Daily Archives: June 23, 2021

The Tormented Rise of Rose Byrne – The Cut

Posted: June 23, 2021 at 6:57 am

Photo: Eric Guillemain / Trunk Archive/

Somewhere between Hillary Clintons first and second presidential bids, it became pass and utterly dull to ask women of note whether they were feminists. Any answer to the once-Zeitgeist-y question, foisted upon female actors, pop stars, and doctors, was the wrong one, and would make headlines in the days that followed. This is a good thing for Rose Byrne, who, given her recent track record, would almost certainly have been interrogated on the belief that people should be treated equally, every time she faced the press.

The one-two punch of her latest projects in particular would have really landed Byrne in the F-word hot seat: Last year, it was FX on Hulus Mrs. America, in which she portrayed the mother of white feminism herself, Gloria Steinem. And beginning June 18, its her AppleTV+ series Physical, which, incidentally, picks up in 1981, exactly where Mrs. America left off.

It strangely felt like a companion piece because Mrs. America ends in 1980, Byrne says, video-chatting while on holiday in her native Australia. And [my character] is a former hippie activist, coming from the movement of the Berkeley days, and shes disillusioned when we meet her. And its sort of about the next stage of America, I think, if I can be so lofty to say. It felt like that to me.

Set in sepia-hued Southern California, Physical, from creator Annie Weisman (a producer of the cult comedy Suburgatory and Desperate Housewives before that), follows Byrnes Sheila, a wife and mother who regains some agency over her life through the burgeoning aerobics craze. Its also kind of a reverse engineering of the wellness industry, Byrne says. Today, everybody is an entrepreneur online, whether its a parenting expert or a wellness expert or a makeup expert, everybody has their brand. And this is really the seeds of that, these sort of lifestyle gurus.

In other words, the series paints aerobics instructors as the original influencers. And though its a half hour and is billed as a comedy, it also features some of the most unrelenting depictions of female suffering ever shown on TV, even in this antihero-prone era.

I feel like sometimes women are seen as unraveling in very obvious ways, whether its outlandish behavior or theyre crazy or whatever, Byrne says. And often the destruction that women experience is on the inside: how we talk to ourselves or how we look at ourselves. All of that stuff, its all inside, and its secret, and its shameful. Thats a harder story to tell. And its rarely represented like that onscreen, that internal, destructive, terrible treatment of ourselves.

Because to externalize turmoil, Byrne ventures, is a privilege which women, still, are not often granted. Sheila is mentally ill she has bulimia, among other conditions, none of which are played for laughs. To the contrary, thanks to a near-constant voice-over that laps over Byrnes performance in front of the camera, Physical is an intimate portrayal of torment.

But Sheila is as cruel to other women as she is to herself, and even partakes in both blackmail and theft. You want to root for this character and shes complicated, and shes not an easy character to just [understand], Byrne says. Its not all black and white with Sheila. And that was my challenge, I felt, trying to understand that myself. You know, often these illnesses are a punch line or the butt of a joke Particularly back then, there wasnt a language around Sheilas illness at all. It was really new to sort of even acknowledge it and know what its called.

It can be taxing just for the audience to be inside Sheilas own caustic head, even as she flashes a smile onscreen. But Byrne is able to leave that anguish on set, along with her 80s wig and leotards, thanks to her two young children (with partner and fellow actor Bobby Cannavale). Her kids arent just grounding; they simply dont allow her to wallow. They couldnt care less if Ive, like, had a hard day and I feel a bit vulnerable, or like, Gosh, that was a tough scene, she says. Im sure back when I was a younger actress without as many responsibilities, I would sort of indulge that stuff.

That doesnt mean Byrne is an Etsy ideal of female self-empowerment. Despite her achievements and devoted fan base (lesbians may have manifested her role as Steinem), she nearly falls over herself to admit shes susceptible to hyperself-criticism. Yeah, of course, whatre you crazy? she says. Are you bloody insane? Its like any artist, right? Were all just struggling, whether its about your writing or your music or your painting. What I see obviously is so different from what someone else is experiencing.

Along with Physical and Mrs. America, factor in her other recent project, a modern adaptation of Medea, performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, opposite Cannavale, in early 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic closed theaters, and Byrne is on a roll playing women in varying degrees of crisis. (The matriarch at the heart of Medea, famously, could have used some wellness.) This signals a watershed moment in Byrnes eyes. I look at Mrs. America and I look at Physical, and neither of those shows wouldve been made five years ago, or ten years ago, or even three years ago, maybe. Its timing, she says. And its a cultural shift and its a cultural reflection of storytelling. Look at [the success of] Nomadland. And obviously these projects are about a female story, a female narrative.

