Transhumanism: From MK-Ultra to Google

Despite Google’s dictum of “Don’t Be Evil,” the company has suspiciously aligned itself with the grand ambitions of American imperialism, with its executive chairman Eric Schmidt  attending the infamous Bilderberg conference in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Schmidt  also has a listed membership with the Trilateral Commission.

Far more disturbing, however, is Google participation in what appears to be a totalitarian ambition to create a New World Order under a superconscious computer likened to God. While it may sound like science fiction, Google execs have been advancing the cause of “technological singularity,” and the advent of superhuman intelligence, known as “transhumanism.”

These delusional ambitions have their origin in the CIA-sponsored Cybernetics Group, formed about the Macy Conferences of the 40s and 50s. They were inheritors of the mad scientists of the Frankfurt School, a group of neo-Freudians who manufactured the foundations of American popular culture. Beginning with the 60s counterculture, it fostered the rise of the “personal computer,” which grew out of the CIA”s MK-Ultra program for the proliferation of LSD.

It would be through the aid of powerful psychedelics that the transhumanists would be aided in developing a delusional wonderment with this completely implausible scenario of a conscious computer. Henry Makow provides a revealing account from his meeting with the aging MK-Ultra evangelist, Timothy Leary, in 1990. As Makow reports:

Unfortunately, Leary was fixated on the benefits of what was then called the ‘information superhighway.’ Pioneer of LSD, his pantry table was crammed with bottles of alcohol.

He told me his "vision of God" was depicted in the last scene in William Gibson's book "Neuromancer."

At the end of the world, all the information stored in all the computers will rise up into Cyberspace and mingle together." he said. "That's God."

These aspirations are outgrowths of the Kabbalah, according to which human intellectual history is that of man evolving to become God. From its origins with Isaac Luria in the sixteenth century, the idea has now evolved so that it is proposed that humans will become gods, by achieving the ultimate divine feat, creating intelligent life, in the form of a supercomputer.

The technological singularity, or simply the singularity, is a hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence, radically changing civilization, and perhaps human nature. Because the capabilities of such an intelligence may be difficult for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is often seen as an occurrence beyond which the future course of human history is unpredictable or even unfathomable.

The use of the term "transhuman" goes back to Jesuit priest, philosopher and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin., the "Catholic Darwin," who through his postulation that man would create the Noosphere, a supreme consciousness, is often regarded as the patron saint of the internet.

Teilhard applied the scientific concept of evolution to the Christian notion of spiritual rapture, believing that technology would bring about the ultimate spiritual evolution of mankind.  According to him, this is the work of Christ. Teilhard's beliefs also reconciled panpsychism, the idea that all matter is intelligent. He developed the Omega Point Theory, which posits that all the organisms on Earth will reach a higher evolutionary point by merging into one "planetized spirit."

However, humans would have to merge their collective intelligence into one super-mind through computer technology, as a necessary first step in the collective evolution of the universe. Teilhard was unapologetic about the eugenic basis of his theory:

So far we have certainly allowed our race to develop at random, and we have given too little thought to the question of what medical and moral factors must replace the crude forces of natural selection should we suppress them. In the course of the coming centuries it is indispensable that a nobly human form of eugenics, on a standard worthy of our personalities, should be discovered and developed.  Eugenics applied to individuals leads to eugenics applied to society.[1]

The first use of the term "singularity" in this context was by mathematician John von Neumann, one of the leaders of the Cybernetics Group. According to Jeffrey Steinberg, in From Cybernetics to Littleton,

For John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener, the core of the Cybernetics Group project was the development of computers, and the prospect of combining high-speed computers with so-called Artificial Intelligence, to literally "program" the human race. Underlying all of these efforts was the unshakable, albeit preposterous conviction, most avidly presented by von Neumann, that there was nothing sacred about the human mind, and that the human brain was a machine, whose functioning could be replicated, and eventually surpassed, by computers.

The biologist and eugenicist Julian Huxley, who was once head of UNESCO and whose brother Aldous was one of the leading architects of MK-Ultra, popularizing the use of psychedelics, is generally regarded as the founder of "transhumanism." Julian also wrote the introduction to Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man. In 1957 he wrote:

IUp till now human life has generally been, as Hobbes described it, ‘nasty, brutish and short’; the great majority of human beings (if they have not already died young) have been afflicted with misery… we can justifiably hold the belief that these lands of possibility exist, and that the present limitations and miserable frustrations of our existence could be in large measure surmounted… 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.[2]

Computer scientist Marvin Minsky wrote on relationships between human and artificial intelligence beginning in the 1960s. Over the succeeding decades, this field continued to generate influential thinkers, such as Hans Moravec and Raymond Kurzweil. The coalescence of an identifiable transhumanist movement began in the last decades of the 20th century. In 1966, FM-2030 (formerly F.M. Esfandiary), a futurist who taught “new concepts of the Human” at The New School in New York, began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and world views transitional to "posthumanity" as "transhuman."

