Transcend or Die: The origins of totalitarian evolutionary transhumanism

Dear reader, congratulate yourself. You are a rational animal sitting quite near the pinnacle of evolutionary progress. I say “quite near” because the actual pinnacle is occupied by a group of nineteenth-century British academics and their current intellectual heirs. These luminaries have raised evolution itself to the status of a god and are the self-appointed spokesmen for this new religion of progress. Refusal to march to the drumbeat of this relentless and accelerating advance is now the only heresy. In fact, anyone who lacks a utopian vision or exhibits distasteful attachments to past and family will likely be trodden underfoot. You must understand that this is not science or politics burnished with religious zeal; it is an entirely new global religion. We, my friends, have fallen into the hands of fanatical religious zealots.


The Unconventional Birth of Modern Britain

The embryo of this new religion had already been implanted in the University of Cambridge as the turbulent seventeenth century dawned. The University had become a focus for religious and political dissent and went on to supply many of the early Puritan settlers to the new England that was emerging across the Atlantic. 

After the English Civil War (1642–1651), dissenters were required to either stay out of the university system or publicly subscribe to the beliefs of the Church of England. So religious dissent outside of mainstream institutions became a fertile breeding ground for all manner of exploratory thought and a not insignificant factor in spawning the Industrial Revolution. In time, a shadow ruling class emerged from these Nonconformists, who also went on to provide the impetus for the great philanthropical movements of the nineteenth century.

This powerful grouping was comprised of three strands of the British upper middle class: evangelical members of the Church of England (often known as the Clapham Sect), Quakers and philosophical agnostics. These families came to form a discrete group, as they tended to intermarry. Many of the Quakers and agnostics eventually entered the Church of England for reasons of pragmatism and self-interest. Here, they strengthened the evangelical faction, which worked tirelessly for the abolition of slavery.

These influential dynasties included the Stephens (including James, father of Virginia Woolf), the Darwins, the Huxleys, the Wedgwoods, the Frys and the Gaskells. Their rise to positions of social and cultural importance was a defining moment for modern Britain, and they replaced many members of the aristocracy in influential positions in government, church and academia. Their offspring were more likely to be educated at Cambridge rather than Oxford University and provided many of the fellows of the colleges. After the loosening of religious restrictions in 1871, those members of the grouping who had clung openly to their dissenting views were also able to enter the university system.

Statues of Isaac Newton (centre) Alfred Tennyson and Francis Bacon in the Anti-chapel at Trinity College, Cambridge

Statues of Isaac Newton, Alfred Tennyson and Francis Bacon in the Ante-chapel at Trinity College, Cambridge

Darwin’s Origin of Species and the liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty were both published in 1859. This was thus a pivotal year in the morphogenesis of our new religion. Of course, the sickly Charles lacked the ebullience and charisma of his grandfather Erasmus. Nevertheless, Thomas “The Bulldog” Huxley stepped in to wrestle in his corner; thereby inaugurating the apparent family tradition of the worship of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

The Huxleys were influential philosophical agnostics, and Thomas Huxley was a major force in designing the education system of Victorian Britain. He despised Christianity, yet supported the maintenance of some limited Bible teaching in schools. This was, however, only from the point of view of safeguarding the moral order underpinning society. He stated, “I do not advocate burning your ship to get rid of the cockroaches.” According to Thomas’ grandson Julian (more about him later), his grandfather was “bred by nineteenth-century humanism out of traditional Christian ethics” and was “religious by nature”, with a “reverence for truth and moral virtue”.

It was the infusion of this religious temperament into the theories of evolution that laid the foundation for the emergence of a new religion whose ground of being was located in a materialist spirituality. This seems like a contradiction of terms and certainly demands further explanation if it is to be justified.

The unofficial post of chief philosopher to our extended familial group was occupied by John Stuart Mill. As they gradually lost their Christian faith, their creed increasingly became Mill’s utilitarianism. Mill argued that all of society would benefit if people were given the freedom of self-development and self-expression. In effect, he was arguing for nonconformity and the relaxation of most legal and social restrictions on the individual. The only legitimate reason to curtail the freedom of the individual would be if the exercise of that freedom harmed another. Mill argued that the benefits of the conflicts that would inevitably arise, due to the constant seething struggle of individuals to express their own characters and desires, would be far outweighed by the energy that such striving would inject into society—and that this is indeed the only way to prevent total stagnation. 

This idea of the struggle for self-expression and self-realisation dovetailed with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and the survival of the fittest. It became the basis for what is known as social Darwinism. Society would become a self-ordering entity, based on the outcome of perpetual social, economic and intellectual conflict.

This was a radical departure from the idea of how society should be ordered based on our Judaeo-Christian traditions of codes of behaviour and laws governing how we act within society. In utilitarianism, a harmoniously functioning society must arise out of the striving of the great masses of individuals, each one attempting to achieve his own ends.

The abiding difficulty in liberal utilitarian thought is that it assumes that human beings are rational, and generally bound to aim at good and to limit our own behaviour when it becomes harmful to others or self-defeating. Neither does it take any account of the spiritual force of evil. One of the most obvious objections to this philosophy is that we have evidence, dating back millennia, that humanity does not always behave rationally: evil has forever haunted our nightmares and frequently ravaged our world.

As Christian belief declined amongst the ruling elite in Britain, not everyone was prepared to abandon their hopes of immortality. So, in order to extract the soul from the clutches of Christianity, there arose a renewed interest in, and reinterpretation of, classical Greek literature at both Oxford and Cambridge universities during the nineteenth century. Plato and the Neoplatonists seemed to describe a future for the soul released from reliance on the judgemental God of Christianity. In Plato’s account of the transmigration of the soul, they seem to have seen the potential for a self-charted voyage of the human personality through space and time (and beyond) that has no need of salvation through Christ: a philosophical rather than a religious argument for immortality.

In addition, Socrates argued that the liberation of the soul from the weight of the desires and preoccupations of the physical body would allow the mind to soar free in the skies of eternity. This had obvious appeal for a group of people that was devoted to the human intellect as the highest expression of the operation of evolutionary forces so far. Such was especially the case for our group of dissenting families. Poised at the pinnacle of intellectual evolution, they saw themselves as the helmsmen of the world of the living—naturally selected (with a helping hand from selective breeding) over generations by dint of their familial superior minds. Their fathers had abolished slavery and they saw themselves as having inherited the moral right to continue to shape the world: it was simply the outcome of natural evolutionary forces.


Spirits From Across the Pond

The spiritual speculations of the nineteenth century received some encouragement from startling developments in the United States—the dead appeared to have made contact with the living. This remarkable event occurred when the Fox family allegedly began communicating with the spirits of the dead through knocking noises. This otherworldly communication appears to have become something of a spectacle in the neighbourhood, and the family soon commercialised these séances, which were then copied by others. The spirit craze spread like wildfire across the continent and soon crossed the Atlantic into Europe, spreading rapidly in the 1850s into England, Germany and France.

A group of undergraduates at the University of Cambridge (one of whom was destined to become the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others distinguished Anglican bishops and theologians) was the first to begin debating these phenomena seriously. This early group—the Ghost Society or Ghostly Guild—was set up in 1851 with a more formal group, also associated with the University (the Ghost Club), set up in 1862 with the specific objective of promoting the scientific research of paranormal phenomena. It was founded in London and counted Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as members. These were the first groups in the world devoted to parapsychological research.

This began a long association of the University of Cambridge (and especially Trinity College) with investigations into paranormal phenomena. In 1882, the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) was established. The Society, which is still very much active today, was entirely devoted to the scientific study of paranormal phenomena and to psychical research. The moral philosopher (and don of Trinity College, Cambridge) Henry Sidgwick became the first president.

