For well-motivated transhumanists, for therapeutic transhumanists (as we might call them - a category including most of the people who openly call themselves by that name of transhumanism); it is the project to alleviate all pain and distress, maximise gratification and fulfillment, abolish ageing and sustain human life indefinitely. In other words, it is a kind of extrapolation of medicine from treatment into enhancement.
At a mild and quantitative level, this soft-transhumanism has nearly always been a part of human life - the idea to use human knowledge and technology to enhance human life. But taken as an imperative, when regarded as a kind of religion-substitute; even well-motivated transhumanism is deadly - because by its focus on trans-cending human limitations, it implies trans-forming humans into something else...
So that if the human condition entails suffering, then humans ought to be abolished; if humans cannot be prevented from ageing, then we should devise some alternative 'life' that is immune to ageing; if humans persist in dying, then humans should be replaced by something that doesn't die...
If the abolition of suffering is the primary goal, it implies the abolition of life - which would be the only way of ensuring that nobody and nothing suffered. Bottom line transhumanism is therefore only one step away from advocating death as prophylaxis.
Transhumanism also provides no reason for having children - and many reasons to avoid having children - since children usually suffer, and are typically a cause of suffering in their parents. The safe option is to avoid them.
Or, short of death, abolishing human consciousness, which greatly intensifies the possibilities of suffering. This suggests that a lobotomised life, a tranquillised life, a sedated life, a false-virtual life, a drugged-euphoric life are all preferable to a conscious and free life insofar as they entail less suffering or more pleasure. Even if such a life led to rapid death, it would be preferable on a purely hedonic calculus.
But there is another side to transhumanism; which is the transhumanism that denies itself and operates by deception and dishonesty.
This is the transhumanism of mainstream, modern, almost-ubiquitous totalitarianism - a transhumanism that aims at omni-surveillance and micro-control of the population.
This transhumanism sells itself as hedonic - as enhancing - but is motivated by the agenda of control. It is the strategic push for intercommunicating 'smart' technology, for omnipresent cameras and microphones, a society in which everyone carries a tracking device (smart phone) that monitors their activity to a fine level of discrimination - and seeks always to extend this (artificial 'intelligence', self-driving cars, the skies filled with drones...) - and to make it mandatory (microchip implants etc.).
This transhumanism has infiltrated medicine, with a massive and expanding use of prescribed psychotropic drugs - mostly SSRI-type 'antidepressants' and 'antipsychotics' marketed as 'mood stabilisers'...
These types of drugs (especially when given to young children and teens and essentially normal adults, as at present) have a pronounced overall tendency to blunt emotions and induce a state of indifference - to partially-zombify people, to put it crudely. They all tend to increase suicide rates. Certainly they do more harm than good, overall - yet usage continues to expand - driven by serious problems of drug dependence and withdrawal symptoms, which are denied and hidden.
Much the same applies to the top-down mass campaigns of propaganda, funding and coercion to induce 'gender' uncertainty and same-sex attraction in children; and to 'treat' such situations with permanently harmful hormones and mutilating surgery. This is a crystal clear case of totalitarian transhumanism pushing forward under the guise of therapeutic transhumanism.
This totalitarian transhumanism is, I believe, an existential approach to social engineering, a core aspect of spiritual warfare; driven by the demonic powers of evil, and with the ultimate aim of compelling humans actually to want and to choose damnation.
So far, this totalitarian transhumanism has been spectacularly successful in persuading people that this is what they want. In this post-religious, anti-religious world it seems that most people are not just prepared to trade off freedom and privacy for amusement and convenience - they are positively queueing-up, and shelling-out large sums of money, to do so...
This totalitarian transhumanist agenda aims to implement a comprehensive system of surveillance and control so complete and dominant that it will be able to shape human emotions, motivations and knowledge as required.
My point here is to ascertain whether they are correct - supposing the totalitarian transhumanist agenda does, as seems to be happening, go-through to a very high level of completion. Suppose the world becomes one of omni-surveillance and micro-monitoring and control of behaviour...
