (re-read), that is, to be knowledgeable and careful with the cult of the Gods (Cicero, De Natura Deorum II", 28). Following the legacy of Lucretius, Lactantius and Agustin (Hoyt 1012), modern philologists derive "religion" from "religare" in the meaning of "placing an obligation on"( Max Muller 1892:33-36). In both cases, religions are characterized by an "oath", an "obligation", related to the knowledge of a set of principles of divine nature 'dogmas', which specifically define each religion in respect to other religions. They are empirically sustained by hierarchical structures based on acquired levels of information, which are needed in order to preserve those same teachings throughout historical changes. The focal relevance of their legacies is clearly shown by their names, which are often inextricably connected to their prophets, taking their names from them, such as Zoroastrianism 'from Zoroaster' (Manichaeism 'from Mani, Christianity 'from Christ'. The divergence between Orthodox and Gnostic Christianity in the Early Christian movement (second century C.E.) regarding the relation between the authority of clergy and the access to the Divine through the individual experience, is enlightening of what can be seen as the main difference between spirituality and religion. While orthodoxy highlighted the Church as the necessary intermediate with the divine, gnostics posed emphasis on gnosis, that is, self-knowledge as knowledge of God (Pagels 1979). Mary, in the "Gospel of Mary", clearly states:
"Be on your guard so that no one deceives you by saying, Look over here; or; Look over there;. For the Child of Humanity exists within you. Follow it. Those who search for it will find it".
(Meyer 2008, 742)
"The Child of Humanity" is Christ, as a symbol of human perfection: the key is searching for it spiritually, within the self, instead of following other people's rules. While religions, in the hierarchical outfit and centralized control, do not necessarily comply with a posthuman approach, the spiritual trends and doctrines present in each religion may. The notion of spirituality is in perfect harmony with philosophical Posthumanism. Here, I wish to clarify that the posthuman scenario is composite, formed by different movements which can hardly be assimilated (Ferrando 2013). For instance, although both Posthumanism and Transhumanism radically open to alterity and extension of perceptions, they do not share the same perspectives nor origins (Ranisch/Sorgner 2014). The connection between Transhumanism, religions and spirituality has been widely investigated, both from a historical perspective, (Mercer /Trothen 2015); Tirosh-Samuelson 2012; Tirosh-Samuelson 2014; Cyborg Buddha Project), and also, from a theoretical one. Transfigurism is one example of a religion based on the syncretization of Mormonism and Transhumanism; it is being developed by the Mormon Transhumanist Association, according to which:
Mormonism and Transhumanism advocate remarkably similar views of human nature and potential: material beings organized according to law, rapidly advancing knowledge and power, imminent fundamental changes to anatomy and environment, and eventual transcendence of present limitations.
The Turing Church Unlimited, Transhumanist Religions 2.0 represents a transhumanist approach to spirituality. Is stated in the website:
We are not interested in developing a new, rigid doctrine. We are interested in developinga loose framework of ideas, concepts, hopes, feelings and sensibilities at the intersection of science and religion, compatible with many existing and new frameworks. This is why we call the Turing Church a meta-religion.
On the contrary, the relation between spirituality and Posthumanism (here intended as critical, cultural and philosophical) is a field of investigation which has not been significantly engaged upon yet, with some exceptions. For instance, an attempt to rethink Posthumanism through the Indian tradition of Tantra can be found in "Avatar Bodies": A Tantra for Posthumanism" (2004) by Ann Weinstone. Overall, apart from sparse cases, no exhaustive study has been done on the contribution of spirituality to the constitution of the post-anthropocentric, post-dualistic approach of the posthuman. This article wishes to set a path in this direction. In tune with the comprehensive terms of philosophical, cultural and critical Posthumanism, this article adopts a methodology which is inclusive, rather than exclusive (Ferrando 2012), highlighting relations and points in common, instead of emphasizing why each specific spiritual tradition may not be fully representative of the posthuman. Let's now explore why the realm of spirituality shall be recognized as one of the genealogies of Posthumanism.
