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Greetings everyone. I have something a little different for you, which in fact I’ve been working on for the past few days. I do know there’s been a lot of UFO news yet again, so give me until tomorrow to comment on that. Meanwhile, please enjoy this podcast/article. I think it’s relevant to the themes and concerns we often discuss here at this site.
As usual, I have an audio version and an article version. They are essentially the same. I added a few statements in the podcast, but they are basically the same, so whichever you prefer. 🙂
DOWNLOAD THE PROMETHEUS PROJECT PDF HERE
The Prometheus Project, Mankind’s Search for Long-Range Goals by Gerald Feinberg (z-lib.org)
As most of you know by now, I’ve lately discussed a theory I call the Fourth Stage of Humanity. I wrote about this in my most recent book, The Alien Agendas, and I’ve talked about it quite a bit here on this site. Essentially, the idea is that the human race is in the process of a major transformation, one that involves a change that was only equalled in the past by the industrial revolution of a few centuries ago, and the agricultural revolution of roughly 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. From hunting and gathering, to settled agriculture, to science and industry, to … whatever we are moving into now.
It’s probably too early to give this new stage a formal name, since I don’t think we are really able to see it perfectly. But it involves transhumanism. It involves comprehensive 5G. It will have pervasive and strong AI. Constant monitoring of pretty much everything and everyone. Comprehensive data crunching and analysis. Humanity as an ant farm.
It turns out I’m not the first to see this. Not even close! One of our members, Presstodigitate, was finally able to get me to read a book he’s been (politely) prodding me to read. This is The Prometheus Project by Gerald Feinberg, published 53 years ago in 1968. The book has been long out of print, and you would think that no one knows about it. In fact, it’s far from unknown, and Feinberg was a genius in certain ways. A crazed genius cursed with the unfortunate toxin of utopian perfectionism, but if not a true genius, then surely a bold visionary with deep knowledge in the sciences.
Because Feinberg’s book is very tough to find, I have a PDF version for anyone who likes to download it and read it. For my part, I have a nice way of bringing it to my tablet reader, which actually made it feel like I was reading the physical book. While I read it, I opened a file and took quite a few notes and quotations from the book, initially for my own use but which I am sharing here. It’s as close to a Cliff Notes version as you’ll probably find (for those people who even remember what Cliff Notes were!)
But before you get into those notes or read the book, I would like to offer my own assessment of it. Because it turns out that this is more than a book. It’s even more than a prescient bit of accurate prognostication. I really do wonder if this book, written more than half a century ago, constitutes a plan, one that we are living today, or might soon. All of which is very much in line with my thoughts on the Fourth Stage of Humanity. Gerald Feinberg not only foresaw much of the world that we now find ourselves in. He was in a way, this world’s prophet, the intellectual Godfather of people like Ray Kurzweil and Ben Goertzel. Feinberg was a true apostle of transhumanism.
One thing I will come back to at the end of this piece is that Feinberg’s vision is very much in line with the rest of 1960s techno-utopianism, one example of which I have linked for you here (and encourage you to watch). The only difference being that Feinberg goes much, much further in his vision and does so unflinchingly.
Another thing I realized is that Feinberg’s vision remains the basic worldview of the good people at Davos and the unelected masters of our universe who attend the annual Bilderberg meetings. Their motto: quietly controlling your world since 1954.
Feinberg was an unabashed believer in human perfectibility. Observing the astonishing material progress of humanity since our embrace of science and industry, Feinberg believed that humanity was only at the beginning. He seems to have intuited that our society was on the cusp of a massive breakthrough and rightly saw that the coming changes to our world were likely to happen very quickly. He talked about future computing, future machine intelligence, future “biological engineering,” all of which will be available, he believed, to improve us.
According to Feinberg, the big problem with being a human – and I am not kidding here – is that we are not omniscient or omnipotent. Our power of will runs into obstacles. Those obstacles being the rest of the universe. We can’t always get what we want, and this he sees as a tragic element of human life. I have to say, never once in my life have I ever remotely come to such a conclusion, but I am not as bold a thinker as Feinberg, that’s for sure.
Feinberg didn’t believe in a higher morality of any sort, and he didn’t believe in God. Furthermore, his view of consciousness seemed to be that most likely it’s fully explainable by chemistry and physics, and our moral beliefs and intellectual interests are predominantly the result of our social environment, and therefore malleable, with no ethical orientation being inherently superior to any other.
This provides his foundation. Upon this foundation he proposes that we remake humanity via conscious bio-engineering with help and integration from future developments in computing and artificial intelligence. Why, he wonders, should human beings live with limited capabilities? We may very well be the most advanced form of consciousness in the universe, he writes, so what’s to stop us from going further? If we have the ability to live for thousands of years in perfect physical health, with much higher intelligence than we currently have, then why not make it happen?
What could possibly go wrong?
Feinberg goes even further. For him, the ultimate advancement for humanity would be some form of “extended consciousness.” Consciousness is our greatest quality, he believed. But our ability to share our thoughts with others remains limited. But what if we could merge our individual consciousness with others? What would that be like? Feinberg offered his belief that if we could genuinely share our consciousness with another person, we would likely experience this “dual” consciousness as unified, somewhat how we experience our own consciousness as unified – until we sever the corpus callosum, in which case we experience left and right brains as separate entities. So there’s a reason to believe, according to Feinberg, that if you merged your consciousness with that of another person, you would still experience a unified consciousness.
I have no way of knowing if this is true or not, and frankly the notion seems so insane to me that I had never considered it until I read this book. But as repulsive as it seems to me, I confess it’s interesting to think about. Maybe he’s right, and if we merge our consciousness we will experience something very new and yet it will feel unified.
In any case, this seems to be his ultimate goal. Not a unified consciousness of just a few people, but apparently of the entire human race. Gerald Feinberg’s vision for the future of humanity was – literally – the creation of a unified hive mind.
One thing that makes this reading feel so utterly insane is the calm, rational, and often brilliant manner in which Feinberg writes. His understanding of science was very strong, and he was a fairly engaging writer who came across as measured and even humble. And yet he wanted humans to switch out our own current biology and psychology for an enhanced custom-designed version.
Which brings me to another aspect of Feinberg’s thinking that I find puzzling. As if the preceding wasn’t puzzling enough. That concerns his pressing desire to encourage a global conversation among the human race so that we can come to what he believes is our most important concern: what should be the long-range goals of humanity?
Normal human beings would presumably find this a rather odd thing to suggest. Very odd. But to Feinberg, this is important because we as a species are about to remake ourselves into something new. So if we are going to do that – and we absolutely should do that, he believed – then we ought to talk about it openly and come to some sort of consensus as to what we really want for ourselves.
Do we want to create a species in which we are designed to achieve spiritual insights with ease, like an advanced zen master or Hindu yogi? Do we want to eliminate war and therefore reduce or eliminate human aggression? Do we want to reverse the aging process? Do we want to have super-intelligence? Well then, we need to decide as a species before we move forward with any of this!
Reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder about the mental fantasyland that Feinberg lived in. Just how would a world of over three billion people (at the time) have any sort of discussion about this? How would it proceed? How could it not be hijacked by the smallest and most elite group of people – that is, the Bilderberg/Davos crowd? Feinberg’s scientific utopianism was easily matched by his astonishing political naivete.