Sidgwick was a major influence within our extended family group through his association with his pupil, the philosopher G.E Moore (a descendant of the Quaker branch) and his unofficial role as “pope” of the Cambridge secret debating society, the Apostles. He and two close friends, also fellows of Trinity College, Frederic Myers and Edmund Gurney, dominated the SPR in its early years. Ten other Cambridge dons had joined the SPR by 1894. Sir Julian Huxley was also later to become a member in the 1920s.

Portrait of Frederic William Henry Myers by William Clarke Wontner

Portrait of Frederic William Henry Myers by William Clarke Wontner

The SPR set about collecting and collating hundreds of cases of spirit phenomena, thought transference and telepathy. These men were no gullible fools, however; driven by the empirical spirit of the age, a zeal for truth and a real concern for the survival of the soul, they did much to debunk fraudulent claims of mediumship. But they were not safe from desperate self-delusion and came to some astonishing conclusions. Some of their group seem to have become convinced that our biological evolution is being matched by our spiritual evolution—without really providing any evidence that this is the case.

In his posthumously published book, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, Myers speculates:

Let us suppose that while incarnate men have risen from savagery into intelligence, disincarnate men have made on their part a like advance. Let us suppose that they have become more eager and more able to use, for communication with Earth, the standing laws of relation between the spiritual and the material universe.

Astonishingly, Myers seems to have concluded that the evolving dead were perfecting their abilities to communicate with the living and that this endeavour was now open to joint development and improvement. This hope may have arisen, in part, from the uncertainty that had been provoked by the actual nature and quality of the communication coming from the “spirit world”. Most of it was poor in quality, manifested in banal, fragmentary or incoherent and immature messages and scribblings.

Nevertheless, Myers felt that in their many recorded cases of mental telepathy, they had uncovered a “telepathic law” much like Newton’s law of gravity and motion. Most importantly, he argued that this law held out the hope of community and the end of the terror of post-mortem isolation.

These were the fears of a generation that had lost its belief in the power of the divine Shepherd of the human flock.

In adding spiritual evolution to that of the material world, Myers felt that they had achieved a major advance for mankind. He argued that Christian revelation had largely responded to the emotional needs of evolving humanity but that this infantile stage of development had now been superseded by a new “scientific temper”. This temper would, henceforth, begin to take control of the process of evolution “on either side of the gulf of death” in order to ensure that humanity would increase its “knowledge and power”. The living and the dead united could consciously take control of, and chart a course through, the great mechanistic laws of the universe.

He had removed our need for redemption and salvation and placed the future of humanity in the hands of those who claimed their rightful place as the pride and capstone of evolution. Moreover, he had very usefully abolished the problem of evil. Myers argued that his research suggested that evil barely exists other than as a “monkeyish mischief or a “childish folly”. It arises out of misguided self-suggestion and an isolating madness suffered by isolated souls. In the new communal utopia of consciously controlled evolution, such evil would simply melt away.


Evolutionary Materialism Conquers Heaven

In spite of his interest in the paranormal, Julian Huxley seemed to deny the very existence of any kind of spiritual realm, even an evolving one. As a zoologist and ardent believer in Darwinist evolutionary theory, he was a confirmed materialist who detested any hint of dualism. For Huxley, there was only the material. However, he somewhat confusingly maintained that faith was absolutely necessary as the only force that could bring about the one condition that he believed was necessary for continued evolution—unity.

Julian Huxley

Julian Huxley, 12 February 1964

For Huxley (1887–1975), religious faith was the embryonic expression of a bona fide aspect of the evolutionary force. It is that psychic movement that lifts humanity above naked self-interest and binds and focuses human emotional and intellectual efforts on common beliefs and aims. It is thus essential to advanced and advancing mankind. Evolution had resulted in nature itself becoming self-conscious in the form of the self-aware rational human animal.

All future evolution would now depend upon how this self-consciousness was used in order to take control of, and steer, the destiny of the species. Huxley believed that this would rely on the unification of knowledge and the harnessing of humanity to the new religion of evolutionary humanism. The age of random organic development was over, and that of the global planner was about to begin.

