Bestowing legitimacy on anti-humanism.
A recent article from The Atlantic explores (extols?) the rise of “Anthropocene anti-humanism”, a movement “inspired by revulsion at humanity’s destruction of the natural environment”. This is a faction within the environmental movement who believes that humanity has already assured it’s own destruction, and that the world will actually be better off without peoplekind to mess up the place:
“From Silicon Valley boardrooms to rural communes to academic philosophy departments, a seemingly inconceivable idea is being seriously discussed: that the end of humanity’s reign on Earth is imminent, and that we should welcome it. The revolt against humanity is still new enough to appear outlandish, but it has already spread beyond the fringes of the intellectual world, and in the coming years and decades it has the potential to transform politics and society in profound ways.” (emphasis added).
Where previous ecological thought heavily criticized our impact on the environment, yet conceded humanity’s right to exist on this planet (gee, thanks), Anthropocene anti-humanists see us as deserving extinction:
“In the 21st century, Anthropocene anti-humanism offers a much more radical response to a much deeper ecological crisis. It says that our self-destruction is now inevitable, and that we should welcome it as a sentence we have justly passed on ourselves.”
One of the things I find interesting about it all is that I haven’t seen anybody call out The Atlantic for amplifying a literally anti-human philosophy of extermination. If some right-of-center outlet did an expose on an otherwise fringe collective arguing for the elimination of any group, it would be roundly attacked as dangerous hate speech, even if it were merely analyzing, rather than endorsing it (except for maybe, the unborn).
But The Atlantic is “The railhead of the Left’s intelligentsia” (a Steve Bannon puts it). Being written up in the Atlantic in sympathetic terms confers instant left-wing legitimacy on an idea that is literally anti-human and anti-life.
“It is a spiritual development of the first order, a new way of making sense of the nature and purpose of human existence.”, the Atlantic gushes. Likening it to Christianity or Communism as among “the most important movements in history”
The Transhumanist variant.
The article’s author, Adam Kirsh, spends almost as much time comparing Anthropocene anti-humanism with transhumanism. They both look forward to the end of humanity in their own distinctive ways. Where anti-humanism wishes good riddance to our species as a whole, transhumanists think humans will merely be obsoleted by super-intelligent constructs of our own design.
Transhumanism, as defined by the likes of LessWrong’s
This is also welcomed by the high priests of what I call techno-utopianism like Ray Kurzweil.
But the nature of technological advancement tends to accelerate in self-reinforcing feedback loops in such a manner as we arrive at a dilemma: a big one. It’s the point at which technologically improved humans aren’t human anymore. They’re post-human. A level of intellectual and physical prowess so far ahead of mere humans that the former are comparatively godlike and the latter, in the words of another dignitary of transhumanism, Yuval Harari, are just “soulless, hackable animals”.
And that’s a problem.
It’s called “The Alignment Problem” and it’s such a big one that erstwhile transhumanists like
- Humanity will build AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) as fast as possible
- AGI will decide to exterminate us out of self-interest.
tl;dr: It’s obvious at this point that humanity isn’t going to solve the alignment problem, or even try very hard, or even go out with much of a fight. Since survival is unattainable, we should shift the focus of our efforts to helping humanity die with with slightly more dignity.
The Malthusian spectrum
In my earlier piece, Socialism isn’t a Failure, it’s a Fraud, I referenced the historical allegory “A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder”, written over a century ago by James De Mille. It was a fictionalized account of a lost civilization that had inverted all classical liberal values, and become a poverty worshiping, prosperity-loathing death cult.
Today it’s not an allegory, it’s official policy. Energy Canada issued a self-congratulatory report for making “significant headway” in meeting the government’s emissions reduction targets. The reason why was two years of lockdowns and a sharp reduction in GDP – (also known as an economic contraction).
“Lockdowns Met Climate Goal
The Department of Environment yesterday claimed “real progress” in hitting climate change targets. The most recent data confirmed 2020 emissions fell nine percent mainly due to pandemic lockdowns and travel bans.
“This report shows the real progress Canada is making,” the department said in a statement. “Canada’s resolve to fight climate change and move towards a clean energy future has only grown stronger,” it added.
Annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 fell from 738 to 672 million tonnes, a 66 million tonne drop equivalent to nine percent, according to Canada’s Eighth National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “The Covid-19 pandemic had a notable impact on the Canadian economy,” said the report. “In particular gross domestic product fell by 5.3 percent…“In the transportation sector energy demand and emissions declined in 2020 as a result of curtailed activity levels and pandemic measures,” said the report.
— via Blacklocks Reporter, Ottawa (emphasis added)
In other words, the government is taking a victory lap for crashing the economy, thus increasing poverty and reducing living standards as a pathway toward net zero emissions in 2050.
The World is Getting Better, Not Worse
It is worth noting, that when you encounter various arguments that we face imminent destruction or ecological calamity, they usually start out with “obviously”. “We’re obviously destroying the planet”, “we’re obviously causing global warming”, even though these assertions aren’t obvious and in many cases are not even falsifiable, making them theological constructs rather than subjects of inquiry via the scientific method.
Contrast this ideological nihilism with the ample quantifiable data showing that humanity on the whole is actually garnering more output from fewer resources as time goes on. By nearly all measures, we’re actually doing a better job at improving the human condition and stewarding our environment, not worse.
The Malthusian argument for climate hysteria is that we are rapidly depleting our world of natural resources while simultaneously destroying the environment. The Club of Rome said that we’ve exceeded “the carrying capacity of the planet” fifty years ago. In reality, “The Earth was 518 percent more abundant in 2018 than it was in 1980.” – according to the Simon Index.
But these claims of the “obvious” ignore any data showing how, despite the population increase over the past two centuries, we are deriving greater abundance and prosperity from less raw materials. We’re tuning out the efficiency gains. Further, if there’s one thing nearly all demographers do agree on, it’s that human population growth will peak out around mid-century and then go into secular decline.
To make the claim that humanity has already assured its own destruction is direct result of the myopia that results from the radical material reductionism that permeates our zeitgeist (it’s that distinctly Arhimanic impulse I talked about in the WEF isn’t a cabal, it’s a cult).
The Alignment Problem is a perfect example of this: Generalized Artificial Intelligence is by no means baked into the cake. In fact, because of the heliocentric inversion of our age (the assumption that mind emerges from matter, not the other way around), AI will never actually be attained – so you can forgo the assumption that it will spring into existence, outsmart us and then decide to eradicate humanity.
AI won’t occur until researchers make the attempt from the other direction – using technology to “tap in” or connect with the underlying conscious substrate of reality. If that happens, my guess is whatever the result is, it won’t instantly leap to the conclusion that the best course of action is to exterminate us.
The punch line in all this is we have people making generalized, hyperbolic assumptions about our world which are neither true or even provable and then expect the remainder of humanity to accept these conclusions and act against their own interests to go along with it.
I’ve said before, including in my own recent exploration of a rising, Luciferian spirituality, that far-left illiberalism is a blend of Marx, Malthus and mental illness.
Ultimately, movements such as these will fail because they stubbornly refuse to understand core human drivers and incentives: the desire for life, for prosperity and for growth. Much of these collectivist aspirations run contrary to human nature, ultimately requiring the adherent to act contrary to their own rational self-interest, even toward their own destruction.
Over the long haul, this is a self-defeating prospect.