I do understand the desire to have such a global conversation – that is, if you foresee the coming transhumanist utopian/dystopia. Sure, you would want people to have the chance to talk about this. After all, this is something that many people who study (and fear) strong AI have been saying, from Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems more than twenty years ago to any number of commentators today, including everyone’s favorite genius psychopath, Elon Musk.
But as everyone knows, and has known for a long time, there is no way in hell to stop this train. There is no way even to have a “conversation” about it. The U.S. is going pedal to the metal on 5G because it has economic, military, and national security implications. Because China’s going full speed ahead. And so is Russia. So is everyone else who can. No one can stop this. No public conversation is going to move the needle even by the smallest amount.
You think we can pass an international law banning “unethical” human bioengineering? Sure, why not. Of course expect “exemptions” for the classified communities in any of the powerful nations, to say nothing of criminal organizations that have too much power to be opposed. So, no. You won’t stop it. And then there’s super powerful AI. That’s even more impossible to stop than bioengineering. And so on. This train left the station quite some time ago. There are no brakes and we just keep going faster and faster to wherever the tracks take us.
But Feinberg believed a conversation could be possible. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, he lived in the most wealthy, stable, and dominant society that had ever existed: post-World War Two America. By the time he was writing, the cracks were just starting to appear, but in fairness very few people were noticing. He can be forgiven for not seeing them. America ruled the Free World, and I do think Feinberg just … assumed … that America would continue to ensure a stable global system by which measured, reasoned conversation could take place. After all, that’s how scientists did it, so why not the rest of the world?
There is something else underlying his thinking that I found telling, and disturbing. It’s a weird experience reading him. Here is an American Jewish intellectual of absolutely brilliant capability, who was actively encouraging a form of eugenics that not even the Nazis ever conceived of. This, a mere generation after Hitler! That’s crazy enough. But even beyond this, I don’t think Feinberg really believed in human freedom.
Many of the signs are there in his book. Occasional swipes against individualism. Open admiration of B.F. Skinner. Open respect for the successes of Soviet-styled economic planning. Even a partial defense of the dystopia envisioned in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. And of course his promotion of a human hive mind.
And this goes for his professed statements supporting a global public conversation about humanity’s long range goals, I can’t think there could ever have been a chance that he actually believed such nonsense. Were people in 1968 that politically idiotic? Maybe some of them were, actually. But I suspect that he knew all along that there would be one and only one way to make his wet dream come true. And that would be via a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to (a) develop the necessary technologies, (b) create the public awareness (propaganda) campaigns, and (c) utilize a centralized group of power brokers with global reach to make it all happen.
In any case, that is what’s happened. That is our world today.
I ask myself whether or not it’s possible to avoid certain technological developments. I will list the top four that concern me here (obviously there are others).
- Worldwide 5G (and beyond) data transmission
- The ability to monitor and track every human being on the planet and create a comprehensive database of their digital and non-digital activities, their location 24/7, and their state of mind.
- Some form of AI that matches and exceeds human intelligence along a key range of metrics.
- Widespread Brain to Computer Interface (BCI) among the human population.
Okay, let’s stop right there. Yes, there are many other technologies that are of interest to us. Maybe we will achieve safe nuclear fusion sometime soon. Maybe someone will give us a flying car. But in all seriousness, if the first four of the above possibilities happen, does anything else even matter?
Clearly, the first three are a done deal. As I see it, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that can stop them from happening at this point.
Some people might quibble over #3, and how will we know whether or not near-future AI will be “smarter” than us. Or will it truly be “conscious” the way we are conscious. To me, such questions are a waste of time. AI will continue its march to become so pervasive in our world that it will be impossible to extract it. Moreover, it will increasingly become so far removed from our ability to understand it that it will likely be seen the same way that the ancient peoples viewed oracles (this was an insightful point made by Feinberg, by the way).
Now, as for number four – widespread adoption of BCI technology – that hasn’t happened yet. But the pieces are falling into place for it. The processing capability now exists, ditto the ability to produce immersive AR and VR experiences, and even the ability to connect the human brain to such technologies. Elon Musk’s Neurolink is only one such product. All that remains is the ability to accommodate the massive bandwidth for all that data.
Enter 5G, which is up to such a task. The pieces are now all in place, and all that’s left is the public relations campaign to sell it. That will be a piece of cake, at least for most of the world. Yes, there will be obstinate holdouts, but holdouts always die off and then you are left with the next generation, and they will surely (and gladly) go along with the program.
So for my part, I see the four above developments as essentially inevitable. The first three will be fully in place before the end of this decade, and the fourth will probably only be a couple of years after that. Probably the first few years of the next decade will see the beginnings of mass marketing of brain-to-computer-interfaces that are “fun,” immersive, entertaining, and of course addictive.
What’s fascinating when reading Gerald Feinberg, this oddball genius from more than half a century ago, is that we are seeing his crazed vision of utopia playing out before our eyes. Sure, there were wacky science-techno utopians around back then who shared a similar vision. But Feinberg went so far beyond any of them, you really have to wonder about him. Who was this man? I saw that he was friends with Russell Targ and I know he worked with Hal Puthoff. I haven’t asked either of them about him – although I plan to. I wonder if Feinberg had any influence or connection with the real heavy hitters of the time: David Rockefeller, Brzezinski, Kissinger. He did spend some time at Rockefeller University, so that’s rather interesting. His Wikipedia page states he worked for a time at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, which is definitely one place where scientific power players have gathered. He also worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratories for a time. It’s possible that he had much more influence than we realize, but on that matter I still don’t know enough.
I mentioned that Feinberg wasn’t the only one in the 1960s to promote a wild scientific utopian future for humanity. Recently, I have spent a fair amount of time looking at “retrofuturism” videos on YouTube. Retrofuturism is just what it sounds like: the futurism of past eras. There’s a retrofuturism of the 1890s (H.G. Wells), and one of the 1920s (Metropolis, Buck Rogers, etc.), and certainly of the 1950s and 1960s, which is currently the one I am most interested in. Here is one example you can check out. There are many others. It’s the most pure and optimistic form of futurism. Some of the predictions you find in these videos (video phones and GPS) were quite prescient. Others (instantaneous road construction and stupendous bridge building along precarious mountain ranges) were just ludicrous. Women were going to have kitchens that would be completely mechanized and do all their work for them. Just push a button, ladies! Cars were going to become ultraluxurious transportation units in which Dad could kick back and relax all the way to his job. Which, by the way, he wouldn’t need to do more than probably twenty hours per week, because the future was going to be just awesome!
The thing you find that is missing in all of these predictions (and something that Feinberg also woefully lacked), is a basic understanding of people. None of those futuristic models foresaw the coming of modern feminism, or any other social movement for that matter. Social movements which, we should emphasize, have every bit to do with the technological changes that have occurred in our world. They aren’t separate, obviously. But no one predicted them.