In order to achieve his aims, it was now imperative that mankind itself be studied and moulded in order to avoid planetary evolutionary disaster. The needs of the individual must give way to the heavy burden of the responsibility of charting the collective fate of humanity. Huxley was convinced that this would require the religious instinct as the main unifying and driving force. Human beings must be studied and the psychological bases of religious behaviour sought and traced back to their biological origins. Subsequent breeding and education programmes would then attach human faith to the religion of scientific evolutionary humanism.

At first glance, the friendship of the secular humanist, Huxley, with the Jesuit priest and palaeontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, was an unlikely one. Teilhard was born in 1881 in the Auvergne, and at fourteen years of age was enrolled in a Jesuit school. In 1901, the Order was banned from France, so he finished his studies in Britain. Here, he came under the influence of Jesuit modernists who were determined to reconcile Christianity with modern ethics and science and, in particular, Darwin’s theory of evolution. He was greatly influenced by the convert from Anglicanism, George Tyrell, who was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1908. 

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Harmonising Darwinism and Christianity became Teilhard’s new mission in life, and it was this that led to his friendship with Huxley in the last decade of the Jesuit’s life. Although Huxley claimed to be mystified by the endpoint of Teilhard’s thinking, they largely collaborated on the development of a new religion that could harness the human faith impulse in the interests of evolution. This religion then became implanted on the world stage in the DNA of the emerging global structures, including the United Nations and its offshoots such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which claims Huxley as its first director-general.

Teilhard always maintained that his theories had nothing to do with metaphysical speculation but were based in pure scientific reasoning and should be judged on this basis. This notwithstanding, his fanatical zeal for science was sparked by some kind of mystical vision which left him convinced that he was the only person to have seen the truth. He then set out to engulf all of humanity in this vision. It is because he found common cause with men like Julian Huxley that his work became so influential. Thus, even though many of his theories seem bizarre, we need to take them very seriously.

The appeal of Teilhard’s work for Huxley probably lay in the former’s determination to abolish the traditional dualism that underpins Christianity and many of the world’s faiths—that of spirit and matter. Teilhard’s work was often self-contradictory and scientifically weak, precisely because he would use any argument available to him in order to destroy dualistic thinking as this was the one thing that stood in the way of his radical evolutionism. He absolutely had to abolish the transcendent creator God and His transcendent heavenly realm: a curious enterprise for an avowed Christian.

For Teilhard, the non-physical spiritual realms outside of space and time do not exist. For him, everything, even God, is contained within the bounds of the physical and visible cosmos. All is material. In his theistic version of evolution, God is a force that employs a “physical agent”, something akin to the alchemist’s Philosopher’s Stone, to transform matter and drive the world to a pre-destined endpoint. His dream was to find, define and presumably use this agent. Thus, all of nature consists of one substance that is in the process of being diversified and transformed by the theistic forces of evolution:

All that exists is matter becoming spirit.

This is the core of Teilhard’s thought.

The “arrow of time” is propelling this substance “spirit-matter” on a one-way evolutionary journey. Thus, Teilhard’s vision of evolution is far more dangerous than a strictly atheistic scientific materialism because he raises the movement of progress to the heights of a religion. It then becomes a spiritual mission to accelerate this progress to save humanity and arrive at the “salvation” of the predetermined endpoint.

But where exactly is Teilhard taking us?

The spiritual fruit of the transformation of matter up until this point is the human mind. This immaterial mind is nothing more than a product of the transformation of the matter of the brain. Thus, for instance, personhood arises only from cerebral neuronal activity. Indeed, the human brain is the pinnacle of the innate tendency of evolution to produce ever more complex organisms. It represents nature becoming conscious of itself and sits atop the pyramid of evolutionary complexity thus far. So the brain proves that increasing complexity equals increased consciousness, and Teilhard raises this equation to a law of nature. 

This Law of Complexity/Consciousness has now, according to Teilhard, reached its limit in terms of the individual human being. It is now about to turn its attention to humanity as a whole in order to assemble a convergent (collective) human consciousness. He somewhat chillingly frames this process as the struggle between the “unorganized multitude” and the “unified multiple”. This process of psychic evolution he calls psychogenesis.

