[extropy-chat] Transhumanism: Teilhard de Chardin - Truth or Dare

natashavita at earthlink.net natashavita at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 31 20:49:48 UTC 2003

Recently, I was reviewing some essays on Transhumanism.  I thought about
how ideas come together and who have been the catalytic thinkers of our
transhumanist ideas.

Many essays on Transhumanism have skimmed over critical information about
transhumanism, and plugged in well known literary figures which to claim an
association.  Some of the associations are inescapable, some we favor, and
others we do not.  Yet some associations can be very confusing by and
through the contradictory nature of hum[man].

One such provoking and erudite thinker is Teilhard de Chardin.  As a role
model, and even "hero," for an entire generation of younger priests and
theologians, he believed strongly in God, even when he wrote careful
critiques of traditional science and of traditional religion. I also
suggested his contributions to "Transhumanism" in my book _Create/Recreate:
the 3rd Millennial Culture."

Was Teilhard de Chardin's bottom line a fervid attempt to realize a reunion
of research and religion?  

"Henceforth science recognized itself as a means of extending and
completing in [hu]man a world still incompletely formed. It assumed the
shape and grandeur of a sacred duty. It became charged with futurity. In
the great body, already coming to birth, of a humanity grouped by the act
of discovery, a soul was at last released: a mysticism of discovery."  (de

Or, is what Stephen Jay Gould states a more vivid interpretation of
Teilhard de Chardin, which would allow for some questioning of our own

"It is perhaps not surprising that a leading advocate of Darwinism, Stephen
Jay Gould, has gone to work on Teilhard. Writing vehemently and
dogmatically, like the guardian of an established religion, Gould asserts
that Teilhard's whole enterprise is illegitimate: Teilhard's essential
insights are incompatible with science. In addition to that, Gould has made
it his personal mission to expose Teilhard as being guilty of the most
outrageous scientific fraud of modern times." (Charles P. Henderson)

Most transhumanists are spirited toward life and learning, but leave the
soul on the bottom of our shoes.  Indeed a sense of compassion and
understand is often veiled by a strong desire to push forward out of
humanity's womb, but it is deeply rooted in transhumanism nonetheless.  It
this enough in itself, or do we need to leave an open place for religious
views, or are they really a throw back to ingrained defaults?

I don't think we need it.  I think we need more love and understanding,
story-telling, poetry, imagination, laughter, fun and companionship, not
not religious mysticism?


Natasha Vita-More

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