The New School had become affiliated with the Frankfurt School when, following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, its members left Germany for Geneva before moving to New York in 1935. There, they became affiliated with the University in Exile, which the New School had founded in 1933, with financial contributions from the Rockefeller Foundation, to be a haven for scholars dismissed from teaching positions by the Italian fascists or Nazi Germany.

These ideas were glamorized in Hollywood, such as Kubrik's version of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, the Terminator series, Blade Runner based on LSD-influenced author Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Dick was also inspired by Teilhard de Chardin. Philip K Dick was also associated with Ira Einhorn, known as “The Unicorn,” a prominent figure in the New Age counterculture of the late sixties and seventies. through The Whole Earth Review, a by-product of Stewart Brand's Catalogue, where they initiated discussion of Soviet psychotronics and mind control. Shortly afterwards, Einhorn's girlfriend’s body parts were discovered in a trunk in his Philadelphia apartment, and Einhorn charged with her murder.

Other movies following the transhumanist trends have been the anime classic The Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix, the remake of Robocop, and more recently Her with Joachin Phoenix, and Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp.

Ray Kurzweil, now a director of engineering at Google, cited von Neumann's use of the term “singularity” in a foreword to von Neumann's classic The Computer and the Brain. Kurzweil received the 1999 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America's highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. And in 2002 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office. He has received nineteen honorary doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents. Kurzweil has been described as a "restless genius" by The Wall Street Journal and "the ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes. PBS included Kurzweil as one of 16 "revolutionaries who made America" along with other inventors of the past two centuries. Inc. magazine ranked him #8 among the "most fascinating" entrepreneurs in the United States and called him “Edison's rightful heir."

Kurzweil has authored seven books, five of which have been national bestsellers. The Age of Spiritual Machines, about artificial intelligence and the future course of humanity, has been translated into 9 languages and was the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in science. Kurzweil believes evolution provides evidence that humans will one day create machines more intelligent than they are. Kurzweil predicts the machines "will appear to have their own free will" and even "spiritual experiences".

Kurzweil's book The Singularity Is Near was a New York Times bestseller, says this will lead to a technological singularity in the year 2045, a point where progress is so rapid it outstrips humans' ability to comprehend it. Once the Singularity has been reached, Kurzweil predicts machine intelligence will be infinitely more powerful than all human intelligence combined. Afterwards, Kurzweil says, intelligence will radiate outward from the planet until it saturates the universe.

Kurzweil's standing as a futurist and transhumanist has led to his involvement in several singularity-themed organizations. Kurzweil is also among the founders of the Singularity Summit, the annual conference of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, in 2006 at Stanford University. SIAI was founded to "help humanity prepare for the moment when machine intelligence exceeded human intelligence."

A leading evangelist for Kurweil’s ideas is Jason Silva, is a television personality and “performance philosopher,” who quotes Teilhard de Chardin to substantiate his pronostications. Silva started out as a presenter on Al Gore’s cable channel, Current TV. In September 2012, he appeared at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, where he presented a speech entitled "We Are The Gods Now."

Silva also promotes the ideas of David Pearce, a leading figure in the Transhumanism movement. Pearce owns a series of websites that feature biographies and information about MK-Ultra personalities like Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo and Aldous Huxley. In The Hedonistic Imperative, Pearce calls for liberation from our natural biochemistry, what he refers to as the “sick psycho-chemical ghetto bequeathed by our genetic past" and the beginning of an era of “paradise engineering.” With the help of psychedelics, he writes, we´ll be able to chemically enhance our dopaminergic systems so that “undiluted existential happiness will infuse every second of waking and dreaming existence.”[3]

The Atlantic describes Silva as "A Timothy Leary of the Viral Video Age."[4] Silva, who is also described as "a part-time filmmaker and full-time walking, talking TEDTalk," is completely giddy with wild possibilities about transcendence. Continuing the MK-Ultra tradition of drugs and computers, Silva says of himself that he is “fascinated by the relationship between psychedelics and technology…”[5]

 

 

 



[1] Aaron Franz, “The Jesuit Priest who influenced Transhumanism,” The Age of Transitions, Friday May 1, 2009

[2] Huxley, Julian (1957). Transhumanism. Retrieved 2006-02-24

[3] James Vlahos, “Will Drugs Make Us Smarter and Happier?Popular Science, July 31, 2005.

[4]  "A Timothy Leary for the Viral Video Age". The Atlantic. Retrieved 17 August 2012.

[5] Futurology forum, Reddit.com.

 

Comments

Wired Magazine: Jesuit priest patron saint of the internet

In the June 1995 issue of Wired, Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg said, "Teilhard saw the Net coming more than half a century before it arrived":

Teilhard imagined a stage of evolution characterized by a complex membrane of information enveloping the globe and fueled by human consciousness. It sounds a little off-the-wall, until you think about the Net, that vast electronic web encircling the Earth, running point to point through a nerve-like constellation of wires.

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