March 1, 2012
“Dreams of the far future destiny of man were dragging up from its shallow and unquiet grave the old dream of man as god…” – C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 1945
“No more gods, no more faith, no more timid holding back. Let us blast out of our old forms, our ignorance, our weakness, and our mortality. The future belongs to posthumanity.” – Max More, On Becoming Posthuman, 1994
The fact that a technocratic system of government is being constructed is becoming clearer by the day. We see daily open proclamations for the earth to be geo-engineered, humanity to be medicated through the water supply, and the very genetic code of the planet re-written. As Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in his 1970 book Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era, “The technetronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values.”
George Orwell, C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley and H. G. Wells were all contemporaries. Each of them, through their various literary works, contributed to the debate – or lack thereof – on this rising power structure. In their lifetimes, the project for the technetronic era was set into motion.
C. S. Lewis’ 1945 book That Hideous Strength ties in ideas that he put forth in another of his works titled The Abolition of Man. Hideous Strength is a work of fiction set amidst a supernatural battle between good and evil. However, as you will see, George Orwell himself saw “nothing outrageously improbable” in the mundane plot of an elite group of technocrats to seize control of life itself. Lewis’ work is a classic example of art imitating life.
Lewis’s thought as expressed in The Abolition of Man, as well as That Hideous Strength was clearly influenced by the rise of the so called “Science of Man” that took place during his lifetime. The same can be said for the other previously mentioned authors. This great work to discover the inner workings of man in order to better control him was initiated by the immense wealth of the Rockefeller empire in the early 20th Century
That Hideous Strength revolves around the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments (NICE) and the organization’s plot to seize control of all life.
Lewis writes, “What should they [the elite] regard as too obscene, since they held that all morality was a mere subjective byproduct of the physical and economic situations of men?… From the point of view which is accepted in hell, the whole history of our earth had led up to this moment.”
What exactly is this profound moment Lewis refers to? In short it is a time when mankind transcends biology. It is a revolution against the natural order. Interestingly, Lewis was one of the earliest writers to denounce transhumanist philosophy. He wrote in Hideous Strength (1945), that the elite of society will merge with technology and eliminate the masses which they call “dead-weight.”
“A few centuries ago, a large agricultural population was essential; and war destroyed types which were then useful. But every advance in industry and agriculture reduces the number of work-people required. A large, unintelligent population is now a dead-weight. The importance of scientific war is that scientists have to be reserved. It was not the great technocrats of Koeingsberg or Moscow who supplied the causalities in the siege of Stalingrad. The effect of modern war is to eliminate retrogressive types, while sparing the technocracy and increasing its hold upon public affairs. In the new age, what has hitherto been merely the intellectual nucleus of the race is to become, by gradual stages, the race itself. You are to conceive the species as an animal which has discovered how to simplify nutrition and locomotion to such a point that the old complex organs and the large body which contained them are no longer necessary. The masses are therefore to disappear. The body is to become all head. The human race is to become all technology.” p. 156-7
These ideas are ever more prescient today. Bill Joy, the cofounder of Sun Microsystems, published an article in 2000 titled “Why the future doesn’t need us.” A recent conference in Russia hosted the herald of the transhumanist era Ray Kurzweil. The Global Future 2045 Congress spoke of “The critical moment… when machines take on an artificial intelligence that matches or exceeds the brainpower of humans. No one in the academic community doubts that this will happen – the question is not if, but when.” Eventually, scientists “…will focus on improving humans…”
The Global Future conference also discussed the rise of “new barbarians” that are “easily deceived.” “Their video-game mentality means they could easily start to wreak havoc…” As Svetlana Smetanina reported from the conference, “If the proportion of people like this comes to encompass 50 percent of the Earth’s population, then a new “middle ages” are almost guaranteed.” Are these individuals the “dead-weight” to be rid of?
George Orwell, famous for his stunningly accurate portrayal of a future police state in 1984, commented on Lewis’ book Hideous Strength. His commentary was published in the Manchester Evening News in 1945 with the headline “THE SCIENTISTS TAKE OVER.” Orwell wrote,
“All superfluous life is to be wiped out, all natural forces tamed, the common people are to be used as slaves and vivisection subjects by the ruling caste of scientists, who even see their way to conferring immortal life upon themselves. Man, in short, is to storm the heavens and overthrow the gods, or even to become a god himself.
There is nothing outrageously improbable in such a conspiracy. Indeed, at a moment when a single atomic bomb – of a type already pronounced “obsolete” – has just blown probably three hundred thousand people to fragments, it sounds all too topical. Plenty of people in our age do entertain the monstrous dreams of power that Mr. Lewis attributes to his characters, and we are within sight of the time when such dreams will be realisable.”
Indeed we are living in a time when these dark dreams are completely realizable. To a great extent they have already become a vivid reality.
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