As I understand it, a position is posthumanist when it no longer privileges human ways of encountering and evaluating the world, instead attempting to explore how other entities encounter the world. Thus, the first point to note is that posthumanism is not the rejection or eradication of human perspectives on the world, but is a pluralization of perspectives. While posthumanism does not get rid of the human as one way of encountering the world, it does, following a great deal of research in post-colonial theory, feminist thought, race theory, gender theory, disability studies, and embodied cognition theory, complicate our ability to speak univocally and universally about something called the human.
It recognizes, in other words, that there are a variety of different phenomenologies of human experience, depending on the embodied experience of sexed beings, our disabilities, our cultural experiences, the technologies to which our bodies are coupled, class, etc. This point is familiar from the humanist cultural and critical theory of the last few decades. Posthumanism goes one step further in arguing that animals, microorganisms, institutions, corporations, rocks, stars, computer programs, cameras, etc., also have their phenomenologies or ways of apprehending the world…
We see this point in the case of civil rights struggles. A big part of these struggles consisted in the recognition of the point of view of minorities and women. In recognizing that these people also have perspectives, that they aren’t simply “objects” in the pejorative sense, we also recognize that they deserve to be treated with dignity. The same is true with animals. To recognize that animals have points of view, that they have perspectives, is to recognize that they deserve to be treated with dignity. Our attitude towards them changes when we adopt their perspective. Similarly in the case of the disabled and those suffering from mental illness. When we adopt their perspective we’re less likely to treat them in brutal and horrific ways as is so often the case in many homes.
In a brief compass, Sri Aurobindo integrates the soul and the universe into a coherent and significant process of Reality: “What we are is a soul of the transcendent Spirit and Self unfolding itself in the cosmos in a constant evolutionary embodiment of which the physical side is only a pedestal of form corresponding in its evolution to the ascending degrees of the spirit, but the spiritual growth is the real sense and motive.”
The past represents the prior stages of this evolution of consciousness in form. The present represents a stage in that evolution which has not yet been completed. The future holds the next stages and opens up the evolutionary development to new and greater manifestations of consciousness.
Our purpose in existence then is to act as a nexus of this increasing development of the spiritual evolution: “Why we are here is to be this means of the spirit’s upward self-unfolding. What we have to do with ourselves and our significances is to grow and open them to greater significances of divine being, divine consciousness, divine power, divine delight and multiplied unity, and what we have to do with our environment is to use it consciously for increasing spiritual purposes and make it more and more a mould for the ideal unfolding of the perfect nature and self-conception of the Divine in the cosmos.”