Science of the SpiritS

Evil Rays

Flashback Transhumanism: A Religion for Postmodern Times

We are witnessing the birth of a new faith. It is not a theistic religion. Indeed, unlike Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, it replaces a personal relationship with a transcendent God in the context of a body of believers with a fervent and radically individualistic embrace of naked materialistic personal recreation.

Moreover, in contrast to the orthodox Christian, Judaic, and Islamic certainty that human beings are made up of both material body and immaterial soul - and that both matter - adherents of the new faith understand that we have a body, but what really counts is mind, which is ultimately reducible to mere chemical and electrical exchanges. Indeed, contrary to Christianity's view of an existing Heaven or, say, Buddhism's conception of the world as illusion, the new faith insists that the physical is all that has been, is, or ever will be.

Such thinking leads to nihilism. That's where the new religion leaves past materialistic philosophies behind, by offering adherents hope. Where traditional theism promises personal salvation, the new faith offers the prospect of rescue via radical life-extension attained by technological applications - a postmodern twist, if you will, on faith's promise of eternal life. This new religion is known as "transhumanism, " and it is all the rage among the Silicon Valley nouveau riche, university philosophers, and among bioethicists and futurists seeking the comforts and benefits of faith without the concomitant responsibilities of following dogma, asking for forgiveness, or atoning for sin - a foreign concept to transhumanists. Truly, transhumanism is a religion for our postmodern times.


The implications for humanity of Transhumanism as the dominant ideology of the fourth industrial revolution


In this volume dedicated to transhumanism, it is important to slip in, however furtively, a few words from political science. In essence, political science is the study of power relations and how they are justified and contested. Viewed from this perspective, "transhumanism" takes on a crucial significance. In fact, transhumanist thought is all about transcending our "natural" human condition by embracing cutting-edge technologies. The movement has already passed through various stages of development, after first emerging in the early 1980s — although "transhumanist" as an adjective was deployed as early as 1966 by the Iranian-American futurist Fereidoun M. Esfandiary, then a lecturer at the New School of Social Research in New York, and in works by Abraham Maslow (Toward a Psychology of Being, 1968) and Robert Ettinger (Man into Superman, 1972). However, it was Esfandiary's conversations with the artist Nancie Clark, John Spencer of the Space Tourism Society, and, later, the British philosopher Max More (born Max O'Connor) in southern California that prompted the first attempts to unify these ideas into a coherent whole. Esfandiary's renown had grown rapidly since he changed his legal name, becoming the enigmatic FM-2030, while Clark decided she would henceforth be known by the alias Natasha Vita-More, and went on to pen the Transhumanist Arts Statement in 1982.

Comment: The author's analysis and conclusion, written last March, seems to be prophetic.

See: Biden signs executive order designed to unleash transhumanist hell


Facing your fears through lucid dreaming may help you overcome a phobia, study suggests

lucid dreaming
A recent study offers evidence that lucid dreaming may be an effective tool for overcoming irrational phobias. Just under half of participants who confronted a fear through lucid dreaming reported a reduction in fear after awakening. The findings are set to be published in the journal Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice.

During a lucid dream, a person becomes aware that they are dreaming and may even be able to influence the course of their dream. Lucid dreaming has been scientifically studied in the lab and tends to occur during REM sleep, the stage of the sleep cycle associated with rapid eye movements and vivid dreaming.

Psychology studies have suggested that this type of dreaming can be used for therapeutic purposes, for example, to reduce the occurrence of nightmares and improve sleep quality. The researchers behind the new study wanted to investigate whether lucid dreaming might be helpful for treating fears and phobias that are unrelated to dreams. Within a lucid dream, a person can explore a frightening situation from the physical world while remaining in a safe environment.

Comment: See also:


Study: Cannabis users appear to be less aware of unhealthy romantic relationship strategies

smoking cannabis marijuana joint
With the legalization of cannabis in many places in America, marijuana usage has become increasingly widespread in recent years. Cannabis consumption is considered to be calming, but does that extend to dealing with relationship conflict? A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence suggests that cannabis users are more likely to avoid conflict and engage negatively.

Substance use can have significant effects on users' social lives, especially in regard to romantic relationships. While other substances have been studied at length, cannabis use and its relationship with couple functioning has been understudied. This is a significant gap, especially because around 35% of young adults self-report cannabis usage.

Previous research has shown that even though people may use cannabis to regulate their emotions, it can have negative effects on interactions with a partner. This study aims to better understand the relationship between cannabis use and relational conflict.

Comment: See also:

Eye 1

Psychopathic men have an extreme focus on mating at the expense of other domains and tend to be "parasitic" fathers

Why do psychopaths become parents? A study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science suggests that people high in psychopathy focus primarily on mating, but often avoid parental or somatic investment (meaning the growth and maintenance of oneself).

Psychopathy consists of traits such as selfishness, grandiosity, callousness, and impulsivity. People who are high on these antisocial traits can be very harmful to the people around them. This can oftentimes include short-term mating and less parental investment. Somatic investment is another key part of mating that has not been heavily explored when it comes to people high in psychopathy. This study seeks to bridge that research gap and examine investment patterns when somatic investment is included.

"We were interested in this study to expand on how psychopathic personality traits in men can be understood from an evolutionary perspective," said study author Kristopher Brazil (@brazkris). "From a broad evolutionary perspective, individuals spend time and energy investing in survival and reproduction. Reproduction is typically partitioned into mating effort (i.e., seeking out mates) and parental effort (i.e., taking care of offspring)."