Thus, the many psychic events of all individual human beings were, he argued, increasingly being collated through technological advances—the telecommunications and television of his day and our contemporary internet. This would lead to a convergence into one collective consciousness, or what he called the Noosphere (from Greek nous: mind). He believed that there was already evidence for the emergence of this phenomenon in the increasingly rapid transmission of thought in telephone wires and radio transmitters, and that this amounted to a global “nervous system”. He was convinced that this system would develop as individuals became totally identified with the collective.

Evolution image, according to Teilhard and Huxley

Evolution according to Teilhard/Huxley

So as people are “socialised” into increasing identification with the themes and images of global communication, this is meant to produce a super-organism with its own self-conscious psyche. He argues that this is a continuation of the process of unification of material components that first produced the complexity of the individual human brain. This psychic organism will be made up of all human individuals, just as the body is made up of cells. He maintains, however, that each individual will retain an awareness of a personal self. He has, in fact, very deftly conjoined diversity/complexity with the unity needed for a new world system.

For both Huxley and Teilhard, the only way to achieve global stability is to unify and move towards psychic convergence.

However, Teilhard’s “science” is cloaked in the language of the visionary mystic. He “sees” a sentient living membrane stretched around the planet. This is encompassed by a spherical envelope or luminescent aura which eventually attains a conscious, thinking individuality. This world soul gradually detaches itself from the earth.

In Teilhard’s vision, (nearly) all matter is thus eventually transformed into a self-sustaining spiritual consciousness. This endpoint is unavoidable, as we are in the grip of an “irresistible vortex” pulling us to this “universal center of convergence”, or what Teilhard calls “Point Omega” (the ultimate point). This is none other than the cosmic Christ. Although Christ has been deposed from His Point Alpha at the creation of the world, Teilhard has reinstated Him as the end point of human evolution.


Evolutionary Totalitarianism for the New Age

Although Huxley was somewhat bemused by Teilhard’s cosmic Christ Consciousness, he was clearly beguiled by his elevation of the collectivisation of human consciousness to the level of the divine. However, the Jesuit’s thought included the belief that all efforts towards human collectivisation, no matter how brutal, would result in some level of the spiritualisation of human consciousness which then could not be lost. That is, we must value all forms of human collectivism, as they will eventually lead to the good. He even argues that all human activity is directed by the risen Christ and thus the totalitarian efforts of a Hitler or a Stalin are legitimate in the quest for spiritualisation. Teilhard has thus joined Myers in abolishing the evil powers, including Satan himself!

Nuremberg, Reichsparteitag, RAD-Appell - Germany

RAD-Appell at the Reichsparteitag in Nuremberg

In a speech given at the French Embassy in Peking in 1945, Teilhard talks of the “recent totalitarian experiments” and their descent into sub-humanity as merely the result of “clumsy” and “incomplete” execution. But despite the recent failures of Hitler and Stalin, it is clear he believes that sooner or later, the experiment must succeed, and that the only legitimate human endeavour is to build the technological superstate.

The author Wolfgang Smith (to whom I am deeply indebted in this paper for his clear outline of Teilhard’s often confusing work) in his book Theistic Evolution: The Teilhardian Heresy (2012) highlights our destiny according to Teilhard:

To act, to produce and even to think collectively—that is the ‘growing compulsion’ from which there is supposedly no escape.

It is this radical view of global unity that resonated with Huxley.

In common with Teilhard, Huxley saw the Communist and Fascist “social religions” of the twentieth century as dangerous shortcuts and primitive expressions of trends to collectivisation. These efforts were, nevertheless, moving in the right direction of unity and towards the One True Religion of evolutionary humanism. Whatever remained of the liberal vision of a free society of competing individuals would now take place under the shadow and management of a global “Central Science Council". That he saw his endeavours as intrinsically religious may be seen in his proposal for a New Humanist Institute that would have fair access to the religious broadcasting activities of the BBC. 

