Why do we seek to transcend ourselves?

From: Ben Goertzel (ben@goertzel.org)
Date: Mon Jul 15 2002 - 06:36:51 MDT

Someone just asked me this question in a private e-mail:

P.S, I have always wondered one thing, if i may ask you this?
Why do we as humans, feel the need to create something with the possibility
of being much greater than us? interms of Intelligence and awareness (And
even possibly, in Physical Strength.) I figured I would ask you this,
because you are a scientist

My answer was as follows.

I think the motivation is a combination of a number of factors, including
but not limited to:

1) We are evolutionarily programmed to seek greater intelligence. This is
not an odd assertion, it probably goes along with the trajectory of
increasing intelligence that has resulted in the creation of humans from

2) Perhaps there is some kind of trans-human force in the universe that
pushes toward the creation of greater intelligence, and humanity itself is
just a manifestation of this (this is a "self-organizational" rather than
strictly "evolutionary" answer)

3) There is a kind of existential/emotional lack most humans feel
internally, which causes them to reach out for something greater than
themselves, be it a God or a future superintelligent being

Anyone have any additional answers to add?

ben g

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