by T. E. Creus (April 2021)
Mask of Fear, Paul Klee, 1932
There is a tendency to view the Covid-19 phenomenon in only two ways: either to accept that it is a very dangerous pandemic that justifies lockdowns wrecking the economy and masks and social distancing harming our social relations, as well as authoritarian abuses such as “vaccine passports” as a solution, or else to be branded a “conspiracy theorist.”
Any kind of middle-of-the ground is denied, as even minor discordances with the mainstream view are usually dismissed as dangerous or loony. Since that is the case, let me proceed with a “conspiracy theory” of my own, and point out the several connections between the dark times that we are currently going through and a still somewhat obscure philosophy called “transhumanism.”
The term “transhumanism” appears to have been coined, or at least made famous, by author Julian Huxley in his 1957 essay with that same title: “Transhumanism.” He concluded that essays with the following words:
The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself—not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.
‘I believe in transhumanism’: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.
Julian Huxley—you might have heard that surname before—came from a very influential English family. His grandfather, T. H. Huxley, was one of the pioneers of the eugenic movement, and became known as “Darwin’s bulldog” for his restless promotion of the theory of natural selection.
One of Julian’s brothers was, of course, Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World (1932). That dystopian novel in particular, which at the time appeared to be a warning call, seems to have been used by the elites instead as a blueprint for the future.
Both the novel Brave New World and the first essay about transhumanism already show an interest in three main themes: internationalism (or globalism), genetic modification, and the shaping of human evolution by a “wise elite.” There is also, of course, the concern with population control. In Julian Huxley’s 1957 essay, we already can read that “a concerted policy is required to prevent the present flood of population-increase from wrecking all our hopes for a better world.”
More recent proponents of the philosophy of transhumanism include James “Jennifer” Prytzker, a “transgender” billionaire coming from a very rich and influential Jewish family, as well as Iranian-American Fereidoun Esfandiary, who later changed his name to “FM-2030” (2030 seems to be an important year to transhumanists—it’s the year when “you will own nothing and you’ll be happy”). After his death in 2000, “FM-2030” he was put in cryogenic suspension—with the idea, I suppose, of being resuscitated at some point in the future.
Then of course, there is Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum and ideologue of “The Great Reset”; he also believes in a “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” where “the tools of technology can become literally embedded within us and even purposefully change who we are at the level of our genetic makeup.”
What’s the link of transhumanism with COVID-19 and vaccinations? Well, for one, transhumanists are very clear about their interest in using both AI technology and genetics to modify our body and our mind. Vaccinations are one among many of the ways proposed to do just that.
Already in 1973, Jonas Salk, one of the creators of the polio vaccine, in his book “The Survival of the Wisest,” promoted the idea that “changes in human evolution,” and even population reduction, could be obtained by means of vaccines that would alter our genetic code.
Moderna’s mRNA vaccines are proposed not as mere treatments of disease but as a form of operating system that requires constant updates to “the software of life.” (The name Moderna is interesting, an allusion to modernity, but also “Mode RNA”). It is of course not a coincidence that also the operating system tycoon Bill Gates is very interested in this type of vaccine or gene therapy.
However, transhumanism is not about using technology to help humans overcome diseases or deficiencies, caused either by accident or from birth. It is about going beyond what is normal, and “enhancing” humanity. As the name implies, it means transcending human nature and turning it into something else, something “more than human.”
The idea appears to be tempting, at least for some. Would it be so wrong to increase our intelligence, our sensory experience, our lifespan? But hear more closely, and you will hear a faint hiss in their voices. Their speech is really the same talk that the Serpent gave to Adam and Eve: “your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as Gods.”
Things didn’t turn out so well for Adam and Eve. We follow the Serpent’s advice at our own risk.
T. E. Creus is the author of Our Pets and Us: The Evolution of Our Relationship and the collection of short stories The Sphere. More info at his site contrarium.org
Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast