Positive Biotechnology: Homo Positivus and Self-Actualization in the Age of Technology
With the rise of modern humanism and its psychological progeny, humanistic psychology, an emphasis on self-actualization has been de rigueur across many fields of scientific exploration. In the last several decades, Positive Psychology, with its focus on eudamonia, or the factors contributing to a meaningful and fulfilling life, has assumed responsibility for propagating this line of thought. Indeed, it might be argued that positive psychology, as a modern philosophy of human aspiration, has permeated a broader range of techno-scientific pursuits than similar, past ideological stances, spawning a sub-culture of positive, yet sometimes anti-positivistic, endeavors.
With cult-like status, positive psychological principles have been applied toward exploring mental (e.g., positive suicidology; positive psychiatry) and physical health (e.g., positive health psychology), understanding the brain (e.g., positive neuropsychology), and enhancing the outcome quality of human-technology interactions (e.g., positive computing; positive technology). Yet, criticisms of the evolution of homo positivus abound; for example, a singular focus on positive emotionality, a componential rather than wholistic perspective, a positivist-scientism emphasis, and adherence to Eurocentric cultural perspectives, are among the issues debated. Possibilities available to humankind. This warrants the question, as we move toward greater integration of man and machine.
Can, and should, the growth-focused and resiliency-promoting tenets of positive psychology be applied to biotechnology, or will our Übermensch strivings have unintended consequences, such as biotechnological enhancements that allow transcendence of the existential concerns defining our humanity? A post-modern “Positive Biotechnology” paradigm is proposed, which integrates the evolving perspectives of Positive Psychology 2.0 and the rapidly-emerging transhuman biotechnological possibilities available to humankind.
Hirsch, Jameson K.. 2018. Positive Biotechnology: Homo Positivus and Self-Actualization in the Age of Technology. Homo Technicus/Technologicus: Biotechnology, Health Promotion and Ethics of Human Flourishing, Coburg, Germany. https://www.hs-coburg.de/fileadmin/hscoburg/Veranstaltungen/HomoTechnologicus_-_Konferenzprogramm.pdf