Stanislaw Lem: Revolution in the Mind

In Summa Technologiae, Stanislaw Lem of “Solaris” fame addresses some of the most pressing questions connected to the shape human life has acquired in the modern world because of technology, summa_technologiaewhereby the ontology of previous Weltanschauungen has been replaced in re by a constantly evolving redressing of possibilities. As professor Jerzy Jarzębski puts it: “This book’s title alludes to Thomas Aquinas’s “Summa Theologiae” for a reason. In effect Lem creates an entire atheistic paradigm for the Cosmos with God replaced by Reason; the latter, a creative force independent from biology, drives the evolution towards its own, enigmatic goals.” Here, what is obviously at stake is Transhumanism (For a nice survey of the history of Transumanism see here). Almost any civilization prior to the Aufklärung (even the Greek civilization!) had a way to mask the concept of ‘limit’ and ‘boundary’ – be it Hubris, be it Sin, be it God, be it Truth. (See also B.Russell, HWP[ss.699-700]). Lem, Asimov, Sagan and their followers tried to go further, to break free. It seems to me that the construction of an entirely immanent ontology, materialistic, atheistic is the real target Lem is pursuing. Wir heimatlosen!

What about the likes of Kant and Gödel? What can we make of the limits to the human mind and its possibilities of comprehension they set with (1) “Kritik der reinen Vernunft” and (2) the famed 1931 “Incompleteness” Theorem?

Categories: Cosmos, Episteme, Lem

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