Nondualism, Nihilism and Transhumanism

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Mercury Passing Before the Sun (Mercurio transita davanti al sole), 1914 Giacomo Balla

Ascending from a long childhood in which symbols were as real as the objects they represented, humanity is now facing a dark and daunting adolescence. It is no secret Plato and Socrates had religions quite unlike those of their fellow Athenians. Shankara’s sublime Advaita Vedanta has as much in common with the more vulgar varieties of religion on the Indian subcontinent as the Mystery Schools of antiquity had with the faiths of the serfs. It is because the priests and sages of Greece, Rome, India, Persia and Egypt knew men of bronze could not handle instruction from men of gold. The end of hard idols has given rise to rampant disillusionment and confusion. Their replacements have come in the form of substantially more insidious materialist cults dedicated to the acquisition of particular objects of reputed importance or the acquisition of information about public figures of reputed importance.

Identity is a destructive and archaic invention of the twentieth century. Conditioned to believe the extensions of their identities are perfectly rational and always justified, men and women embrace the petty, fleeting and trivial aspects of themselves. Unqualified individualism is ruinous to civilizations. It is an unconscious cultural manifestation of nihilism; the result of a widespread refusal to think. Denying distinctions between the goodness of things is not in line with nondualist principles, but frighteningly compatible with the subjectivism of the Postmodernists. Unable to repress their feelings of finiteness they construct egoic support structures by attaching themselves to achievements that are not their own. This explains the persisting popularity of naive nationalism and professional sports. It explains the persisting popularity of distracting amusements, of the exceedingly rare decision to acquire the sort of unwavering focus needed to transcend the mundane in one’s work, art and life

Nihilism is absurd. This is why, save among intellectuals and teenagers, it is rarely seen in its most explicit colors. Meaning is inherent in the actions the nihilist continues to carry out. Unless, of course, the nihilist fancies himself a zombie without consciousness, in which case we must wonder why anyone would listen to such an arthropod-like abomination in the first place. If there was no meaning or purpose to their daily activities they would cease to eat, sleep and perform other basic physiological functions. The nihilist cannot conceive of a universe or a state of consciousness in which they are wrong. This makes him quite like anyone else, however, a sane person is willing to admit they are limited. Yet philosophical nihilism, declared and open, is not as damaging as the widespread and festering realization of life’s (apparent) meaningless one finds among all social strata.

Nondualist philosophies recognize the “good” as what leads one to moksha. There is nothing subjective about mental states. They can be felt and they can be measured in a precise manner. Individualism is the identification with traits that are mutable, divisive and ultimately meaningless. Morphogenic freedom is threatening to some because the ability to radically alter one’s appearance will eliminate many common conversational topics. When it occurs many people will find out they are extremely boring. As the rishis of yore would say while meditating: neti, neti. Is Brahman the body? The body is born, grows, ages and dies. Is Brahman the brain? No, for the same reasons. Is the Absolute our memories? No, of course not. Memory is fallible. Family? Nation? World? Humanity? What is humanity? There are undoubtedly other planets with beings who have minds like our own, perhaps superior to our own. We may very well create sentience vastly superior to our own out of silicone. To cling ferociously to the little “I” is laughable. History is unfolding rapidly. A collective sort of intelligence will emerge and, in order for it to arise, the intellectual elite need to embrace the truths of the Advaita Vedanta.

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