Suppose the world is a single gigantic and interlinked System which affects the entirety of perception and extends into our bodies (via brain and hormone influencing microchips, or whatever might replace them).
Suppose that the demonic evil powers are in control of this total-system - so that they decide what we perceive - and are substantially able to entrain our emotions, and our reasoning processes.
Is this lethal to human agency or freedom of will; or not? Is a wholly controlled human brain-and-body also a wholly controlled person?
The answer is metaphysical - not evidential. If we believe that there is in Man that which is eternal and divine - the Real Self then that will always be free, agent, able to choose... If we believe that Real Self stands-outside of 'material' reality - and controlling the brain and body does not control the Real Self...
In other words, if the arena of freedom is thought, and if the thinking of the real self is immaterial - then this cannot be touched by the most successful totalitarian agenda; and the demonic plan is destined to fail.
So, are the demons making a mistake? Are they wrongly supposing that they can control thought by controlling the brain?
No - it is Not a mistake - because the demons already have in-place a metaphysical system which negates the Real Self.
For a long time, materialism (positivism, scientism, reductionism) has been the inbuilt assumption of official, media and all public discourse. This discourse intrinsically assumes that the Real Self cannot exist, because nothing immaterial (nothing spiritual) can exist. So the mind is wholly the brain, and the brain is the mind - and everything else is an illusion, a deception, a mistake...
In practice, this means that although the Real Self cannot be controlled, and cannot be destroyed; the situation has long since been created and sustained that the Real Self can be ignored - indeed ought-to-be ignored, since it is irrelevant, imaginary, an epiphenomenon. Insofar as the thinking of the Real Self reaches awareness, it will therefore be ignored or rejected.
As I have said, this has been going on for a long time by now. For example; a century ago Freud replaced Conscience - which concept carried a quasi divine imperative; with the Superego - which was implanted by parents and teachers as a mechanism of social control. At a stroke, the promptings of conscience changed from potentially divine nudgings, to an instrument of oppression that should be suppressed or ignored.
In a future totalitarian transhumanist society, the same would apply. Our Real Selves would still be present, and free agents; but we would - by our metaphysical assumptions - regard the Real Self as false, unreal, deceptive... and we would suppress or ignore it.
Thus the Real Self is utterly negated by inbuilt (often unconscious) metaphysical assumptions; and the merely-brain processing is a wholly-controlled unit of The System. Humanity has been captured - and can be directed to any goal desired...
I think this is a very important matter for us to get clear - since at present it looks very much as if the strategy of totalitarian transhumanism will succeed. There is little insight about the intentions and implications of current trends in surveillance and control. There is a general metaphysical denial of the immaterial and the divine.
Everything is in place - and the only delay is caused by the process of rolling-out the technology everywhere and to affect everyone...
Is there hope it will fail? Of course there is hope - each and any person can reject the agenda. I'm just saying that it does not look like this is happening.
The other hope - which is more realistic - is that the modern System will collapse before it can be fully implemented. I find this quite likely to happen - since there is a genetic decline in human capability (from the chosen sterility of the most intelligent and able population, and from the accumulation of deleterious mutations due to relaxed natural selection).
Geniuses have all-but disappeared from The West, we have already almost-ceased to make significant 'breakthroughs' in science and technology; and the failure would be expected to spread to R&D incremental development, then to repair and maintenance, then to the ability to manufacture and distribute...
And all this is exacerbated and accelerated by the deliberate dysfunctionality of 'affirmative action' preferences for women, specific races and classes, non-Christians, and those who identify with the goals of the Sexual Revolution. So we are not even trying to have the best people doing the most important jobs.
So, it is not unlikely that the totalitarian transhumanist agenda - which requires mass advanced technology and a reasonably-competent workforce - will be intercepted and prevented through our faults and blindness and wicked intent; rather than because of our understanding, foresight or virtue.
Prevented, therefore, by a wholesale collapse of modern civilisation; of agriculture, manufacture, medicine, trade and transport - with rapid and colossal mortality (measured in billions) from starvation, disease and violence.