Equally missing is any understanding of economics, another key indicator of human behavior. You can see this lack in Feinberg’s thinking when he talks about the benefits of the Soviet style of planning, or his insane notion that all we need to do is to let the people “decide” on the future of humanity and that’s what we can work toward. Sure, don’t bother considering what corporations might decide to develop and build and sell to the military. Same with the rest of the utopian futurists of the past. No one bothered to ask if anyone would buy a fully mechanized kitchen with appliances that were so elaborate and just begging to break down with all those moving parts, or how expensive all that would be, or how ordinary human beings might despise to a world in which all interaction is with their computer? Because even in the 1960s, there were futuristic (non-ironic and fully idealized) visions of society in which kids were being taught by computers (no human teachers necessary), and in which all human interaction was in fact limited and the most important interactions were with computers. Yes, even in the 1960s.
What’s insane to my mind is that these visionaries saw all this as a good thing. Even then, they were gaa-gaa at the thought of mechanizing the entire human race, all in the name of eliminating physical human work, and having machines do everything for us, all the time.
So yes, no understanding of economic relations, and no understanding of human psychology. Essentially, this is a vision of scientists and technicians who have no understanding of human beings. Maybe they were all aliens.
Aliens or not, this is the vision that dominates our world today.
MY NOTES FROM THE BOOK.
Gerald Feinberg. The Prometheus Project, 1968. Interesting that he acknowledged Russell Targ in his acknowledgements.
He asks, what should be the goals of the human race?
“A new inquiry into our long-range goals is imperative.” P.13
“a solution should not be imposed on an unwilling population from above.” Page 14
Discussion of the apparent homogenisation of human cultures from around the world. Predicts in the foreseeable future and essentially single human monoculture. “In effect a single society inhabiting the world.” He likes this.
A process of equalization is going on among most societies. It seems to be theoretically desirable. Greater options are becoming available to greater numbers of people.
By long-range goal, he means some desired future state of affairs whose realization would require an effort lasting over many generations. In other words, a conscious effort that would take serious dedication. P.15
Discussion of a goal such as “the elimination of as much suffering as possible through the biological reconstruction of the human race to remove some of the causes of this suffering.”
“The transformation of the earthly environment from its natural state to one more suitable for human habitation.” Page 16
“The critical necessity of a discussion of long-term goals is a result of two factors: the growing interdependence of different parts of the world society, and the rapid development of technology.” Page 19
Bottom of page 19. He’s already talking about the possibility of machines that can become more intelligent than people. He does see inherent dangers. If machines can think more creatively than we can, would that mean a severe loss of one of our primary areas of happiness, which is creative thought?
Already it appears obvious that the only way to manage this process is by some sort of technocratic elite. In his view, one that would have the best interests of mankind at heart. He hasn’t said this yet, but it seems to me this is the only direction he could possibly go.
Page 21, he’s talking about possibilities and dangers of having small groups of human beings make decisions that become irreversible for all of mankind. Therefore it is necessary to understand what humanity’s long-term goals are. Again, it seems as though the only way to manage this process is by some kind of elite.
Page 22 a greater concern for the welfare of those who will be born long after us would be an important step in the progression of feeling from self to family to nation to the world. He sees the movement of feeling away from the individual toward a greater collective as natural and good.
P.23. He talks about his own “optimistic estimate that most of our immediate problems will be solved in a relatively short time by the march of technology and the worldwide spread of those aspects of Western culture that are responsible for our high living standards. The problem of subsistence seems to be essentially solved in the United States and Western Europe, and the most pressing problems within those societies may soon be those relating to surplus production.”
He goes on to say he believes this will be the case for The whole world In “the next century.” That is, the 21st century.
- 24 “I am not convinced that the principles of the leading ethical and religious thinkers of two thousand years ago provide the goals that we will wish to agree on.”
- 29 “Many of the forms of human behavior are not inborn but rather are learned. Specific behavior patterns can be changed by psychological, chemical, and physical methods. human nature is therefore not something unalterable but can be changed.”
Page 32 discusses how human mental processes are very likely to be completely understood by scientists at some point in the future. Very much as a physical phenomenon. “The continuity of structure and function from nonliving matter to living and from the simplest forms of life to the most complicated strongly suggest that even the most characteristic human activities such as start and consciousness have an explanation, as yet only partly known, in chemical and physical phenomena.”
“To the extent that man’s attributes are determined by his physical and chemical structure, man can be modified in the same sense that any other physical system can be modified. provided that man can understand how he works, he can try to improve his workings in specific ways. Whether or not human nature can be changed by education, upbringing, or other cultural factors, the possibility of changing human nature by changing human biology is a new factor that must not be considered by molders of society.” P.32
P 34. “As remarkable as the results of natural selection are, from the point of view of humanity, It is by no means the most desirable method for producing change, for at least three reasons. First, it works too slowly for man to see results in his own species. Second, it is limited in the environment to which it can enable creatures to adapt, at least if the environment is changed to rapidly. For example, it is unlikely that any living organisms could adapt through natural selection to a sudden rise of 1000 degrees in the average temperature of the earth. Finally, and most important, man has his own ideas about what characteristics are desirable, and these are not necessarily the ones that natural selection will produce.”
P.36 “The scale of the universe is far too great for man to be its central theme. If we are ever to deal with more than a very small fraction of the world, we will have to be transformed into something quite new and different, either through evolution or by our own intercession.”
He seems to believe ultimately in the possibility of reducing all understanding of mind to matter. That doesn’t mean psychological explanations for human behavior will be irrelevant, as he believes they will continue to provide value in terms of our ability to understand. But he does seem to believe that mind is ultimately a function of chemistry and physics.
P.37 “… an inquiry into the goals of the human race must consider whether it would be desirable to instill some particular personality traits into all people. It may be that a revision in man’s psyche would be more relevant to human happiness than any transformation of the environment.”
- 46-47 talking about the potential elimination of death itself. He seems to think of this as a general positive.
- 49 “If we are successful in formulating goals for the human race, it may be easier for some people to find a purpose in their own lives. Once long-term goals have been formulated, many people who grow up in the society that has accepted these goals will find it natural to choose the furthering of them as the main purpose of their individual lives.”
- 51 “I believe that a transformation of man into something very different from what he is now is called for. But I do not know to what extent my fellow men will agree with me here.”
Yeah, no shit. His technological utopianism would be charming if it were not so tragic.
I almost want to laugh every time he talks about how it will be necessary for scientific experts to try to calculate and predict the effects of new technological changes on society. What does he think we have, a council of elders?
He believes that science should progress on the basis of fundamental principles, and that people need to take the long-term effects into account. This is total fantasyland.
- 62 “We may expect that the computers of the future will play an equally decisive role in the design of the men of the future.”
On page 64 he clearly makes his point that genuine human diversity is probably a bad thing, and that the trend toward uniformity is a good thing. Which is why he does not believe a laissez-faire approach to future genetic engineering is a good idea. He’s afraid it will produce a multiplicity of types of humans, even more divisive than the multiplicity of races currently existing. He wants uniformity, not diversity.
- 64 It’s all about total State control. “Another reason why some sort of control by society [eg. The State] over biological engineering is important is the basically altruistic feeling that society should guarantee to all individuals, particularly children, equal access to the best opportunities the world has to offer, independent of the wishes of their parents, relations, etc. This motive, which lies behind free public education, and forced medical care, etc, implies the principle that society-at-large has the responsibility to ensure that its members do not suffer from evitable disadvantages in their lives.”
