Transhumanism and The Myth of Arrival

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Sud Alogu
9 min readJan 19, 2023


Nietzsche’s Human All-Too-Human is a book that explores the human condition and our tendency to make assumptions about the world and ourselves. Nietzsche argues that humans often fall into the trap of seeing themselves and the world in a certain way, without ever questioning the validity of these assumptions. He believes that this leads to a lack of self-awareness and a lack of understanding of the world around us.

Nietzsche thinks that we have a tendency to project their own beliefs and desires onto the world, rather than seeing it as it truly is. This can lead to a distorted view of reality, where we see things that are not actually there. Nietzsche also argues that humans have a tendency to see the world in terms of good and evil, rather than accepting that it is a neutral and impersonal place.

Nietzsche presents an argument in his book that humans have a tendency to create moral and belief systems based on our own desires and needs, rather than an objective understanding of reality. This, Nietzsche claims, leads to a lack of freedom as we are constrained by these systems and unable to see the world from different perspectives. Additionally, Nietzsche addresses the concept of knowledge and how it is often used to justify our prejudices and desires. He argues that knowledge is often used to justify our own biases and beliefs, rather than as a means to understand the world. Nietzsche contends that true understan3ding comes from challenging our own convictions and assumptions, and seeing the world from a new and unique perspective.

Nietzsche, in his work, offers a critique of traditional morality and religion, maintaining that they are nothing more than human constructs designed to justify certain beliefs and actions. However, one could argue that there exist universal moral principles that aren’t simply human constructs but rather are based on reason and compassion. These principles, such as the Golden Rule or the principle of non-harm, aren’t arbitrary or subjective but rather grounded in human nature and the nature of the world.

Furthermore, it could be argued that religion serves a crucial function in providing a sense of community, purpose, and spiritual fulfillment for many people. While Nietzsche’s ideas may be intellectually stimulating, they do not necessarily invalidate the value of traditional morality and religion.

Some might say that Nietzsche’s worldview is overly cynical and nihilistic. Critics argue that his portrayal of humanity as nothing more than a cluster of selfish and shallow desires is overly negative and doesn’t take into account the brighter sides of human nature.

On the flip side, many consider Nietzsche’s ideas in “Human, All Too Human” to be incredibly insightful and thought-provoking. Nietzsche’s emphasis on self-awareness and self-overcoming is viewed as a valuable addition to our understanding of human nature. His call for individuals to transcend their base desires and strive for something greater is perceived as a powerful and motivating message.

Additionally, Nietzsche’s examination of religion, morality, and traditional values is considered a vital and pertinent viewpoint in contemporary society. His rejection of conventional morality and call for individuals to establish their own values is perceived as a liberating and empowering message. Furthermore, his critique of religion as a tool for control and oppression is deemed a valuable insight into the function of religion in society. These are all compelling critiques.

Nietzsche’s philosophy poses a conundrum — if we accept that life is meaningless, as he argues, then what is the point of striving for something better or creating our own values? This question has puzzled many who have encountered his ideas.

On the one hand, life can be said to have meaning and significance, regardless of the nature of our existence or whether an ultimate purpose exists. Meaning is imposed on us through our relationships with others and it is not something to be discovered somewhere else. On the other hand, when meaning is dependent on finite and imperfect beings such as ourselves, in an ultimately condemned universe, then principles such as justice, fairness, morality, and love appear to be in vain, being nothing more than the result of naturalistic processes and the blind, pitiless, indifferent movement of atoms.

This conundrum is the ultimate challenge posed by Nietzsche’s philosophy — how can one find meaning and purpose in a meaningless world? It is a question that requires deep reflection and a personal journey to find an answer.

Here are four notable quotes from the book:

“In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s torments.”

Here, Nietzsche argues that hope is a negative force in the lives of human beings. He suggests that hope prolongs one’s suffering by keeping individuals clinging to something that may never come to fruition.

Nietzsche’s perspective on hope is rooted in his philosophy of the eternal recurrence, which posits that all events in the universe repeat themselves infinitely. In this worldview, hope is seen as a futile endeavor, as it is based on the belief that things will change for the better in the future. But, according to Nietzsche, the future is predetermined and unchangeable, so there is no point in hoping for something different.

Nietzsche also believed that hope can lead to disappointment and despair when it is not fulfilled. When an individual places their hope in something and it does not come to fruition, they are left feeling let down and possibly even more hopeless than before.

Furthermore, Nietzsche argues that hope can be a form of escapism, allowing individuals to avoid dealing with the present reality and their current problems. Instead of facing their struggles head-on, they may choose to hold onto hope as a means of avoiding their problems and their suffering.

“No one dies of fatal truths nowadays: there are too many antidotes.”

One interpretation of this quote is that Nietzsche is critical of the way that people in modern society use distractions and diversions to avoid dealing with difficult truths. This could include things like entertainment, social media, or drugs and alcohol. These distractions provide a temporary escape from reality, but ultimately do not address the underlying issues.

Another interpretation is that Nietzsche is referring to the proliferation of ideologies and belief systems that offer easy answers to complex problems, rather than facing the harsh realities of life. This could include religious or political ideologies that promise salvation or utopia, but ultimately do not deliver on those promises.

