Transhumanism’s Primordial Error

The Voice of the Devil.

All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors.

1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True

1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age
2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3 Energy is Eternal Delight

-William Blake “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”

Identifying with your body, is an error, but less of an error than identifying with your mind. Your body is the outward manifestation of something very real. Connecting with your body connects you with the present moment and thus eternity.

When you leave your body and live “in your head” you enter an illusory world which alienates you from the source of life and thus from your fellow humanity. The incessant inner dialogue of the ego mind creates fear and anxiety and dwells always in the future or the past, never in the present moment, which alone is real. Both present and past are mental constructs; abstractions.

The ego mind is constructed from this whole idea of separation, which is an illusion. In the West, this error goes all the way back to Descartes “I think therefore I am.”

There is a great deal of ambiguity inherent to existence that is missing here. This nonacceptance of ambiguity is known in Buddhism as the “primordial error.”

So Transhumanism is the program of attempting to trap oneself forever into the false reality/identity of the ego mind. Its a Hellish idea.

It’s deifying the most inconsequential part of a human being above all else and seeking to make it immortal. Its basically the attempt of trapping oneself in a state of alienation and isolation forever.

The ego mind is the cause of suffering. It is the mindset that prevents us from living lives of abundance. The ego begins from a feeling of lack, or scarcity, and it puts one at odds with all other living beings in a competition for the acquisition of scarce resources.

Through the body we can experience sexual union. This breaks down the borders of the ego mind.

Feelings such as empathy also come from a breaking down of this border. Inherent in empathy is a realization that every living being is connected and that you cannot hurt another being without also causing harm to oneself.

To be completely enthralled to the ego mind is to live in a completely solipsistic universe. There is no empathy or sexual union in this delusion; only narcissism and masturbation.

The growing acceptance that you will one day die is an important aspect of spiritual development: It causes you to seek that which is eternal. It leads to inquiry into the self. This inquiry leads to personal discovery of the True self or Atman. This is the inner part of us that never dies. This is consciousness itself, the field from which all conscious beings find their ground. The way to access this inner self is through quieting the mind through meditation. The incessant chattering of the ego mind comes to be seen like smoke in the air, or mud in the water. The purpose of meditation is to allow this mud to settle, to blow the smoke away revealing clarity.

The project of transhumanism is to immortalize this smoke or mud; To prevent clarity forever and deify ignorance.

Fortunately, being based on a fundamental misunderstanding of reality, it will never succeed, but the danger is that it will succeed in greatly extending the suffering of certain individuals who take this path, trapping them in the imprisonment of the ego mind for centuries rather than decades. Walking corpses of putrified mummy flesh, they will be surrounded by and interlaced with robot parts, creating the most horrible prison the world has ever known.

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  • Juan

    Excellent piece, Ted. I especially appreciate the William Blake referrence.
    As much as I am not looking forward to the inevitable decline and death of my body, I find the transhuman thing very creepy as well.

    • Ted Heistman

      Thanks, man. I guess it creeps Duncan Trussell out as well. He was talking to Graham Hancock about going to a Transhumanist convention with Joe Rogan for his tv show and said he felt a heavy sense of oppression.

      That conversation inspired me to dig a bit deeper to see where the creepiness lies…

  • rtb61

    Empathy is not what you think it is. We are a social species, as such we need direct biological motivation to sustain that social instinct. Empathy is an autonomic response, once we learn to recognise emotions we are hard wired to share them, not a choice, we can of course to varying degrees control that response but it is necessary for us in order to maintain that social sense (so no high order fancy spiritual ideas, just straight up brain chemical reactions and learned developmental responses).
    Now just like any other genetic trait there are mutations, those born with genetic defects that make them dysfunctional. In this case psychopaths and narcissists both lacking in an automatic empathic response which make them mutants that basically prey upon the rest of human society rather than function in cooperation with it.
    The psychopaths are worse because they also suffer from an extreme swallowing of emotion, they actually feel far fewer emotions and tend to focus on frustration and easing of tensions that the frustration produces, this based around a very distorted emotional development through child hood. Resulting actions vary, from killing the neighbours child because the phone charger broke, to starting a war and thriving on witnessing the killing of millions both acts feeding the ego and easing those frustrations that normal people sanely accept.
    Some in terms of human society are basically born in affect evil, how this evil plays out is subject to upbringing and to what degree it mitigated the genetic defects and of course temptation, to what degree were those defective persons exposed to circumstances where they could get away with the most appalling acts.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      your information is out of date, psychopaths can apparently choose to turn empathy on and off.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/25/psychopaths-empathy-_n_3652792.html

      The slave to genetics trope is tiresome and it demeans what it is to be human.

