Reflections on Aphorisms #44

Just one aphorism today, but it’s from Pascal so I expect some good things.

Aphorism 70

Who is unhappy at having only one mouth? And who is not unhappy at having only one eye?

Pascal

Interpretation

I’ve always had an interest in the transhumanist movement, though I’m not sure that I’d call myself a supporter of it. I certainly can get behind some of the ideals, but the consequences can be major.

One of the recurring themes of transhumanism is an identification with the corpus, the body, the physical and material part of the being.

One of the things that transhumanism often espouses is altering the body so that it is more fit for purpose, whatever the particular purpose in mind is. This can often take on a dystopian bent: modification for the sake of attuning one to a meaningless or all-consuming task.

What is the goal of a person’s life?

To bring enlightenment from the unknown, to serve and worship God, to follow the Heroic path.

I think Pascal’s purpose behind this statement is to say two important things:

First, we don’t tend to think outside the box and appreciate what we could be.

I’m not certain about this point, but it was what first stuck with me.

Second, we have certain needs. The reason why people have one mouth is because there’s no need for further communication. What we output is less important in many ways than our inputs. If you think of a human like a machine, many of our defining traits as opposed to other animals is an immense focus on getting and indexing information (e.g. our height relative to our body mass, our advanced visual processing, our physical development being slow to give time for mental development, consciousness).

Image by Madjid H Kouider from Pixabay

One of the great advancements in human development comes from the use of external devices to aid our perception. This is not a new concept, though many of our more significant advancements in this field are less than a thousand years old.

Like the observatories we have built to observe the skies, we desire to pursue other extensions of our senses.

It is an intrinsic fact that the modern mind pursues more information than mere senses provide.

In the past, we have turned to religion and superstition deal with the phenomena that exist at the liminal borders of our consciousness, but as belief structures centered on the presence of the unknown have been eclipsed by scientism we don’t have as much of that any more.

The result of this is that we desire more eyes.

Resolution

You can never have too many eyes.

More information equals more resolution, not more certainty.

Take the unknown and make it known.

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