- 75 foresees potential problems produced by high-level artificial intelligence replacing human intellect in many aspects of society, including even creative and artistic areas.
- 76 He also accurately foresees the possibility that these advanced machines or programs will operate in ways that we will not be able to understand. He likens them to future oracles. Not a bad analogy.
“One consequence could be a loss of interest in science and rational thought in general. If man came to believe that some of the fundamental principles that govern the universe were beyond our comprehension, at least in our present form, they might give up trying to find these principles. Other responses are, however, also possible, especially if man’s capacities can be modified by biological engineering. And there is the possibility of some kind of symbiosis between man and machine, which could enhance the capabilities of each for scientific investigation or other activities. Any of these responses might be desirable under certain circumstances, but it is hard to choose among them without some knowledge of the goal we are trying to achieve.” P. 76 I think this is the first instance in which he raises the possibility of machine – man interface.
- 78 He’s working off of some strong assumptions, namely that the development of intelligent computers is of such great importance to society that governments must take control over the process. He is not in favor of private industry having free rein in its development. At several points in this book he is clearly sympathetic toward centralized, authoritarian, even Soviet-style management of the economy. It seems to be the case here as well. Talking about development of intelligent computers, he writes, “this is likely to be quite expensive, and in view of the extreme effects that super intelligent computers might have on human society, one would expect society, through its government, to play an important role in controlling their development. It would be unfortunate, however, if society in exercising this control allowed the potentialities for harm inherent in such machines to blind it to their potential contribution to human life and rejected their development out of hand.”
- 79 “Another possibly impending technological development is a major increase in the active human life span, by which I mean that human beings would remain in good physical condition for periods of several hundreds or thousands of years.”
- 80 Relating to the possibility of life after death, he writes, “since no scientific evidence for this hypothesis has been evinced until now, I will disregard this possibility here.” Yes, he has not the slightest bit of spirituality in any of his writing. He is a straight up, full-blown materialist scientist. This is his world view.
- 82 He is genuinely looking at a future of human virtual immortality and perfect health.
Again the naivete is astonishing. He believes that human beings would achieve new heights of creative achievement if they could live for longer periods. He writes, “Imagine what Beethoven or Newton might have accomplished had they been able to retain their full abilities for hundreds or thousands of years.” For such a brilliant man, gaps like this leave me almost speechless. At least a certain portion of Beethoven’s genius was driven by his deep unhappiness, even the disability of his growing deafness. The fact that he drank, the fact that he was lonely, the fact that his father had beaten him as a child. All of these tragedies were rolled into his life that inevitably contributed to the creation of his great art. Furthermore, can anyone realistically assume that even a musical genius such as Beethoven would want to focus on creating music for a thousand years? At what point would any human mind become tired of living? Of course Feinberg might well say that such a person could always have the option of ending their life. Undoubtedly there would be advantages to having brilliant people living longer lives than they might otherwise have lived. But I really think he misunderstands the creative process here. It’s almost as if he’s a robotic alien pretending to be a human being. 🙂
- 84 He sees the fear of death as a highly negative thing. He believes that eliminating it would be “a tremendous liberating force on the human mind and would result in people much better balanced psychologically than we are at present.” I could make a very spirited argument in exactly the opposite direction.
Virtual immortality or greatly extended lifespans “would severely disrupt a society whose institutions are built around the fact that its members usually live about seventy years. Such institutions as the family and government would have to be radically modified in a world without aging; the system of retirement as a fixed chronological age would have to be completely changed. Many people, when faced with the necessity for such changes in the oldest and most firmly rooted institutions in our society, despair of creating a viable world without them and reject out-of-hand the development that would necessitate the changes.”
His reply is that the only reason we look to these institutions as being natural is because they fit the needs of our present situation. We have been raised within that framework. If you change the nature of humanity, then other institutions will change accordingly.
The prospect of indefinitely long life means of course people just can’t keep having children. If you lived a thousand years, you could still only have two kids. The only way to deal with this, he seems to suggest, is by radical changes in human psychology and patterns of thought.
- 92 “chemical or electrical stimulation of the human brain to produce new patterns of mental activity.” There we go.
He wants to see a genuine conversation about the pros and cons of psychotropic drugs like LSD in use by the general population. He’s not an evangelist like Timothy Leary, but he clearly is open.
Talking about a future in which electrical stimulation of the brain could produce intense pleasures. He writes, “the danger of such a development is, of course, that many people might wish to devote their time to the pleasures that would be made available through these machines, disregarding ‘real life’ altogether. It would obviously be difficult for society to function if a large fraction of its members were so involved, although it might not be impossible if enough work could be automated.” Wow.
- 94 Even here his lack of basic economics comes through. He talks about how we need to make a determination as a society “whether or not to allow their development and use.” As if.
He talks about a future in which we might want “to give all men the intelligence of Newton and the sensitivity of Goethe.” Again, this belies a great misunderstanding of how intelligence and sensitivity actually develop. He ignores the fundamental social and environmental context that allowed these men to be who they were.
- 97. “Consider, for example, the proposal that men would be much better off if they all shared a common consciousness, perhaps through something like an artificial telepathic communication system.”
- 100 “Suppose it were agreed that humanity would be better off if aggression against other men were impossible. One can imagine the psychological or physiological methods by which such a situation could be brought about, or at least approached, and indeed many writers have considered such possibilities as conditioned inhibitions that would operate whenever aggression was attempted. In other words, to bring about a society in which aggression between people does not occur, it might be necessary to introduce specific changes in human mental patterns.”
Sure, just keep his eyes taped open and force him to watch violent images like in A Clockwork Orange.
He clearly favors the idea of social and biological engineering to attain these types of goals. He’s cautious in the way he states it by saying things like “I do not think the ‘engineering’ approach can automatically be rejected as immoral.”
- 104 He seems to be speaking unironically about the value of achieving a literal Faustian bargain on a grand societal scale, in search of a collective goal for humanity.
Feinberg really seems to be at home with Soviet-style planning. Stalin and Mao did their five-year plans, while Feinberg seems to be thinking of a 500 year plan.
- 106 In settling on such goals he writes, “It is unlikely that there will be a consensus on such goals until a much larger group of people becomes involved in the discussion.” And why exactly does he believe that a larger group of people will make coming to a decision any easier?
- 108-110. Astonishing passage in which he critiques the foundations of Buddhism. The idea of which it is founded is the existence of suffering and how human beings can best avoid it. Feinberg talks about how modern man is now able to eliminate nearly all the physical forms of suffering that inspired Buddhism to begin with. Feinberg also dismisses the concept of reincarnation as founded on no evidence, something else that deeply informs Buddhist philosophy. He concludes, “this version of Buddhism [Mahayana] hardly seems a reasonable candidate for a long-range human goal today. There is no evidence to support the doctrine of successive reincarnation, and it would be very difficult if not impossible to make this consistent with the principle that all human functions are explicable through the known laws of physics. Furthermore, the idea that all human life is unavoidable suffering is not one that appears evident to modern man.”