She has a point. Weisman wrote the Physical pilot eight or nine years ago, Byrne posits. And its only now that shes been able to find a home for it.

Doing what she could on her part to move the needle was certainly top of mind in Byrnes forming a production company, Dollhouse Pictures, founded with four other women, in order to prioritize female-driven storytelling. Its exciting to have women making decisions and being at the table, making choices about how a story unfolds and how it looks and how its told, she says of the venture. (The companys first project, a musical dramedy called Seriously Red, is currently in production with both Byrne and Cannavale in its cast.)

Though shes scaling new career heights, Byrnes rise in the industry has been far from meteoric. She starred opposite Glenn Close on FXs five-season legal drama Damages, and there was of course her role as stuck-up Helen in Kristen Wiigs brassy comedy Bridesmaids you know, the movie that proved with absolutely no precedent that women can be both funny and bankable at the box office. Bridesmaids also rendered Byrne a deft, sought-after comedic performer, leading to standout roles in Spy and the Neighbors franchise.

But Physical does mark Byrnes first time as the sole lead of a project. She recognizes the weight of the moment but not too much. Im Australian, so its hard for me to really talk about this because I feel like we cant take ourselves too seriously, she laughs. Im gonna just hide behind my cultural inability to reflect.

She adds: I couldnt think too much about being on the shoulders of myself. She doesnt have to, though; those who come after her will.

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Inner citadels: How to live the meaningful life of a Roman emperor – Mental Health Today

Posted: at 6:57 am

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly, these words might seem counterintuitive to our desire to meet the day with a positive mental attitude, it might seem as if we have woken up on the wrong side of the bed and are setting ourselves up for failure. Although Roman Emperor turned philosopher, Marcus Aurelius continues in his journal, later titled The Meditations:

They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good and the ugliness of evil and have recognised that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own And so, none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.

Here Marcus Aurelius is not articulating a pessimistic outlook for the coming day; he is reminding himself that he will, inevitably, meet people who rub him up the wrong way or act out of anger. His response to that negativity is not to rise to it or 'obstruct' it. But he is to be psychologically resilient in the face of that routine challenge and achieve a harmonious relationship with the offender. Marcus is using a Stoic thought exercise of premeditation; he is internally pre-empting and resolving the potential sources of stress to maintain the psychological fortitude to act, unlike the hypothetical 'wrongdoer'.

Stoicism, not to be confused with the lower-case stoic, is an ancient Greek philosophy that promoted the art of living in accordance with what they considered to be Nature. The central node of the discipline is, as philosopher Pierre Hadot wrote in his book The Inner Citadel, that of an 'inner discourse', because the followers of the Stoicism stressed the utmost role of cognition and judgements, and their optional potential for either emotional pain or peace a theme later taken up by Shakespeare in Hamlet: There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

In their attempt to live harmoniously with the rationality of Nature and to avoid internal disturbances and destructive action, the Stoics developed an early hybrid form of philosophy/psychology. More recently, this ancient paradigm for living has heavily influenced the development of modern cognitive psychotherapy and has lately become increasingly more popular with people inspired by its message and its framework for a considered life.

The unshakeable philosophers path towards the tranquil mind

Marcus Aurelius is often thought of as the coming of the philosopher-king envisioned by Plato in his political dialogue, Republic. Although, The Meditations was not a Stoic philosophical treatise written for wider publication but was a form of personal guidance and self-admonition. He was, in essence, repeating affirmations, but not the sort of affirmations that are found in the pages of bestselling self-help books, written by self-appointed positive vibe gurus.

In actuality, the affirmations that permeate the pages of the journal speak as much about the depressive transience of life as much as they do about positive moral action. In Stoic philosophy, what is termed as memento mori remember you are mortal, is used to remind the philosopher to treat each day as a gift, to not waste time on the trivial, to remain present, and to live life with some sort of purpose.

Rather than implying a nihilistic inconsequential meaningless to life, the characterisation of life as small implies for the Stoics a sense of urgency to live a life of meaning, if you dont free yourself it will be gone and will never return.

The ancient Greeks described individuals who lived well and flourished throughout their lives as enjoying eudaimonia, or good (eu) spirit (daimn). The concept is often translated as happiness or welfare, although a more accurate proposed translation has been human flourishing or the condition of living well in accordance with Natures web of cause and effect.

