"We Have Always Been Cyborgs" - Interview
Updated: Sep 2, 2022
An Interview by Nicole Ilieva with World Leading Metahumanist Philosopher
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner
Nicole Ilieva - Have you always had a personal philosophy compatible with the transhumanist world views? If not what opened your mind to the idea that through the use of innovation we can transcend the boundaries of our current existence?
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner - I was brought up as a Catholic, and I have intensely been engaged with the great variety of Catholic approaches. My philosophical curiosity was triggered by the realization of my own mortality. This was the issue which has occupied me since my earliest teenage years. You and all people who are near and dear to you will die. This insight has always made me shudder. It has caused me to being engaged with scientific, theological as well as philosophical issues. The more I reflected upon the issues and experienced different aspects of the world, the more plausible I found an ontology of permanent becoming, which goes along with a loss of all stability, certainty, and knowledge. There is not even an “I” left which guarantees my identity over any period of time. It is this insight which made me reflect upon various philosophies.
There were hardly any philosophers whose reflection resonated with my being in the world. Selected thoughts by Heraclitus, Epicurus, Lucretius, Spinoza, and Nietzsche represent a few exceptions. When I became familiar with transhumanist approaches which took place more than 20 years ago. It occurred as a consequence of my intellectual engagement with the Sloterdijk-Habermas-debate which circled around Sloterdijk’s reflections on “Rules for the Human Zoo”. Then, I immediately realized strong connections between my most cherished intuitions and transhumanism.
After having read the writings by many transhumanists, my original insight was confirmed. However, at the same time, I realized that a complex comprehensive philosophical transhumanism is still missing. It is this gap which I have been trying to fill with my monograph “We Have Always Been Cyborgs”.
NI - Katherine Hayles refers to your new book as one that “tackles some of the most challenging ethical issues currently discussed, including gene editing, digital data collection, and life extension, with uncommon good sense and incisive conclusions." She also adds that "This study is one of the most detailed and comprehensive analyses available today.” How did you go about when deciding what ideas to include seeing as the discussion in the realm of transhumanism is so expansive?