- 111 He writes, “the best approach would require us to give up caring about almost all the activities that usually concern us, and most men today would not accept this without some specific idea of what would remain for them. Unfortunately on precisely this matter, the nature of enlightenment, but his writings are most vague, and most Buddhist sources, both primitive and contemporary, reject the idea of ever understanding enlightenment intellectually. while this may not be a severe problem for those already committed to the quest, it is not a good way to convince those who are skeptical of it.” Wow.
- 113-114. He doesn’t believe in the existence of a soul.
- “there appears to be no basis for the belief that the moral principles of religion are objectively true, or that any such objective moral principles, which can determine what our long-term goal should be, exist. This does not mean that ethical statements are meaningless. Individuals, societies, and perhaps all of mankind have ethical preferences and insofar as ethical statements reflect such subjective preferences, they are important and meaningful. We must, however, recognize them for what they are and not pretend that they have a greater force than their source would warrant.”
God is unnecessary to a scientific picture of the world.
Total untrammeled individualism is also a problem. He’s open to the idea of people pursuing their individual desires, but also points out that people’s desires are actually highly influenced by society around them, and they are much less free than they think. Again, his attitude is that there is no fundamental human nature, but that human nature is incredibly malleable. Therefore, he continually flirts with the idea without fully embracing it, that there needs to be some level of direction of future human motivations so as to produce the best outcomes. P. 125-128
- 129 discussion of Condorcet, who was without a doubt the most optimistic of all the 18th century philosophers. Like Condorcet,, Feinberg believes in the ultimate perfectibility of man, but with the difference being that Feinberg believes it can only occur with human planning, not via natural means, as Condorcet assumed.
It seems to me one of the most jarring discrepancies I find in this entire book is Feinberg’s implicit assumption that somehow the governing structures of human society are able to deal with these new developments in a fair and just manner. It’s fair to say that most people today reject this notion. Therefore we tend to look with feelings of fear and even terror at the power that is settling into the hands of a relatively small elite of all this new powerful technology. Feinberg’s optimism is something that I find disturbing. It’s not impossible to understand in the context of the 1960s. But wow, how differently we look at the world today.
For example: “if there is something we cannot accomplish because of the way a man now is, we can imagine changing how he is in order to make it possible. Thus if man cannot survive long space voyages because of psychological problems such as loneliness, or because of biological problems such as loss of strength under zero gravity conditions, we can imagine producing alterations in at least some men so as to eliminate these problems for them. While this runs some danger of destroying the unity of humanity that has been so laboriously achieved, I believe it is mainly a matter of attitude, and that a man is anything we call one.” P. 133-134
He suggests one possible goal for mankind is the extension of consciousness. He then talks about different ways as might be achieved. You could willfully create a mystical state of being. You could learn to understand the inner workings of your own mind. And one of his favored candidates appears to be “something sort of shared consciousness among several minds, human or otherwise. This suggests something like mental telepathy, or awareness of another person, but I mean something more thoroughgoing. Many writers have imagined telepathy as a kind of soundless speech between minds that remain distinct entities; what I imagine is perhaps a temporary fusing of the two minds into one, with no more feeling of separateness than now exists in the mind of one person. This is to be contrasted with the sense of being an observer of something outside one’s consciousness which is what happens now when we communicate with another person. Such a merger of consciousnesses would presumably have to involve some kind of physical link between the brains involved and could occur either among several human minds, or, if we create artificial intelligence or meet other intelligent species, could involve these as well. If it can be achieved at all, it can perhaps be extended to include as many individual minds as desired. But that remains to be seen.” P. 140-141
He immediately goes on to ask the question whether in the event of a merged consciousness that any remnant of the individual consciousness remains. His tendency is to think the answer is no, and adds that in fact he tends to use this as one criterion for the success of the merger. So the point for him seems to eliminate the feeling of separateness from other individuals. He seems to be explicitly suggesting the creation of a hive mind.
He foresees a genuine possibility that “a group of minds might choose to remain permanently united, thus creating a new being.”
I’m perhaps being a bit cheeky here, but I could hypothesize that if an alien agent were to insert himself into human society to move this process along, he would write this very book. This book is nothing less than a manifesto for the fourth stage of humanity.
- 142 “a machine consciousness could provide a model for some innovations we might want to make in human consciousness, as well as being a possible partner for men in the merging of minds.”
Turning humanity into the Borg.
The truth is, his goal is to turn humanity into omnipotent gods. For example, page 143:
“I have argued that the root of man’s discontent is his finitude and inability to accomplish all that he wills. To some extent this problem must exist for any conscious creature, since it is a consequence of the separation between the mind and the world. If we wish to attack the source of human unhappiness, we must do something about this conflict. one possibility would be to eliminate consciousness, but this would leave the world very much the poorer, and most of us are too attached to the mind to abolish it. The alternative is to extend the scope of consciousness in such a way as to lessen, and eventually removed, the discrepancy between will and achievement.”
For Feinberg, our discontent is caused primarily by the fact that we are not omnipotent. Therefore the goal is to become omnipotent.
He is clearly talking about using technology as well as bio-engineering to achieve this.
The current problem of consciousness in his opinion is that it “is severely limited in its scope. it is limited in time, since the individual human mind has a beginning and an end. It is limited in its powers by the intransigence of the external world to its will. It is limited in its occurrence to a very small part of the world of matter. Finally, there is not one consciousness but many, and these are so completely separated from one another that communication between them is a pale shadow of the unity within a single mind.”
He explicitly states his desired goal as the creation of a universal consciousness among all conscious creatures, not merely in the human race, but everywhere. He emphasizes that this must be voluntary on the part of mankind, however that is supposed to occur. P. 147
Whatever else you can say about this man, he is certainly an out-of-the-box thinker.
I don’t know if Feinberg was considered a crazed psychopath in his day, but certainly the people who promote this philosophy today seem to be.
He wants to see greater physicochemical research into the brain. “these might involve chemical and electrical stimulation of the brain, or some form of biological engineering to produce individuals naturally capable of the new forms of consciousness. Both of these would be rational uses of the technological possibilities we have discussed earlier…” P. 149
- 151 He does state, admittedly with some logic, that by adopting a unified consciousness, mankind will be better able to determine its appropriate goals. In one idealized possibility, this might be possible, providing that consciousness could be merged in some sort of proper and truly beneficial way. But that’s one heck of a wing and a prayer. What do we think is more likely? I think we all know.
- 152 Regarding the actual extension of consciousness .. “When any of the higher levels of consciousness becomes technically possible, people’s reactions to it will vary. Some will want to enter into this new stage, or to have their children do so if they themselves cannot. Others may not desire the change in the most intimate part of their being that would be involved in an alteration of their consciousness. We must respect these individual preferences and regard the extension of consciousness as a potentiality the individual may or may not choose for himself, even though this may lead to a few individuals, through their own choice, being left out of experiences the rest of mankind finds desirable. I think that we cannot, however, allow people to determine the lives of their children in this respect. If some extension of consciousness becomes possible for everyone, through some form of genetic engineering, there may be valid reasons for not extending the treatment to the whole new generation, such as uncertainty about the long-term effects, but I believe that the step is too important in the life of an individual to let the prejudices of his parents determined this part of his fate.”
