satanism today and tomorrow

Man that Shall Be Overcome

Alex Rozoff


We are mankind. We accept this fact without any further explanations, and we are proud of it. We used to think that "Man is the master of nature", as Descartes said. But what if we look at the things a bit more realistic way? Of which nature is man the master?

...Somewhere in the endless Universe, there is a spiral galaxy, one of many thousands ones. In this galaxy, there are many stars, and one of them is an ordinary yellow star that we call Sun. Around this star, several planets are orbiting, and one of them is our Earth – just a tiny mote in Space.

Even on this tiny planet, we are not absolute masters. We don't even have a full control over our own body. Sometimes our medicine is helpless against the tiny microbes that live inside it, as well as the spontaneous self-destruction processes that we call aging and that make our lifetime so insufficiently short on the cosmic scale. Even in reproducing ourselves we cannot guarantee a success.

To sum up, we can conclude that even with all the advances of our science, we are still far from being masters of at least some part of nature. However, we have all the prerequisites for achieving this goal; the main of them is our intellect.

If we extrapolate the current pace of technological development into the future, it will look realistic to predict an expansion of our civilization into space, at least to the nearest stars, within the next century. However, this can come true only on the condition I am going to talk about.

What prevents us from colonizing Antarctica, a whole continent freely available for us? or the ocean floor, which is twice larger than the whole land area? or the nearest planets, Moon and Mars, which are already quite well explored?

The answer is simple: the only reason is that our body is not suitable to the environment that exists there. Any attempt to expand our habitation beyond the biological limits of the Homo Sapiens species costs too much. We are forced to build a special microclimate for our bodies and protect ourselves from the hostile natural environment. This necessity is a heavy burden that we need to carry everywhere: in Antarctica, under the sea, or in Space. Nearly all the special equipment that we use in such places we need for mere survival, and only a tiny share serves the purpose that has been our reason to go there.

Now we can see a growing interest to the projects of settlements on Mars. However, all such projects look like a prison where man isolate himself from the nature, of which he claims to be the master.

Certainly, the very possibility to build a settlement on Mars will be a great achievement of our technology. However, it's sad that we have to spend so much on serving our biological needs. It would be much better for us if we could simply live on Mars without any hermetically sealed walls between us and its environment.

“Yes, but humans cannot...” Surely, they cannot, – as long as their body is adapted only to particular conditions on some climate zones on Earth. Without changing our physiology, we cannot pretend to expand our civilization beyond some small, uncomfortable and very expensive research stations in the nearest Space. We cannot bring the Earth conditions to everywhere.

Our problem is that our opportunities are limited by our biology, and we have to change it in order to progress further.

There are no insurmountable obstacles to achieving this. Biological and technical means both can help us to improve our body. We already produce artificial organs that nearly can compare to natural ones, and we already use genetic engineering to improve our agricultural plants and animals. If we apply all these technologies to human body, we can achieve significant progress in the nearest decades. Let's discuss, what exactly can be done.

Even within the biological limits of the Homo Sapiens species, some room for further development exist. There are some people that have excellent vision in darkness. Some folks live at altitudes up to 7 km without suffering from oxygen deficiency. Some divers can spend up to 5 minutes under water without breathing. There are reported cases of longevity up to 160 years… All these people are not any kind of monsters; they are humans like us.

Should our species be a limit for our development? What can you argue against being able to withstand the Antarctic frost without special clothes, against surviving more than an hour without breathing or more than a month without food and water, against regeneration of any organs, against living for longer that 1000 years? All this is possible, since we know some species on Earth that are able to do it. This is just an engineering problem that can be solved; we can improve ourselves the same way as we did it with our agricultural plants and animals. Can this have a negative impact on our intellect? Hardly so, because we know, for example, that dolphins have intellect comparable to ours while being marine species well fit to their environment.

This is even to say nothing about going beyond any biological limits at all. Porting our intelligence onto different platforms is an engineering problem solvable for the nearest decades. We already can produce artificial eyes, but eye is actually a part of our brain, and quite a complicated one.

This all is to say that no technical obstacles prevent us from improving the very human nature. However, obstacles of other kinds do exist – social and psychological ones. They are based on our idea of what is human.

The possible definitions of human are the following:
1) phenotypical: human as the Homo Sapiens species;
2) biological: human as a living being with intellect;
3) sociological: human as a participant of inter-personal, economic, political and legal relationships;
4) cybernetic: human as an autonomous system that makes decisions and realizes itself as human being;
5) theological: human as god's creation.

Each of these definitions, if we take it as a reference, will set some limits on further development of mankind:
1) – the boundaries of possible for our species;
2) – the natural limits for living organisms;
3) – the extent of applicability of our concepts of society;
4) – our idea of intellect;
5) – prohibits any evolution from the present stage at all.

