Death or the Powers: The Future of the Human Experience

By Judy Kay King.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 10, 2014 $US5.00

The Pulitzer Prizes for fiction and music are incentives for excellence in creative writing, and these texts are also valuable for their visions of humanity’s future. According to anthropologist Morris Opler, theme identification is essential to cultural analysis. In view of technological acceleration and radical enhancement proponents who forecast emergence of greater-than-human superintelligence, the imaginative vision of Pulitzer-winning fiction and music between 2001 and 2012, may possess themes supporting, tempering, or refuting radical enhancement in American culture. Discovering emergent themes from empirical texts is a primary activity in qualitative research, and research-based scrutiny techniques for complex narratives include 1) discovering thematic repetitions, 2) coding themes and subthemes in categories, 3) analyzing metaphors, and 4) searching for similarities and differences. With this inductive approach to themes in Pulitzer fiction and music, a thematic cybermeter can be created to test the strength of the radical enhancement conceptual frameworks proposed by Ray Kurzweil, Aubrey de Grey, Nick Bostrom, and James Hughes. Other scientific publications on machinic life and technological paradigms are also reviewed to estimate the strength of radical enhancement theories in American culture versus alternative visions that preserve the human experience.

Keywords: American, Cultural Studies, Literary Theme Identification Technological Paradigms

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 11, Issue 3, April 2014, pp.1-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 662.938KB)).

Judy Kay King

English Instructor, English Department, North Central Michigan College, Petoskey, Michigan, USA

My work centers on semiotics in cultural activities (mythology, literature, religion, science, art and so on) to determine human meaning, expand intentionality, and share knowledge about our potential for evolutionary survival and adaptation within the cosmos. Currently, I am a writing and humanities instructor at North Central Michigan College in northern Michigan, and a member of the Semiotic Society of America. My background includes an education grounded in semiotics, a sixteen-year career in college instruction related to writing, literature, mythology and business communication courses, academic positions in project management and staff development, self-employment as a competitive grant writer for educational goals, and experience as an author and publisher. I am interested in the enlightenment and preservation of humanity.