TRANSHUMAN OR TRANSLUCID
More light on:
The New Religion of Transhumanism and the Old Soul Freedom of Multidimensionality
A young woman recently asked whether Translucidmind might be associated with the Singularity movement and Transhumanism. The question compelled me to write this article in order to dispel any and all future doubt:
No. Quite the opposite. Translucidmind’s goal is to help apply the rapidly expanding insights of neuroscience, physics and other fields, to bring factual insight to topics that are often shrouded in mysticism. Without further analyzing the relationship between mysticism, myth and religion here, I would like to emphasize that all religions share the following three fundamental features:
- The mystification and mythologization of reality, and the claim that everything magical and unfathomable in our life experience can only be explained by their particular teachings.
- The promise of salvation in the form of an eternal life in a kind of paradise — with each religion defining “paradise” in keeping with its own political and ethical orientation.
- A claim to absolute knowledge and absolute authority within human society.
The promise of salvation in an eternally healthy life is one of the main identifying features, if not the decisive feature, of Transhumanism. The promise of abolishing death, and the related promise of “liberating” people from the fear of death, makes Transhumanism a tool whose power to manipulate is equal to that of any theist religion. Fear of death and the struggle for survival are the most powerful motors of evolution in biological life and in its social structures.
This lends the promises of Transhumanism many of the potential dangers of all religions: it can become a tool for manipulating people. But the technical possibilities of manipulation that Transhumanism generates far surpass the technical and rhetorical possibilities of any religion, since they directly penetrate the human brain. And that is the first essential difference between it and inherited theist religions.
The second decisive difference is that the promise of an eternal biological life necessarily denies a fully realized transcendental awareness that one might call “divine” in the broadest sense, and that could only be possible through biological death. The discoveries of quantum physics are now compelling many researchers to reformulate questions about divine will and divine consciousness. In his book The Quantum Brain, Jeffrey Satinover has written on the denial of divine transcendence:
“In the words of theoretical chemist Michael Kellman, In a world where “choices” appear to be constantly being made between different chance outcomes, the idea of divine intervention might not seem quite so absurd. (…) Furthermore, if you decide that will is the best name for it, then from neither science nor from nature may you expect a clue as to whose will it is. The one thing you do have to reckon with, however – or should admit you have to – is that there is something going on, everywhere, that creates the particular world in which we live, a creation that occurs not just once, at the beginning, for all time, but always, just as moment to moment it sustains who we actually are in the world.” (Jeffrey Satinover, “The Quantum Brain”, page 217, see translucidmind.com, Books)
The denial of spiritual transcendence — that is, of a form of consciousness beyond the biological and neurological consciousness produced by the brain — is a kind of fundamentalism that is every bit as scientifically untenable as the opposite claim, namely that biological life is seen as a phenomenon that is separate from conscious spirit. Both claims contradict the current findings of quantum physics, according to which the cosmos functions on the basis of various interconnected and mutually interpenetrating acts of consciousness. The phenomenon of three-dimensional reality and biological life exists and functions based on this all-encompassing agency of consciousness, and are themselves a part thereof. As biological beings endowed with consciousness, human beings on planet Earth are reduced to tiny — very tiny — actors within a cosmos of endless possibilities.
To put it polemically, and a bit humorously: these tiny actors, having gained knowledge of how their biological consciousness-apparatus, their brain, functions, and with the technological possibilities of the computers they’ve built at their disposal, now feel called to create an perfect, eternal biological life — mini-gods in their three-dimensional world, on one of the tiniest planets in the universe, that one day will prove all too tiny. Thus, the plan calls for the spread of trans-humans into space: this power and control should be all-encompassing. Certain prominent Buddhists, of all people, have seen fit to declare such projects as compatible with transcendence: the repeatedly cloned, computer-controlled trans-human need only do a bit of meditation in order to attain nirvana on planet Earth, or on some other inhabitable planet. Mystification and science fiction are part of the program: one might also hook human brains up to quantum computers capable of comprehending the entire universe.
“In their publications and programs, Transhumanists are constantly stressing the strict scientific and rational nature of their ideology. Bernd Flessner exposes this attempt at legitimacy as a modern phantasmagoria, since such goals as immortality, omniscience, omnipotence or absolute dominion over the universe are closely intertwined with the goals and ideas of magic and alchemy, which certain representatives of Transhumanism themselves invoke. Furthermore, Transhumanism supports certain scientific myths, both old and new, without which its goals could never be achieved. This entanglement with myth, with the ideas of antiquity and the Middle Ages, contradict the movement’s self-proclaimed rationality and allows Transhumanists to participate in a re-enchantment of the world; but this “magic” of theirs is nothing more than “computer magic” (Kurzweil 1993: 463). (Quoted from ” Kritik des Transhumanismus“, Dierk Spreen, Bernd Flessner, Herbert M. Hurka, Johannes Rüster, 2018, transcript Verlag, Bielefeld).
