Homo Deus: First Impressions
Bliv bruger af LibraryThing, hvis du vil skrive et indlæg
Dette emne er markeret som "i hvile"—det seneste indlæg er mere end 90 dage gammel. Du kan vække emnet til live ved at poste et indlæg.
Almost every paragraph has me stifling a "but wait," "what about…," "that's not right," or, as they say, "well, actually." It is fortunate that I'm listening to the audiobook, and or I'd be wearing out a pen with marginal notes of that kind.
The style gives me the impression of someone smart, with some strong and unusual views, but rather more conventional ones than he realizes, and who can't be bothered to lower himself to dig into various topics.
Often, however, I discover it's just a breezy style, and he subverts his seeming ignorance a few pages later. I just have to wait. So, for example, after first thinking he was falling into the usual cliche that people in history died young, and cursing him for this bit of false common wisdom, he made it clear he got the distinction between getting rid of a lot of early deaths and lowering deaths from violence and chance misfortune, and extending human lifespan itself. (That is, whatever the mean age of death, nobody in ancient Rome was surprised at a 75 year-old man; they were just a lot less surprised at dead infants or that a man might die in battle.)
I climb the walls, however, every time he talks about religion or philosophy, I imagine the raised eyebrow and curled smile of even an undergraduate forced to listen to him majestically summarize things he knows nothing about.
I'm nearly to the end of the "free sample" portion of the e-book I'm reading, and am not sure whether I'll continue.
lorannen, do "spoilers" really have meaning for a nonfiction book?
Yep, same here. A lot of my objections were touched on pages later (like you said Tim), but it seems that he makes an awful lot of generalizations and assumptions for his argument/s. An interesting discussion, nonetheless.
For me, it was his claim that humankind is always looking for the next, immediate high and can never be satisfied. From someone who studied (and shares many views of) Buddhism, I was ready to argue. I'm sure I'll have more on that later.
>4 lorax: ...just because they don't impact rich nations doesn't mean they don't matter.
Precisely. I do appreciate that he tries to argue his point from the perspective of the last few hundred years, but, still. I think they (war, famine, etc.) are still pretty relevant in the world. Factors such as overpopulation, biodiversity, and natural resources will surely have drastic effects on our ability to support/feed ourselves in the years to come (scientific progress and GMO's aside).
And that's if we don't blow ourselves up before then (see also: war).
Feel free to post your own, too!
The religious objections that I am aware of are two: that everyone is so precious in God's sight that they must be kept alive regardless of cost or quality of life. The second is that only God has the power of life an death. Some societies also add that the ruler is the only mortal with the power of life and death, so the family of a suicide may be punished, perhaps by having their property seized.
I think that he is a little too focused on the wealthier and more secular nations. Despite what he said, there are more people who believe in a god(s) than believe in Humanism/humanism.
I have some other questions, but I'm waiting for further information.
Now I am finished. Perhaps it was that he had a lot of disturbing ideas, but I thought that this got off to a slow start, improved in the middle, and then dragged so much that I had to force myself to read until the end. I also resorted to alternating reading it and reading a more interesting book just to keep myself from giving up.
I hated how he redefined religion, especially since I am an atheist and that is a sore point in our debates with religious people -- they like to claim that atheism is a religion. One of the strengths of English is that it can be very precise, and stretching the meaning of words like he does is a disservice. I am also having trouble understanding how Nazism is a form of humanism. Just about every outrage they did was attempted in earlier, more religious centuries. They just had the advantage of superior technology.
He had some interesting ideas, and I liked that he pointed out that most of humanity may seem superfluous to the elite when they aren't needed as servants or workers. Some interesting and sometimes scary ideas, but prediction, particularly now that our culture changes so fast, is risky. We also know so little about on brains and the nature of conciousness, that most of what he says may turn out to be on the wrong track.
I disagree with specific points he makes, too many to cite here. One that really stood out, is the idea that immortality is one of the new goals now that the first round goals have been met. Not only have the first round goals not been universally met, the new goal of immortality is as old as the hills. People have sought that, by both reasonable and unreasonable means, for thousands of years.
I'm hanging in there, but I was expecting more.
*ETA: for those who may have missed contemplating the 25 (or so) preceding centuries (B.C. & A.D.).
There is no way "around" this dilemma. To remain evolvable, we are required to be susceptible to random variation among groups of individuals and within individuals' physical make-up. Even if we could completely and perfectly halt our own kind's evolutionary variation, we'd still have the problem of living in plant and animal environments the evolution of which we can neither halt at some ideal point nor otherwise control or direct. Without genuinely randomly-produced variations, there's no survival-enhancing advantage since the character of bio-threats to us cannot be reliably known in advance of their appearance.
The thesis fails on basic biological grounds. Evolution and its survival advantages necessarily imply mortality--not just for us but for all of our terrestrial life forms as these are known. Mortality is, in this evolutionary sense, a positively selected factor. Individual mortality enhances "species"-type general survival. We should, on that account, beware of "immortality."
... ""As long as the genetic code for a particular trait is known, ..."
First, this is a HUGE precondition.
Second, even if we "knew" or think we "know", how do we know we're aware of all of the ramifications of this "code's" "downstream" effects? And, even supposing we could know them, what about spontaneous mutations occuring subsequently? How can we possibly reliably prevent that?
We're playing at Faust here. This book is a bust.