Articles - Security Science Journal
Future Wars and Their Morale in Post- And Transhumanist Discourse - Survey Study (Part 2)
(Vol. 5 No. 1, 2024. Security Science Journal)
23 Apr 2024 06:57:00 PM
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Author:
dr Jowita Brudnicka-Żółtaniecka, Uczelnia Nauk Społecznych, Łódź, Poland 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.37458/ssj.5.1.7
Research Paper

Received: September 25, 2023
Accepted: February 12, 2024

 

Abstract: The article serves as a continuation of the first part of reflections on future wars and the morale of their participants. The results of a survey will be presented, addressing the most important issues and controversies related to the concept of post-humanism. The study of the awareness of declared transhumanists regarding international security confirmed the heterogeneity of predictions and perceptions of globalization trends. However, even the analysis of the "metrics," i.e., the characteristics of the research group's parameters, allowed for drawing interesting conclusions. The research goal remained complex. Firstly, I wanted to confront the theoretical assumptions of post- and transhumanism; secondly, I aimed to attempt an answer to the question: Who is and what does the contemporary post- and transhumanist think about future wars?

Key words: modern wars, future, posthumanism, transhumanism, morale, the art. of war

 


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Introduction

The article is the final part of reflections on future wars in the post- and transhumanist discourse. It focuses on presenting the results of a survey in which individuals associated with the Polish Transhumanist Society participated. The questions revolved around issues related to future wars, including their methods, participants, reasons, and potential consequences. Attempting to align post- and transhumanist theories with the actual thoughts of the respondents is interesting but comes with research limitations. First and foremost, the study took the form of an online questionnaire, and participants did not have the opportunity in real-time to clarify their understanding of the questions they read. However, the respondents themselves were interested in the topic of future wars and willingly not only selected suggested answers but also shared their reflections by adding possible responses. As the person conducting the study, I did not know the participants but only received permission from the association's president to conduct it. Therefore, I had no prior knowledge, but I assumed that transhumanism enthusiasts had a theoretical foundation for their activities within the community. I did not know the number of people willing to participate in the study, so I consider over 100 participants to be a significant sample size. Another limitation relates to the ubiquitous disinformation, as confirmed by philosophers dealing with post- and transhumanist theory. Disinformation is, in turn, linked to the generation of emotions, which can impact morale.

Once again, acknowledging the universal importance in creating morale through emotion and information, it is necessary to compare them with the views of Mbembe, who identifies the characteristics of modern postmodern societies. "Speaking of "all of humanity," it is appropriate to acknowledge that in its current dispersion, in an age of swarming, dispersing and transplanting almost everything to everyone, it rather resembles a death mask (…) Our age is not an age of reason, and there is no indication that it can become one in the near future (…) it is rather an age prone to paranoia, hysteria and violence, to the annihilation of those from whom democracy has made enemies of the state." (Mbembe, 36) Emotions begin to permeate the political-social plane, and from there it is only a step from the military plane, because "modern war" is all the time a war that is an extension of politics." What makes it different from classical wars is the speed of spreading information, even the negative information that Sun Tzu warned against. As a result, Mbembe notes, the entire masses can feed on a threatening and fear-mongering vision of the world that gives precedence to the logic of suspicion, to everything secret, conspiracy-related and mysterious. Nevertheless, at a time when the technologization of war has made it possible to physically remove the soldier from the battlefield (standoff), there is probably no state that is not threatened by the menace of a classic form of confrontation. Morale can be affected by anything: information noise, information overload, or even frustration at technology that does not function properly.

Future wars in the minds of transhumanists

The survey was conducted among declared post- and transhumanists associated with the Polish Transhumanist Association. The survey was compiled in Polish and English versions and conducted online anonymously in  June 2023. A total of 107 individuals participated in online survey. 77 filled out the Polish form and 30 filled out the English form. This is a sizable result pointing out how few people involved in the military and technological advances are aware of the interpenetration of the areas of broad security and post-transhumanism.  Table No. 1 presents basic information about the basic data of the research participants. 