Unlike the earlier philosophy of Aristotle, the Stoics disregarded external fortune as endangering the path towards achieving eudaimonia, believing that everyone was capable of flourishing as long as their actions were guided by reason (logos). The natural order of reason for the Stoics was the paradigm to which they aspired to live in accordance with, but in order to live in harmony with the active reason pervading and animating the Universe, the philosopher had to first psychologically master himself.

If Marcus Aurelius can be termed the 'philosopher-king', then his intellectual inspiration, Epictetus, should be termed the 'philosopher-slave'. Epictetus, born a slave and later a freeman, illustrated that Stoicism wasnt elitist, for everyone is thought to have the human capacity for reason. Epictetus contribution to Stoicism was more far-reaching than Marcus Aurelius, and one of his famous pieces of guidance that he offered in the Enchiridion is commonly known as the Stoic fork, the fork representing the division between things that are up to us and in our control, and those that are not.

Some things are up to us, and others are not', wrote Epictetus. He argued that we should only concern ourselves with the things that are in our control towards everything else, we should be indifferent. He lists the things that are in our control as our opinions, intentions, desires, and actions. In contrast, the things not in our control are our property, status, what people think of us, others behaviour, and anything external.

When we invest in something external to us, and it doesnt act or end in the way that we desire, we, of course, feel frustrated or anxious or even depressed. Although much like in Marcus morning premeditation, the actions of others that we meet during our day are not in our control to determine. Any attempt to influence their behaviour is only setting ourselves up for further frustration.

Essentially for the Stoics, only what we think and do are worthy of our attention. Although we might preface that statement, as for example, we may work diligently in the hope of securing a promotion or practice hard for an upcoming football match, we, however, are not in control of whether our boss realises our ability or how many goals the other team will score. Moreover, if we fixate on the thought 'I will get the promotion', or 'I must win the game', we will most likely set ourselves up for a crushing failure. Therefore, for the Stoics, these judgements would be thought of as misguided as they have the potential to lead to disappointment and distress.

Another related central Stoic tenet that was touched on earlier is that it is not what happens to individuals that are the cause of their distress but how individuals perceive what happens to them that determines their effect, as Marcus Aurelius puts it the soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts and choose not to be harmed and you wont be harmed, and Epictetus it is not things that trouble us but our judgement about things.

Epictetus and Marcus are saying here that our inner discourse is the primary cause of our distress, rather than the external causes themselves. We might initially think that they are victim blaming or are glibly dismissing the pain caused by others. However, the message is that whatever happens to you, your thoughts dont need to become dyed it doesn't need to affect you psychologically; you can control your perception of the external and, in turn, be liberated from your negative judgements.

As Pierre Hadot explained, for the Stoics: Things cannot trouble us, because they do not touch our ego they do not touch the guiding principle within us. They remain at the threshold. Marcus and Epictetus are saying that as our thoughts are under our control, we are responsible for how we respond to outside pressures. If, for example, we dont get that promotion or we lose that game, we should reframe the judgement that has set ourselves up for disappointment into something more productive, such as I will do my best to while accepting that the outcome is outside our control.

What comes from viewing troubles as existing on the threshold of the self is the formation of a psychological tranquillity, robustness, and resilience to take on those challenges a mastering of ones own inner discourse, in Marcus words:

The philosophical foundations of CBT

Stoic thought dominated the ancient world, only tofade with the advent of Christianity, although elements of Stoicism would survive in the new faith and consequentially in the later philosophies of early modern Europe.

Epictetus said that the philosophers school is a doctors clinic, and from the 1950s onwards, psychotherapeutic clinics began to rediscover Stoicism through the writing of Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, founders of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), respectively. Both psychotherapists explicitly acknowledged Stoicism as the philosophical precursor to their revolutionary approaches to treatment.

Aaron Beck clearly referenced 'the philosophical origins' of CBT in his book Cognitive Therapy of Depression: The philosophical origins of cognitive therapy can be traced back to the Stoic philosophers, particularly Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. Epictetus wrote in The Enchiridion, Men are disturbed not by things but by the views which they take of them Control of most intense feelings may be achieved by changing ones ideas.

CBT is the predominant style of modern evidence-based therapy. As its name implies, the style examines the role of cognitive activity on behaviour and how this activity can be modified to promote desired behavioural changes. Stoicisms influence on CBT is especially evident through both the Stoic fork and the principle of positively transforming our attitudes and actions towards outside events.

