The RAW Reality of Tech and Transhumanism
The neglected history of the future
Counter-culture author and LSD guru Robert Anton Wilson’s decidedly optimistic orientation toward the world meant he spent much time looking forward to the future. Having lived through much of the 20th century and some of the 21st century meant when pondering the future, you were thinking about technological advancement.
To choose to focus on the good in technology and the future of technology can lead to some blind spots. Many of the answers to where technology is headed and where it will take humankind lies in looking back to the past.
RAW placed great hope in technological progress (to bring about life-extension and higher human consciousness etc.) to the point that he influenced transhumanist thinkers. You could argue RAW himself fit the definition of a transhumanist. While I’m not sure if RAW was aware of transhumanism’s origins, it is important that “constructing our own reality” does not cause one to overlook its dark intrinsic ties to an older human-altering ideology: eugenics.
the eugenic goals of biologically engineering human evolution should be refined through transhumanist technologies, which combine the eugenic methods of genetic engineering with neurotech that merges humans and machines into a new organism.
Transhumanism is pitched to us these days as being a voluntary activity that individuals will be able to opt into in order to free themselves from “biological limitations”. But there are certain basic questions one must consider.
Who, or what corporations, will benefit from human-infused technology? For instance, is our liberation from “biological limitations” to be entrusted with Elon Musks’ Neuralink? Or tech from MIT or DARPA?
What early incentives, particularly economic incentives, might there be to essentially coerce people into cyborging themselves? Particularly if phones and computers are deemed clunky and thus phased out through the tried and true technique of planned obsolescence? Can we honestly call that a choice?
To what degree will social engineering and the manufacturing of consent play a role in shepherding people toward biology-altering tech and medicine?
Why might a eugenicist like Huxley be interested in creating the ideology of transhumanism?
Why is the increased hyper-integration of technology into our personal lives, and now into our bodies, sold to us as our salvation when we know that right now tech oligarchs can’t be trusted?
This is just one example where decisively “creating your reality” can distort your perception of reality more than it can calibrate your perceptions to reality. To the extent that we create our reality, we should aim to understand the world as it really is, however unpleasant. Optimism and a can-do attitude toward problem-solving are necessary tools for survival, but so too is knowledge of your environment. Hope lies in understanding.
For others interested in RAW’s work, I would always encourage learning as much as you can about history, and techniques of social engineering. The more you look back the more you’ll understand what’s coming down the road.