Ancient Sources of the Posthuman
Posthumanism does not recognize humans as being exceptional, nor does it see them in their separateness from the rest of beings, but in connection to them. In such an interconnected paradigm, the well-being of humans is as crucial as the one of non-human animals, machines, and the environment. One of the main characteristics of philosophical Posthumanism is its emphasis on a post-dualistic understanding of existence. Such an ontological approach finds revealing parallels in ancient Asian traditions. Advaita, one of the main Vedanta schools of Indian philosophy, literary means "non-two", "non-dual" (Rambachan 2006; Timalsina 20090. According to this tradition, the inner essence of an individual (Atman) corresponds to the transcendent existence (Brahman), and no frontal dualism between immanence and transcendence can be established:
Through the epistemological lens, what is cognized is essentially non-dual awareness only. Through the soteriological perspective, essentially there is no difference between Brahman and the individual self.
Advaita complies with another fascinating distention of dualistic perceptions: the one between being awake or being asleep (Sharma 2004) According to Advaita, there are three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep: "In all three states, Advaita contends, ātman as awareness is common and constant" (Rambachan 2006:40). The Advaita doctrine of "awareness only" establishes the monism of Brahman. One of the main differences with Posthumanism is the monistic ways Advaita develops such an understanding" "The rejection of duality can be interpreted in terms of the ontological perspective that there is ultimately non-essential plurality in what exists" (Ibidem3). By some schools of Advaita, plurality is seen as an "illusion" (Ibidem9). On the contrary, Posthumanism recognizes diversity as one of the main technologies of evolution, and sees pluralism as the necessary complement to monism: in this sense, Posthumanism is both a monistic pluralism as well as a pluralistic monism. The plurality, according to the posthuman, is the ontological manifestation of the one: it physically represents what can be symbolically seen as the pure potential of being. Specularly, the one is the ontological manifestation of the plural: in the post-dual techno-genesis, as well as in the herstory of conception, there is no pure beginning, everything comes from something else. The passage from not being to being is marked by a collective effort. In the case of humans, for instance, their birth is based on the carnal union of two beings, if we consider natural conception) on the effort of a specialized team of humans and machines, if we consider artificial insemination.
The physics and cosmologist hypothesis of the multiverse is another striking example. It not only stretches any universe-centric perspective of existence, stating that this universe is one among many (Tegmark 2010; Randall 2005; Bars et al. 2010), but also, it offers a quantum understanding of the posthuman ontology. Pluralistic monism, or monistic pluralism, can be accessed through physics: many dimensions may exist, each depending on different vibrations of quantum loops of energy called strings. The strings may create different dimensions depending on their vibrations: the one is many, the many are one. The multiverse deals with how the material materializes, revealing itself inductive for a posthuman ontology in tune with the posthumanist overcoming of any strict dualisms. The hypothesis of the multiverse resonates with a shamanic understanding of energy and description of parallel worlds (Harvey 2002). Moreover, as McKenna suggests:
The survival through long centuries in Europe of witchcraft and rites involving psychoactive plants attests that the gnosis of entering parallel dimensions by altering brain chemistry was never entirely lost.(1993:224)
The multiverse can be seen as an inner and an outer plane of existence, it can be explored cosmologically and existentially. In a similar way, according to the Mahayana schools of Buddhism, there is no ultimate difference between the samsara 'the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth (and the nirvana 'the perfect peace of mind, acquired by one who is liberated). The enlightenment, within this context, consists precisely in the realization of this ultimate non-dualism:
(...) coming to understand that objects and the Self are just a flow of experiences with no enduring elements set in opposition to each other (no duality), we attain enlightenment (Williams 2009:92)
Currently, nondualism is attracting an increasing interest from scholars working on bridging modern knowledge and ancient wisdom. In Western science, for instance, the term is used to refer to an inter connectedness which, in tune with the posthuman approach, rejects Cartesian dualism. Such an approach stands on the path opened by Fritjof Capra with his groundbreaking work "The Tao of Physics" (1975), which highlighted "the parallels between the worldview of physicists and mystics", and demonstrated "the profound harmony" between ideas an concepts as expressed in modern physics and Eastern mysticism. The contemporary attempt to rethink science, technology and spirituality in a natural-cultural continuum honors the ontology of the cyborg, to use Donna Haraway's terminology, and highlights Posthumanism as one of the most suited philosophical platform of discussion in the contemporary academic debate. The posthuman does not convey in any techno-utopianism, nor engage in luddism: the machine is not the other, since the human itself is seen as a process developing within a material net, a hybrid, a constant technogenesis. Within the field of Posthuman Studies, the non-separateness between the human and the techno realm shall be investigated not only as an anthropological (Gehlen 1957), paleontological (Leroi-Gourhan 1943; 1964), phenomenological (Simondon 1958) and ontological issue Heidegger 1953; Stiegler 1994), but also, as a spiritual one. Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori, in "The Buddha in the Robot" (1974), states:
From the Buddha's viewpoint, there is no master-slave relationship between human beings and machines. Man achieves dignity not by subjugating his mechanical inventions, but by recognizing in machines and robots the same Buddha-nature that pervades his own inner self. When he does that, he acquires the ability to design good machines and to operate them for good and proper purposes. In this way, harmony between humans and machines is achieved.
