We have now entered an age, and LDS apologetics has entered a new era and arena of ideas in which virtually anything can, with sufficient semantic and rhetorical processing, be “Mormonized” and grafted onto the tame olive tree. The postmodern mentality has little care or interest in the age-old disciplines of intellectual analysis comprised of inductive and deductive logic, or what was once known as “critical thinking” (which term has been appropriated by the modern educational Left but which has little or no relation to the traditional discipline), nor does it have much tolerance for or understanding of small tents, strait gates, or narrow ways.
Hence, we can have a “Mormon transhumanism” just as we can have Mormonized versions or interpretations of just about any other philosophy, ideology, belief system, or intellectual vogue within our cultural milieu. I have asked the question of just what transhumanism is, and what its core propositions are, here and there, but have not delved into this idea at any length. I did suspect, from the beginning, that it was leftist or progressive in essence, and in this I was correct, as both this philosophy’s core assumptions, beliefs, and general philosophical trajectory attest.
Below I’d like to do one of my running commentaries/critiques of this essay by someone I would doubtless term a “NOM” and “cultural Mormon” for whom the church is a blob of silly putty upon which can be imprinted, for all intents, anything across which it is rolled, pressed, and squished. The church is like white rice, a base or filler that accepts and absorbed other flavors, colors, and textures as desired by its adherents.
This is not unusual in that this is exactly what the cultural Left has so successfully achieved in the broader, surrounding society; it has infiltrated, colonized, assimilated, subverted, and then become the key institutions of American civilization, most importantly those institutions critical in the generation, analysis, and dissemination of information. Among the forms of information, knowledge, and perception most significant in this “long march” through the institutions are those institutions and forms of knowledge having to do with values, and among this body of ideas, fundamental ethical and moral concepts grounding human relations are central.
Let us take a look.
“A friend recently asked, “Is Transhumanism compatible with the LGBTQ community?”
My answer is a resounding, “YES!”
Not only that, I find queer theory highly compatible with Mormon Transhumanism. While LDS policies and practices pose certain challenges, there is certainly room in Mormon theology for a diversity of genders, families, and orientations.”
Now, all of you standing athwart history yelling “STOP!” should perhaps check your blood pressure, sit back with a big cup of Sleepytime, and take this is bite sized chunks. Kibbles and bits are often the recommended dosage when transversing naked, uninhibited, unabridged progressivism.
Ostler begins with a brief working definition of transhumanism, which she describes as “the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.”
Now, at the outset, a couple quick observations:
1. This places transhumanism, Mormon or otherwise, directly at the center of the Western Leftist family tree as a form of utopian perfectiblism in which humans take upon themselves the sins, weaknesses, and imperfections of the world and overcome them through wholly human – the very material the atonement seeks to “save” and cleanse – means, including education, political reconstruction of society, technology, and scientific progress. This is the same dream that first fired the early progressives, with a specific focus on thinkers such as H.G. Wells and Woodrow Wilson (among many others) that continues through Marx and so many of his heirs in modern times.
2. As we will see below (and keep in mind that Ostler is a member), vast social and cultural changes encompassing ethics, moral values, philosophy, politics, and governance will, of necessity, be a critical aspect of such evolution “beyond current physical and mental limitations.” Politics and political activism, in other words, will necessarily be paramount in such “evolution.”
“As the human species gains greater cognitive capacities I would venture that our understanding and perceptions of gender, sexuality, and procreation will radically change. Some may advocate for a radical post-gender society, but homogenization hardly seems like a product of evolution when evolution generally favors increased diversification.”
Two classic pieces of American science fiction pointing us towards a similar key realization about the human condition are now in order. The first comes from the 1953 George Pal production of “The War of the Worlds.” In one scene, a minister (Paster Matthew Collins) determines to go out alone and confront the alien machines in an attempt to make friendly contact. Our minister makes a fatal and unwarranted miscalculation here, and one that costs him his life. When it is pointed out to him that the creatures in the machines are not human, and that they come from an “advanced civilization,” he leaps to the following conclusion:
“If they’re more advanced than us, they should be nearer the creator for that reason.”
But no, this does not follow. The Nazis were well in advance, technologically and industrially, of the rest of Europe and America in many key industrial processes and scientific research. Their tanks (the Tigers) were much superior to ours, as were their aircraft and other armament. They developed the first true jet fighter (too late to turn the tide of war), were well advanced of America in rocketry, and were working on the atomic bomb as we were.
Sheer intellect and mastery of technological knowledge does not, in any necessary sense, place a people closer to the Creator solely on that basis. Without other mental, psychological, intellectual, and moral elements, scientific knowledge and its application as technology neither place humans closer to God nor farther from him. Science is a process of the acquisition of knowledge about the mechanistic, repeatable phenomena of the universe and technology is the application of such knowledge to real world problems and interests. Both are tools, but neither are barometers of moral ontology.
As the technically finest sword can be wielded righteously or wickedly, so science and technology can be wielded for good or evil as the will and mind of mortal humans directs. It is not the level of scientific advancement or technological sophistication that places a people closer to God, but that will and mind.
It is he who wields, not that which is wielded, that determines our moral core and closeness to the Creator, as Pastor Collins discovered too late.
