D.I.Y. Posthumanism

Robert Bee
Robert Bee's picture

Wired has an interesting article about DIY posthumanism (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/transcending-the-human-diy-style/). The article discusses biohackers who try to extend their senses by placing magnets and other electronic devices under their skin. Why do they do this you may ask? To give themselves extra senses and abilities such as detecting electromagnetic fields or the magnetic north. Since doctors won't help the biohackers and buying legal anesthesia is difficult, this DIY posthumanism is often painful, and they must sterilize their needles with vodka.

If you're tough enough to handle the pain, virtually anyone can try biohacking. As one biohacker told Wired, "You just have to get deep enough to open a hole and put something in."

I'm mentioning this article because posthumanism is a thriving intellectual community with strong ties to science fiction. The idea behind posthumanism is that we can transcend the limitations of being human through technology, either computer implants or genetic engineering. We think of posthumanism as an issue for the far future future, but the future has already started. Even if these people are bizarre, they are the first primitive steps toward posthumanism.

Staffwriter Robert Bee is a freelance writer and a full-time librarian.