Theology

Mikolaj Sławkowski-Rode

Transhumanism, Immortality, and Transcendence

Volume 10 () / Issue 2, pp. 238-268 (31)
Published 09.01.2024

In this paper, I argue that the transhumanist promise of everlasting existence does not supply an adequate alternative to the religiously motivated hope in the afterlife. I argue that this is because the transhumanist position misrepresents what this hope consists in. This is a result of a misunderstanding concerning the threat that death poses for the objectivity of meanings and values human beings organise their lives around. A transcendent reality in which moral tensions and discontinuities find their resolution provides the recourses to face up to death as a challenge to a moral out- look in a way that mere deathlessness does not. The traditional religious positions which offered these resources have come under pressure, however, as a result of widespread metaphysical naturalism. Being unable to identify the crucial subject matter of individual survival, naturalism ultimately sacrifices both the possibility of individual survival and the grounding of the objectivity of meanings and values. I argue that in spite of this that, Christianity still gives us the resources to represent our epistemological position in the face of death differently. This requires what I call a phenomenology of transcendence or an experience of the world under the aspect of ultimate justification. Being open to this experience implies identity mysticism, or the commitment to our fundamental inability to identify the crucial subject matter of individual survival. In conclusion, I argue that this representation of our epistemolog- ical position in the face of death is nevertheless possible without the actual appeal to religious doctrine and can take secular forms.