Yet even that scenario (entailing the greatest quantity of acute suffering the world has yet seen) would almost certainly be better than the alternative of a permanent, comprehensive, global system of damnation...
Note added: I forgot to mention that in talking of transhumanism I speak as something of an ex-insider of the 'therapeutic' style of the thing. I was writing from this perspective in my psychiatric and psychopharmacology writings from about 1998 up to the middle/ late 2000s - and my writings from this era were and are hosted on David Pearce's hedweb.com server (Dave being one of the co-founders of the World Transhumanist Association, now renamed Humanity+). There is a video on YouTube from the summer of 2008, of a lecture I gave in which I set out the possible futures as Transhumanist or Religious. It was shortly after making this clear to myself that I became a Christian.
This is a brilliant essay, Bruce, one of your very best. It lays out our current dilemma with pinpoint accuracy and leaves no room for evasion. I believe the demons are aiming for the point where they will have created a real rupture between the earthly personality and the spiritual self, and their victims will literally be soulless entities. It’s a terrible thought. On the positive side though, our fate is entirely in our own hands. They can’t do anything to us that we don’t allow them to do.
As you say, the Real Self cannot be destroyed but I think the connection we have to it can be broken and this is what is being attempted now, with spectacular success, I would say. Once that happens there is probably no return though for God anything is possible I suppose. But it will probably be a self-chosen damnation which will not necessarily entail spectacular suffering but a gradual thinning of consciousness which will become less and less alert and alive, and possibly end up by fading away entirely.
The rate of implementation of the totalitarian agenda is accelerating and becoming more open and explicit (perhaps because the demonic powers feel that time is running-out before civilisation collapses, or perhaps simply because they are getting away with it so far; so why no increase the pace?). Yet I don't detect any overall increased recognition or resistance - there is a very vague sense of discomfort, but nothing clear or explicit.
I don't believe that lack of 'evidence' or 'information' is the main problem - there could scarcely be more evidence and information than we already have. The problem is those basic materialist, anti-spiritual, anti-divine, anti-Christian assumptions which absolutely prevent most people from perceiving and knowing what ought to be blatantly obvious.
There is much to unpack here (this whole essay strikes me as essentially correct) -- for now I want to suggest a term already in use that combines the two senses of transhumanism you are talking about: "Fully Automated (automatic) Luxury Communism" (as opposed to traditional Bolt-Action Rural Communism)
-- Robert Brockman
More thoughts on this:
The key to the genius famine is that new information only gets injected into the world via the True Self. Heavy suppression of the True Self should negate creativity entirely, only transformation of information already in the universe would be possible -- this is of course what we are observing in the modern System.
Dr. Charlton, I am increasingly convinced that the relationship between the True Self and the rest of the world can be described rather straightforwardly in terms of information theory and quantum mechanics. Of course the "inner workings" of the True Self *cannot be described* by any model representable in the physical world, even in principle. I think this can be argued on Incompleteness Theorem grounds, as well as on QM grounds: the quantum randomness (which I suspect forms part of the bridge between the material universe and the True Self) cannot be predicted by any means within this universe (this is Bell's Inequality.)
"Changing the coordinate system" of your ideas in this essay into a "QM / Information Theory basis" should allow us to expose a number of people in the transhumanism business to the reality of the True Self.
-- Robert Brockman
@RB - Your explanatory model is getting close to that kind of Platonist Deism which often attracts mathematicians and physicists. But (as I argued in my book about science - Not Even Trying) - I think the history of science shows us that this kind of life-philosophy is not sustainable across generations - it is a transitional stage between Christianity or Judaism en route to (demotivated) atheism. Because there has to be an *imperativ*e behind ideas - not just an aesthetic appreciation of abstractions.
Stunning insight and analysis, Bruce. This is a real 'cut out and keep' piece. You've done everyone a great service in writing this.