    • Ted Heistman

      I think Narcissists and psychopaths are just on the furthest end of the ego-centric perspective. We all have that tendency to some degree…

  • Graham

    Body and mind are not Two.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    “This will never end ’cause I want more
    More, give me more, give me more”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBAzlNJonO8

    • Ted Heistman

      I like it!

  • kcorb

    I’ve always thought of transhumanism as the celebration of the inevitable merger of human and machine. It’s already happening in so many subtle ways. Ultimately I think it will be us hacking biology, and any human + mechanized inorganic cybernetics beyond I/O ports will simply be fashion. At least until the point where we figure out how to divorce our consciousness from our physical bodies–if that’s ever possible.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I’m not sure if we’ll ever hack biology, at least not in any remote near future. For the most part our genetics knowledge is overblown copy-paste techniques, and blurry statistics.

      • kcorb

        We’re already hacking biology. It may be primitive, but using viruses to tweak RNA/DNA or splicing fish genes into corn, is hacking biology. I’m not saying any of this bigger stuff will come about in our lifetimes, but it’s coming.

        • Ted Heistman

          Well, the thing with technology is that more often than not it renders people weaker and more dependant. I mean for a select few that actually know how it works it makes them more powerful, but most people are simply subjects of technology and a technocratic elite.

          So really I think it will be more like Technocratic elites and their bureaucracy will learn how to hack biology more and more.

          Now as far as exceptionally DIY people doing extreme body modification, I am torn on that, but being a strong believer in Civil liberties I say go for it. But I think its important to keep the distinction in mind between really understanding technology and how its employed against you. Using a cell phone or a GPS doesn’t make you smart.

          • kcorb

            I just view technology as tools. You could argue that the basic tools that lead to agrarian society were the downfall of a much happier nomadic hunter/gatherer human and you may be right. I think the same thing is playing out now. I think we’re still in a space where you can embrace it or reject it and either choice really isn’t going to add up to much. There going to be a transition point though where people are going to be born into a world where technology is integrated into them at cellular level and there will no longer be a choice. I don’t think any of the existential points you bring up will really be lost to them because of that integration though.

            The thing I’m most fascinated by is technology that directly links to the brain. I think the incredible plasticity of the brain is going to make that a lot easier than anyone realizes at this point.

          • Ted Heistman

            Yeah, a Yoke is a tool but not a tool for oxen.

          • Calypso_1

            Sure it is. It has allowed them to participate in a symbiotic relationship with our species, cultivating an environment more fit for their sustenance, population growth & evolution.

          • Ted Heistman

            With a concomitant reduction in brain size. All domesticated animals are stupider and less vigorous than wild animals, but yes, much more common.

            I think this is an excellent analogy.

            But yes, some forms of farming and animal husbandry are more like mutual ism. When you get into the extremes of industrial farming, however, it becomes a horror show. But the whole process is passive on the part of the animals. By becoming more and more genetically altered they become more dependent on the humans who control them and less autonomous and able to fend for themselves. And despite the presence of things like feral hogs, most domesticated animals can never go back. Its only the old fashioned heirloom varieties that are in danger of going feral. For example in Michigan they are outlawing heritage breeds of pigs. The white commercial hogs used in large scale production cannot become feral they are too altered from their natural form.

            So rather than a way to chart your own destiny, more and more technology is a way people are controlled and made dependent on a technocratic power structure.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=843yH_0RMIA#at=199

      • Calypso_1

        Disagree. It is happening one step at time from artificial cells, synthesized nano-RNA enzymes, cultured neuro nets & motor/sensory neural interfaces.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          fair enough, at least there are some trying to build from the ground up (including knowledge). I still think it will be a generation or two before anything useful comes out of it though which I suppose is a more reasonable timeline.

  • Calypso_1

    If energy is the only lifeform, eternal delight & identification w/ the body an error, how can it be that extending the outward circumference of the form by which such energy is conducted results in permanent ignorance and suffering?