The philosophical core of Stoic teaching finding new life within the therapeutic space, a reasonably natural transition, as Stoicism is similarly concerned with the goal of promoting a tranquil and resilient psyche and in transforming our thoughts regarding external causes of distress.

The classical philosophys influence has also not only been restricted to psychotherapy, as it has been a source of comfort for the powerless and the powerful alike famously for Nelson Mandela during his 27 years of imprisonment, Admiral James Stockdale while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and the 42nd President Bill Clinton during his tenure.

Modern Stoicism preventative medicine

The renaissance and return of Stoic thought in the 20th century brought about Modern Stoicism as an intellectual and popular movement aimed at reviving the philosophical tradition, modified to the modern zeitgeist and challenges. Doctor John Sellars, Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway and author of Lessons in Stoicism, spoke with Mental Health Today about why this classical philosophy has particular resonance and appeal in modernity, and why interest has exploded over the last decade.

Who do you want to be? As square-eyed consumers, this is a question that advertisements routinely answer for us. The product stands in and tells the story of who we are or want to be the stylish camera promises to demonstrate our adventurousness, or a car our desire to break free; we are told that we can discover our 'true selves' on the high street.

Although, it never feels enough, as the commodity can never satisfy our insatiable appetite for fulfilment and rarely ever enhances our inner experience. In this landscape, people are constantly searching for a framework to understand what is important and what they ought to be pursuing in life.

Dr Sellars continued: Stoicism offers a whole framework these are the things we think are important, these are the things you ought to be pursuing in your life. It offers a wider ethical framework, which I think people find attractive, particularly in a broadly secular society, where people that no longer have that kind of religious framework.

The Stoics appear to remedy the insecurity of age of anxiety and can direct us in our search for fulfilment. And rather than relying on psychotherapeutic spaces to provide the solution for our internal problem, Dr Sellars said that Stoicism is being used as a preventative medicine.

In a moment of crisis, you're already in a mess, and you need to be fixed. A therapist will intervene to fix that one problem and then leave you on your own. Someone who becomes interested in Stoicism and connects with these ideas on a regular basis, they're developing resilience before they experienced any crisis, there's a sense in which it is preventative medicine.

He continued: There's a strong interest these days in what you might call the psychotherapeutic aspect of Stoicism. So, dealing with adversity would be one. The Stoics don't think that we're caught in some kind of internal psychological battle between reason and emotions. They think that our emotions are the product of the judgments that we make about things.

If someone judges that something really dangerous is coming, then they're going to experience the emotion of fear, and they're going to generate that emotion. But the emotion is going to be the product of that value judgment they've made that something dangerous is coming. And so, the Stoics think that if you attend to those judgments you're making, you can transform your emotional life.

Recently, during the first Covid-19 lockdown in May 2020, thousands of people took part in Stoic Mindfulness and Resilience Training (SMRT), a four-week e-learning programme developed by the Modern Stoicism team.

Participants studied ideas and followed practices taken from the ancient school of philosophy to see if they might improve their daily lives and, in particular, improve their emotional resilience. By the end of the month, participants reported an average 13% increase in resilience, along with an increase in life satisfaction of 14%, and an increase in positive emotions (11%) and a decrease in negative emotions (15%).

The course quantified the therapeutic benefits of Stoic philosophy as a preventative therapy and demonstrated that the discipline could be used to lay the groundwork for psychological resilience. The study also strikingly had excellent retention rates, the results suggesting that the longer the course was followed,the more robust the benefits, comparative to Marcus Aurelius' constant repetitive daily reaffirmation of Stoic doctrine.

What can we learn from Stoicism?

The philosophy teaches us that targeted emotional indifference can help us to endure the inevitable pains of life and that one small reframing of your mindset can cascade into larger, more impactful changes later down the line. It also teaches us that meaning comes from acting well in the world, to treat others with respect even if they act negatively and that our psychological tranquillity is not only for others to provide fundamentally, it is our own responsibility.

Notably, Stoicism also tells us something that is often neglected in modern Western culture, that the mind can be a source of tranquillity and nourishment as much as it can be a source of disturbance. The key to the inner citadel comes with constantly reinforcing our psyches and through not treating the outside world as an extension of ourselves and ultimately, by understanding that the true source of stability and serenity comes from within.


Inner citadels: How to live the meaningful life of a Roman emperor - Mental Health Today

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Analysis: Here’s what Texas’ newly signed ban on teaching Critical Race Theory really signifies – San Antonio Current

Posted: at 6:57 am

People seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. ...America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States. Frederick Douglass in "What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?"