In the same book the authors discuss the ethical and social implications of the optimization of the human body. There is an obvious and enormous difference between detecting a gene for blindness in a fetus and aborting that fetus, and engineering and implanting a medical device into the brain of a blind person which makes the person see. He who understands all of the ethical, philosophical and social implications related to this difference might also understand the difference between Transhumanism and Translucidmind. Transhumanism has the tendency to reduce everything in actuality to the scale of the human brain and to the understanding of human-made machines. The will to power, the will to control, the will to maximum comfort and health, the will to eternal, physically perfect survival are all inherent to Transhumanism. But there might be reasons for evolutionary appearances in human — genetic — development that go beyond our understanding and consciousness. Translucidmind accepts that there is something going on in the cosmos that might be beyond human reach and volition, and that might be a consciously creating power with which humans should co-create. This is why cosmophysics is so important for Translucidmind, as it is the easiest way to push human awareness to see the limitations of the human scale. Translucidmind does not claim power and does not aspire to eternal life on planet earth or similar planets; it claims the willingness and the soul freedom to co-create with cosmic forces, which might only be possible through surrender to death.
As with humanity’s great theist religious organizations, Transhumanism shows the following functional organizational forms and characteristics:
- large teaching and research institutions which administer knowledge
- worldwide promotional activity
- large sponsors whose political and economic interests cannot be denied
- control over a sprawling apparatus with increasingly extensive and opaque methods suitable for controlling and dominating human beings (and in the case of Transhumanism this includes using technical means to restrict mechanisms of natural evolution and selection — with the word “natural” understood in a broader sense, in light of the discoveries of quantum physics, connoting the free unfolding of cosmic consciousness within the biological variants of human consciousness)
- denying or minimizing, or, in any case, willingly accepting the possibility of disastrous consequences for human beings and their home planet
Translucidmind, on the contrary, does not accept any kind of enslavement of the human being through any machines that might be used to direct and control its life by companies, political groups or social groups. Rather, Translucidmind follows certain spiritual traditions which don’t question the existence of a somehow unfathomable will at work in the cosmos that creates actuality. Among the various schools of human metaphysics, Taoism seems closest to the spirit of Translucidmind. It seems to me that the best way to demonstrate the dangers of the limitations of human freedom is to apply the concept of Tao in Confucian spiritualism or in Zen Schools. In Taoism, the human being is subject to a higher unfathomable consciousness that is creatively acting in the cosmos. A human being striving after awareness can freely choose to follow this higher consciousness with humility and insight, and in acceptance of those synchronicities that are such an unmistakable part of life — or it can choose not to, which leads to various changes in the consciousness of the human individual.
(see translucidmind.com, News, Spirituality, The paradoxes of Zen Buddhism could help us grasp fundamental physics by Translucidmind | Sep 13, 2019 | Spiritual/Psychological
In the final analysis, it may be a question of whether we want to link our consciousness and our will with the multi-dimensional expressions and phenomena of an incomprehensible “higher consciousness” (that is, to follow Tao), or whether we want to link our consciousness with a man-made three-dimensional machinery of optimization within that which is possible and comprehensible for human conciousness.
The seductive promise of Transhumanism is this: humans don’t have to be humble, humans don’t have to recognize anything, any consciousness, above them; humans don’t have to submit to fate, we don’t have to suspect the existence of any unfathomable higher power; we can become your own god and control everything ourselves, eternally, in the three-dimensional here and now.
This promise is identical with the promise which the wisdom of transcendental theist religions, above all Judaism and Christianity, claims can bring one into contact with a manipulative, Machiavellian, power-obsessed form of consciousness or intelligence: that which we know in the allegory of Lucifer encompassing all the opposite qualities of the allegory of God. In the literature that deals with seduction by the Biblical devil, we find repeated promises of material prosperity, unbridled voluptuousness, and eternal abiding within the temporal — that is, in the biological life of planetary three-dimensionality.
“If ever I to the moment shall say:
Beautiful moment, do not pass away!
Then you may forge your chains to bind me,
Then I will put my life behind me…”
So exclaims the most well-known victim of Lucifer in world literature, as he enters into a pact with the devil: Johan Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust (Faust, Part I, Chapter 7).