Although delivered in a sexist language (note the universalized use of the masculine "man" instead of the gender-neutral "humankind"), Mori's message is revelatory: for him, machines and robots are made of "the same Buddha-nature". His view resonates with Quantum Physics and New Materialism, a specific philosophical approach developed within the posthuman scenario. From a physics perspective, anything which has mass and volume is considered matter: humans, for instance, are made out of matter, as well as robots. The way matter appears on the large scale might be misleading if taken as its ultimate state. Matter, on a subatomic level, is not static or fixed but is constantly vibrating. The matter is relational and irreducible to a single determined entity: any reductionist approach has scientifically failed. And still, the impact of such a historical redundancy of reductionist and dualistic approaches in human thoughts and actions should not be underestimated. Posthumanism recognizes its own standpoints as post-dualistic, rather than non-dualistic, in the sense that, within hegemonic systems of thought, the episteme has been repeatedly dualistic - think of the classic sets: body-mind, female-male, black-white, east-west, master-slave, colonizer-colonized, human-machine, human-animals, just to mention a few. In tune with Derrida's deconstructive approach (1967), Posthumanism is aware of the fact that such dualistic presumptions cannot be easily dismissed.
Posthumanism does not necessary rely on the death of God (Nietzsche 1883-5) nor on the death of Man (Foucault 1966) since the assumptions of a "death" are already based on the recognition of the symbolic dualism dead-alive, which has been challenged by the posthuman post-dualistic reflection. Furthermore, if God or Man (note the masculine form) are dead, who killed them? This is a relevant question, for the simple fact that, if someone is talking about their deaths, it means that someone has survived: who is the survivor? Dualism keeps coming back, born out of its own ashes. Such a dualistic mindset creates an unbalance which needs to be acknowledged and deconstructed, in order to understand where and how it is silently enacting. For instance, sexism, based on the essentialist dualism female - male, is still uncritically engaged within non-dualistic schools of thoughts. For instance, Vajrayana Buddhism is a Tibetan tradition which has developed a highly refined deconstruction of the dual, including death, which, according to the "BardoThodol' or "Tibetan Book of Dead (14th Century), is not considered an unredeemable end, but an an intermediate state, or "Bardo". And still, in this practice:
'otherness; is commonly represented as either demon or woman, or as both. (...) women's "otherness" is considered a real threat to the potential spirituality of the male. The monastic tradition emphasized the polluting aspect of women, and encouraged celibacy and physical distance from women.' (Campbell 2002:50)
Biases cannot be simply erased but, once detected, they have to be deconstructed, in order to be transformed through present awareness and visions of the futures. Awareness is the path towards enlightenment. Recognizing the contribution of women to the manifestation of the human species is necessary in order to recollect post-individualistic realizations of the selves.
By being excluded from the linearity of monumental history, actualized in an ongoing list of male protagonists, women have historically sustained non-hierarchical approaches such as sister circles, oral sharing of collective knowledge and cooperatives. In "Quintessence... Realizing the Archaic Future", Mary Daly states:
For millennia women have been creating Memories of the Future. By performing actions and generating works that can affect/effect the Future, Wild Women have been creating Memories that will be Realized in the minds and actions of those who will come after us. We have been storing treasures of our own creation in the Treasure House of the Future.
Posthuman ontology, as a monistic pluralism or a pluralistic monism, is free from the relativist-absolutist paradigm: no single point of view can be regarded as the complete one. According to the posthuman relational ontology proposed by Karen Barad(2007), there are not fixed and established points of departure: the subject and the object are interchangeable cognitive positions reciprocally constituting one another. In her words: "relata do not precede do not precede relations; rather, relata-within-phenomena emerge through specific intra-actions"(334). Epistemologically speaking, Posthumanism is a perspectivism, according to which every perspective is valuable and should be acknowledged and respected. It is important to note that the term "perspectivism" etymologically bears a phenomenological, embodied legacy, coming from Latin, in the formula: "per" (prefix meaning "through") plus the verb "specere" ("look at") (Collins Latin Dictionary, n.p.); and still, the gaze should not be reduced to the physical sight. The embodied specificity of perspectivism allows for an agential turn: the embodiment of the perspective is not be confined to the biological/inorganic/autopoietic(Maturana/Varela 1972) realms, but it is extended to social bodies and systems (Luhmann 2002). Moreover, these embodiments cannot be considered independently from their environments, which are crucial to the developed perspectives.
