Yesteryear’s “Disabled” Are Today’s Augmented

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:

Disabled turns Abled

We – the human race – are engaging in a brave new world, beyond the limitations of flesh and biological organs. Indeed, as I’ve noted in previous articles, we are moving fast towards a Transhuman future. What does this entail? Simply put: we’re moving away from our biological substrate and gradually merging with that of machines. There’s no stopping it; it’s already in motion.

Elsewhere I’ve mentioned the amazing benefits this’ll provide for us, especially for those whom society have labeled “disabled” – to not only provide them with high-tech prosthetics to make them ‘abled’ again, but to provide them with the opportunity of becoming more than their own biology permits them. In other words, to become augmented!

Aimee Mullins and Hugh HerrNot too long ago we merely provided what I consider “getting by” devices for the disabled. What these devices provided were simple gestures of strength-through-hardship. Canes, peglegs, walkers, and low-tech prosthetics – these were the devices in which the disabled had to accommodate themselves to. Suffice it to say, they were heavily inadequate.

Today, however, whether it be bionic arms, bionic legs, cochlear implants, or retinal implants, the definition of what it means to be “disabled” no longer exists – not to any considerable degree, that is. And guess what? We’re only getting started! This is merely the beginning of a grand revolution – a paradigm shift in both thinking and living. And who better to look at as prime examples of those in the frontlines of said revolution than athlete/fashion model Aimee Mullins and engineer/biophysicist Hugh Herr!

“The conversation with society has changed profoundly in this last decade. It is no longer a conversation about overcoming deficiency. It’s a conversation about augmentation. It’s a conversation about potential. A prosthetic limb doesn’t represent the need to replace loss anymore. It can stand as a symbol that the wearer has the power to create whatever it is that they want to create in that space. So people that society once considered to be disabled can now become the architects of their own identities and indeed continue to change those identities by designing their bodies from a place of empowerment.”

— Aimee Mullins

“Every person should have the right to live life without disability if they so choose — the right to live life without severe depression; the right to see a loved one in the case of seeing impaired; or the right to walk or to dance, in the case of limb paralysis or limb amputation. As a society, we can achieve these human rights if we accept the proposition that humans are not disabled. A person can never be broken. Our built environment, our technologies, are broken and disabled. We the people need not accept our limitations, but can transcend disability through technological innovation.”

— Hugh Herr


TRANSHUMANISM

/tranzˈhyo͞omənizm/

noun

the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.


 

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