Popular Culture Meets Psychology

Understanding ourselves through pop culture.

Transhumanity! I'd Settle for Humanity

Lessons Learned from the Sandbox

I am an unashamed fan of science fiction, and a Trekkie. I am particularly drawn to dystopian apocalyptic stories and films like 'The Road', '1984', 'Armageddon' and 'The Day After Tomorrow'. I am even able to endure over-the-top special effects and deafening soundtracks, just to see Godzilla teach us first-claw, about our mistakes. And after hearing, for the first time, of the newly-named genre of 'cli-fi', I get it.

I understand that there is a message out there, which if unheeded, will likely lead to our societal, if not global comeuppance. We must change, we must improve...and quickly!

Enter 'transhumanism', which according to Wikipedia, is 'an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical and psychological capacities".

Sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but as science makes good more and more of its promises through genomic, biochemical, biomechanical and even psychosocial engineering, we stand at a crossroads. Do we transcend our flawed and limited humanity in favor of something better, or continue to try to improve on the model, and resist the urge to throw out the baby with the dirty genetic bathwater.

A new 3-D printer-genrated liver, Lion?!

Bionic senses Tin Man?!

How about a little epigentic fire, Scarecrow?!

I'm not sure if I would refuse any of these miracles when push comes to shove. But until that happens, I choose to embrace the wisdom of Patrick Stewart, aka Claudius, Professor Xavier and Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who when interviewd by Smithsonian Magazine about science and science fiction offered the following view on the transhuman movement. He said, "I think it's fascinating. But, I think that for the moment, at least, we are as good as it gets. And the good, the potential good in all of us is still to be explored".

I choose the wisdom of my earliest lessons, the ones I picked up, and have at times lost along the way...the ones I leanred in Kindergarten. The ones Robert Fulghum taught us aboutin his 1989 "All I Really Need to Know, I learned in Kindergarten.

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some.

And draw and paint and sing and dance

And play and work everyday some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic,

Hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.

 

 

 

 

Lawrence Rubin, psychologist and counseling professor, is co-author with psychiatrist Mike Brody of Messages: Self Help Through Popular Culture.

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