The largest number of all respondents were in the age range of 21-40 (73.8%), only 1 person was over 60 (0.9%). The largest number of respondents had Polish citizenship: 66%, followed by Turkish (12.1%), Slovak and Iranian (3.7%), Ukrainian (2.8%), and Indian (1.8%). The remaining nationalities represented one person: Romanian, French, Bulgarian, Moldovan, Azerbaijani, German, Sveden, . One person also marked the option: prefer not to say. In terms of gender, women (50.4%) prevailed, followed by men (46.7%), while three people indicated that they prefer not to identify their gender binary (2.8%). 67.2% indicated higher education and social sciences 38.3% predominated. The very identification of biological gender can allow to draw some conclusions from the assumptions of post- and transhumanism. Posthumanism seeks to eliminate the binarity of thinking of sexual categories: female-male, but this does not mean abandoning sexuality, but realizing it in other ways without unnecessarily limiting human potential reduced to biological conditions. Three individuals who refused to mark their gender may have just been guided by the premises of post- and transhumanist theory.

Table no. 1. Personal information

 

The subsequent questions were mostly multiple-choice, i.e. there was a note on the possibility of selecting at least one of the listed answers. Each question, through the presence of "Others" option, encouraged the construction of own answer, and it must be admitted that this option was eagerly chosen – thanks to it, respondents clarified their answers or indicated a completely new direction of thinking about the problem contained in the question. Each percentage in parentheses in this section of questions will indicate the percentages in relation to all selected answers in that particular question.

The first thematic questions focused on exploring awareness of the relationship between post- and transhumanism. 32% of all selections were responses that posthumanism is related to the technologization of human bodies. For the majority, transhumanism is associated with cyborgism. Quite reluctantly, respondents indicated the relationship between post- and transhumanism, while posthumanizm is more associated with the philosophical movement (30%). 12% of all responses to the posthumanism question indicate that posthumanism also seeks to technologize the human body. Nevertheless, it is clear to respondents that "posthumanism" seeks the disappearance of human dominance in the world (16%), but this does not automatically mean that there will be an equalization of "humans" with non-human animals and other entities (9%).

 

Table 2. What do you think “transhumanism” is?

  • The process of technologization of the area of human body 32% (56)
  • Philosophy or a trend in philosophy 24% (42)
  • The process of technologization of the area of social life 19% (33)
  • A social movement 13% (23)
  • The subsystem of posthumanism 8% (14)
  • The supersystem of posthumanism 2% (4)
  • Proactivity opposed to the precariousness of posthumanism, reluctance to deanthropocentrization, while accepting the concept of man as a fluid 1% (1)
  • Scio-scientific movement 1% (1)

 

Table 3. What do you think “posthumanism” is?

  • Philosophy or a trend in philosophy 30% (54)
  • A process aiming at the disappearance of man's dominance in the world 16% (29)
  • A social movement 12% (22)
  • The process of technologization of the human body 12% (22)
  • Part (subsystem) of transhumanism 10% (17)
  • The process of technologization of social life 10% (17)
  • The process of liberation of non-human animals, plants and other beings 9% (16)
  • Subsystem of descartian philosophy 1% (1)

 

The next thematic questions covered the topic of wars and their determinants. War is most often captured as a series of battles between at least two parties to a conflict. In particular, Polish-speaking respondents chose the answer that war is a tool and an extension of politics by military means, which is not surprising for the fact that Clausewitz and his work "About War" is within the scope of the core literature in the Polish Security Studies discipline. While national affiliation is of secondary importance to the post-human, it must be acknowledged that English speakers were quite reluctant to mark the answer that far fewer people are now dying in wars, and this was marked 18 times. However, the triad of politics (36%), economics (30%), and ideology, culture, religion (27%) were already strongly identified as the cause of wars. One person pointed out that "religion" is also a form of politics.