    • Ted Heistman

      Enlarging your sphere of influence, using tools etc. doesn’t cause suffering. Identifying with the ego mind and creating a type of ego/body dualism is what causes the suffering. People caught up in this suffering get bright ideas like replacing their flsh and blood with robot parts, because they have become numb basically.

      • Calypso_1

        How is enlarging your sphere of influence not an egocentric idea?

        • Ted Heistman

          why don’t you tell me?

          • Calypso_1

            First, you must bring me a rooster.

  • bobbiethejean

    I always love it when people use science and technology to complain about the evils of science and technology. It amuses me to no end. Also, you might actually want to read up on what transhumanism really is because you’re terrified, panties-wetting rant reeks of exactly the kind of fear born from ignorance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism I hate to piss in your cornflakes but H+ is already here and you are probably happily participating in it without even realizing it. It’s just the next step in human evolution.

    • Thad McKraken

      Did you ever try the astral projection stuff? No? You’d have to have an experience to see how misguided this avenue of spiritual inquiry is. Our brains can do a lot of bizarre exotic shit, which is why ignoring that potentiality and trying to download your mind into a computer is beyond retarded. Hey, what would that be like in terms of consciousness? ….crickets. We don’t think about things in terms of consciousness.

      Transhumanism is so influenced by the drug war it’s unreal. Oh hey, we made a robot. Is it as cool as a dog? No. But maybe in another billion years we’ll be able to make one that is, for a gajillion dollars. Errrr, why?

      • bobbiethejean

        If my hopes for the future should come to pass, I will pity you because you will not be a part of it. You and your kind will have devolved back to the caves, arguing about how the use of fire is evil and cramps their magical, psy-consciousness spirit-astral projection waves.

        I don’t have faith in science. I merely hope. But I especially hope that troglodytes like you don’t continue to stand in the way of progress towards what I see as a better future. If it makes you happy to think you’ve got magical powers, you go ahead and do that. But stop looking at me like I’m the weirdo when my hopes and dreams actually have some basis in reality.

        • Ted Heistman

          Hope is BS.

          • bobbiethejean

            Maybe for you. Personally, 9/10 of my hopes have never come true but once in a while that 1/10 happens and it is always an amazing experience for me. That’s why despite all the unfathomable shit I’ve been through in my life, I can still have hope. I even have faith sometimes…. in music and art and literature and once in a very, very rare while, when I’m in a truly outstanding mood, even people.

        • Calypso_1

          The fire will only cramp your psi if you are burning pine.
          Try Black Walnut or Poplar.

        • atlanticus

          You have yet to take me seriously enough to respond to me in the past, but I am telling you, I was where you are now 3 years ago.

          I didn’t hit my head or start doing hallucinogens (actually, I’ve quit all drugs, including cigarettes–except caffeine) but my mindset had to change to incorporate new experiences.

          It may very well be that you will never understand this other point of view. It simply has to be experienced to be understood. (That’s why I don’t argue to say you’re wrong: your point of view is the only one you can have, after all.)

          However, I’ll attempt to explain it the way I understand it…

          Sleep paralysis (“astral projection”, etc.) does have it’s scientific explanations, but if you are “THERE” YOURSELF it is very difficult to write it off as mere hallucination.

          For me, even if “astral projection” or what-have-you is a trick on the mind, that does not mean it is not useful. I find it is most useful to me when I assume that these visions are indeed all in my mind and that while I’m “in there” I can do some cleaning up, so to speak.

          Will a computer-brain be able to replicate this little “brain hack”? We don’t really understand what it is, but at the very least I think it’s probably saved me the trouble of seeing a therapist… (of course, now you’re just thinking that it’s professional help I should be seeking…)

          • atlanticus

            My apologies to Ted for invoking dualism to illustrate my case. It is still a useful metaphor, just as explaining evolution as having intention is the easier shortcut when using English…

      • Calypso_1

        “Transhumanism is so influenced by the drug war it’s unreal.”

        I would totally agree considering Leary received the Starseed Transmission while in prison for pot charges.

    • Ted Heistman

      You love not being able to discern, properly, the philosophical underpinnings of an argument?

      Well, glad you are having fun. But for the sake of clarity: Critiques of technological society by philosophers such as Jaques Ellul are not aimed at all the various nifty gadgets per se, but rather at the lack of freedom and autonomy that results in the technique of technological society that turns everything into a machine.