Posthumanism shares a striking point in common with the ancient spiritual tradition of Jainism and the doctrine of anēkāntavāda (non absolutism) that is, the principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints Sethia 2004). The reality is perceived differently from diverse points of view, and no single point of view can be regarded as the complete one:
This ability to see the other person as no longer the "other" but as identical to our own self, underlies the capacity for empathy and sympathy with the other that operationalizes ahimsā. (Koller 2004: 86 -87)
"Ahimsa" is a Sanskrit word which literally means "not to harm" and is considered one of the main principles of Jainism (Ibidem). For instance, in their outstanding attentiveness to respect all forms of life, some Jains, in their vegan diet, do not eat root vegetables, because the tuber's ability to sprout is considered characteristic of a living being. Such a choice displays a sensitivity fully aware of speciesism and deeply engaged with the significations of a non-anthropocentric standpoint. Jainism shall also be granted a major role in the development of posthuman ethics of daily living. "situated in the recognition of the embodied multiplicity of possible perspectives, in tune with ancient wisdom and contemporary science and technology, fashionable and well-received by academia, posthumanism has now set the right conditions for its own development into a philosophy of life that can have an impact on society. It is time to engage with the pragmatics of the posthuman: what does it entail to be posthuman in our daily practices of living?
Spiritual Politics of the Posthuman
Posthumanism is a post-dualism: macro-politics are the mirrors of micro-politics. The politics of the posthuman are, in other words, spiritual politics. Spirituality has to do with the minutest things we do: from the food we eat to our thoughts, dreams, and actions. Existence is a process, constantly manifesting, enacting, evolving. Each being is part of such enactment, and thus, has agency in the existential evolution of spacetime. "I am who I am" God answers Moses in "Exodus"(3;14) existence is in the present. The present is the act of manifestation, the physics performance out of pure potentials. Existence manifests itself through memory, repetition, and vision. Posthumanism, as well as Transhumanism foresees the potentials of partaking in the process of evolution with full awareness. Since its very beginning, Transhumanism has particularly focussed on humans being actively engaged in the next step of human evolution. The closest reference to Transhumanism as the current philosophical attitude can be found in the writings of the evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley (1887 - 1975). This is how "Transhumanism", a chapter of his book "New Bottles for New Wine" (1957):
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future. This cosmic self-awareness is being realized in one tiny fragment of the universe - in a few of us human beings.
Huxley's Transhumanism is anthropocentric, based on human exceptionalism. Such an ontological primacy will be mostly left intact in the current developments of Transhumanism, for which human enhancement is the primary goal (Bostrom 2003). Another antecedent of the transhuman is the term "trans-humanizing", found in the paper "The essence of the Democratic Idea: A Biological Approach(1949) included in the posthumous collection "The Future of Mankind" (1959) by philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955). De Chardin is an interesting thinker both for Transhumanism as well as for Posthumanism. Although his teleological view is not in tune with the decentralized approach of the posthuman, De Chardin's emphasis on the interconnection of evolution cannot be underestimated. As he states:
Our habit is to divide up our human world into compartments of different sorts of 'realities' natural and artificial, physical and moral, organic and juridical, for instance. / In a space-time, legitimately and perforce extended to include the movements of the mind within us, the frontiers between these pairs of opposites tend to vanish.