It's as if the demonic powers have read 1984 and Brave New World and decided to blend them together - hard and soft communism, as it were. But we, fortunately, have the prophetic insight of That Hideous Strength to give us perspective and hope.
@John - Thank you.
It's strange that both you and William like this post so much, in the sense that I wrote it just after a bad migraine combined with painful pharyngitis yesterday, a disturbed night's sleep - and I was still feeling pretty fragile, and blurry this morning. The auguries didn't seem hopeful.
Just goes to show... something or another.
Well we really have been cast into this world like lambs to the slaughter. I’ve no idea how ordinary foolish men like myself are to have a chance of safely navigating our way through this minefield we have been born into. A mighty plague unleashed upon the bodies minds and spirits of ordinary men, women and small innocent babes. Even the strongest and wisest among us could been struck down in an instant. How much responsibility can be put on the individual for being infected when there is disease all around him. When we have been bombarded by this strange force 24/7 from cradle to grave. Are we to be blamed for succumbing to this programming any more than Pavlov’s dog should be blamed every time the bell rang? And are those who know nothing of god to be judged for unwittingly succumbing to this most all encompassing, mightiest of forces, by this absent father that is god who they never really knew or never even met. How many billions have to suffer and perish at the hands of these demons. And why does god allow it?
It's an extremely though-provoking piece. Another point strikes me. If we're being encouraged to think that humans are nothing more than the contents of their brains then what's to say that robots can't be human too, They have a 'brain' as well, after all. I can easily foresee an incident in the future where a robot is beaten up by neo-Luddites in the back streets of Leicester or somewhere. Next day there'd be outrage in the press and a candlelit vigil would be held. I can imagine someone holding up a placard saying 'Robots feel pain too' or 'Robots are human too.' There'd be a big push for 'robot equality' and maybe even a 'robot parade' on the anniversary of the killing a year later.
The way things are going, by the time this scenario could potentially come to pass, there will probably be a very strong affinity between humans and robots. It's not so pronounced in Australia, where I am at the moment, but in England we're starting to see so many 'man-machine hybrids' it's astonishing - people talking to their phones as they're walking along wiith wires dangling out of their pockets and so on. People are becoming their technology, increasingly thinking like and even looking like the machines they use.
Another book I think the demonic powers must have read is Colin Wilson's Religion and the Rebel. What we read there is that it's only the Outsider who is capable of restoring and renewing a decadent civilisation. If you create a world where it's impossible to be an Outsider because there is no 'outside' - no thoughts or feelings that exist by themselves outside the system - then you rid yourself of the dangerous maverick who has the potential and to become the spiritual and creative genius who might shake your throne and usher in a new order. They've surely read That Hideous Strength as well. The last type of person they'd want to see is a Ransom-like figure, an Outsider who had found his place in the Great Battle between good and evil, who sees through the tissue of lies spread about by the ruling powers and has a relationship with God and the higher angels which enables him to do something about it. Such a man must never be allowed to appear.
It has been empirically proven by now, for those open to proof, that Man cannot function even at the most basic biological level without religion.
Without religion we cease to reproduce and choose species extinction - this applies in the native populations of all developed nations everywhere and without any exceptions.
But of course, the biological functionality is the least of it - it is merely a marker for the profound dysfunctionality of Man without God.
Yet a restoration of God to Man is only a first step - it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable - but it is only a first step. More exactly, we need to be Christian, but that is only a beginning, we need to be better Christians than ever before - and in a deeper and more personal way than ever before.
We can no longer rely on merely obeying a church, because the churches are part of the problem, and also because even perfect obedience to a perfect church is not enough.
It's a long stretch from where we are now! But the point is not to get there but to aim at it - there is plenty of time to get there on an eternal timescale, so long as we do not destroy that possibility by ceasing to think and allowing our judgment, our hearts, to be occupied and assimilated by The System.
We are manipulated, but we are not innocent - everyone knows, in their heart, the evil they do - they know that evil comes only where it is invited.
The deeply assimilated evil inflicted by totalitarian transhumanism is a product of multiple choices by multiple individual humans, of multiple times when evil has been chosen, accumulated one upon the other.