What else does Lucifer’s promise have in common with the promise of Transhumanism? The consequence for anyone who enters into this pact is the acceptance of the possible loss of personal freedom: “then you may forge your chains to bind me” — in the narrowest sense, the loss of the freedom to make choices in one’s own life, in every earthly moment; and, in the broadest sense, the loss of the transcendent freedom of the soul along the path of Tao.
In actuality, the eternal, biological-technical Transhuman life unavoidably falls under the control of those who own the program-generating computers. The actual three-dimensional future of the Transhuman creature is that of a brain hooked up to a machine controlled by someone else, dwelling in humanoid bodies made up of cloned fragments, who live “eternally,” yet biologically, with a consciousness steered by an intelligence that is not its own, perhaps an artificial one.
Translucidmind, on the contrary, seeks to unite people who would like to put technical and scientific innovation of all kinds to work in order to expose the biological fear of death passed down by past faiths, mystifications, and power-seeking religious systems. The more we strive to explain the processes of human consciousness and human creative power, through neuroscience and through the revelations of quantum physics, the more successful this movement will be.
The concept of multi-dimensionality was long consigned to anthropology, of shamanism and Eastern religions, until certain branches of quantum physics research, such as string theory, began to make use of it for cosmo-physical calculations and explanations. The accumulated wisdom of shamanism, from the widest range of world cultures, is so rich that academic bodies are increasingly being founded, at major universities, that are dedicated to researching it (see translucidmind.com, News Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins Opens New Center for Psychedelic Research https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/science/psychedelic-drugs-hopkins-depression.html).
The treasures of mystical experiences within shamanism are comparable with accounts of experiences of epiphany in established spiritual, transcendental theist religions. These are the experiences that, in the so-called Western world, were replaced through the institutionalization of dogmatic religions and their teachings.
On this topic, Sigmund Freud wrote:
“If the truth of religious (that is, transcendental — S.Steines) teaching is dependent on some inner experience that this gives rise to this truth, then what is to be done with the great many people who lack so uncommon an experience?” (https://www.aphorismen.de/suche?f_thema=Religion&f_autor=6151_Sigmund+Freud)
Nowadays, the vacuum left by the lack of actual spiritual or inner experience is filled by two groups:
- Self-proclaimed gurus and sects around the world, promising salvation, which are springing up like weeds and, for many people, instead of leading to a longed-for liberation, slowly but surely become life-controlling and enslaving — in any event, with the promise of a transcendent spiritual salvation at the life’s end.
- By atheistic science, which, with Transhumanism, has created a new religion that shares the same magic and seductive power of any other movement in the world that holds out the promise of salvation — also with a barely foreseeable potential for enslavement within an endless biological-technical form of life.
In light of this looming eternal enslavement of human consciousness, not only philosophers of transcendence and of established transcendental and theist religions are called to completely rethink their positions, but also philosophers occupied with the problem of free will and suicide. The ability to decide concerning one’s own continued existence that is available to human free will could prove a final escape for an enslaved transhuman — though it is highly unlikely that the programming would allow for such a decision. Or rather: face to face with the achievability of eternal biological life, would anyone really freely choose to renounce this possibility once and for all? The decision over life and death would anyway lie in the hands of those who control the computers and the machines. They would most probably make use of their power to run the program of brain death whenever it would seem the right moment to them.
Awareness of death, fear of death, and the hope of overcoming it stand at the center of all human religious activity.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom,” said Jesus of Nazareth (Psalm 90, verse 12).
Does this insight lead to an awareness — ideally, the shamanic or “enlightened” awareness — that binds us with the cosmically creative consciousness and frees us from the fear of death? Or to seek a level of technical advancement that abolishes biological death?
“Jean Jacques Rousseau, who had already in the 18th century stressed the culturally creative significance of a mystical world view, distinguished from it the rationality of a cosmic world view that springs from the sense of a bond of man with the cosmos. In the years of his social isolation, in which he was detached from the earthly vanities of society, he said of himself that he felt inspired by a type of reason that was “cosmique et non mystique”. He did not agree with the view of many of his contemporaries that disconnectedness from the cosmos, as well as the will to the domination and rationalised exploitation of the planet, are signs of higher civilisation” (see the book “Xibalba”, texts by Susanne Steines, MVS editorial, Mexico City, 2008)
The idea behind Translucidmind is to call us not to a mystical, but to a rational, cosmic awareness that pushes scientific knowledge beyond those “inner experiences” Sigmund Freud speaks of, known to shamanism, and dreamed of by those few human beings illuminated by the light of the beyond.
One must not abolish death, but rather the fear of death.
Copyright Susanne Steines, 23. September 2019, translation to the English by Mark R. Pettus, Ph.D. at Princeton University