And we must be absolutely clear. Huxley was serious about the development of evolutionary humanism as a religion and was not merely attempting to harness religious sentiment for political purposes. His thought led him into conflict with many leaders of the major religions of his day, and he was genuinely frustrated that they could not see that this was a true advance from primitive religious expression to the only religion that could be true and worthy of the devotion of all of humanity.

Moreover, his disavowal of the spiritual realm did not mean that he did not believe in an invisible world of “mind/spirit”. But, for Huxley; this world was the product of the transformed matter of the “world-stuff” (a term borrowed from the close friend of Frederic Myers, American philosopher/psychologist William James) which was his version of Teilhard’s spirit-matter. 

This world was, in short, “produced” from the hidden powers of mind and so is, ultimately, the product of the transformation of pure matter. Huxley’s forward to the 1952 book The Psychology of the Occult by the psychologist D.H. Rawcliffe is interesting in this regard (republished in 1959 as Illusions and Delusions of the Supernatural and the Occult). In his book, Rawcliffe critically examines claims of the occult, parapsychology and spiritualism, concluding that they are best explained by psychological factors such as hallucinations and suggestion or by fraud and credulity.

Huxley generally approves of Rawcliffe’s scepticism, while welcoming his acceptance of the validity of certain extraordinary phenomena such as “the successes of water-diviners, or the ennobling effects of certain mystical experiences". But he warns against the outright dismissal of all instances of, for example, telepathy, and clairvoyance, which may yet be evidence of the hidden powers of the mind that have arisen naturally in the course of material evolution. He argues that mental activity had clearly intensified during evolution and that we do not yet fully understand this phenomenon. Thus, parapsychology should be studied in universities in a quest to expand our knowledge of the hidden frontiers of human supernormal mental capacity. Moreover, he recommends the exploration of the potential for certain mystical practices for extending and developing these “powers”. He feels that:

[…[ we simply do not yet know what is the basic relation between mental activity and physical brain activity. It is extremely important to try to find out whether under certain conditions mental activity may be detached from physical; we can be sure that many possibilities of mind or mental activity are still unexplored.

Thus, Huxley has not closed the door on the realm of the evolving dead “discovered” by Myers. He is merely concerned to ensure that, if it exists, it is not seen as evidence of any separate transcendent realm of spirit but rather as evidence of the hidden powers of mind that may be “detached from [the] physical”. He is, however, a transcendentalist; he believes that evolution can be directed so that humanity may produce its own, managed, transcendent realm:

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself— not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.

Digital Art - Man in Cosmos

So it is our “cosmic duty” to partake in the “techniques of spiritual development” that are determined as efficacious for collective transcendence, as determined by the Central Science Council.

Thus, our Cambridge philosophers and paranormal investigators; the one-time director-general of UNESCO and our rebellious Jesuit have a few things in common. They not only want to control political and cultural life in the material world, but to extend their power in order to control the unseen realms of spirit/mind, the afterlife and the material and spiritual future of the planet itself. Their ambitions are truly limitless.


Evil’s Endgame?

Teilhard felt that he alone out of all of humanity had seen the “Truth”. Nevertheless, his faith in the collective consciousness of mankind was such that he believed that once this “fusion of love of God and faith in the world” had been ignited in one mind, “sooner or later there will be a chain reaction". And nothing could stop the Truth from being spread through the universal mind and “setting everything ablaze".

But where did this “Truth” come from?

It is interesting that he chose to append a story that he told in his early work The Spiritual Power of Matter to one of his last books, The Heart of Matter. It appears to be a dramatised account of a mystical experience which describes a man being swooped upon by an entity as he walks through a desert. This creature called “the Thing” then penetrates his soul and proceeds to pour the sap of all living beings into him, renewing all the “enfeebled fibres of his being". The young man feels the rapture of ceasing to be himself but also the oppression of some superhuman peril. This force is also “equivocal, turbid, the combined essence of all evil and all goodness".