Nietzsche’s quote could also be interpreted as a comment on the way that people in modern society have become desensitized to difficult truths. With the constant bombardment of information and the ease of access to information, people are exposed to a wide variety of information, some of which are difficult to accept, but they have become accustomed to it to the point where it doesn’t affect them in a deep way.

“Do you deserve truth? You sure seek it, but do you deserve it? If you want to see real things burning you first have to reach up to the height of the fire.”

In this quote, Friedrich Nietzsche is questioning the value and merit of seeking truth. He implies that simply wanting to know the truth is not enough and that one must first prove themselves worthy of it by demonstrating the courage and determination to reach the heights where the truth burns.

In other words, truth is not something that comes naturally or easily. One must suffer greatly in order to reach it. But it is also true that truth has the potential to destroy you, like fire.

“Not joy but joylessness is the mother of debauchery”

Think of the ways in which people often drink, not because they are joyful, but because they have nothing to be joyful about. Alcohol and drugs become an escape from finding true meaning and happiness. But ultimately, these behaviors leads to a cycle of self-destructive behavior that become very difficult to overcome.

“Error has transformed animals into men; is truth perhaps capable of changing man back into an animal?”

Nietzsche thinks that people have become so detached from nature by blindly following social and cultural norms He suggests that these norms have suppressed man’s natural instincts, and thus disconnecting man from their true nature. We have discovered, through error, through wars and conflict, that our animalsitic natures are destructive and most be reigned in for the benefit of the human race. At the same time, Nietzsche believes that these self-corrective behaviors are ultimately based on social fictions. If one seeks the truth, they may discover that they are at root, animals, and knowing this can be liberating.

The spirit of Nietzsche’s book is to abandon hope. Whether it is hope in the promise of civilization or religion. The biggest danger is not failure, but rather than false anticipation of victory. And in our modern world, the ultimate anticipation of some final victory does not come from traditional religions, but rather, from Silicon Valley. The preachers of the future world in which technology brings about “deliverance” are people like Ray Kurzweil. They are engineers rather priests or sheikhs or rabbis. Instead of a holy book — the doctrines that are followed religiously come from scientists and technologists.

That is why Mahoney’s “The Myth of Arrival” is a thought-provoking work. It delves into the idea that the human experience is one of constant movement and change, rather than one of arrival or completion. Through his use of literature, philosophy, and personal anecdotes, Mahoney argues that the idea of “arrival” is a myth that is deeply ingrained in our culture and that it leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment.

The central argument of “The Myth of Arrival” is that human beings are always in a state of becoming, and that the idea of arrival is an illusion. Mahoney suggests that the human experience is one of constant movement and change, and that the idea of arriving at a final destination is a false one. He argues that the belief in the possibility of arrival leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment, as individuals are always striving for something that is ultimately unattainable.

Mahoney uses literature, philosophy, and personal anecdotes to support his argument. He references works such as Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” to illustrate the human desire for arrival and the futility of that desire. He also uses personal anecdotes to show how the belief in arrival can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment.

“Waiting for Godot” is a particularly poignant example, as the two main characters are in a state of constant waiting, never arriving or completing their journey. Mahoney argues that this theme is reflective of the human experience — we are always waiting and striving, never arriving at our destination. In one scene of the play, the two characters debate the idea of arrival — one says that they have arrived, while the other insists that they are still on the journey. This scene serves to illustrate the futility of chasing after an arrival that can never be reached.

In Walden, Thoreau also contends that life is a journey and not a destination. He problematizes the notion of arrival and maintains that life is a process of constant change and growth. For Thoreau, the point of life is to find contentment in the journey, instead of searching for an unattainable destination. This might sound like a cliche, but the deeper point is that true fulfillment and satisfaction come from accepting life as it is, and not trying to control outcomes. This is a difficult lesson to learn and one that is often met with resistance. However, by embracing life’s changing nature and accepting the journey, we can gain a sense of peace and harmony that is not found in the pursuit of an impossible goal. In other words, Mahoney’s The Myth of Arrival serves as a reminder to embrace the journey and to appreciate all the moments along the way, even if that journey leads us to a utopian state of post-humanity.

Mahoney’s “The Myth of Arrival” has a significant relevance to the movement of transhumanism. Transhumanism is a movement that aims to use technology to enhance human capabilities and transcend the limitations of the human body and mind. It proposes the idea of a “post-human” state, where humans will have overcome their physical and mental limitations. However, Mahoney’s argument that the human experience is one of constant movement and change, and that the idea of arrival is an illusion, can be applied to the transhumanist movement.

Transhumanism argues that through technology, humans can transcend the limitations of the human body and mind and arrive at a post-human state. This idea of arrival, where humans will have overcome their physical and mental limitations, can be seen as a form of the myth of arrival. Transhumanists believe that through technology they will have arrived at a final destination, a post-human state, but as Mahoney argues, the human experience is one of constant movement and change and the idea of arrival is an illusion.

Mahoney’s argument that the belief in arrival can lead to a lack of appreciation for the present moment is also relevant to transhumanism. Transhumanists often focus on the potential of technology to enhance human capabilities and transcend the limitations of the human body and mind, but they may overlook the present moment, and the possibilities and potential for growth within the current human state.