Comment: Over and above looking at why boys and young men may become psychopaths (or sociopaths, more accurately), the researchers would do well to keep in mind that many are just born that way. This may be a limitation of the evolutionary model, treating mating strategies as somehow strategically advantageous. Born psychopaths haven't decided, consciously or unconsciously, to be psychopathic. It's what they are.

See also:


Ignorance of Evil

evil, demons
Rolo over at the Slavland Chronicles invited me on to discuss the nature of evil. Head on over to his Substack to listen in.

I had a lot of fun. Rolo's a great conversationalist, has a lot of interesting things to say, and challenged me on some of my more half-baked ideas, which provided a lot of food for thought. No doubt we will continue the conversation at some point!

Among the topics discussed:

The necessity to start with experience. Much theology and philosophy is mere speculation — games of logic using untested assumptions. As Rolo argued, logic isn't the place to start. Like the left hemisphere, it must only be used in service to the whole of experience, bringing it into order. In this case, that means the reality of evil: on earth and as is presented in mystical experience.

Many people have a tendency to deny the reality of evil. In the world, this may mean denying what our lying eyes plainly perceive. This may also extend to thinking of evil not as really evil, but merely as good in disguise — a type of optical illusion. Anyone who has come face to face with evil will have trouble buying that one.

Comment: See also: Evil is Real: What do J.P. Sears and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld have in common?

SOTT Logo Radio

SOTT Focus: MindMatters: The Memes Will Set You Free: Apocalyptic Conversation and American Gnosis with Arthur Versluis

Arthur Versluis is back to discuss his recent book 'Conversations in Apocalyptic Times' (a dialogue with Robert Faas), and his forthcoming 'American Gnosis.' Tune in for a wide-ranging discussion on our current spiritual malaise, the hidden theosophic tradition within Western Christianity, continuity of consciousness, the mystery of mysteries - the Holy Grail, and Arthur's new and upcoming courses with the Hieros Institute. Keep listening: Arthur also recommends a handful of mind-blowing books you may never have heard of.

Running Time: 01:25:42

Download: MP3 — 81.2 MB

Book 2

How to read philosophy

© Edvard Munch, Munch Museum, OsloCaricature of Friedrich Nietzsche (1905-06)
The first thing to remember is that the great philosophers were only human. Then you can start disagreeing with them.

Need to know

It might seem daunting to read philosophy. Giants of thinking with names like Hegel, Plato, Marx, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard loom over us with imperious glares, asking if we are sure we are worthy. We might worry that we won't understand anything they are telling us; even if we do think we understand, we still might worry that we'll get it wrong somehow.

So, if we're going to read philosophy, we need to begin by knocking those giants down to size. Every one of them tripped and burped and doodled. Some of them were real jerks. Here's Arthur Schopenhauer on his fellow German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, for instance:
'a flat-headed, insipid, nauseating, illiterate charlatan, who reached the pinnacle of audacity in scribbling together and dishing up the craziest mystifying nonsense.'
I'm not sure whether this paints Schopenhauer or Hegel as the bigger jerk.

The point is that each giant of philosophy was a human being trying to figure out life by doing just what you do: reading, thinking, observing, writing. Don't let their big words intimidate you; we can insist that they make sense to us - or, at least, intrigue us - or are left behind in the discount book bin. They must prove their worth to us.

Eye 2

The Devil Incarnate (Part 1)

Please allow me to introduce himself...

Toby Rogers recently published a piece regarding the mystery of "they", referring to the key players within the cabal that is currently bulldozing the foundations of prosperity, civility, autonomy, objectivity and more. At times "they" seem to be at war with truth itself, so it seems prudent to learn as much about this project and its authors as humanly possible.

This is no doubt an important mystery to unravel. Dr. Rogers approaches it like a laboratory dissection, slicing up the beast and carefully arranging its parts on labelled trays. I believe he is quite thorough in his deconstruction, and such an approach certainly serves a tactical if not strategic purpose. However, I suspect he may be missing the forest for the burning trees.

The article was actually a follow up piece to one he posted several days prior (also well worth the read) which focused on the potential motivations behind the actions of "they". I like this approach; investigating motive before naming suspects may seem counterintuitive, but the evidence and scope of their crimes has become so overwhelming that the why is possibly the only riddle left to solve.

Alarm Clock

SOTT Focus: Effective Altruism: Cringe Alarm!

islamic geometric art decorations wall
Looking into the Effective Altruism movement feels a bit like the intellectual equivalent of witnessing a giant car accident: the only reasonable reaction is to avert your eyes, slowly shaking your head, mumbling something like "oh dear, oh dear."

That being said, it seems like this movement has gained some traction, and is somewhat supported by the likes of Peter Thiel and even Bill Gates. So let's have a look.

The idea of Effective Altruism is very simple: if you want to do good, spend your resources on the most effective cause: the one that leads to the greatest increase of well-being and the greatest decrease of suffering. Don't trust your instincts or your interests, but dispassionately look at graphs, calculate which cause (or program1) is objectively the best bang for the buck, then execute. If it means you need to invest time and money into helping an African tribe fight deadly pandemics, so be it — even if your neighbor might desperately need some money to buy her child new shoes.

Oh dear, oh dear.