During the most recent legislative session, Texas Republicans ostensibly theparty of small government usurped the role of the state's teachers and school boards in drafting social studies curricula. The bill they passed follows the lead of other state legislatures in targeting a bogeyman by the initials of CRT. If you haven't been following the debate, that stands forCritical Race Theory.

This allegedly pernicious ideology goes unmentioned in the text of the bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law on Wednesday. Even so, the legislation's author, State Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, couldn't resist touting his handiwork as "a dagger shot right through the heart of Critical Race Theory."

Many of the conservative critics of this relatively obscure field of legal scholarship would no doubt flunk a remedial pop quiz on the subject. However, before we do some brushing up on what CRT actually is, let's survey the collateral damage wrought by House Bill 3979.

Decree #1: "A teacher may not make part of a course or award extra credit for efforts to persuade members of the legislative or executive branch at the federal, state, or local level to take specific actions by direct communication."

That means no more having students write a letter to the president or their congressperson about pressing issues of the day one of the standard assignments in basic civics courses. And no more extra credit for anything remotely resembling "political activism" or "participation in any internship or similar activity involving social or public policy advocacy." That means penning an op-ed for a local newspaper, volunteering to register voters, interning for an elected official, attending a town hall with Cornel Westor mustering up the courage to speak at a city council meeting can no longer earn a Texas student class credit. So much for fostering an engaged citizenry.

Decree #2: "A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that the advent of slavery constituted the true founding of the United States" or "that slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles."

Not only does that seem to nix the famous speech quoted above from Frederick Douglass even though the bill specifically recommends his autobiography as essential reading it also effectively bans an important book by University of Houston history professor Gerald Horne titled The Counter-Revolution of 1776. In it, Horne shows that one of the catalysts for American independence was colonists' outrage and fear that Britain broached the possibility of forbidding chattel slavery outright something the country ultimately did three decades before us. The motivating power of slavery was even stronger in Texas' independence from Mexico, but that's another story.

Fact is, slavery was legal in all 13 colonies at the onset of the Revolutionary War. Whether you consider that a "deviation" or take it to be foundational to America's later prosperity,why is it the business of armchair historians in the state legislature, over objections from more than 70 civic groups and businesses across Texas, to censor the teaching of one side or the other in a partisan manner?

Similarly, the bill states: "The State Board of Education shall adopt essential knowledge and skills that develop each student's understanding of the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government."

This leaves out historians who question whether we can best conceive of the founding as an "experiment in self-government" at all including Michael Klarman, a constitutional law professor at Harvard. In his book The Framers' Coup, Klarman debunks the romanticized image of our national user-agreement, contextualizing it as an elitist reaction to the burgeoning democractic zeitgeist of 1780s.

Indeed, many voices of the founders' generation may not even escape Texas' new curricular muzzle. Here's Rep. James Lincoln, speaking at the debate over whether South Carolina should ratify:"He had listened with eager attention to all the arguments in favor of the Constitution; but he solemnly declared that the more he heard, the more he was persuaded of its evil tendency. 'What does this proposed Constitution do? It changes, totally changes, the form of your present government. From a well-digested, well-formed democratic, you are at once rushing into an aristocratic government. What have you been contending for these 10 years past? Liberty! What is liberty? The power of governing yourselves. If you adopt this Constitution, have you this power? No: you give it into the hands of a set of men who live 1,000 miles distant from you. Let the people but once trust their liberties out of their own hands, and what will be the consequence? First, a haughty, imperious aristocracy; and ultimately, a tyrannical monarchy. ... It is said this Constitution is an experiment; but all physicians are cautious of experiments'."

Decree #3: "A teacher may not require an understanding of the 1619 Project."

Whatever one's opinion, the 1619 Project was a significant series of articles published in the New York Times Magazine, and the editor of the project won a Pulitzer Prize,both for her work in assembling a range of high-caliber authors as well as her own "distinguished commentary."

Agree or disagree with Nikole Hannah-Jones, as a journalist she's a role model for what students of any background should aspire to achieve through hard work, dedication and resolute character. But now this "groundbreaking look at the impact of slavery" can never be required reading in any of Texas' public or open-enrollment charter schools. To quote back the language of the bill, how does that "strive to explore the topic from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective?"