The entity declares, “You called me; here I am.” This call apparently originated in the desire of the young man to pit himself “against Reality entire and untamed". The creature claims that it had been waiting for him, so that it itself could be “made holy". It then describes the consequences of their union:

[…] now I am established on you for life or for death […] He who has once seen me can never forget me: he must either damn himself with me or save me with himself.

It is clear that Teilhard believed that he personified mature humanity that was now able to bear the burden of “Reality”, which was the pure, naked force of evolution. Mankind would then rise or fall according to its ability to cooperate with this force.

There is, however, another reading. If humanity conjures and deifies what it believes to be the force of evolution, it will inhabit us and we will share its fate. Stripped of the salvation of Christianity, we are condemned to an endless (and ultimately futile) search for immortality in order to avoid the terrors of final judgement, when the force (which we may term “the beast”) and his collective human host will be condemned together.

Finally, we must note that the triumvirate of Myers, Huxley and Teilhard marks a strange development in the psyche of the Western world. This is a remarkable extension of Enlightenment hubris from the visible to the invisible spheres, both now yoked to the imperatives of transhumanist evolution. It really doesn’t matter, at this point, whether human evolution is seen in terms of a benevolent pantheistic force that is pushing us to a glorious endpoint or as the fruits of the more prosaic unfolding of matter subject to a range of natural laws. What is important is that the triumvirate has firmly placed humanity within nature and removed any hint that we may have been created in the image of a transcendent God. While this reduces us to entirely material beings subject to no spiritual privileges, it does effectively raise the evolution of human consciousness to divine levels.

This divinisation of supposed material processes and a belief in self-directed spiritual evolution is, then, the jam set to trap the ants. It is the broad church of evolutionary humanism that can hold atheists, agnostics, utopian scientists, New Age devotees, practitioners of Eastern religions, occultists, misinformed Christians and so on.

In their widespread use of technologies of the self—including psychedelics, meditation, television, endless browsing and gaming— people are increasingly identifying with the images, memes and themes of the global brain at the expense of the real world. They are completely open to whatever influences may actually reside in the spiritual metaverse. Why would we worry, though? Evil no longer exists.

We can only assume that Myers, Huxley and Teilhard are pleased with the way things are going as they continue to evolve with us from “the other side of the gulf of death". The previously undisciplined consciousness of humanity is being whipped into shape. Indeed the “evolving” consciousness of the Western population is now very nearly terminally passive and defenceless: at one and the same time both credulous and sceptical. It is being emptied so that “the Thing” is more able to penetrate this pliant collective soul.

We look on blankly as the global architects erect the planetary Internet of Bodies and Things complete with a ubiquitous sensor network. What are they doing? Most of us can be barely bothered to ask. Most are deaf to the few voices who call out in the wilderness, "They are setting up an all-encompassing digital surveillance network to study your emotions, thoughts, movements, and connections so that they will know how to engineer the final convergence." This setting-up is, in effect, to prepare for the invasion of our cosmic bodysnatcher—with whom, unless we are very careful, we will be condemned to share a common fate.



General Sources

Gauld, Alan, The Founders of Psychical Research, Schocken Books, New York, 1968

Huxley, Julian, New Bottles for New Wine: Essays by Julian Huxley, 1957

Huxley, Julian, in Rawcliffe D.H., Occult Psychology, 1952

Levy, Paul, Moore: G. E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles, 1979

Myers, F.W.H., Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, 1906 

Philips, Paul T., One World, One Faith: The Quest for Unity in Julian Huxley's Religion of Evolutionary Humanism Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Oct. 2007), pp. 613–633

Sagovsky, Nicholas, On God’s Side: A Life of George Tyrell, Clarendon Press, 1990

Salter W.H., The Society of Psychical Research: An Outline of its History, 1948

Smith, Wolfgang Smith, Theistic Evolution: The Teilhardian Heresy, 2012

Uglow, Jenny, Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made the Future 1730–1810, 2003



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