Table 3. Pick the closest definition of the term "war" to your understanding

  • A series of fights resulting from the conflict of two countries over spheres of influence in various areas 41% (44)
  • Tool and extension of the "policy" by military means 26% (28)
  • Currently, less people are killed, both soldiers and civilians 17& (18)
  • Currently, there are no wars, only armed confrontations 7% (8)
  • Wars are fought by states, not societies 3% (3)
  • The pro-bots and robophobia waging war on their own kind. Murder-Homicide augmented by X (X= any kind of technology) 2% (2)
  • A conflict between 2 parts (human beings, juristic personality, states, governments or country) by weapons or another men.
  • combined war 1% (1)
  • Clausewitz is right 1% (1)
  • A series of fights resulting from a conflict between two parties 1% (2)

 

The fourth question focused on the main cause of "modern warfare," and the most frequently given answer, which is "politics," only confirms the gap between "power" and "society." Trust, which politicians lack, is redirected towards other organizations that appear to be "closer to the people," such as internet corporations. Following closely behind is the economy and broadly understood culture. It is worth noting that in Security Studies, cultural aspects are emphasized as those that can trigger conflicts. Psychologists confirm this by stating that humans are not always rational, so one cannot solely attribute conflicts to economic factors. An example of this can be seen in Muslim women who, despite international aid in building wells, still opt for the long journey to traditional water sources. Post- and transhumanists show restraint towards post- and transhumanist theories because only a few respondents pay attention to environmental issues and related matters.

Table 4. What is the main cause of modern war?

  • Politics 36% (81)
  • Economy 30% (68)
  • ideology, culture, religion 26% (60)
  • ecology 4% (9)
  • sentience 0,45% (1)
  • resources 0,45% (1)
  • geopolitics 0,45% (1)
  • authority 0,45% (1)
  • unfortunately it can be anything 0,45% (1)
  • religion is a policy too 0,45% (1)

 

The respondents' perceptions are in line with international relationship theory regarding the change in the essence of state sovereignty and the increased role of international organizations. The primacy of the state in international relationships remained affirmed by "the ability to declare war," but as respondents noted, trust in institutions is not uncritical, and the role of international organizations in shaping global security is significant. Interestingly, a respondent's own answer appears next to this question, noting Elon Musk's power of influence on the military level.

Table 5. Are the state and its power the main power of international relations in the 21st century?

  • yes, they can declare war 35% (51)
  • no, entities with greater wealth, e.g. corporations, have more power 28% (40)
  • no, international organizations are more important 16% (23)
  • no, societies do not trust their authorities9% (14)
  • yes, societies trust their authorities the most 4% (6)
  • Yes, Elon Musk`s head strapped to one of his rockets = warhead + ICMB 0,7% (1)
  • depends on the country in question 0,7%(1)
  • yes, but also no. Yes, becouse the state and it`s power indeed are one of the main powers in the 21st century. No, because in the 21st century, to be the main power, there`s no need for the state. Most of the time is corporations, mainly technology and intelligence corporations, that move the dynamic of the state. 0,7% (1)
  • yes, because states are the only ones with a fully developed apparatus of coercion and/or self-legalization 0.7% (1)
  • corporations, dictatorships, military regimes, individual people 0,7% (1)
  • corporations lobbing on politics 0,7% (1)
  • corporations but are they an international relations actor? 0,7% (1)
  • Yes and no. In my opinion, there are at least two layers of conflicts: regional - actions carried out by a small number of players in a limited area, aimed at short-term benefits (economic, social); and global - involving organizations (governmental or not) aimed at political changes in a given region and establishing a new status quo. 0,7% (1)

 

