‘The Unspeakable Revolution: Transhumanity’
by Federico Soldani – 15th Nov 2021
In a book by MIT Press written and edited by Harold D. Lasswell and Daniel Lerner in 1965 and entitled “World Revolutionary Elites. Studies in coercive ideological movements”, there is a chapter about “The World Revolution of Our Time: A Framework for Basic Policy Research”. The last three paragraphs of such chapter are: ‘The Bourgeois Revolution’, ‘The Unnamed Revolution (The Permanent Revolution of Modernizing Intellectuals)’, and finally ‘The Unspeakable Revolution (Transhumanity)’.
Contents of such volume and the full section about the “unspeakable revolution” are reported below, given the extraordinary concordance with some of the themes present in today’s transforming global politics, currently in mass and digital media, as well as in formulations independently developed over the past three years and largely presented in PsyPolitics.
‘The Unspeakable Revolution: Transhumanity,’ by Harold D. Lasswell (1965)
“We have implied that the emergence of racist ideology in Germany may mark an ideological step toward a new world revolutionary emergent whose potentiality for caste may bring about a reversal in the long-range trends toward the realization of human dignity in highly mobile societies.
Among the relevant factors to be assessed is the future of computers.
We have in mind the possibility that computers can be developed to a level at which it is impracticable to distinguish machine from men. If we speak of subjectivity as exhibiting moods and images, and define the latter to include abstract as well as concrete references, the creative prowess of computers has been sufficiently demonstrated to suggest that they have a brilliant future. Machines seem to depart from humanity in the realm of mood, which covers such swings as from euphoria to melancholy, anxiety to serenity, rage to fright. Guilt, humiliation, love, curiosity, and cupidity, for instance, are moods; they are not yet unanalyzable, nor it is necessary to suppose that equivalent internal sequences cannot be built in.
We may, of course, consider the possibility of supermachines; and, if so, the question is whether they will be constructed in ways that prevent them from constituting a superior caste that relegates man to a subordinate role.
In the world of contingency it is inappropriate to overlook the future of biological research and the development of new and possibly superior species of life. The recent decoding of the information system that controls the mechanisms of inheritance and development has brought a multitude of new emergents into the foreground.
Parallel with these events is the perfecting of conditioning procedures, with or without the aid of drugs and hypnosis. The abolition of privacy – already well along in our day – is placing potent instruments of control in the hands of elites who may see an opportunity to consolidate their position by policing the population medically. The “paralysis bomb” and its derivatives can make large-scale coercion truly obsolete.
We are on the threshold of an era of astropolitics, and we perceive even now that the elites of the Earth may encounter higher forms of life in space.
In addition to these contingencies we do not overlook the abolition of death by the technique of detecting worn-out molecules and making suitable replacements. Nor is it sensible to ignore the chance that new factors (for instance, parapsychological processes) may further complicate the future of man’s politics.
When I referred to the “unspeakable revolution,” I had in mind the disturbing contingencies that follow if man’s knowledge continues to be poorly translated into policies that harmonize with his professed aspirations. If we are in the midst of a permanent revolution of modernizing intellectuals, the succeeding phase obviously depends on no small degree on perfecting the policy sciences that aid in forestalling the unspeakable contingencies latent in tendencies already more than faintly discernible.”
[In the photo at the top, Harold D. Lasswell; University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf1-10329], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.]
Last Updated on November 17, 2021 by Federico Soldani