So, to paraphrase, it’s possible that society-at-large may determine that it would be a mistake to force the next generation to upload their consciousness into the cloud, so to speak. But parents on their own should not be allowed to make that decision for their children. Apparently that should be the role of society (that is, the government).
- 155 “the goal I proposed is essentially to transcend what we are now … I hope that humanity will share my feelings about this goal…”
His next chapter is called Philosophical Problems in Setting Goals, which strikes me as almost absurd even to discuss. But not absurd for someone who apparently and implicitly assumes that humanity must progress on the basis of consciously thought out plans, along the lines that Communist societies have always tried to do. Or currently what we get from the annual Bilderberg meetings or the meetings at Davos. And here we come to the crux of what he implies: “who should actually be involved in the search for goals? I have already stated that I believe it should involve a sizable portion of the human race, indeed as many people as are willing to take part in it. It could, however, be maintained that a more workable system would be to have a small number of intellectually or morally gifted persons entrusted with the job of formulating goals for all of us.” P. 159 However, he immediately rejects this solution. He states that it has “such severe defects that it is totally unacceptable. Any small, homogeneous group chosen on the basis of intellectual distinction, worldly success, ability to win elections, or any of the usual methods, is likely to represent a very restricted sample of the thoughts and feelings of humanity as a whole…” Okay then. “I see no alternative to opening the selection to all who wish to take part in it. Indeed, I think we should encourage as many people as possible to play an active role in both suggesting goals and evaluating those suggested by others.” P. 160
What’s hilarious here is that he has a democratic instinct in all of this, but lacks THE fundamental democratic instinct, which would allow a laissez-faire economic solution to all this. He’s so concerned about centralized planning and unified action of the species, that his natural instinct is to move ahead on this process in the matter of a Soviet-style command economy. And yet he wants widespread democratic input into the process. The only way to do that on a global basis it seems to me is by allowing individuals and especially corporations to develop these technologies as they see fit, without consulting the broader community. That of course can lead — and has led — to the situation in which we are moving so fast into this future because of national and corporate competition over the technology and its benefits. We all know this. Feinberg’s problem is that he’s trying to move humanity into this technological scientific utopia by means of a deliberate political process. Perhaps the domination of the United States over the entire rest of the non-Soviet world was so complete that he assumed that this could simply be done very easily. I honestly can’t see for the life of me how he envisions the mechanisms by which any kind of agreement would be made. The United Nations? Nothing of the sort has come up in this book.
P.166 “The modifications of man that may be required to implement the goals we choose may involve biological changes of the kind discussed in chapter 3 or psychological conditioning of future generations so that the goals seem desirable to them as well. The latter procedure, similar to that described in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, has seemed abhorrent to many people. Yet to be raised in any society is to be conditioned into certain beliefs and forms of behavior. In most cases the conditioning is done unconsciously, and the beliefs are tested. I do not think that any new moral principle is established if we do the conditioning consciously, in connection with explicit principles. It is a question of what the principles that are instilled into future generations are to be, and it would seem that the freely chosen goals of the human race are worthy candidates.”
“Abhorrent to many people”? And who are the people for whom it is NOT abhorrent? I’m assuming Feinberg!
P.172 “But there must be some limit to how many of an individual’s actions can be prescribed by group goals. Individuals should not set aside their own goals and devote themselves single-mindedly to the group goals. As we are now constituted, each man is most accurately thought of as a separate entity whose actions and desires, although they have been influenced by society, our individual and distinctive. The efforts in some societies to submerge the will of the individual and the general will of the group have by-and-large been ineffective, if only because the consciousness of each man is individual and not shared. Unless we choose to change this particular aspect of man, we must accept the fact that individuals will maintain their personalized and goals, which will be largely independent of the group goals. This is something not to be deplored, but recognized. Nothing I have said in this book should be taken to imply that I regard the goals of the human race as higher or more important than the motivations individual men. Indeed, I believe that the feelings of individuals are the source of all ethical principles, and I regard the goals of the human race as another aspect of the same feelings that are the source of individual motivations. The group goals refer to a consensus of those aspirations we have in common, while our personal goals come from those feelings that distinguish each one of us.”
- 174-175 “One question that occurs immediately is whether there should be some new organization specifically devoted to carrying out these goals. As an alternative, we can imagine that some government, perhaps a world government if one is set up, could do this in addition to its other functions. Another alternative would be that existing organizations whose general activities are in the area of the specific goal that has been chosen could coordinate the work toward its accomplishment. Although each of these approaches has its advantages and disadvantages, I think that a specific organization for working to accomplish the long-range goals provides the best solution.”
Because this project will take a fairly long time, he argues that the organization ought to be autonomous from any single government. P. 176 but it nevertheless will be very much dependent upon national governments, the way he sees it. Frankly, this seems like a more limited version of the United Nations, albeit with more autonomy of planning and action.
- 181 States how the fact that no single book is going to be likely to reach many people. The obvious approach, he says, “is through the mass media, which influences large fractions of the population. by the use of television in the industrialized countries and radio and newspapers in less developed countries, it is possible to communicate with the majority of the world’s people, provided that the various governments that control mass media in many places cooperate.”
Incredibly, he really is arguing that the call should go out to people throughout the world for them to think about what the long-range goals of humanity should be. I find this astonishing.
His entire final chapter, which is all about how to set up an organization to implement his goals, the Prometheus Project, is an example of the most idealistic utopian fantasy thinking that I have ever seen, I think ever in my life.
Is Alien Agenda ever going to be in audiobook? Waiting patiently. 😭
Oh golly, let me look into that. I might have dropped the ball on that. Quite a few things happening over here, so let me check.
A lot to digest. It immediately reminded me of the Borg. The Collective, as you mentioned, the Hive.
What is that essence that differentiates us from the animal? Our soul, our consciousness. I read Nigel Kerner’s book some years ago, in which he says that the aliens want not just our DNA, but our ‘souls.’ They lack souls and conscience, so they are trying to transplant them into their new ‘hybrids’… that was his idea, but he also said it couldn’t happen, because our souls belong to God, and could not be separated.
Sounds scary to me, and not ideal. I think as bad as humanity can be, one thing most of us share is love. We are capable not just romantic love, but the love that supercedes selfishness. The supreme sin…selfishness. That is what makes humans so special, we can at times, put aside our desires and needs and help another. The way a mother would allow herself to die, to save her child.
So he wants to do away with all that, and what is left basically is an empty shell filled with robotics and neural impulses. One of the reasons I loved Star Trek, Second Generation is because it touched on these topics. Sci fi has always gone beyond the usual. Ray Bradbury, Philip Dick, Arthur C Clarke, and even H.G. Wells, “The Island of Dr. Moreau” and of course, the classic, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.’ The transference of the soul or the elimination of the soul.
It is the very essence of who and what we are.
When I read about alien abductions I don’t find that compassion that emanates from humans. They are strictly robotical, “what do we need to do to stop you from screaming..” …
I think the moment we allow our conscience to dissipate, that the moment we become automatons. The Singularity would come sooner and much more life ending.
