LIVING IN UNTIMELY TIMES: Meditations on Steve Fuller’s NIETZSCHEAN MEDITATIONS (3)

We have seen that in his new book NIETZSCHEAN MEDITATIONS Untimely Thoughts at the Dawn of the Transhuman Era Steve Fuller is doing two things (at least) at once. He is both extrapolating towards a transhuman future and excavating the psychological and religious underpinnings of transhumanist fantasies and ideologies.

This double agenda may explain the seeming contradiction in the subtitle of his book. He talks of « untimely » thoughts and then proceeds to tell us the time (the « dawn » of the « era » of transhumanity).

Of course, one could explain this contradiction as the unwitting result of trying to cram as many Nietzsche references as possible into a single title: Nietzsche’s Unzeitgemäße Betrachtungen can be translated as « untimely thoughts » or « untimely mediatations », one of his books is titled DAWN, his key concept of the « overman » could be translated as the « transhuman », and he sought to inaugurate a new « era ».

It is much more interesting, and more accurate, to interpret the title in terms of Fuller’s reference to two time axes or series: a horizontal axis of linear chronology (chronos) and a vertical axis of qualitative time (kairos). The next step along the horizontal axis would be the transhuman era (the « neganthropocene », to use Bernard Stiegler’s term), and the trans-temporal, untimely, meaning and resonances of the transhuman for us today exist on the vertical axis.

Steve Fuller is using the resources of his trans-temporal analysis and amplification of the transhuman as religious fantasy to enrich our concept of transhumanism and to develop an ideological critique of existing transhumanism.

We are not living in « transhuman » times, there are no transhumans walking amongst us (as far as we know). Rather, we are living in « untimely » times, when the fantasy of the transhuman can perhaps inscribe itself in the real of the body and not just in thought, in marginal behaviours, or in works of art.

Today, we can not be transhuman, we can only transhumanise.

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