Members of The Process, founded mainly by students from an architecture school, referred to the creation of their cult as religious engineering, the conscious, systematic, skilled creation of a new religion. I propose that we become religious engineers….
—William Sims Bainbridge
Here and there I still add to my ongoing research on various odds and ends of present cultural thought: flavors of accelerationism, hyperstition, etc. Most of it obsolete at this point because of its strange agglomeration of Left and Right wing associations that have for better or worse lost their way in the contemporary dance of ever newer sources of thought and madness of our age. I plod on…
Ran across a sociologist you may or may not have ever heard of: William Sims Bainbridge is an American sociologist who specializes in religion and cognitive science and a senior fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Among his contributions to the field are his studies on how science-fiction media (writing, movies, and TV shows) act as a potential self-fulfilling prophecy. A notion that would later become associated with CCRU and ideas surrounding hyperstition.
He was a one time member of the ill-famous Process Church of the Final Judgement. One of the London based research groups which would fray into much of the so to speak New Age worldview. One can if so disposed read both Bainbridge’s Revival: Resurrecting the Process Church of the Final Judgement, or the work of Timothy Wyllie Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment. Both written by one time members of that strange cult world.
My interest in Bainbridge is that he is at the top level of various scientific organizations: He is co-director of Cyber-Human Systems at the National Science Foundation (NSF); He is the first Senior Fellow to be appointed by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET): a “technoprogressive think tank” that seeks to contribute to understanding of the likely impact of emerging technologies on individuals and societies by “promoting and publicizing the work of thinkers who examine the social implications of scientific and technological advance”. Other well known members of this group are Nick Bostrom and James Hughes. What we’re speaking of is the foregrounding of the “Human Enhancement Movement”; otherwise known as transhumanism, etc.
Both Bainbridge and Wyllie went on after the Process Church to become participants of aspects of Satanism: Anton LeVey having been as well a member of the Process Church, along with various Rock n Roll stars, Genesis P-Orridge, Adam Parfrey, and many more of the era…
Wyllie would write a series of works based on the Process Church’s main bible: Urantia. Creating a complete mythology based on the Fallen Angel topos… (https://www.amazon.com/…/B001K7…/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1)
While Bainbridge, and academic and scientists would write early on of Satan in Satan’s Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult. Most of Bainbridge’s works center around how transhumanism, space expansion, game theory (eGods: Faith versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming, The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World (The MIT Press), The Space Flight Revolution: A Sociological Study, Goals in Space: American Values and the Future of Technology, etc.).
This mixture of quasi-religious New Age thought combined with the power of cybernetic research and sociological religious thought toward constructing self-fulfilling prophecies (i.e., hyperstitional fictions) seems to be something to investigate.
What interests me is how a New Age guru became a leader in the Transhumanist movement, and yet is for the most part hidden and silent in scholarship. So much about the various aspects surrounding sixties culture is yet to be explored…
Strange days… as the blurb on his study of Warcraft MMO puts it, as if these games were being used and studies by both various transhumanist, military, and governmental agencies to understand and prototype future scenarios:
In The Warcraft Civilization, sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further, arguing that WoW can be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war.
What makes WoW an especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.
This convergence of technology and religious modes seems to be part of the transhumanist agenda (at least in some of its technoprogressive elite circles), along with the revival of the Process Church ideology and certain integrations of Urantia-Satanism into space adaptation and use of MMO-Virtual Gaming as ways of indoctrinating and re-engineering perception and the young toward such ends (see: Bainbridge – Revival: Resurrecting the Process Church of the Final Judgement).
This needs a great deal of further investigation… it’s like a strange travelogue through the underground worlds of our cultural madness!