This project explores Enhancing Life as an essential aspiration of human beings that moves persons and communities into the future. The human drive to enhance life is often an implicit aim in cultural, technological, and spiritual processes intertwined with what Charles Taylor called the social imaginary, including religion. The project addresses 2 Big Questions: What does it mean to enhance life, especially spiritual life? Correlatively, what are the spiritual laws for the strategies, social mechanisms, and technologies that enable us to enhance life in its many dimensions and in measurable ways?
Through 2 catalytic Framing Projects and a competitive grant process, the project will develop a core of scholars dedicated to work on enhancing life and the “spiritual laws” that can condition and orient this human aspiration in concrete and measurable ways. 2-year sub-grants for research on "Enhancing Life" will be awarded to 13 senior scholars and 20 early career scholars. Senior scholars will meet over three 2-week residency seminars that will include a 5-day roundup seminar (capstone conference in the final year) with the junior scholars and 2-day interlocutor participation (to be streamed online).
The project lays the foundation for Enhancing Life Studies with outputs of 35 major book manuscripts, 18 presentations, and 15 courses, in addition to 20 courses after the project period. The outcomes will include further research projects in the novel field of Enhancing Life Studies. Due to this new line of inquiry, changes in the curriculum of major universities will take place.
An enduring impact of the Project will be to spread the discovery that enhancing life is the underlying aspiration in, behind, and within many human activities and abides by spiritual laws. Researchers and the public will grasp the fundamental dynamics and spiritual meaning in the human aspirations and capacities for enhancing life. The Project will thereby inspire enhancing life itself.