In this weekly newsletter, I discuss the infiltration, promotion, and/or criticism of Transhumanist philosophy in popular culture.
When it comes to music, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m guilty of listening to a song for its melody and composition (the elements that create the ambiance or mood) long before I’m likely to look up the lyrics and find out what the song is actually about. This has resulted in a great deal of disillusionment over the years as I’ve come to abhor songs that I’ve loved once I’ve understood their true meaning. As a writer, the words and meaning will always trump the ambiance of the song (eventually).
I’ve often found myself soulfully or cheerfully singing a lyric or two that may be in complete opposition to my initial understanding of a song (embarrassing indeed). That’s what happened to me recently when I stumbled upon the very powerful, “Hello, My Name is Human” by the band “Highly Suspect”. Let’s be honest, the name of the band should’ve made me suspicious. I honestly thought the song was a celebration of being human (how wrong I was).
But, before we get into an in-depth analysis of the lyrics (see lyrics below), let’s first talk about why I care about the infiltration of Transhumanist philosophy into culture. We are living in an era where wars are no longer only carried out with physical weapons: the new bombs are ideas that explode into the most effective medium imaginable: the mind. Artistic production is a part of what we call “culture”: a sea of social, political, religious and creative mores adopted and adapted by societies. It’s an ever-shifting landscape of concepts, sly and difficult to pin down, until they are examined closely. Make no mistake, we are living in a time of “culture wars”. A time when America and the rest of the world, is doing battle not on physical soil (although that’s also happening), but through cultural production. The winner of the culture wars is the nation or group that has captured the imagination of the masses with their philosophy planted as flags on the fertile soil of our minds. Communism is one such example. We only need to look at the overthrow of Russia, China, or North Korea by Communist ideals to realize that a culture war has taken place in those nations.
The rise of the “New Age Movement” has coincided with the rise of Transhumanism. While they appear to be different on the surface, upon closer inspection, we understand that they are one in the same. I could write an entire book on these similarities, but for the sake of brevity, I want to talk about one specific tenet both philosophies propagate: the self as “god”. The dangers of this idea are inherent in bioethics. When we begin to think of ourselves as “gods” in creating technologies, the result is inevitably some form of eugenics. CRISPR is an excellent example of this: editing genes to create the ultimate human, the “ubermensch”, is nothing if not playing god. This concept naturally extends to the development of robotics, cyborgs, chimera, and AI. The dangers of which transhumanists severely underplay while touting the benefits…primarily for them, the ability to play god over the material and natural world.
In “Hello, My Name is Human”, the first stanza is seductive in its promotion of the idea that we as humans are suffering under tyranny: “Look what they do to you/Look what they do to me/Must be joking if you think that either one is free, here”. Unity is created by the idea that an external oppressive force is yoking humanity, although the dictator is not identified. This leaves the listener to conclude that their own perceived specific oppressor (Republican, Democrat, Communist, Capitalist, etc) might be the one the songwriters are referring to.
However, the second stanza reveals that it’s a more esoteric force the songwriters are rebelling against: “Get up off your knees, girl/Stand face to face with your God/And find out what you are”. On the surface, these lines sound positive: shouldn’t anyone who with a faith-based understanding of their lives want to confront their maker and find out their personal purpose? Seems like a noble idea, until the line “Hello, my name is human” follows. Wait a minute, who’s “god” here? Confused? I was.
For more clarification, I turned to their music video (images are often more revealing than words alone). In the video, we see front-man Johnny Stevens engaging with various iterations of robots being built. It’s quite obvious that Stevens is meant to be the creator of these mechanical yet living entities: he’s measuring, teaching, holding and examining his robot creations. The “Hello, my name is human” line, therefore, is an assertion of his equivocation with a creator, a god.
Okay, so who’s the oppressor that he referred to in the first stanza then? This is where we can turn to the philosophy of the ancient Gnostics (Transhumanism is a modern form of Gnosticism) who believed in two powerful entities: one, a bad god, who enslaved humanity in limited biological human bodies; and another “good” god, who wanted humans to have freedom from form, the ability to recreate themselves and other beings as they so wished. It’s obvious that in seeing himself as a god with the power to create “life” (if you believe robots are living creatures), Stevens has sided with the transhumanist idea of “god”, and therefore opposes the God that put him into his natural biological form as human. His rebellion? To refuse the natural biological world, for a transhumanist iteration interpretation of it: the robot or cyborg.
Stevens goes on to elucidate: “I’m up off my knees, girl/I’m face to face with myself /And I know who I am/Hello, my name is human/I stole the power from the sun/I’m more than just a man”. What is the sun but a burning ball of flame? If we recall our Greek mythology here, we remember the god who stole fire to give to humans was Prometheus. Remember, “fire” here is a metaphor for technology, knowledge and civilization. Stevens is comparing himself to Prometheus. Except, the civilization he intends to create is a transhumanist one. Does he know what this transhumanist future could hold? That would be impossible. Even the greatest proponents of transhumanism don’t really know what could happen. No one really does. There could be devastating unintended consequences ahead. But, does he question the consequences of his actions?