Here’s a true story. My mother died about 5 years ago. Many months later, I had gone to sleep, but in my ‘dream’ I was walking up the steps to the library where I had worked for 20 years.. I was thinking, ‘I have to find Mom, where is Mom?” As I passed through the sliding doors, I walked into the library, and at first scanned the adult fiction and nonfiction areas, but no Mom. Then I scanned the Children’s area. I saw someone bent over, as if that person was getting a book on the lower shelves (picture books for the younger kids), and that person slowly rose and as she rose, our eyes met.
In that exact moment, I felt an incredible bolt of ‘energy similar to a lightning bolt, if you will” enter into the top of my head and down through my body and out my toes. Zing. Zing. Twice . Two times in a matter of seconds. I was fully awake at that moment and I knew it was my mother contacting me.
I have never deviated from this notion; no, it was not a ‘dream.’ I was awake when this happened. It bolstered my own personal view that there is life after death, and all those near death stories were true. Dr. Sam Parnia does not agree with your author that it is just ‘brain firings.’ The consciousness lives on.
Isn’t that what Sarfatti and company used to talk about, Rich? That the conscience was non local? That is exists outside the body? If so, I would never want that to change. AI must come, but if we keep our hearts inside our bodies, we won’t allow it to take our souls.
By the way, Nigel Kerner wrote an interesting article for UFO Digest (online) about transhumanism. A very different take than your author, Feinberg. Take a look at it when you have a little time, just for a divergent opinion.
Great summary of Feinberg, but I think I will stick to my antiquated view of what makes us human, and pray it stays on. With a little more emotional knowledge, we can actually reach The Age of Aquarius! Maybe. 😉
Thanks, Rosie. Totally agree with your sentiments, of course. And thank you for sharing that touching vision of your mother.
Rosanne, thank you for your openness. I completely believe your “dream” was the real deal.
You are obviously a reader of science fiction, so let me toss out another writer/character relevant to this conversation: Robert Heinlein, and his character, Lazarus Long…rascal, free man, and definitely anti-borg. No future for Lazarus Long in the world we’re talking about…
Aside to Richard – I don’t know if we can win, but we sure as hell can fight…”And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods?”
Resistance begins in the soul. Baby steps: I almost never use the mobile phone I own: In fact, I don’t even know where it is right now. And my Faraday bag is my friend. ..My only command to Alexa, even if she “lived” here, would be 1. obscene and 2. anatomically impossible, even for a human.
“Rangers lead the way!”
Thank you Stephen. Sometimes the knee jerk response to things like my mother contacting me is to giggle and sweep it away. But what do we all really know about life? Or about death? we live in a closed society on those issues. Yes, I believe it was my mom; it would be something she would do!
Yes, Sci Fi is great stuff. The writers of Sci Fi are very often scientists themselves or at least have some science background. yes, I know Heinlein, too. Great stuff. Sci Fi is actually a very popular genre in the library, although some people may not think it, and not just young people, all people of all ages. there is a reason for that.
Rosanne, thank you for your openness. I completely believe your “dream” was the real deal.
You are obviously a reader of science fiction, so let me toss out another writer/character relevant to this conversation: Robert Heinlein, and his character, Lazarus Long…rascal, free man, and definitely anti-borg. No future for Lazarus Long in the world we’re talking about…
Aside to Richard – I don’t know if we can win, but we sure as hell can fight…”And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods?”
“Rangers lead the way!”
What scares the living daylights out of *me* is the propensity to treat all of this conspiracy-validating Social Engineering from the [Human] “Powers That Be” as if it is totally isolated from the apparent efforts and objectives of the ETUFO presence – which the same ‘Ruling Elites’ (or “Illuminati”) seem determined to retain exclusive commerce with, while the rest of us continue to be kept in the dark (and fed bullshit, like Mushrooms). Why would their entire post-WWII Social Engineering program to manipulate and subjugate the public NOT involve their biggest claim on control of the future, their [‘Vichy’] Collaboration with the dominant “visiting” Invasive Species? It makes no sense to me to treat any of their “macroscale” societal machinations as independent of the ETUFO problem.
I find it terrifying that NO ONE in Ufology is even publicly considering any “Worst Case Scenarios” regarding the ETUFO presence; its all “Rainbows & Unicorns” to hear Greer (and others) tell it, where the Aliens are concerned, and all the ‘Bad Guys’ are assumed to be the Humans. Worse, those in the Deep State, perpetrating the [continuing] fraudulent Coverup are also *assumed to be Human* – when we have absolutely no confirmation of that, and significant reasons over the past 65 years to believe otherwise.
Why is Ufology unable to even publicly ask the question: “WHAT IF Greer’s big ‘Space Brothers’ turn out to be ‘Big Brother from Space’, and all of the Coverup, Surveillance, Censorship and Propaganda have actually been engineered to deliver [an electronically-pacified] Humanity into Their [ET] control, in support of long-range Alien goals regarding Mankind, for “Planetary Acquisition” – or “Colonization” (as the mass-production of “Hybrid Containers” would suggest)? Nobody *outside* the government is doing Contingency Planning for such a “Worst Case Scenario”, and, if Experiencers are to be believed, that there are large numbers of completely “passable” Hybrids, a conservative assumption would be that any such elements *inside* the government, responsible for doing so, have already been Infiltrated, Compromised, Corrupted and Co-Opted, LONG SINCE. Is THAT the real problem within Ufology, as well?
What better demonstrates cold “BORG” efficiency than a population of the local apex fauna completely “Assimilated” with a universal Brain Control Interface? A population of the local apex fauna manipulated into Assimilating *THEMSELVES* conveniently before the Invasive Species has even become generally known and accepted as being “Real” in the first place. In the immortal words of Slarti Bartfarst, the award-winning Magrathean fjiord designer: “You see, they really are particularly *clever* ‘Hyperintelligent, Pandimensional Beings’…”
Feinberg obviously represents an extreme, similar to those who promote various forms of Armageddon.
It also sounds like the writers of Star Trek TNG drew from his work in regards to the Borg and tachyons. (Is that a bit of irony from free thinking, creative minds?)
Feinberg may have been a high functioning individual with a cognitive disorder, seeing reality in a slightly eccentric way; highly useful in some respects yet failing abysmally in others. Planned economies tend to fail because they rely on being predictive and are too slow to adapt to change. Capitalism works because because of the merciless price mechanism and recognising that failure is necessary in order to promote efficient economic growth – a hands-off approach that is the complete opposite to total control. (Anyone think that the Illuminati missed that lesson in evolution? Exercises in inbreeding would have provided a clue.)
AI is a tool, same as the internet, bricks and refrigerators. What’s useful is useful.
AI’s general strength is its ability to take fuzzy input and provide useful output by association. It’s fascinating because we can’t see how it comes to an answer. And it can provide incorrect answers too, if not checked, which also makes it creepily human in a simple way.
Doctors don’t heal patients, they generally enable the body to perform its own healing; our technology is still laughably crude in comparison to nature. If you think that AI and 5G are the beginning of the end, then just wait a few hundred millennia – the culture shock will kill you dead.
A few hundred millennia?! Good God, I can’t even begin to imagine. Can anyone, I wonder?
A horrific precursor and foretelling to Klaus Schwab’s books: The Fourth Industrial Revolution and COVID-19: The Great Reset.
“Technology and digitization will revolutionize everything, making the overused and often ill-used adage ‘this time is different’ apt. Simply put, major technological innovations are on the brink of fueling momentous change throughout the world.”