Which one of these definitions is actually in use now? No decisive answer can be given to this question yet. Some people hold with the phenotypical definition, much less support the biological or social one, and just a few accept the cybernetic definition. Strange as it may seem, but the society as a whole clearly holds with last one, the theological definition.

Nobody says a word on this humiliating fact, but we can see clear evidence of it everywhere. Now any procedures that change the human organism even within the limits of the Homo Sapiens species are strictly prohibited in all countries that have a sufficient level of science and technology for such experiments. This system of prohibitions is a result of continuous propaganda and manipulation of public opinion, which began since the first moment when science started to think on possibility to change anything in human.

By now we have seen lots of thriller novels and movies, from 'Frankenstein' to 'Terminator' and so on, which all translate the same set of ideas to the people:
– an altered human will be primitive and defective;
– an altered human will be ugly and unhappy;
– an altered human will be aggressive and dangerous;
– an altered human will be created with criminal intent;
– an altered human will not be a human at all.
Mass media and Hollywood turned the very concepts of cyborg and transgenic organism into disgusting images of mad monsters; this triggered a mass hysteria campaign around transgenic agricultural plants, which still goes on today.

However, all of the mentioned statements on transgenic human are plain absurd. We have already discussed the possible consequences of modification of our species and have not seen any reasons for it to go wrong by such a way. Why do Hollywood's horrors with ugly cyborgs and mutants look so impressive for people and form negative attitudes to any modification of human organism?

First of all is the visual image that creates a feeling of danger and hostility. Any transgenic creature is shown as a beast with fangs and claws, any cyborg looks like a torture machine with sharp steel blades. Even before they have done anything, the audience expects nothing good to come of them, and, surely, the plot goes exactly this way.

Second, the way where such characters came from always alludes to inhumane intentions of their creator. They are either a product of the military industry, or a creation of an insane misanthropic scientist. Any cyborg or transgenic man is born to kill – this is what Hollywood wants to tell us.

But even this could have been not enough if it weren't for the third: never ever the horror movie producers let us look at the world through the eyes of their unhuman character, never give they us a chance to understand, what can such a different, but intelligent, creature feel and think about us and the world around.

Even movies about vampires or maniacs rarely contain all these dirty tricks together. But when dealing with altered humans, the producers cannot make an image of the enemy by any other way.

If they did not show their character so beastly and aggressively looking, he would look instead as a disabled soldier of a lost dirty war, whom his commanders want to see dead in order to hide their own shame.

If the cyborg or transgenic man weren't specially designed to kill, the audience could see him as a desperate lonely sole condemned to death merely for being different.

If the viewers had a chance to know what's going inside his sole, they would probably doubt that the “true human” characters of the movie are more humane than the cyborg whom they are fighting. The latter, at least, can inspire respect for his readiness to stay himself even in the face of inevitable death at the end.

This is how the public opinion is being formed. Who forms it so, and why? Here many conspiracy theories could be invented, but the reality is simpler and dumber. Nobody is intentionally blocking the path of further development of our abilities; it's just our own fear of the changes that already the first success in artificial modification of ourselves will bring into our life. Millions of such individual fears accumulate into a single wave of fear of the future.

Nothing special is going on. This is exactly the same fear of the future that we can observe in any period of social changes in history. The same feeling that made people fear of blurring the boundaries of social classes, races, and nations, dictates them now to worry about blurring the boundaries of our definition of human being.

Similarly, as conservative thinkers of the past were inventing theories on why it would be morally unacceptable to throw away the racial and social prejudices of their time, now we can see similar theories stating that it's unethical to change anything in the human organism. The authors of such theories think of themselves as examples of high moral standards, and don't even realize that it's them to blame for the fact that billions of people on earth live in unhealthy overcrowded neighborhoods, just because the human body is unsuitable for living on 3/4 of the Earth surface, to say nothing about Moon or Mars.

However, demand creates supply, and the laws of free market are stronger than the laws of any state. The most profitable investments now are the ones into people and their personal development; this is what drives progress forward. Therefore, the time when improvement of the human body becomes available for everyone who can pay for it will come soon, regardless of any laws and morality.

What about the rest of humanity, whose morality does not accept such change? It's simple and sad: they will turn into an inferior race, a really inferior one. Most probably, the “natural” humans will die out, together with their prejudices that clash with progress. Maybe the improved future people will call our epoch of bans on genetic technologies “the Dark Century”, similarly to the Dark Age. They will probably find many similarities between these two periods of history. Let's wish them good luck in preserving the memories of our strange epoch.

(Translated from Russian by Milchar)