Secondly is the classic episode of the orginal Outer Limts TV show called “The Sixth Finger.” This story is directly relevant to transhumanism (and utopian leftism per se) because it deals with real philosophical depth with the the great questions of hubris and the fundamental foundations of human nature. Without going into any detail, the crux of the matter here is that the more fantastically mentally advanced and intellectually expanded Gwyllim Griffiths (the lead, played by David McCallum) becomes, the more morally and ethically diffident and insensitive, the more emotionally closed, and the more psychologically absorbed by and fascinated with himself and his intellectual powers (including the ability to read minds, allowing him absolute tyrannical control over the people he lives with) he becomes, until he comes to see the humans about him as no more morally significant that earthworms (and at one point calmly determines or wipe out an entire town as an example that his wishes are to be obeyed) and finally, as he continues to evolve, begins to see himself as a god, a being of pure mind floating in the immensity of space, wholly unconcerned (like the worst deist god) with the ants beneath his feet.
He becomes, in other words, as he mentally evolves but remains a fallen mortal human being at his core in other respects, not a god, but a devil. His essential humanity is wholly negated by and absorbed within a solipsistic internal mental world within which he is the ultimate being. Pure intellectual or technical development, in other words, does not necessarily coexist or is not necessarily coextensive with moral and spiritual development. Indeed, the one may be inversely related to the other.
“Gender, when deconstructed of its binary notions, is as unique as each individual. The gender spectrum is filled with eight billion uniquely different genders diverse in biology, identity, embodiment, performance, expression, and fluidity.”
Now, if Ostler determines to be intellectually frivolous, this is, of course, her prerogative, but philosophical rigor demands claims such as those made here be attended to seriously.
Now, there does not seem to be any reason to deconstruct the concept of gender at all save in the name of an ideology, and in that case, we need to understand the origins and nature of that ideology and its vision of the human before we embark on such a vast undertaking. Ostler doesn’t tell us what that ideological vision is nor why it is or should be either a good or necessary thing (the ideology will tell us that, however). For Ostler, as humans evolve and transcend their own humanness to become perhaps another kind of human, a subspecies or even perhaps, meta-species of some kind, these changes will simply happen (just as the new man and woman of the future will just happen once capitalism, bourgeoisie marriage, the opiate of religion, and private property are removed from human experience) as a natural concomitant of social and intellectual evolution (and there are only about 7.4 billion people on the earth right now, so I’ not sure how she is arriving at some 80 billion genders (unless each person is assumed, post-gender deconstruction, to possesses a wide variety of such genders as a matter of the nature expression of such deconstuction)).
“It seems likely our rudimentary labels of male and female will adapt even more with increased cognitive function and physical freedom. Two people may identify as female, but they both wear their gender uniquely. Think of it this way, vermillion and cardinal are both red, but each is distinctly unique. The gender spectrum is limitless.”
“It seems”? Does it? Why? The vision, politics, and political activism of the cultural Left of the last forty years, and the intellectual foment within the academic realm of “queer theory” did not just happen as a natural aspect of human intellectual development, nor is any claim that these vast cultural shifts represent “evolution” or “development” anything but itself an ideological and philosophical assertion and part of a preexisting ideological template and body of belief, and hardly an effect or a barometer of social and intellectual “evolution” in some natural, innate sense.
That Ostler wants to see it this way is clear. That she is on anything but thin philosophical ice in doing so is another question.
Next, as is I suspect much more common on the Left than the Left is perhaps often given due credit for, we visit the new technically resplendent but morally inane laboratory of Dr. Moreau that will soon encompass all of humanity, in the transhumanist vision:
“I am especially enthusiastic about reproductive technologies that would help loving, committed parents of any gender conceive their own biological children. I have been a grateful recipient of such technologies. Technologies such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, and uterus transplants have helped many diverse families in their procreative aspirations. Uterus transplants for transwomen are on the horizon, as well as two-mother and/or two-father children. As medical technologies continue to progress sexual preferences in relation to procreation will become less relevant.
Where will Logan run to escape the world of Blair Ostler and her society of sexual werehumans? Truly, under the influence, first of cultural Marxism, and then of postmodern notions of radical solipsistic subjectivity, we have entered the age of, not homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, or pansexuality, but of weresexuality.
The very term “queer” as used by Ostler and within academic (sic) queer theory meshes well with this concept of weresexuality. Queerness or “to queer” something, does not come with a stable conceptualization such as “homo,” “bi” or “trans” but encompasses all of them, or parts of them, or permutations of them, or even none of them. To be “queer” is, in its broadest modern sense, to be antinomian; it is to subvert, distort, and mutate any/all normative, settled values, standards, assumptions, and norms and “queer,” or decompose, transmute, rectify, and reconstruct those values, standards, or norms. All is fluid, in flux, and indeterminate (and all of the core values that queering disarticulates and reconstitutes were, in the beginning, wholly relative and arbitrary at the outset, of course. This is where all social reconstruction must begin, ultimately with Nietzschean reevalution of all values).
But as long as we’re just free-associating, and not doing any serious philosophy, why not continue?
“Even further into the future, I imagine technologies such as brain-to-brain interfaces that could radically change our views of intimacy and human sexuality. To share a mind with a person would not only include every sexual fantasy and experience you’ve ever had, but every intimate aspect of your being.” (Note: the implications of this within a gospel context aside for a second, she may have gotten the idea for this from a scene in “Demolition Man” between Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock, but there’s no way to tell here – Loran)
And then, where pornography will ultimately, in the fullness of its masturbatory potential, take humanity, given sufficient technical capabilities:
“Sharing your body with a person, same-sex or otherwise, would be overshadowed in comparison to the intimacy of sharing a mind with another person. Pleasurable experiences, such as orgasm, could take place independent of physical contact entirely with one or multiple person(s). As technologies enable us to have a greater capacity to have intimate experiences, our perceptions of sexuality, relationships, intimacy, and even pleasure will develop in ways that are hardly imaginable.”
An entire society, of much of that society, composed of impotent masturbating voyeurs, who never actually touch, or kiss, or hug, but who have sex through brain-to-brain cybernetic links.