Anyone can stop, whenever they wish - by repentance. God ensures that the situation of clarity will arise, for every single person. But then we must make that personal choice for Good.
I agree that a math-physics explanation of the link between the material world and the True Mind does not give us much insight into fundamental Purpose or ethics. What is *does* do is get back into people's heads that there is an Outside, that materialism is fundamentally incomplete and that Free Will is real.
The purpose of formulating, testing, and distributing such a theory would be to help get people out of demotivated atheism. Once there is an "Outside", then the notion of a higher Purpose and Free Will is back on the table.
A strategic goal of the Enemy is to get people to deny Free Will -- this is a good way for people to be conned into ignoring the True Self. If people understand that their behavior has an ineradicable "random" component -- "random" just means determined by something outside the System (and the material universe as a whole) -- then the "you have no Free Will" lie is effectively countered.
Not a substitute for Christianity, but a partial gateway back.
-- Robert Brockman
"Anyone can stop, whenever they wish - by repentance. God ensures that the situation of clarity will arise, for every single person. But then we must make that personal choice for Good."
So it seems Bruce that what you are saying is still what you always have done i.e. no one will be overwhelmed by evil, except by choice, and everyone will get their hearts desire in the end, they just might not like it when they get it! If God is entirely loving then he will surely bring us to a point of clarity about the consequences we are heading towards with our decisions, even if this point comes after death. Presumably he would not allow us to be 'hoodwinked' into making false choices with eternal repercussions because of the earthly environment that has overwhelmed us from cradle to grave, without an entirely fair (and different for each individually) opportunity to adjust our spiritual trajectories?!
I know I have made up my mind but I cannot shake the feeling that I may yet be fooled by some crucial deception at every twist and turn of mortal life...Perhaps more oppressively I dread the future of my children and loved ones, whom do not share my Christian world view or may not grow to do so and this is a heart-breaking fear without parallel compared to my own selfish ideas of spiritual self-preservation. How are we to protect our Children from the tsumani that looms over the horizon?
Excellent post - but profoundly unsettling in equal measures!
The personal choice for good. Ofcourse you are right. Listening to our consciences and acting upon them. Doing what we know to be right. Not allowing ourselves to become distracted. It really is that simple, even though it is incredibly hard.
One thing that gives me hope is that evil seems to be in an incredible hurry at the moment. Much of It’s subtlety is waning ,making it much easier to see it for what it is. No longer a slow drip feed but a mighty wave. I feel that more people, even secular individuals, are beginning to see the evil agenda and siding, in principal if not through faith, with the Christian perspective. The persecution of Christians could awaken a good few souls. Evil itself could yet be responsible for a religious revival. The demonic forces unwittingly sowing a spiritual germ in their desperation to reach their goals. It seems as though a time may come when the truth will become more obvious and the choice between good and evil a given. Perhaps the compulsory chipping of individuals will be a huge turning point. Bring it on. Yet I still struggle in understanding why god doesn’t MAKE himself known to more of us, when so much is at stake. Maybe he’s happy to just let us live our lives and do the best we can by ourselves, independently. The existence of god is not obvious, nor is the truth of Christianity. Such questions are to be grappled with. Why does he insist on remaining on the shadows when he could make himself known to us all? You don’t have to answer that by the way. Just thinking out loud.
Yes - and as well the way we have led our lives up to the choice does make a difference to the choice we make.
"How are we to protect our Children from the tsumani that looms over the horizon?"
Ultimately, of course, we cannot - because they are not 'our' children but their own people. But Love is an objective fact of reality - and it does make a difference. Indeed it may be the only thing that does make a difference at the moment of choice.
@Whitestone - Yes, I agree - they are in a hurry and being more obvious, and it is a weakness; hurry combined with the natural tendency of angry, impatient orcs to fight and kill each other. Things are clearer then before. But that will not be noticed, will not be acted upon, unless people abandon their materialist hedonic metaphysics...
