With nanotechnology suitably developed, we’d be able to do virtually anything with our bodies. But without it, what do you think the limits are to our ability to control the structure, condition and even the physical form of our bodies?
To me the question is "Is shapeshifting possible?" Now one of Clarke’s Laws was "When a distinguished scientist says something is possible he is usually right: when a distinguished scientist says something is impossible, he is usually wrong", but more and more as I get older I find myself believing we are as constrained by our understanding of concepts as we are by anything else. Vernon Vinge’s concept of the Singularity, where infinite progress becomes not just possible but economically feasible, is not totally fantastic, but mainly because it would best make sense as a point in the understanding of education.
Fractal Biology has given new life to some old, somewhat alchemical, concepts of what the relationships between life forms are. In fact, this was one of the things expressed in "As above, so below." This actually suggests that the differences between, say humans and wolves, are MORE profound than we realize, and something both slower and more permanent than "shape-shifting" would be needed.
Further, recent psychological studies which point to the difficulty of reaching truly "objective" conclusions would appear to support (again with a twist) the old esoteric teaching that personality and human consciousness itself are inventions as artificial (and profound) as the Wheel or the use of fire for cooking. Rudolf Steiner and George Gurdjieff are two teachers who explained this. This raises the question as to whether we could conceptualize (write specs for) such a transformation.
Nanotechnology does not to me seem important to the question of whether there are limits to our ability to control the structure, condition and physical form of our bodies. With understanding, we might find other methodologies, if it is worth doing.
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