The question about the symbol of the 21st century war, like with most questions, allowed respondents to share their ideas about the issue. The results of respondents' answers show that the war in Ukraine as a form of hybrid warfare is a symbol of 21st century wars (42%). This is, so to speak, a polemic with Security Studies theory, where usually experts point out that "nothing was the same anymore" as it was before September 11, 2001, the attack on the World Trade Center. This statement is true because it was the dramatic beginning of the asymmetric war on terrorism. The adversary of the democratic world was highly dispersed, its structure was characterized by networking, and the goal was to kill as many innocent people as possible with the loudest possible media publicity, which would ultimately destroy the United States. Hybrid warfare makes greater use of information warfare, the actions do not have to be so explicit because they are mostly "below the threshold of war." The war in Ukraine is firstly happening in real time, and secondly with this question there is quite a strong ethnic diversity, with 36 people filling out the Polish sheet and only 9 English speakers. Most English-speaking posthumans believe that the symbol of the 21st century war is the trade war between the U.S. and China. Respondents were eager to write their answers. One of the most indicative of posthumanism abolishing national-cultural divisions was: "the symbol is suffering and economic loss."

Table 6. Choose the "21st century war" symbol

  • hybrid in Ukraine 42% (45)
  • economic, e.g. US-China 25% (27)
  • war on terrorism (asymmetric) 17% (18)
  • home, e.g. in Maila, Syria 5% (6)
  • There's more than one war, therefore,different symbols 2% (2)
  • it`s too early to pick the one symbol of 21st century war 2% (2)
  • I am not racist. I hate all of humanityalike 1% (1)
  • Economics and personal benefits orhatred for a specific ethnicity 1% (1)
  • hybrid and economic 1% (1)
  • narcotics war 1% (1)
  • cyberwar 1% (1)
  • the symbol is the suffering of the innocent and economic loss 1% (1)
  • Iraq and Syria war 1% (1)

 

 

Questions on morale, which as a universal element of the art of war, will also in the future determine the reasons and motivations for participating in aggressive actions – whatever they may look like. Love of country (20%), money (17%), and assistance during emergencies (14%) were identified as factors boosting morale in the military. One respondent shared his thought that morale in the military is related to "stupidity or a mental problem."

Table 7. What do you think contributes to morale in military service?

  • love for homeland 19% (61)
  • money 17% (54)
  • helping society in crises, e.g. during a pandemic 13% (43)
  • willingness to test oneself in the service 11% (36)
  • hatred of other nations 8% (27)
  • sense of impunity and superiority over other service and profession 8% (27)
  • a feeling that I will not lose this job 7% (24)
  • desire to own a gun 5% (17)
  • praise from the supervisor 4% (13)
  • sense of purpose 1% (4)
  • belongingness to a group a people with power 0,32% (1)
  • other 0,32% (1)
  • no other employment alternatives 0,32% (1)
  • vision of quick retirement, gratification 0,32% (1)
  • stupidity or psychological problem 0,32% (1)

 

"Is morale important in military service?" – The majority answered yes, because it shows professionalism (54%), yes, because it shows love of the homeland (29%), no, a soldier merely follows orders (10%). There are as many as 6% of all indications that the occurrence of morale among soldiers is not related to professionalism. Not every soldier with high morale is professional, and not every professional is necessarily characterized by high morale. Also in these responses, in a way, it is possible to notice the characteristics of posthumanizm. The modern soldier, in their view, is first and foremost a professional, and only then motivated by "love of the homeland."

Table 8. Is morale important in military service?

  • yes, they show professionalism 54% (64)
  • yes, they testify to love for the homeland 28% (34)
  • no, a soldier just follows orders 10% (12)
  • no, a professional doesn't have to have high military morale 6% (7)
  • other 1% (1)
  • yes, they keep balance 1%(1)

 

The last three questions focused on the nature of future wars. The most responses indicated that they will be "remote and precision-led" (24%), and three responses were marked by an equal number of people (41): 1. they will be ecological due to dwindling resources; 2. they will be fought in cyberspace; 3. robots will take the place of soldiers. Perhaps these responses reflect the respondents' opinion that they may be of a very different nature, i.e. their cause may, e.g., be tangible in the real world (dwindling resources), but take place in the virtual world. It could be that the subject involved in the "struggle" will be robots. Post- and transhumanism actually encompasses so many areas of life development that it is hard to lean towards one developmental path regarding future wars.

