The acceleration of scientific and technological development has become so obvious that one does not have to be an expert to notice it. This disruption to the models of activity and their ideals by the very element of constant mutation is actually masked by another process, one that is more distinctive and that certainly has more serious immediate consequences. This process involves accelerating the oscillations of the self-awakening system of positive feedback…
—Stanislaw Lem, Summa Technologiae
Positive feedback is the elementary diagram for selfregenerating circuitry, cumulative interaction, auto-catalysis, self-reinforcing processes, escalation, schismogenesis, self-organization, compressive series, deuterolearning, chain-reaction, vicious circles, and cybergenics. Such processes resist historical intelligibility, since they obsolesce every possible analogue for anticipated change. The future of runaway processes derides all precedent, even when deploying it as camouflage…
—Nick Land, Fanged Noumena
If as Nietzsche proposed over a hundred years ago that modern capitalist democracies are nihilistic (i.e., based on the very notion that there are no objective standards or valuations upon which truth can be based), then its’ not doxa (opinion) that is the cause of stupidity but rather the very democratic processes that have reduced humans to a flat world of equalization. The notion that there is no ranking system, no hierarchy of value, meaning, thought: that by its very nature – a nature under modernity that has no eidos (essence), the liberal modernisms of our world have tried to universalize a singular instrumentalist reason that negates all normative and classical values in the defense of an equality that has brought about the very stupidity and ignorance that it sought to transcend.
In their bid to destroy Western classical reason and cunning intelligence our Enlightenment forbears began a process that has devolved and left us without an arbiter, a “filter” by which to think or reason (i.e., without an objective standard of values there can be no consensus). It the sciences were at one time based upon objective knowledge and consensus, this is no longer so. For knowledge even in the groundless for we discover in quantum theory is based on probability and statistical equations, invention of theoretical entities that must be tested against reality, etc. There is no static, grounded reality of values against which a mathematical equation can verify its truth or validity (One reason why the observer (subject) has become a part of the very equation). The whole movement of modern sciences and philosophy has been to destroy the logic and metaphysics of the classical world. What do you think that would do to those who have come late into the game? We are the product of two hundred years of destruction of Classical Mind, Self, and Thought.
At the heart of Modernity was the notion of improvement or progress, the notion that we could improve on Nature: invent a new world or artificial realm outside the laws of the natural order based on technics and technology. Transcend our animal heritage, our cunning reason and intelligence; invent a new form of instrumental Reason or artificial process of thought and becoming. A form of reason that would lead to cybernetic and computational, and even functional forms of machinic intelligence we see in our own time. Did we really think that would have no repercussions upon the vast populations of the earth? Bernard Stiegler in his abstruse works puts it simpler: we’ve given up our minds to our machines, externalized our memories, and our decision making power to the point that we no longer have memory or mind left for thought, only opinion… and, of course opinion (doxa) means nothing, absolutely nothing; without truth, or validity. We are the product of a nihilistic tendency at the core of democracy itself, one that has brought us to the point of becoming inhuman.
Democracy in its antagonism with hierarchy and ranking has in itself brought down the house of Mind, leveled thought, and corroded every aspect of classical civilization to the point that all that is left is disorder rather than harmony. Humans have gutted their own history, vacated the very premise of the ‘human’ for the inhuman. And, now, they fear it, they see the power of the machinic rising in the ruins of human civilization and feel utter horror at their own (de)creation. The machines will inherit our humanity, even as we disinherit it for the machinic. Democracy will give way to its mathematical precision, to the very algorithms of instrumental reason at the core of its dark enlightenment. Nothing of the human will remain, all things being equal. Only the machinic processes of an optimized intelligence will know for sure, and it will not even be aware of us much less have any need of us.
Nature, the Great Designer, has been conducting its experiments for billions of years, developing from the once obtained material (although this point is still debatable) everything that is possible. Spying on its tireless activity, man as the son of Mother Nature and Father Chance has been wondering for centuries about the meaning of this deadly serious game, in all its finality. This is certainly a pointless activity if he is to continue asking this question forever. It will be a different story, though, as soon as he starts answering the question himself, taking over Nature’s convoluted secrets and initiating Technical Evolution in his own image.
—Stanislaw Lem, Summa Technologiae
We’ve already begun a process of artificial evolution, one that will bifurcate humanity into those who are enhanced and those that are not, the artificial and the natural. With such technologies as CRISPR that call for in-vitro gene editing, on the one hand – subtraction of genetic heritable defects that are eliminatable, while on the other providing edits that will allow for optimized intelligence or physical prowess to those few who can afford such luxuries for their children.
Many fear a sort of H.G. Wells Dr. Moreau incorporating animal or insect DNA into the human genome, or the possible live re-genesis of existing adults which might lead to chameleon species or shapeshifters whose very skin might mutate based on locale or mental calibrations. Designer tattoos on skin that turn off or on – slip in-between color modes based on emotion and affective relations of hate or love; or hair styles with mood colors and luminescent mutagens on the fly. The notion of identity will be dispersed to the world of myth as humans of techno-evolved systems are programmed for new artificial environments and space travel, etc. We are only at the beginning of a process that has yet to even be relegated to the corridors of Law or Government regulation. Even if such regulation and laws were enacted the black markets and criminal systems of global capital will be so great that the outlaw biotechnologies of the future will allow humans to bypass their homeworlds and pay their way to change and mutant genetics. Monstrosities of our horror fictions and SF will become daily occurrences as the underworld develops its own criminal programs outside the global authorities.
The plastic surgery of today, will be the genetic re-genesis of tomorrow. Cloning. Organ harvesting. Genetic migrations… Soldiers that can endure sleeplessness, stripped of their affectivity, emotionless and cool, impersonal agents of a new militaristic global society. The division of naturals and artificials: robots and enhanced vs. the poor and excluded naturals. Once again the class based caste systems of old will take on a dark mythos of power, privilege, and status as those who are mutants outclass and out perform their natural brothers and sisters in the competitive spheres.
Homo sapiens will give way to mutant species that have incorporated plant, insect, and other genetic traits; or, who have been edited to withstand Mars atmospheric systems for colonization of nitrogen toxic moons; or, for deep space mining and other capitalist ventures the development of minimal breathing and feeding systems, or reproduction and survival needs based on these extreme environments. The list goes on… one may even see sub-human slave species evolved, stripped of human potential and legal appellations, to do the work that even robots are not suited for, nor the intelligent human: sub-mental species that have little thought, but are programmable for repetitive tasks, etc. Horror worlds of our future could suddenly appear in sweat-shops that are filled with Zombie like beings… sadly our future could turn as ugly or worse than all our violent human histories.
The horrors of eugenics in Germany and America during the early 20th Century, with their mutant migrations, and purifications and sterilizations will in the near future be almost undetectable as nanotech and biotech become adaptive and legal across most of the planet allowing gene editing, gene swapping, gene therapies, etc. that will oust natural evolution for technological evolution of the human condition. As laws and governments discover needs and means to stay competitive in the advanced hypermarkets of the speed worlds of networked financial capital the days of protectionism and security of the human genome will be the least of their worries. Genetic viral agents will target certain bloodlines and ethnic genomes under supposed global health clauses that in fact are mere deregulated genocide as the earth faces resource depletion, climacteric collapse, and civil war and strife. The World is turning dangerous and will only become more so as the century progresses into devolution. Our disinheritance has begun…