Apparently, although he is quite aware of the risks, he asserts: “I’m not asking questions/And I know who I am, so you keep your answers/I’m not asking questions/I’m taking my chances”, instead, preferring to “advance/on my own circumstances”. In the last few moments of the music video, once his robot creations appear to be sentient and are exploring the world around them, a rather disturbing scene emerges. Stevens appears to have trapped one of the robots in a prison while the robot enraged, attempts to escape. Clearly, some kind of unwelcome programming is taking place. Once the robot is freed, as are the others, blue crystals appear to grow out of them rapidly and all over his laboratory. They invade everything but Stevens himself. What do the blue crystals symbolize? Well, in the video game world, typically, they represent magical power or “manna”, your magical essence. They can also mean magical corruption and are cold and oppressive. It appears that Stevens, himself seeking freedom from a greater power, has become a tyrant and imprisoned the very creations he promised freedom to. In the last few seconds of the video, Stevens stands in the center foreground with an army of his robot children obediently standing behind him. In essence, he has become the evil “god” he has tried to escape from.
Ultimately, transhumanism fails as a theology of freedom (its purported purpose). Whether it’s in the creation of AI, robots, cyborgs, or chimera, transhumanists seek to use their creations as slaves and servants to serve only themselves. In the use of mRNA technology for example, it’s been pointed out by concerned scientists, that the humans who are subjected to this technology could in fact be patented by the companies that have created it . We’ve already seen this with genetically modified mice in laboratories, with transgenic plant GMO’s , and other human/animal experiments I won’t get into detail here.
In the culture wars, you may think that songs, films, and other creative productions have no real depth or impact on our world or thinking or policy making. I beg to differ. In fact, I argue that these cultural productions are deeply thought out and represent a philosophy as profound as prayer, or our national anthem, or pledge of allegiance. Cultural productions matter. And the fact that we absorb them almost without thinking (I certainly did!) is the biggest concern of all. Are we in fact being slyly and subtly pushed towards a transhumanist way of thinking? I believe we already have been. And until we start to unpack the ways in which we’ve been indoctrinated so cleverly by these ideas, they’ll continue to spread until we are subsumed by them and lose our humanity.
And if you think I’ve overstated my case, I’ll leave you with some final words from Johnny Stevens of his song, “Hello, my name is human”:
“A lot of people think the song is about being a human. I believe some of us aren’t human at all. Or at least not completely, but that is still our name. At some point in the last couple hundred years something changed. The androids, the aliens…They aren’t coming. We are here.” [my emphasis]
Stay tuned…in next week’s TRANSHUMANIST CULTURE WARS we’ll examine government conspiracy and mind control in the Netflix comedy, “They Cloned Tyrone”.
Okay I'm feeling the way that I'm feeling myself Fuck everyone else Gotta remember that nobody is better than anyone else, here (Do you need some time to think it over?) Look what they do to you Look what they do to me Must be joking if you think that either one is free, here Get up off your knees, girl Stand face to face with your God And find out what you are (Hello, my name is human) Hello, my name is human And I came down from the stars (Hello, my name is human) I'm ready for love, and I'm ready for war But I'm ready for more I know that nobody's ever been this fucking ready before, hey (Do you need some time to think it over?) So figure it out, or don't figure it out I figured it out The bigger the river (the bigger the river) The bigger the drought (the bigger the drought) Get up off your knees, boy Stand face to face with your God And find out what you are (Hello, my name is human) Hello, my name is human And I came down from the stars (Hello, my name is human) Fire world, I love you Fire world I'm up off my knees, girl I'm face to face with myself And I know who I am (Hello, my name is human) I stole the power from the sun I'm more than just a man (No longer disillusioned) I came down from the stars (so I'll take my chances) (And what are the chances) (That I could advance) (On my own circumstances) (Said what are the chances?) Hello, my name is human (and what are the chances) (I'm not asking questions) And I know who I am (so you keep your answers) (I'm not asking questions) (I'm taking my chances) Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Johnny Stevens / Rich Meyer / Ryan Meyer My Name Is Human lyrics © Songtrust Ave, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc Album: The Boy Who Died Wolf Artist: Highly Suspect Song: “Hello, My Name is Human” Video: https://youtu.be/l5-gja10qkw?si=Lf4GcD1gV0sjFJPk Released: 2016 Genre: Rock Songwriters: Johnny Stevens / Rich Meyer / Ryan Meyer My Name Is Human lyrics © Songtrust Ave, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc
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