Table 9. How do you think the "wars of the future" will look like (until the end of the 21st century)

  • wars will be "remote" and "precise" 23% (59)
  • Robots will take the place of soldiers 16% (41)
  • they won't change much and will be just as bloody 16% (41)
  • will be ecological, e.g. due to shrinking resources 16% (41)
  • will take place mainly in cyberspace 12% (31)
  • will be of an ideological nature, e.g. for the equal status of humans and non-human animals 5% (14)
  • will move into space 4% (11)
  • Others 0,81% (2)
  • Combo-breaker of cyber warfare and AI controlled drones (that were hacked and used against the country that owns them) 0,40% (1)
  • everything will be the same except it won`t be bloody 0,40% (1)
  • war is war, always full of tears, blood and sorrow 0,40% (1)
  • it depends on the goals, resources, etc. the model of the psychology of war will remain the same0,40% (1)
  • with use of biological weapon 0,40% (1)
  • Climate change will cause wars, ideologies too, let's hope there will be no war with machines. Man will continue to kill man with new technologies 0,40% (1)
  • there is a high probability that Strong Artificial Intelligence will take away control of people over their future, including the ability to wage wars 0,40% (1)

 

Respondents believe that the most important type of armed forces will be cyber troops (46%), aviation (22%), infantry (8%). Individuals supplemented survey responses by noting that it will depend on the type of conflict, and troops will operate in a combined manner.

Table 10. 

  • Cyber Forces 46%(49)
  • Air Forces 22% (24)
  • Land Forces8% (9)
  • Special Forces 5% (5)
  • Territorial Defence Force 5% (5)
  • Navy 3% (3)
  • depends on conflict 3% (3)
  • Space Forces 2% (2)
  • combined forces 2% (2)
  • don`t want to think about that 1% (1)
  • ecological forces 1% (1)
  • intelligence and cyber forces 1% (1)
  • there will be just collaboration but without any lead forces 1% (1)

 

There are some interesting answers to the last question about the causes of future wars. As many as 31% of all marked answers is the question that hatred of other nations will be the main cause of future wars. Two rather inconsistent conclusions can be drawn from this answer. The first may indicate that perhaps post- and transhumanists are more attached to the classical causes of wars than post- and transhumanist ideas might indicate. After all, at the core of these ideas is the disappearance of all binarity, why then do they embrace the survival of national affiliations? On the other hand, it can be assumed that perhaps the respondents are aware that post- and transhumanist assumptions may not be applied to the consciousness of future societies. Perhaps if national, cultural, gender divisions had just disappeared it would not be so easy to determine: who remains my enemy in the end? The enemy would then have to be defined, it would not be possible to call it by national affiliation, but characterized as, e.g. "an opponent of equalizing the status of man and machine." The very characteristics of the group of respondents already allow to conclude that they are people attached to national issues. First, in the general questions they mostly indicate what their nationality is. Secondly, the name of association with which they are affiliated does not indicate that its members fully accept the disappearance of divisions postulated by the "post-transhuman." The name is: The Polish Transhumanist Association, and perhaps it would be more posthumanist to limit the term "Polishness" to mentioning the name where the association operates – the name would then read: Transhumanist Association in Poland. Seemingly, the difference in the name seems slight, and yet when compared with the assumptions of post- and transhumanism it turns out to be significant. Individuals point out that "anything is possible," and "let's hope that corporations will not have their own armies."

Table 11. Who will be the "enemy" the soldiers will fight?

  • other nations 31% (61)
  • negative ecological changes, including natural disasters 18% (37)
  • robots, artificial intelligence 17% (35)
  • transnational corporations 12% (25)
  • pandemics 10% (20)
  • inhuman- animals4% (9)
  • everything is possible 1% (2)
  • anyone who will compete for strategic resources0,51% (1)
  • hostile combatants0,51% (1)
  • The enemy must be divided so that he does not know who he is fighting with 0,51% (1)
  • let's hope google doesn't have armies of its own 0,51% (1)
  • various disasters 0,51% (1)
  • diffcult question 0,51% (1)
  • all that remains will be autonomous, designed in our image 0,51% (1)

 

Conclusions

A survey conducted among people associated with the Polish Transhumanist Association allows to conclude that the field of theoretical and practical understanding of post- and transhumanism is in agreement on the following issues:

• There is no consensus on the extent of definitional relationships of post- and transhumanism. Most generally, the study showed that the idea of "post-human" unites post- and transhumanism. However, as to what values the "post-human" holds, there is no consensus in either theory or practice alike.