Decree #4: "A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that an individual bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race."Imagine if a right-wing government in South Africa or Germany passed a malleable restriction like this regarding education about racial apartheid or atrocities during Word War II. In 1946, philosopher Karl Jaspers published The Question of German Guilt, evocatively arguing that an acknowledgment of national guilt was a necessary condition for the moral and political rebirth of Germany." Can we ever truly heal from our wounds as a country without admitting that racism remains a problem the white majority must honestly confront?

Decree #5: "A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual's race."How, pray tell, can one study the dispossession and slaughter of Native Americans, the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans, the legacy of lynching and segregation and housing discrimination with which we're still living, the racial wealth gap, mass incarceration or the murder of an unarmed Black suspect in custody without feeling some measure of distress?

These injustices should break our hearts, and when teachers are allowed to teach, they can walk the line between letting kids know that while racism was not their idea, many of us are its inheritors and beneficiaries and therefore have a moral obligation to face uncomfortable truths. Being "colorblind," sadly, is not enough.

Decree #6: "A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual's race.""Reverse discrimination" and "special treatment" are how Fox News pundits have recently spun COVID-19 relief aid to Black farmers, despite the fact that over the past century the Agriculture Department stole tens of billions of dollars from them thanks to actual racial discrimination. This edict ostensibly declares off limits any teacher-led discussion of affirmative action to redress past wrongs and that in itself is a wrong.

Decree #7: "Any employee of a state agency may not be required to engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of race or sex."That's unfortunate, since Texas lawmakers could really use a session with renowned diversity educator Jane Elliott.

Decree #8: "A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that meritocracy is racist or was created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race."To quote pro football coach Barry Switzer, "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple." The myth that every individual's share of success perfectly matches their talent can cover up unearned white privilege, recycling status into "merit." At the very least, it's worth considering as an idea, but it's now verboten.

Decree #9: "A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that an individual is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously."

This tosses the entire study of "unconscious racial bias" out the window along with this 1987 Stanford Law Review essayby professor Charles Lawrence III:Americans share a common historical and cultural heritage in which racism has played and still plays a dominant role. Because of this shared experience, we also inevitably share many ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that attach significance to an individuals race and induce negative feelings and opinions about nonwhites. At the same time, most of us are unaware of our racism. We do not recognize the ways in which our cultural experience has influenced our beliefs about race or the occasions on which those beliefs affect our actions. In other words, a large part of the behavior that produces racial discrimination is influenced by unconscious racial motivation."

And that brings us back to the bogeyman.

Spawned by Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell in the late 1970s, Critical Race Theory was an attempt to grapple with the exasperating persistence of racism in American law and life after the hard-won concessions of the Civil Rights era. Legal scholars such as Ricard Delgado, Patricia Williams, Cheryl Harris and Kimberl Crenshaw created an array of concepts the empathic fallacy, microaggression, intersectionality, whiteness to help explain how seemingly neutral institutions are implicated in the continuing subordination of people of color.

CRT is not "state-sanctioned racism," it's not "an excuse for giving up," it doesn't "pit our children against each other" or "teach hate." One of its vital contributions has been refreshing reinterpretations of American history through exhaustive archival work, as conducted by international relations theory expert Mary Dudziak in her must-read article "Desegregation as a Cold War Imperative". Though most of the recent scaremongering has had little to do with CRT as an academic discipline, it's fair to say CRT has inspired anti-racist activists from all walks of life, including many in the Black Lives Matter movement.

And perhaps that's where Texas lawmakers were really aiming their dagger. Like naming a high school after the commander of the Confederate Armyin response to integration, we had to expect blowback from the tens of millions of Americans who marched against police brutality and systemic racism last summer.

Ironic, though, that the Legislature's decrees were signed into law around the same time Juneteenth became a federal holiday. Apparently, in the culture war over symbolic gestures, substantive education got left behind.

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Blackfish: how captive killer whale documentary ended SeaWorld’s orca breeding programme – The Conversation UK

Posted: at 6:56 am

After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013, the documentary Blackfish reached nearly 21 million viewers within its first month of airing on CNN. The film tells the bleak story of Tilikum, a performing orca at the US marine park SeaWorld.

After being taken from his mother in the wild at the age of two, Tilikum was held in a tank at SeaLand Canada with two larger females who routinely attacked him. Together the three SeaLand orcas killed a trainer, and Tilikum was transferred to SeaWorld in Orlando on the understanding that he should no longer perform. This advice was ignored, and Tilikum went on to kill two more people, including trainer Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2010.

Blackfish presented Tilikums aggression as symptomatic of post-traumatic stress, induced by a life in captivity. This contradicted SeaWorlds claims that orcas cooperated willingly during each show. The documentary sparked a public outcry against orca captivity.

