"The never-ending task of finishing himself, of transcending the limits of his physical being, is the powerhouse of man's creativeness..." - Eric Hoffer
All religions agree that humans are imperfect (at least the ones I am familiar with). You might even say that people are unfinished. I find the whole thing very odd indeed.
If one believes in evolution, why did it suddenly stop and leave people unfinished? (Those who claim people are "still evolving" don't know the difference between macro and micro "evolution.") If you believe in God, same thing. Hence, for Christians, "orginal sin" explains the fact we are imperfect.
There are various "cures" for being unfinished. For fundamentalists, "getting saved." For Eastern religions, becoming "enlightened." Yet, still, for all that, people remain unfinished.
Leftism, one of the sickest (if not the sickest) belief-systems ever created, believed that with education and the proper upbringing people would become god-like. That didn't work at all and led to the deaths of hundreds of millions (this is what happens when you give unlimited political power to the most imperfect people of all - those who lust after political power).
Even science believes people are unfinished, with the cure being genetic engineering (which, along with nanotechnology and designer drugs, might turn us into the Borg).
Our unfinished state is what drives us to try and better ourselves. It's the purpose of drug use, of political science, of economics, of psychology, of science and technology, of religion.
When I was a little kid I saw an episode of the original "Outer Limits," in which David McCallum was a Welsh miner who decided to undergo "evolution," courtesy of a machine with lots of knobs and dials. He came out the other end with a huge bald brainiac head with pointy ears and six fingers on each hand. That didn't work out as expected and he decided to go back to his original state. The episode's name? "The Sixth Finger."
Rose Wilder Lane, author of The Discovery of Freedom (and the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, she of the Little House on the Prairie books, once said she wanted to be immortal so she could observe what people turned into. I'd probably prefer Brigadoon, which appeared to the outside world once every hundred years (only one night passed in Brigadoon), so if I didn't like what I saw, I'd just go back to the Garden - I mean Brigadoon.
These days, science and technology are supposed to save us. Considering what it's given us, I understand the belief.
I used to read a lot of science fiction in-between 11 and 14, and all of it was dystopian. There was never a Utopia. The most famous novels - 1984, Brave New World - are dystopian. But all of them had to do with not only the conquest of nature, but more than anything else, of human nature.
Some have tried to perfect human nature through politics, that is, through force. The whole of the 20th century was pretty much about that, by the Stalins and Pol Pots and Hitlers.
Generally, the political solution to finishing people was to try to turn them into machines (the Borg Queen: "Why do you resist us? We only wish to improve the quality of your lives."), or back into unconscious animals (Stalin charged his scientists with trying to breed humans with chimpanzees, to create the greatest warriors ever).
The history of humans has been trying to overcome both nature and human nature. We're doing pretty good with overcoming nature but a terrible job with overcoming the imperfections in people.
There is a writer named Richard K. Morgan who has written novels in which people's consciousness is transferred into machines and artificial bodies (Scott Adams, he of Dilbert fame, believes this is going to happen in the coming decades). I understand the desire, to give up our imperfect bodies subject to pain and disease. I just don't think it's going to happen.
One of Arthur C. Clarke's most famous comments is that any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. He has a point.
Again, in every religion and mythology with which I am familiar, there was originally a state of Paradise from which we fell. We're always trying to get back to it, for thousands of years through religion, recently through science and technology. We're always trying to return to Eden (Mark Vonnegut, Kurt's son, wrote one book about his schizophrenic break-down, the aptly-named - The Eden Express).
These original Paradise myths start with creation, Paradise, the fall from grace (often involving a flood and usually other catastrophes), then people trying to regain Paradise. Then, in the end, after horrendous catastrophes, they get there (think of the belief in "the Rapture").
The next few decades, when it comes to science and technology, are going to be interesting indeed.
Singularity, here we come! (Which, by the way, was predicted in Clarke's Childhood's End and 2001: a Space Odyssey.)