• The post- and transhumanist community is ideologically diverse, as are the various strands of post- and transhumanism. People who can be described as "classic post-transhumanists" have not identified their gender (vanishing binarism), have not defined their national affiliation (vanishing we-they boundaries). They see the enemy in future wars in negative climate change (posthumanists), and robots and artificial intelligence (transhumanists).

The incompatibility of theoretical assumptions and practice of post- and transhumanist consciousness is reflected in:

  • Identification of gender, nationality
  • Perception of the future enemy in "other nationalities"
  • Determination of the symbol of "war of the 21st century" also allows to notice national tendencies, perhaps not fully conscious by the respondents themselves. Polish-speaking respondents consider "hybrid war in Ukraine" to be "a symbol of 21st century war." English-speaking respondents, perhaps not dealing with the Ukrainian refugees who fit so beautifully into contemporary Polish daily life, think that it is the "U.S.-China trade war" that is the greater symbol. It is quite hard to determine from post- and transhumanist theories which of these responses can be considered more post- or transhumanist. The war in Ukraine certainly draws attention to hybridity, i.e., the realm of information warfare in cyberspace and traditional media. The U.S.-China trade war is a kind of "cold war" – the countries do not break off diplomatic relationships, the aggressive actions are not directly felt by the societies of their countries, and the aggression perhaps takes place in the economic activities of both countries.

In the area of "morale" as an element of the "art of war," it does not allow to conclude either compatibility or contradiction of theory and practice. Respondents, on the one hand, believe that "morale" proves "love of the homeland," "is an expression of professionalism" – not necessarily professional is the feeling of love for the homeland in the opinion of respondents. Analyzing the respondents according to the language key, the conclusions were equally interesting. Polish-speaking respondents indicated that morale is primarily an expression of "professionalism," and the factor having the greatest impact on morale is "money." The vast majority of those completing the Polish-language survey declared Polish nationality. Therefore, perhaps a manifestation of their inclination towards post- and transhumanism is the rejection of "national myth of Poland and the Pole," which is based on messianism , automatically associated with the status of "victim," i.e. a subject surrounded by enemies, misunderstood and abandoned. This means that for Poles, "morale" is "professionalism," which is motivated by money. At the same time, thanks to these answers, Polish respondents are to a greater extent "exemplary post- and transhumanists," i.e. they are aware that morale is not a result of national affiliation, but it is a human trait, the manifestation of which is professionally performed military service.

Both post- and transhumanism are constantly redefining on the theoretical level – scientific activity, as well as on the practical level, e.g. body modifications, technologization of areas of everyday life, etc. The exchange of knowledge, perception of processes that bear the hallmarks of post-transhumanism is and will remain important. It will certainly help eliminate a certain area of ignorance, and increase the ability to forecast the future, including the nature of the so-called future wars.

 


References:
  • Mbembe A. (2019) Necropolitics, Duke University Press.Sobczyk E. (2018) Animals as Victims of Cruelty, War and Revolution, Art and Documentation, Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.
  • Dyrda M.J. (2014) Psychosocial Determinants of Morale in the Armed Forces, Aspra.
  • Foucault M. (2019) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Penguin Books.
  • Vlassopoulos K. (2007) Free Spaces: Identity, Experience and Democracy in Classical Athens, The Classical Quarterly 57, no. 1.
  • Bennett J. (2010) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, Duke University Press.
  • Hayles K. (1999) How We Became Posthuman. Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, The University of Chicago.
  • www.encyklopedia.pwn.pl

 

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