      When you are a cog in a machine you have no ability to make free choices. The highest value becomes efficiency. For most people technology is something they passively consume. So technology is most often employed as a means of social control. This is why we have a monopolistic system of Factory Farming, for example. When forced to eat proccessed factory farmed food or else starve, its not hypocritical. That is not a choice.

      So I am for choice, freedom and personal autonomy. I also make a distinction between DIY H+ enthusiasts and people passively having blind faith that technology will eventually solve all their problems.

      • bobbiethejean

        You love not being able to discern, properly, the philosophical underpinnings of an argument?

        You can try to embroider your argument but basically what has transpired here is that you are decrying the evils of technology while happily partaking in those very technologies.

        but rather at the lack of freedom and autonomy that results in the
        technique of technological society that turns everything into a machine.

        There are PLENTY of critiques of technological society that do not resort to panties-wetting paranoia, undue vilification, and woo-woo peddling. I have heard many of these critiques and agree that a lot of these problems need to be addressed. I don’t feel this way because someone scared me into believing transhumanism is bad for my psy-astral-cosmic-aura-wave-soul-trasmission-chi.

        When you are a cog in a machine you have no ability to make free choices.

        You assume that is going to happen. You don’t know that.

        So I am for choice, freedom and personal autonomy.

        Numerous organizations and government bodies are spying on your personal info right this very minute through your computer and through your phones. You know this. But you keep using the computer and phones anyway. That is called hypocrisy. If this were 100 years in the future, you’d be happily hooked up to some matrix device, bitching about how evil technology while enjoying a virtual reality game that your friends can participate in with a mere thought because it’s fun.

  • Thad McKraken

    Great post Ted!

    • Ted Heistman

      Thanks man! “they” made me write this!

      …No seriously! More on this later…

      • Thad McKraken

        I need “more on this”.

        • Ted Heistman

          It just flowed out of me. I wrote it all in one shot and felt strongly compelled to just post it and not to change a word.

          Well actrually, I had the Passage from William Blake and relating it transhumanism, sitting around for a while, but when I sat down to finish it it just poured out of me. A day later I read a lot of the same stuff I had just written in the Bhagavad Gita, like this:

          “No matter how strongly you ascribe
          to the universal delusion that you can avoid pain and only have pleasure
          in this life (which is utterly impossible), sooner or later you must
          confront the fact of your inevitable aging and eventual death. Some
          people, trying to escape the fear of death, come to Me for refuge. Once
          with Me, they learn of their True Self (Atma) and ascertain the nature
          of Divinity. Therefore, because death stirs people to seek answers to
          important spiritual questions, it becomes the greatest servant of
          humanity, rather than its most feared enemy.”

          I felt a little like PKD writing some stuff and then reading the same thing in the Book of ACTS.

          • Thad McKraken

            Sometimes the third mind just takes over. Those times are awesome.

          • Ted Heistman

            yeah, they are! I try to write even if that doesn’t happen though.

  • Aram Jahn

    Jayz, Heistman: your stuff has been really top-notch lately. As much as my – for lack of a better term – “intuition” tells me Kurzweil, et.al are “wrong” about all this, I’ve learned via Kahneman and Tversky to not trust my intuition as much as I used to.

    But I still think this – your usage of Blake – seems accurate.

    And yet: unlike most Americans, I’d like to be healthy and live to 1000. I’m never bored, and as a line in one of the Gnostic texts says: “Make death die.”

    Again: please keep writing. You rock, and you’re on a roll my man!

    • Ted Heistman

      Hey Thanks! I hadn’t seen this. I appreciate the encouragement! I am actually fascinated by trans-humanism. I read about it a lot actually. I think transhumanism has awesome implications for Science fiction. Which often leads to actual science. Still on a personal level I lean toward the Mystic view of life and death.

    • The Well Dressed Man

      I haven’t closely read Kurzweil’s books, but based on skimming through, my feeling is that he’s somewhat motivated by desperation to pursue the transhuman singularity so rabidly. However, the fact that Google, operating under the mandate of systematizing ALL information, has hired him as top engineer suggests that they’re actually on to something in this sphere.

  • dani pettas

    Awesome piece.

