In a recent dream, I was discussing the future of humanity with an acquaintance. I cannot recall who but the tone of the conversation was one you might have with a professional colleague rather than a close friend. Polite and interested but with limited emotional depth. We debated whethercould be refined.
I said yes, and rolled up my left shirt sleeve to show him. I pointed out the anatomical and functional differences between the elbow, forearm and wrist joints. The elbow is a simple hinge allowing movement in one plane, the radioulnar joint in the forearm allows for supination and pronation, while the wrist is a modified hinge allowing movement in two planes.
I discovered while looking at my arm that it had already been modified to provide added functionality. My forearm could now not merely pronate, but actually rotate freely through 360 degrees around its longitudinal axis, and this rebuild was used to embed a Gatling gun. I used it to shoot the wall (my hand seemed to retract invisibly out of the way). I didn’t find this disturbing, and wondered what other cybernetic weaponry could be incorporated into my new arm.
In interpreting the dream, my first thought was to consider the emotional content. I was calm, intrigued and felt that I was demonstrating something important my friend by having this modification. I did not view the change negatively but instead thought it was a natural progression.
The arm is involved in doing things; it is our prime method of interacting physically with the world. The cybernetic implantation implies a change in the way I view my relationship with the world. Combined with the positive emotional content, and the lack of gore, I interpret this to be a belief that my interactions are more effective and efficient than in the past.
A gun is inherently a destructive tool. But I did not use it in a violent manner. I did not aim it at others, but merely enjoyed the effect it had on the wall. I am mindful of its possible interpretation as a phallic object of control and power projection. The calmness I felt may represent a sense of mastery over my environment.
One interpretation would thus be: I feel more comfortable with my inner self than in the past and so am more able to feel in control of my interactions with the world. This certainly feels a superficially plausible, given the changes I’ve made in my life over recent weeks, but one should always be cautious of dream interpretation as one can inadvertantly use ego defence mechanisms in the interpretation.
Dream analysis is an area I find intriguing and enjoyable. I do not fully accept it as an infallible symbolic language but it is fascinating nonetheless. I would be interested in hearing any interpretations readers may have about this dream.
The transhumanism of the title refers to the intellectual movement that supports the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical capabilities. It suggests that with technologies suggest as cybernetic enhancement, we can evolve ourselves to a higher form of human, the “posthuman”. While it invokes science, it has strong transcendentalist and Nietzschean overtones, and so is a controversial concept.