@RB - I agree this is a valid path for some people - but not many. For most people you would need to teach them the physics first, and that would be difficult! But back in the 1950s-60s Owen Barfield was clear that the implications of modern phyics included the destruction of naive realism/ materialism/ scientism - and all you needed to do was be consistent in applying the implications of physics to the rest of life. This point is made very strongly in both Worlds Apart and (even more so) Unancestral Voice.
Per revelation (as given to Joseph Smith and taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints):
1. We are eternal just as our Father is eternal.
2. We come to mortality voluntarily.
3. The purpose of mortality is to enable each of us to make decisions that either take
us closer to our Father or away from Him. The closer we come to Him the more like
Him we become.
4. The opposition we face in mortality is a necessary part of the learning process.
We are tested in our faith, hope, charity, courage and all aspects of truth and
5. Jesus Christ is the key, literally, to salvation and the exaltation available to
all who accept and follow Him.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ covers all errors, transgressions and sins but only after one has repented and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. God judges and His judgement is just and right.
Very simple to state this, very difficult to live it. The foundational choice we make is: God or no God? Life will be lived in quite different ways depending on this choice.
Our Father is always supreme. Mortality is for a very short time. The choices we make in mortality are lasting.
Death of the mortal body is not the end. Those who have passed on can make the necessary choices once taught. Teaching continues in the afterlife. God's justice and mercy are infinite and reach far beyond this mortal life. Ancestors who never heard of Jesus will be given the opportunity to learn of Him and to accept or reject Him.
For many who are sentenced to endure in hell the stay will not be permanent. God's justice really is just. Any time in that place will be extremely unpleasant but once the consequences of unrepented sin are fully paid there will be release but further progression in God's kingdom will be curtailed. The path of progression toward God for those who have repented is open. Those who have knowingly and willingly reject God after having learned the truth of His existence will be confined forever.
What we see happening today was prophesied anciently and we know what the outcome will be. All will end well because all IS well. The job of believers is to let others know the truth. It is up to them to accept or reject. It is good to be concerned for our fellow men and to strive to aid them with truth. I believe God blesses and will continue to bless all men and women of good will who strive to bring truth to those who are ignorant of it.
Conveniently, I am currently surrounded by people who know the math and physics! I'm in a neuroscience department in which half of the professors have physics degrees. (You will be unsurprised to hear that the most spiritually healthy of these is a Mormon.) What makes this even more convenient is that some of these math/physics people have been roped into the current machine learning / "AI" situation.
I will go read Worlds Apart and Unancestral Voice and see if I can get that knowledge moved into my community.
-- Robert Brockman
@RB - Barfield can't be rushed, but if you can tune-into him, he is one of the deepest and most important of philosophers - one of a handful of major writer I have come to know in the past decade.
Jesus Christ.. If this is the final goal of Evil, then it's even worse than hell - it is literally an eternal computational existence with no sign of life. We won't even be able to face the dooms day, because we will be forever doomed. This is why I just can't seem to grow warm toward technology. Even small things such as people using the GPS to find "the right store" seems to be re-orienting the human mind toward transhumanism.
"it is the project to alleviate all pain and distress, maximise gratification and fulfillment, abolish ageing and sustain human life indefinitely. In other words, it is a kind of extrapolation of medicine from treatment into enhancement."
This sort of utilitarian earthly moralism is the exact opposite of what was the case in the religious society of the middle ages. For example, if a person got cancer, it was often sinful to intervene with medicine and therefore interrupt God's will. The patient often turned to God and asked for his grace to become healed. He would then pursue prayer, meditation and repentance. If he died, he died, because one were not supposed to "delay " ones faith. Now, this would be seen as insane by modern standards (yet it is actually quite an astonishingly humble act to my mind), yet the same standards has led to nothing but cowardice and a costly society of permanent patients.
So if our morals had become so lazy even common sense is taboo, then it seems to me that is exactly what the evil forces would want to implement their plans. Meaning, a dysgenic, standardized population is actually what increases (not decreases) their chances of success.
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