    • Ted Heistman

      Thank you sir!

  • Kitty Davenport

    Oh bullocks. Transhumanism is simply another choice, another expression of existence. Transhumanism is not creepy or evil. It is another avenue of exploration of conciousness. I found this article to be biased and poorly thought out. Ignoring the many forms, projects benefits and ways transhumanism is manifesting. Instead choosing to elevate superstition fear and bigotry.

    • bobbiethejean

      I have to second this. It comes across as a lot of panties-wetting technophobia.

      • Ted Heistman

        Do you know how to build a cell phone?

        • bobbiethejean

          Nope. Why? Do I particularly need to? Because I’m pretty sure other people know how to.

          • Ted Heistman

            ah, dependance.

          • bobbiethejean

            Do you know how to build a cell phone? Do you know how to build a computer? Do you know how to build modern society? Ahhh, hypocrisy.

          • Ted Heistman

            I am sorry I called you a Cunt.

            There. Is there any point in talking now? Its not like you are curious about critiques of technological society. I perceive that I am way more interested in trans humanism than you are in critiques of technological society.

          • bobbiethejean

            There are PLENTY of critiques to be made about technological society. Plenty, not the least of which is the inherent bias towards those who can afford it which opens up all kinds of avenues for classism and elitism, among other things. There is also the fact that technology can be isolative and dangerous in and of itself even beyond human stupidity. I could go on and on and on about all the problems with a technological society without needlessly vilifying transhumanism and mischaracterizing the everloving fuck out of it. You do yourself no favors when you start jumping up and down and pointing at the big scary monster when it’s just a little spider that actually has a few good sides you may not be seeing because it looks scary. This isn’t even get into the fact that you are STILL making a shit ton of assumptions about mind/body duality that have never been adequately substantiated to actually act on in any way.

          • Ted Heistman

            What are my assumptions of mind/body duality?

          • bobbiethejean

            That there is such a thing. It has never been proven. Thing is, I don’t disagree with some of the sentiments pertaining to the potential dangers of technology and losing our humanity. I only disagree with the whole idea that there is a soul component to the whole issue.

          • Ted Heistman

            You misunderstood my entire article. I am not saying that to be snarky. replacing your body with machine parts implies a type of dualism. This article is contra dualism. Blake’s point was contra dualism.

          • Kitty Davenport

            You bring up some excellent points and concerns! Technology is a double edged blade. I personally do not use cell phones or many hand held electronics. I have my computer but for the most part I live a fairly low tech life compared to most Americans. I also use a lot of hand cranked tools as opposed to power tools.

            However. I think that there are several very important technologies happening right now that have the potential to end poverty, increase health for all and open up new avenues of exploration in many frontiers! Transhumanism included!

            People have pace makers, brain implants to stop seizures, artificial limbs, we take pills to enhance our learning skills, our sports performance. It has always been in human nature to enhance and improve our function within our perceived reality. Transhumanism is just another exploration. I think it is very important that we all be very active in this new exploration and technology to prevent the formation of a tech elite any further than we already face. We need to make sure these advances are available to all who desire to explore them peacefully.

            I think every sentient being has the right to explore consciousness in any fashion they see fit so long as they do no harm to others. Why be bigoted? Why be judgmental and superstitious about the subject? Dont want to participate? Then dont. Dont like technology? Get off your computer and go live in the woods.

          • Kitty Davenport

            Cunt. Name calling. How pathetic. The last resort of the ego driven. How very sad for you to be so very narrow minded and lacking in communication skills. Any argument, any point you may have had is lost now. Way to screw up a potentially good conversation! Bigoted, hypocritical, biased and ego driven. What a sad existence for you!

            You want to talk about your concerns regarding technology? great. But dont be a fucking douchebag about it.

          • Ted Heistman

            Its douchey to apologize?

          • Kitty Davenport

            Look up in the conversation. Read what you wrote and how it appears in the conversation. Think about how that looks in the context it is seen in. Yes. In the context I am seeing it it looks mean spirited and pointless. In the context it is seen it does not look like an apology, it looks like a sarcastic insult. A really nasty one at that! The second you whip that particular word out it totally derails conversation. And this is an important topic to discuss!

    • Guest

      I don’t think you understood the philosophical argument he was making.

  • Juan

    Curse you, spambot!
    Get thee behind me Satan!