The human race is rocketing toward an unknown future, every second of every day. As time passes, we as a species push ourselves to not only keep up with all of the changes that passing time brings, but we also dream to surpass our individual limits so not only can  we excel in everything we do, we can do more than we can ever imagine. These dreams are at the core of what is now known as Transhumanism. Through improvements on the human body involving hardware “upgrades” such as limb replacements or memory enhancement chips surgically implanted in the brain itself to even chemical enhancements to cure things such as Alzheimer’s disease and other various mental disorders, Transhumanism is the next step in human evolution.

In order to properly begin our trek for universal perfection however, we must accept as fact what the philosopher Descartes concluded many years ago, and that is the mind and the body are indeed two separate entities, and that the mind can in fact live without a body at all. In fact according to Descartes in several of his Meditations and to most of the Transhumanist community in general, it is more than possible to take one’s mind and exist in a multitude of “bodies” simultaneously, or if we so please, we can create different bodies for different functions and switch between them as we please with but a small bit of hardware and a simple thought.

Consider Descartes Second Meditation, in which he finally comes to the conclusion he exists. He does so in the following ways. First, he establishes that even if all that he experiences is an illusion, it cannot be doubted that an experience is indeed taking place. He knows this because he thinks  this. This thought continues with even if his body is an illusion he is a thinking thing that is aware of his surroundings whether  the surroundings, including his body, are real or not.

It’s not that far of a stretch then, that we can suppose that the body is merely a way for the mind to interact with it’s surroundings. Therefore, a body can be anything that allows this function to happen, not just the form or forms that we assign as such. In other words, a “human” mind is only identified as “human” because of the form, or body that the mind currently occupies.

Descartes confirms this thought further in the Second Meditation when he states that it is easier  to know that a mind does indeed exist simply because the mind itself is known with greater certainty than anything else through the senses. This seems to imply that a body can be deceived into believing almost anything, unless the mind’s intellect is strong enough to prevent deception in the first place. Indeed, if one is blindfolded and handed a series of objects, and the subject who is blindfolded is forced to rely on nothing but the body’s remaining senses, chances are the subject will be unable to correctly identify the majority of the objects, because the body, without the help of the mind is so easily deceived.

This deception can be overcome however, if the body and the mind are closer connected. Current biology and our species current position on the evolutionary scale, does not allow this to be the case, BUT current advances in science, specifically the computer and medical sciences, allow us to be able to build a better body that will allow us to be closer to our mind. In order to build a better body, the mind needs to be upgraded to a point that the body itself is wholly dependent and nearly inseparable from the mind.

Consider that in 2013, Dr. Tony Perry, a leader in cloning, has a nearly a 100% rate of success in the editing of DNA of mice at the point of conception.  This has opened the door to altering features of the mice as one would desire. It has been estimated that manipulating the human genome is within a three to four year period from that writing.

Editing the DNA in humans would mean that it would be possible for the parents to pick and choose the features of their human baby to prevent diseases that harm only the body, such as cystic fibrosis as well as cells that cause cancer. In addition to selecting the features to keep the body safe from genetic harm, parents can also choose to edit the mental functions of the embryo as well, making them more intelligent and therefore, one is to assume, able to function faster, learn at a higher rates which in turn would allow more control over their body and mind in ways that we can only imagine, thus making the body/mind closer. [1]

With the body and mind more in sync with each other, humans would be able to, for instance, be more certain of things that we have yet to perceive, or rather be able to perceive more, which in turn could lead to more discoveries and revelations about our universe as well as ourselves. This new found knowledge could solve some of the quandaries that Descartes brings about in his Sixth Mediation, more specifically the misleading signals that a body receives even when the signals have the potential to be harmful to the body itself. The example Descartes gives is that although a body may have edema, the body may still give a signal that it requires a drink, which may in fact be harmful, if not outright fatal to do so. With a mind and a body closer in sync, this could curtail if not end substance abuse in all of its forms outright.

Taking things a bit further, a mind and body that are closer in sync with each other could also cure some major mental disorders such as ADHD, schizophrenia, and others that currently inflict the minds of so many people. With genetic altering or even a simple piece of hardware such as a microchip implanted at the time of diagnosis that allows the mind and the body to work as a more cohesive unit, the current system of treating these disorders through chemicals and counseling, could be a thing of the past.[2]

One could argue that the theory of Transhumanism and Descartes part ways in Descartes Third Meditation, where Descartes conceives God’s existence as a perfect and infinite being, which in turn puts God outside of the material realm and above mankind. However, if we instead look at this conclusion as further proof of the mind and body being out of sync with each other, that is both the mind and body need an outside source to explain our existence,we can conclude that “God” is not an entity or creature from which is the source of all existence, but rather a level or state of being that we as a species can all attain. In essence, through the complete synchronization of the mind and body, we can all obtain a God like status. which would allow the human race to achieve heights yet to be imagined and bring us closer to the true secrets of the known universe.

In conclusion, Descarte was literally centuries ahead of his time when it came to identifying  the separate states of both the mind and the body, and with his Meditations as a blueprint of sorts modern researchers have just begun to push the boundaries in attempts to reconcile them both into perfect harmony and synchronization so that the need for the old conventions of God and reality can be pushed aside for a race to be more God like itself and explore the inner workings of both the material and immaterial worlds.
[1] ‘Designer babies’ debate should start, scientists say
By James Gallagher BBC News website 18 January 2015
[2] Transhumanism: The Future of Mental Health By Alex Nichols
Ethical Technology  Oct 28, 2014

* Hero image used from