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The Enslaved Sculptor

As we age, the self is gradually exposed to us. We discover portions of our souls that we loathe while unearthing segments that bewitch us. As I pause ever so often to reconsider what Ive dug up, I ponder one simole question, one thats echoed through the writing's Ive absorbed since their introduction into antiquity; Are we destined to become who and what we are, or do we create ourselves?

Transhumanism is an overreaching school of thought in my opinion, although it is not without its merits practically. The philosophy seeks to use technological advances across a wide variety of scientific disciplines to extend all aspects of humanity's grasp. Nanobots, locally focused sonic waves, and genetically modified superfoods are enlisted to help mankind elongate our lifespans until we theoretically escape the confines of mortality for good. The movie "Limitless" introduced a nootropic drug called NZT-48 that imbues the user with the ability to access the entire brain, rather than the proposed 10% that is normally accessible. Already transhumanist thinkers are proposing cybernetics melded with our own physiology to increase our strength, speed and endurance to extraordinary levels, and our mastery of synthetic hormones and hormonal manipulation is experiencing unparalleled growth. In short, the underlying idea is that we can play God Himself, manipulating our own genetics masterfully, harnessing the power of the source code of existence for our own ends, tinkering with it endlessly. However, for the ideology's opponents, the main issue is an ethical one. Just how far is too far in these matters? If we can, say, transfer the consciousness of one person into another artificial body, is the resulting being the original subject or a mere representation of them? Does this type of power really belong in our hands?

A common argument is that despite what we try and attempt, we can never escape our nature. This perspective has some merit. If a young man is bulking up and finds his weight stalling at 185, he has two choices. He can either accept this fact and, despite popular dogma, still maintain and gain size by focusing on performance, or he can overeat, overtrain, and, unfortunately, resort to sullying his body with anabolic steroids, sacrificing his hormonal profile, testosterone levels, and long term health to gain a few more inches on his biceps. If you read me with any degree of consistency, you know that I lean towards the former path. This is a case of embracing and courting nature, prospering as God intended. It is never reccommended to eschew what's natural in favor of synthetic or chemical help. It's artifical, a crumbling edifice shielding a weak soul from harsh reality. However, this viewpoint isnt without its points of contention. Branding ones self a slave to their own nature is a breeding ground for weakness, sloth and a lack of ambition. Its the rallying cry of the pathetic kretin who, hidden away from the world in his childhiod bedroom, rubs another one out to hentai and extreme, depraved pornography before, eyes downcast disgustingly, trudging off to his minimum wage job to labor half-heartedly for some faceless corporation. Its the mental crutch of the overweight woman who "must" eat carbs and overly-processed filth because she "cant live without" her doleful treats. Reveling and owning one's nature is a blessing and requirement in this world, a prerequisite demanded for greatness to be achieved. However, do not ever get this simple truth twisted. Flaws, chinks in the mail of your armor, are not of your nature. Never cower behind them, championing yourself as a victim of cruel circumstance so that you may shirk hard work, leaving your sacred duty to God unkempt. You were made to thrive, overcome and rise, and blaming your valiant nature for your own shortcomings is an abominable sin.

Personally, I believe that we are both sculptor and artwork. An old idiom is that, as the craftsman shapes bulbous masses of clay into exquisite shape and striking vanity, the creative process works at him as well, grinding away the rough edges, smoothing the jagged points. The same can be said for the bodybuilder chiseling away at his physique with iron, sandbags, odd implements and my beloved calisthenics. I find this a fine metaphor for my private philosophy on life. We are given a blank slate, an unadorned canvas, an unfilled journal, at birth. God has blessed us with free will, and although it came at a terrible price, it is an essential gift nonetheless. We are free to become who we desire, whatever that personal totem may be. The Earth's cultures are widespread and diverse, granting creedence to the creative process. We are all, however, bound by a universal morality, try as certain members of our species may attempt in vain to mitigate and silence it. Regardless of cultural upbringing, ingrained beliefs or implicit bias, we all agree on a few steadfast certainties. Murder, rape, molestation and thievery are reprehensible, punishable with violence and bloodletting. Strength and guile are respected, while wit and charm are revered. A man is held in esteem for his imposing physical stature and leadership abilities, while a woman is prized for her beauty, grace and cunning. Im of the opinion that we are bound by our natures on an unconscious, spiritual level, yet we have the sentience and soveriegnty to determine who we become. Let us choose wisely.

Fate may play an indispensible role in our lives, but we can learn to dance with her rather than rally against her, to enact a passionately choreographed ballet rather than a chaotic bout of combat. The development of the self directly corrolates to our place in this world. As we experience life, both the peaceful and the malevolent, we are undoubtedly altered. When you consider it like that, it ironically renders this entire pontification a moot point, damning it to irrelevancy. We shape our lives and futures, walks and trajectories through conscious choice, yet what we encounter in the world pierces our walls, growing to define us. A universal truth, live and let live, yin and yang. Go do it.

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