The hashtag #EmptyTheTanks spread on Twitter and viewers pressured artists into cancelling their shows at SeaWorld and demanded corporate sponsors such as SouthWest Airlines to drop their partnerships with the company. There were also protests outside the park, and in cities worldwide.

In the year following Blackfishs release, SeaWorlds attendance dropped by one million visitors. In 2014, the company announced a 84% fall in income and saw its share price drop by 33%. Although SeaWorld attributed this to the seasonal nature of the business, the media largely blamed Blackfish. In September 2014, SeaWorlds shareholders launched a lawsuit against the park, claiming it had misled investors about the effect the documentary would have on its business. In February 2020 SeaWorld agreed to pay out $65m to settle lawsuit claims.

In 2016, SeaWorld announced the immediate end of its orca breeding programme, and in the same year, California passed a ban on captive orca breeding. Five years on, we conducted a study to find out just how influential Blackfish was in bringing about that decision.

The high number of viewers, social media engagement and press coverage indicate the documentary had a wide reach, but they cannot tell us the role that Blackfish actually played in changing SeaWorlds policies compared to other factors. For this, we carried out an impact evaluation to disentangle the complex causes.

We used a method from conservation which attempts to understand why a species has recovered in the wild. We compiled a list of 15 potentially important factors that could have led to the change in SeaWorlds breeding policy and stock market drop, including competition from other marine or theme parks, economic factors that meant guests had less spending money, the 2015 change in SeaWorlds leadership, and the effect of other media like the 2015 book Beneath the Surface, written by a former SeaWorld trainer.

We interviewed 26 people with expertise in marine conservation, marine mammal training, zoo and aquarium collections, animal welfare and media communication. This included SeaWorld trainers, though SeaWorlds leadership refused to take part. We asked them, based on their expert knowledge, whether they thought each of the 15 factors may have affected SeaWorld, and how. We then looked for corroborating evidence.

After eliminating less plausible explanations, our analysis indicated that the negative publicity resulting from Blackfish changed how people viewed orca captivity, and this, rather than a seasonal variation in guest numbers led to a drop in SeaWorlds visitors and market value. This became particularly clear when we compared SeaWorlds stock market value over the same period to other amusement parks, such as Disneyland and Universal Studios.

Interviewees identified several reasons why Blackfish had such an impact. The support from major distribution channels like CNN lent credibility to the documentary and allowed it to reach a large audience. As one former employee of SeaWorld said:

Having that movie picked up by CNN gave it credence [and] made people thinkthis isnt just a propaganda piece. This is news.

Blackfish also made viewers empathise with Tilikum. One media communication expert screened Blackfish with her students and described its impact:

They get really emotional, very sad or very angry but quite a strong emotional reaction.

The testimonies of the diverse range of experts we interviewed suggested that viewers felt SeaWorld had been dishonest and reckless. As one animal welfare campaigner put it:

It just really offended people that theyve been lied to for so long A very severe blow to a company that relies on the goodwill of the public.

The companys dismissal of Blackfish as propaganda did not help either. One person who worked in the aquarium industry said SeaWorld had been incredibly slow to anticipate the fallout.

But our study also made clear that the timing of Blackfishs release was vital. Various filmed and written works released prior to Blackfish, such as the 2009 documentary The Cove, had slowly influenced public attitudes towards marine mammal welfare and rights.

Blackfish benefited from a perfect storm, building upon decades of animal welfare and animal rights activism against marine mammal captivity.

By exploiting that and creating an emotional bond with viewers through the plight of Tilikum, Blackfish achieved what researchers have so far only speculated about when it comes to the potential of documentaries sparking widespread activism and, ultimately, change.

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16 Advantages and Disadvantages of Human Genetic Engineering

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There are some challenging ethical questions that scientists, philosophers, and even politicians face throughout their careers. One of the most difficult subjects that will require decisions in the near future is the scientific processes that allow for human genetic engineering. Should we develop technologies that allow us to alter the genetic codes of future generations?

The worlds leading gene-editing experts meet annually (and sometimes more often) with attorneys, ethicists, and even members of the general public to get their take on this subject. It isnt a technology that is new by any means. The first tools that permitted the editing of genes were invented in 1975. It is the recent developments in this field that make it seem that ideas from the science-fiction genre have a chance to become reality.