“In the four short years since, technological progress has moved impressively fast. AI is now all around us, from drones and voice recognition to virtual assistants and translation software. Our mobile devices have become a permanent and integral part of our personal and professional lives, helping us on many different fronts, anticipating our needs, listening to us and locating us, even when not asked to do so…Automation and robots are reconfiguring the way businesses operate with staggering speed and returns on scale inconceivable just a few years ago. Innovation in genetics, with synthetic biology now on the horizon, is also exciting, paving the way for developments in healthcare that are groundbreaking. Biotechnology still falls short of stopping, let alone preventing, a disease outbreak, but recent innovations have allowed the identification and sequencing of the coronavirus’ genome much faster than in the past, as well as the elaboration of more effective diagnostics. In addition, the most recent biotechnology techniques using RNA and DNA platforms make it possible to develop vaccines faster than ever. They might also help with the development of new bioengineered treatments.”
Lock Step page 18
BCI and Elon Musk’s Grandfather, Joshua Haldeman (Technocrat)
ScopeX:Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (Bill Gates?)
Dr Stefan Lanka Exposes COVID Science Fraud
I’ve been looking forward, to hearing more on the ‘The 4th Stage of Humanity ‘. And thanks to Presstodigitate for the recommendation – your work is much appreciated
What if instead of the “aliens” being the purveyors of a hive mind, they are fighting against that conclusion. We always assume that aliens would be mechanical minded atomatons that are out to make humans not human anymore. I guess that’s the stereotype. However, it may not be so…perhaps it is the aliens that are organic and aware of the importance of the human race to remain in touch with their “humamness”. Just sayin…
Except for the fact that there are multiple independent leaks corroborating the report that the real Alien Autopsies (of “Greys”) discovered them to be Cybernetic Organisms (“Cyborgs”), with technological implants. But, yes, it is possible some other ET races visiting here are not. They just don’t seem to be the ones running the show out there, where Man is concerned, whereas the Greys have gone unhindered in their Abductions here for at least 65 years. Then there are the Implants they place in Abductees, which have been surgically extracted and proven to be of off-world origin, which are seen to reach out – with Carbon Nanotubes – to connect with the nervous system of the Human host. So the conclusion is that the dominant Aliens here are on the side of such [BORG-like] “Assimilation”, and not intervening to protect us from it.
Richard thank you for including your notes on The Prometheus Project: without them I would have gone bald with frustration. Fro berg may ‘not believe’ in God, but his promotion of overwhelming technological developments to make an almost-perfect, and possibly immortal human society is akin to ‘acting like g/God. In short, in many way his futurism thoughts ‘blows like stink’, so to speak 🤓
p.s. I hope your books will begin to be available in the very near future
Hi Barbara, thanks. Do you mean my audio books? Because all of my books are available in print and ebook form. Working on more audio availability.
VERY, very interesting.
Re the hive mind aspect — it immediately reminded me of the book Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, which was published in the 1930s. Stapledon was a major influence on Clarke and other sci-fi authors.
I did a quick scan of the references in The Prometheus Project and sure enough — Stapledon has a couple mentions.
(Star Maker is actually quite a thought-provoking book. I read it only recently. It’s worth the read!)
Can’t believe the CSIS were talked into using an operative to see if a researcher had “inside” info that was unacknowledged. I thought only the Chinese played so low.
Not “Transhumanism”, but “Dehumanism”. I think most of the utopian ideas from this era were driven mainly by post WWII, Cold War/Nuclear War paranoia. I also think scientists of that era (particularly physicists) felt very guilty about giving humanity the A Bomb, with its world ending potential. People like Feinberg can be very intelligent, and even visionary. Their ideas can seem very beguiling. especially during times of seeming existential crisis, where surrendering your individuality and freedom in the name of peace, security and “progress” can seem plausible, even appealing. That is, until you realize that the fundamental quality people like this lack is not intelligence, but wisdom. They are smart, but they are not wise. Being smart in the scientific world buys you nothing. Everybody is smart.
Being wise on the other hand is exceptional. and a rare commodity. Feinberg can’t really help you live a better, more fulfilling life, which is what wisdom is all about. All he can do is spew grandiose, transformational nonsense, which is at total variance with human nature, and it can only be realized in some distant future, when scientists have overcome their guilt trip about “splitting the atom”. And, surprise, surprise. Instead of blowing ourselves off the planet, we all get to be a super smart hive mind, and live for a thousand years. Thanks, guys.
I have never read this guy, and I’m not sure that I want to. It sounds like a manifesto straight out of the 1950’s Si-Fi movie, “Invasion of The Body Snatchers”, without the evil, transhumanist pods of course. Never mind that the flick itself was probably a subtle, anti Communist metaphor, designed to imprint on our consciousness the importance of individuality and liberty. The point is the same, no matter the nature of the totalitarian threat.
Gerald Feinberg sounds like he might have been reincarnated as Elon Musk; when you started talking about his ideas Elon Musk popped up in my mind. I can’t lie some of things sounds fascinating, although I not sure about one shared consciousness.
“Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost…. Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, and use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men.”
-Sir Charlie Chaplin, “The Great Dictator”
“The main business of humanity is to do a good job of being human beings…, not to serve as appendages to machines, institutions and systems.” -Kurt Vonnegut
“In holding scientific research and development in the highest respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the opposite and equal danger, that public policy itself could become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” -President Dwight D. Eisenhower
The electronic “hive” mind for a unified consciousness is the kind of clueless and counter-productive crap an alienated intellectual would come up with. Not only do humans have the ability to participate in a collective consciousness naturally, they do so in a subconscious way already without realizing it. It takes nothing away from us as individuals, but it is not an intellectual trip. The experience is subjective, not objective, and it becomes intersubjectivity. Imagine the auras of a group of people merging as their central nervous systems linked with harmonic resonance. How can a shared musical experience bring thousands of people to tears simultaneously without a single word being spoken? Intellect is what keeps us from realizing our connectedness. An electronic hive mind would inhibit its development, much as continuing to use a crutch serves to weaken a broken leg after it has healed. Intellect was the last big development in mankind, not the next one. The idea that scientists and technocrats should run the world is seriously flawed. Can you find any more ego and status obsessed intellectuals than in a university department or political office? Going to an artificial hive mind for people who aren’t ready opens the possibility of creating powerful and dangerous subconscious thought forms, not unlike the “Creatures of the ID,” from the 1950s sci-fi film “Forbidden Planet.” This is not about expanding the minds of men, it’s about controlling them. In a lighter vein, checkout the adaptation of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” to Zager & Evans “In the Year 2525” on the “Sanjin” youtube channel.
Thanks for these great quotes and your own great insights. I’m sure pretty much everyone here finds great merit in it.
The book looks like a how to book for authoritarian technocrats. The small groups of shared mind seem to be happening with facebook and other social media. After that hysterical form of tribalism ends up destroying nations from within, we will be ripe for a truly global dictatorship, along alien lines.
Never once did the word, ‘love’ come up in that book, I don’t imagine, because that has elements of soul to it. And like a lot of overly cerebral geeks, this dude didn’t believe in a soul. Maybe he was an alien.