Technonaturalism is the view that human civilization ought to pursue advanced technology while preserving Earth’s biosphere, homo sapiens, and our fellow species. It advocates the study of reason, the development of strong personal ethics, and the enlightened, considered but also determined pursuit of science and advanced technology. Technonaturalism holds that civilization’s pursuit of science and technology isn’t an end in itself, it has a purpose – the wellbeing of humanity, the preservation of Earth’s natural biodiversity, and the creation of a strong, ethical and technologically advanced civilization that extends beyond this planet (an interplanetary biosphere).
Technonaturalism can broadly be contrasted with neo-luddism / bio-conservatism, which emphasises biological life but fails to understand the role of technology, and techno-utopianism / posthumanism, which emphasises technology but fails to grasp the role of biological life.
When we strip away the proxies and shallow representations of value, Tecnonaturalism find that it is survival of the human species (homo sapiens) that is paramount. Our fellow species are also of great importance, with moral weight being assigned based upon their genetic relation to humanity. Extinction of species, either by disaster or genetic replacement, is extremely undesirable, and Technonaturalism views their conservation as a priority. Existential threats to humanity and the biosphere are studied and negated. Humanity role is not apart from other species, it is a leader, a captain and steward of the biosphere. (A Philosophy of Altruism – the philosophy and science of a Technonaturalist set of values)
As a shell exists as a useful extension for an organism, advanced technology exists as a powerful extension to humanity and to the biosphere. With it we preserve species, improve lives, pursue our shared dreams, and lift civilisation to new heights. At the same time technology is understood to be strictly a tool – an instrumental value, a means, never an end in itself. Citizens maintain a very high level of technological proficiency and knowledge. They also learn to differentiate between helpful and harmful technologies, developing a discerning attitude and a society with an enlightened approach to the deployment of technology and chosen directions of research.
Reason and the pursuit of the truth
Citizenship is seen as requiring both the pursuit of knowledge and the cultivation of reason – these are treated as personal responsibilities. A culture of discussion, learning, investigation and truthfulness prevails. Cognitive bias and fallacious reasoning are strongly opposed at all levels. Important decisions are made with care and conclusions are based on thorough investigation. Social, economic and technological structures are constructed to protect access to the truth, free of the meddling of biased parties. The problems of social science and politics are taken very seriously, but the tribalism of the traditional factions is seen as counter-productive.
Ethics, morality, humanity
Ethics is understood to be a gift offered up by both biology and society. Citizens maintain a strong moral and ethical code. They are productive, avoid lives of extravagence and excess, opting for quality of character instead of unneeded possessions and frivolous activity. In social life, social status is not a product of possessions, social climbing or charisma, but rather knowledge, achievement and authentic morality. Strong ethics and morality are seen as vital prerequisites of effective leadership and decision-making. It is understood that communities, economies and governments all ought to be structured to ensure the maximum wellbeing of citizens while preserving species and minimising harm to the biosphere.
Future-orientated, ‘big-picture’ perspective
In Technonaturalism, humanity and the biosphere’s future is seen in a much broader cosmological and temporal context. Existential threats are a topic of serious consideration, and long-term thinking is cultivated. Future visions are developed of Earth as the heart of an interplanetary civilisation. In this future, Earth hosts natural habitats and prioritises biodiversity, while the broader solar system plays host to the civilisation’s industrial might and scientific research. The development of a strong international space program is a high priority.
Technonaturalism attempts where possible to remain neutral in regards to the chaos of traditional political conflict and its various tribes (individualist/collectivist/progressive/conservative). It’s focus is on protecting humanity, humanity’s fellow species, and the biosphere.
More Technonaturalist articles on various topics
- The problem of consciousness and humanity (blog post, links to me discussing technonaturalist philosophical views
- Visions of Earth
- Experience, and its Implications for AI and Humanity
- Federation Dreaming – A short story on FQXi