Existence is connected, entangled, relational. The age of the Anthropocene (Crutzen- Stoermer2000) requires the development of daily post-anthropocentric ethics of living based on an integral investment of the notion of the posthuman. Eco-feminism underlines the fact that a holistic approach has never been dismissed within women's practice (Shiva 1988). And still, holism and individualism should not be seen in controversy (Zahle 2014); instead, according to a pluralistic monistic approach, they can be viewed as embodied perspectives, symbolic mirrors which, harmonically placed in front of each other, create infinite reflections, opening the doors to the multiverse. In this sense, the Tantra tradition is of key interest. According to this ancient style of meditation, "the practitioner;s body became identified with the entire universe, such as all the processes and transformations occurring to his body in this world are now occurring to the world inside his body". (White 2012: 14)
New Age movements underlie the fact that significant social changes require deep shifts in consciousness: evolution is to be preferred to revolution. In this respect, the global impact of yoga on contemporary society is significant. "Yoga" is a Sanskrit word, meaning: the act of joining", "union" (Sanskrit-English Dictionary, n.p.). In the "Bhagavad Gita" Krishna, the Divine, tells Arjuna: "He whose self is harmonized by yoga sees the Self abiding in all beings and all beings in the Self, everywhere he sees the same"(6.30). And also, "He, O Arjuna, who sees with equality everything, in the image of his own self, whether in pleasure or in pain - he is considered a perfect yogi" (6.32). The growing popularity of Yoga worldwide (Singleton / Byrne 2008) can be seen as a collective desire of transformation, based on the experience of existential and social empowerment offered by the practice (Nevrin 2008). In the non-dual tradition of Yoga, as well as in the post-dualistic tradition of the posthuman, self-transformation corresponds to the transformation of the entire plane of being. Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), in his integral yoga approach, focussed at directing the evolution of human life into a "life divine" (1939-1940), on the belief that a spiritual realization would transform human nature:
A change in consciousness is the major fact of the next evolutionary transformation, and the consciousness itself, by its own mutation, will impose and effect any necessary mutation of the body.(1963:10)
This emphasis on a spiritual evolution, related to a biotechnological one, should be more extensively addressed within the field of Posthuman Studies. Spirituality can be invested as a technology of the self, to say it in Foucauldian terms. It is an open-source technology of existence, offered to anyone, anywhere. The resisting side of spirituality should not be underestimated: spirituality destabilizes the hegemonic order through a connected existential attitude, which can be silently expressed during the most challenging circumstances. A history of beliefs, visions, prayers, and rituals have accompanied the historical outcomes of the most oppressed categories of human beings and can be recollected during the most challenging times: by captives during slavery (Erskine 2014) or by women during high patriarchal times. This is of great interest for the posthuman, which challenges a hierarchical notion of the human. Posthumanism is aware of the fact that the notion of the human has been historically constructed by the same embodied subjectivities who have self-imposed themselves as the hegemonic voices in normalizing what the notion of the human should imply. To be granted full recognition of human dignity in the Western exclusivist process of humanizing, the subject had to be: male, White, Western, heterosexual, physically able, propertied, among other terms. Spiritual practice can be viewed, from a posthuman perspective, as a technique which offers hybridization in a context where essentialism has been employed to configure fixed categories and hierarchies. Furthermore, spirituality may actively destabilize such a state of things through a connected existential attitude. In the post-dualistic frame of the posthuman, micro-politics are macro-politics. By our acts, our thoughts, our visions, we are co-constituting existence. In the interconnected rhizome of existence, what we eat, the products we use, the people we relate to constitute who and what we are. The politics of the posthuman are enacted in each moment of being, manifested in full awareness. Posthuman politics are, in other words, spiritual politics.
This article wishes to unveil the relevance, significance, and meaning of spirituality in the genealogy of cultural, critical and philosophical posthumanism. In its genealogical endeavor, this article expands the lens of the posthuman outside of Western academia, to Eastern traditions of thought such as Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoga and Tantrism, although in no terms does it seek to offer a comprehensive scenario of all the parallels which can be drawn between specific spiritual traditions and the posthuman standpoint. Furthermore, this article clearly highlights that no specific tradition can be regarded as fully representative of the posthuman. For instance, non-dualistic systems are still formed within anthropocentric paradigms: most Hindu and Buddhist teachings view the human as the highest reincarnation before achieving enlightenment, in a hierarchical system which does not comply with the post-centralized non-hierarchical perspectivist approach of the posthuman. This is why, although posthumanism is deeply indebted to the spiritual realm, its offerings are uni&ue, original and very much needed. In tune with ancient wisdom, contemporary science, ecology and technology, posthumanism is evolving from an academic theory into a philosophy of life that has an impact on society. In the age of the Anthropocene, posthumanism is re&uired to develop daily post-anthropocentric ethics of living based on an integral investment of its own post-dualistic process-ontological premises. Spirituality is a precious resource for this important task, as a practice which is enacted in each moment of being: the ultimate post-dualism of the posthuman resides in full awareness. Envisioning desirable posthuman modes of existence is a path of self-discovery, once the self-has been recognized as the others within. In a spiritual sense, humans have always been posthuman.
New York University, Liberal Studies Program, Faculty Member
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