Posthuman Visions

Part I: Government

What is the role of the government? The popular answer would expectedly be "to serve its people." But this only prompts the age-old questions: Who are the people? What is the best way to serve the people?

A nation is defined by the reach of the government; boundaries on land and sea are drawn between those in power. The geography does not change suddenly as one crosses a national border. The philosophies that govern the lives of the peoples living on one side from the other, however, may very well be as different as night and day.

As much as theories and models of government vary, there are some definite trends in virtually all administrations, past, present, and well into the future. Firstly, all governments that have existed for any significant amount of time have all evolved into distilleries of power. Power eventually became concentrated in the hands of a few elite, even at the cost of the oppression of the citizens. Also, those in government have legalized a monopoly to violence, guaranteeing that there are hard options to back its will.

Every single historical example of government across the world has always been as such; from simple governments based on physical might, to complex governance systems based on some precept of republican ideals, it has always been power for the few to lord over the many.

The people give varying degrees of power over aspects of their lives to government. This may be done voluntarily or otherwise. In principle, governments that may be considered as good will give back to the people a greater return on that power.

Yet there are several issues that must be fleshed out: first, there has always been in the past a clear distinction between government and the governed. Even if the government proclaims itself to be an "advocate of the people", rarely do all segments of the populace receive their desired amount of representation. Self-preservation is instinctual; every individual and the organizations that are manifestations of their desires naturally practice this.

Second, rarely has there ever been a widespread trust among a people for an extended period of time. Furthermore, even as such trust within an organized society had existed, there often exist those in the background that manipulate the course for their own private interests. Even with the best intentions, the odds are always in favor instinct over disciplined rationality. Even though the potential

Third, the establishment of any government always carries every one of the many positive and negative connotations of politics. Politics permeate every single aspect of a government, from the bickering in a local zoning board, to high level, executive branch maneuverings. Politics are all but incomprehensible to the layman; indeed, politics exist today simply as an accepted evil over any notion of apolitical, impersonal government. The people being ruled, then, place much faith in the proverbial "invisible hand," the term that describes that despite the incomprehensibility of the political arena, the end products will usually be good for the greater society. Of course, those apt to defend the existence and roles of personal and group politics will quickly pick out an end result, and connect that with a previous action. Though they may be correct, no one can truly trace out the path of a desired result and prove that it could be achieved otherwise.

The government of a posthuman society, however, can be a radically different creature. Each of the issues mentioned before will either be solved, or become irrelevant, as the posthuman society develops. Yet without looking into a crystal ball, it would be impossible to paint a complete portrait of such a future. However, it would not be imprudent to venture some predictions of how these issues that have been, at best parasites, and at worst plagues, of all systems of government that have graced human society.

Though democracy has been the poster child of the rhetoric of modern developed nations, its ideals have obviously never been truly realized. In the Classical Greek and Roman world, the era often heralded as a golden age of democracy, it was mostly the landed family patriarchs who had a say in government. The first significant exercise of abolishing a despotic ruler's power came from the landed gentry of Magna Carta fame. Even as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is a well heard slogan in the United States, it would be more honest to replace the last portion of this motto with "the guarantee of property rights" instead. When looked through a historical lens, supposedly democratic governments exist today not as true bastions of freedom, but rather as narrow channels for materialistic and economic means.

In a posthuman society, the ties between economics and democracy will become immaterial. In such a world, private economic drives, the pursuit of individualistic and isolated interests, are no longer of importance. As material desires are rendered insignificant by future technologies that are able to fulfill every hunger for resources, and as people are able to rise above narrow ideologies to pursue a greater, the understanding of a shared goal of all of society will render these present issues a mere historical note.

In regards to representation: how many callers does it take to alter the opinion of a representative in the modern system? Society has come to accept the most that humankind can accomplish, and the least that can be possibly accomplished, towards a truly democratic civilization. Society has even come to take pride in the inefficiencies of the current representative system, one that is rife with questionable deficiencies. How often have the true questions been asked? Do the citizens of the democratic culture truly deserve in having only a few candidate choices? How can we really trust the results of elections? Even supposedly democratic governments are fully capable of performing very undemocratic actions not only against other nations, but even at their own citizens; the embarrassments of various intelligence agencies of such nations are prime examples.

However, through the development of human culture and technological aids, the government, the society, of our dreams will be at hand. When humankind is able to mature with technological progress, when true understanding and cooperation among disparate people are fully realized as brains are connected by technological links, can we achieve a fully representative government. Examples may be ports implanted in minds, bypassing incomplete communication methods such as language and writing, and vast memory banks that can augment the capacities of human minds and provide living historical lessons.

Hence, the government of the future will be one that is truly able to comprehend and become appreciative of the diverse opinions of its citizenship, finally realizing the creation of a constituency that is indistinguishable from its government.

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