AHR 31: Privilege, Identity Politics, and the Transhuman Agenda with Daniel Vitalis (Part 2)

 
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There’s a belief in biology and a belief in transcending biology, and civilization has always been about transcending biology.
— Daniel Vitalis

Is the first person to live to 1,000-years-old, alive today? And if that's true, what does that inevitably mean for the future of the human condition?

One of the world's leading anti-aging researchers, Aubrey De Grey, (and strangely—my neighbor) believes that to be 100% true. Because, well, Aubrey's the one who said it.

And if what Aubrey says is true, would you then believe Arthur C. Clarke's third law, which states: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic?

Meaning that modern technology can seem like literal witchcraft to the ignorant, or simple science to the learned. 

Popular mystery writer, Agatha Christie, once wrote, "The supernatural is only the natural of which the laws are not yet understood."

 And I agree. However...

Are we metaphorically "summoning the demon," as tech mogul Elon Musk fears?

The Guardian published an article on former vice-president of user growth for Facebook—one you may have read or, at the very least, heard about in November of 2017. The former executive said that he feels "tremendous guilt" over his work on “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”

Chamath Palihapitiya said, "This is not about Russian ads.”

“This is a global problem. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”  

Historian and novelist Ronald Wright popularized what is called a progress trap.

The exact definition of a progress trap is as follows: 

The condition human societies experience when, in pursuing progress through human ingenuity, they inadvertently introduce problems they do not have the resources or political will to solve, for fear of short-term losses in status, stability or quality of life.

Many of the problems we're seeing now–whether we're talking about hunger or massive inequity–whether we're talking about climate change or the loss of biodiversity–have been driven over the last 250 years by a system of overproduction and overconsumption of stuff

You've probably heard Einstein's famous quote, "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." This quote, although popular on the Internet, is false.

Einstein did say, however, "I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanization and depersonalization of our lives,” he wrote in a letter to his friend, psychiatrist Otto Juliusburger, in 1948, “a disastrous byproduct of science and technology. Nostra culpa!"

And In many ways science and technology have become the new religion of our time.

Karl Marx described religion as an opiate to the masses because it dulled the senses and kept people passive and accepting of a capitalist, industrialist culture warped on the idea of consumption and growth.

Freud, the father of modern psychology, argued that religion served to repress and sublimate an individual's desire into activities that serve the culture. This, Freud argued, produces neurosis and mental illness in those that civilization seeks to domesticate.

And so if we imagine technology as a drug, where its purpose is to manage pain and create sensations of calm and well-being, do we not forget that we are apart of the natural world, fighting for survival, just like everything else?

In many ways technology works much like religion, distracting us from our inevitable deaths with feelings of fleeting invincibility and immortality. 

(I'd like to thank my friend Julian Langer for that connection between technology and religion.)

Anyways, guys! This is part 2 of 2 of Privilege, Identity Politics, and the Transhuman Agenda with Daniel Vitalis.

All-in-all, this was a challenging conversation to navigate for both Daniel and myself, so please keep an open mind, ear, and heart.

So...

In today's episode, you'll learn...

  • The three mishmashed values (and science) that Daniel says he approaches the world with,
  • Daniel's personal relationship with modern technology,
  • Daniel's thoughts on merit, identity politics, and the transhuman agenda (i.e. "the cult of progress"), and...
  • Much, much more.

Episode Breakdown

  • Daniel says he approaches the world like a mishmash of these three values—and science

  • Sophia the AI robot, identity politics, and the challenge Daniel has with privilege and where it's going

  • Daniel's thoughts on bio and nano technology

  • What Daniel says his religion would be if he were to subscribe to one

  • Why Daniel says people who practice animism today aren't the same as people who practiced animism in the past

  • Are we in an augmented reality?

  • Elon Musk, Space X, and artificial intelligence. Are we summoning the demon?

  • Daniel's personal relationship with modern technology

  • Daniel recalls the first time he saw someone walking down the street talking to themselves (on a hands-free cellular device)

  • Why Daniel feels he's lost some of his intelligence (and what happened to it)

  • Peter Thiel, the Bulletproof Conference, and how Peter (Thiel) sees the future state of humanity's relationship with technology

  • The juxtaposition between The Bulletproof Conference and the 2017 Annual North American Rewilding Conference

  • Daniel's foreboding observation about the Pixar's animated movie Wall-E

  • Are we going into an age of biological denial?

  • Daniel's thoughts on merit, identity politics, and the transhuman agenda (i.e. "the cult of progress")

  • How modern technology, Daniel says, has effected humanity throughout the past few generations

  • James mentions AHR episode #4 with Arthur Haines and the allegory of the cave

  • How Daniel talks about his work

  • What Daniel says is the theme of today's episode

  • Why you won't hear Daniel use the word rewilding (...much)


DO NOT MISS: Listener questions (1:36)


Questions I ask

  1. "Would you consider yourself somewhat of a practicing animist?"

  2. "What's your personal relationship with technology?"

  3. "How do you bring up your work with people who aren't involved with rewilding?"

  4. "What's your nickname?"



Mentioned Resources

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Who is Daniel Vitalis?

Daniel Vitalis, host of the ReWild Yourself Podcast and founder of SurThrival.com, is a writer, public speaker, entrepreneur, and lifestyle pioneer in the sphere of human health, personal development, and strategic living. He’s especially interested in the meeting place of ancestral health and lifestyle design. 

Daniel can be seen in the documentary film Hungry For Change, and has been featured in The Huffington Post, RT, Marie Claire magazine, as well as countless other interviews and media appearances. He can be found at DanielVitalis.com

Contact Daniel here:

Website: www.DanielVitalis.comwww.SurThrival.com, and www.FindASpring.com

Social media: Facebook and Instagram

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James Broderick