In April 2015, Chinese scientists announced experiments that would remove the genes of inheritable disease from human embryos. This work damaged the cells so that they could not develop into babies, but the results spoke for themselves. The elimination of the unwanted genes from the germline could 100% eliminate diseases by a single mutation like Tay-Sachs, Huntingtons disease, or cystic fibrosis.

Thats why we must start examining the advantages and disadvantages of human genetic engineering today. It will not be long before this technology is available for use.

1. Genetic engineering could further human lifespans.It usually takes multiple generations to generate evolutionary movement within a species. As the environment changes, so must the physical traits of humans. Genetic engineering gives us a faster path forward that we can use to ensure the survival of our species. Altering our cells through this practice to make them more resilient to the natural aging process could extend our lifespan to levels previously thought to be impossible. We can feel better as we age too if we take care of our bodies, especially if we can program resilience against particularly dangerous diseases.

2. We could rid of hereditary disease.There are numerous diseases that require a genetic predisposition for their existence. That means a persons risk for developing cancer, Alzheimers disease, and other problems can be reduced because of this technology. When they exist on a single mutation, then we could eliminate them immediately before it impacts the development of a babys system. Even smaller issues, such as eczema, could be resolved because of this proactive intervention. It could lead to treatments for people who are born without them as well.

I predict we will abolish suffering throughout the living world, David Pearce commented. Our descendants will be animated by gradients of genetically pre-programmed wellbeing that are orders of magnitude richer than todays peak experiences.

3. Every child would have a chance to be born healthy.There are several diseases that we can already detect during the fetal development process. Human genetic engineering can stop illness or disease before the child is born. Parents face a difficult choice when their doctor tells them that their child could face chronic pain, a lifetime of disabilities, or other health issues. Knowing that your baby would suffer for a few months only to die means youre taking a gamble on their quality of life. The technology behind the engineering process could eliminate this issue, virtually guaranteeing that every child could be born healthy. Anything disease that comes from a potential carrier would slowly work its way out of the human experience.

4. Food requirements could be changed through human genetic engineering.Humans need specific foods to ensure their survival. You must receive a particular nutrient profile to ensure that you maintain healthy energy levels. This technology could help us to solve the looming food insecurity problems as our population grows because we could engineer profiles that have fewer food requirements. We could reduce our destruction of natural habitats, stop overgrazing, and even make the items we eat healthier because of how the food interacts at a cellular level.

5. This technology could eliminate fertility issues for couples.Human genetic engineering could also make it possible for couples to have children when they would struggle at it naturally. We wouldnt need to worry about infertility because any sperm and egg combination could be edited to match the profile of the parents. This technology would make it possible to maintain population levels without going overboard on family size. It is a necessary advantage to consider since the average fertility rate in the top 30 developed countries has declined by 50% in just 60 years. If a country does not have a birth rate of 2.1 per family, then population shrinkage occurs. At 1.7, the United Kingdom is already there.

6. Human genetic editing could lead to medical advancements.The processes behind human genetic editing would undoubtedly encourage advances in medical research over time. We would get the opportunity to share genetic material that could prevent disease, cure illnesses, or eliminate the risk of certain cancers. There would be new avenues of research to consider because of our knowledge of human systems. This advantage could be the next wave of medicine that equals or exceeds the impact of antibiotics.

Since 2015, there have been HIV therapy trials that became possible because of gene editing. When researchers destroyed the gene for CCR5, then they could raise a persons resistance to the virus. The goal is to create a functional cure that could apply to sickle cell disease and other benefits.

7. There could be mental health benefits to consider with human genetic engineering.Babies are not forced to go through a genetic lottery when this technology becomes available. It would become possible to work on mental health issues just as much as physical concerns with human genetic engineering. That means we could reduce the prevalence of schizophrenia, depression, and similar challenging diagnoses thanks to the pre-birth preparations that would occur.

These changes could even become heritable under the right gene editing conditions. It could weed out mutations in the mitochondria, create replacement therapies, and open an entirely new world of scientific discovery over time.

1. It would change how we would need to approach population control.Disease is one of the most effective methods of population control for the human race. If we use genetic engineering to extend the lifespan of everyone, then this influence would change our global culture. A longer life isnt always practical. We might open the doors to having more children, require higher levels of medical care for a longer time, and increase the economic costs of each family unit. There could be problems with job availability, economic disparity, and a lack of agricultural space to support everyone.

2. There will always be ethical questions to consider.Anyone who believes in the concept of God or a supernatural creator will have some level of ethical concern about the idea of humans genetically editing future generations. There could be some who would see the work as being blasphemous, which could eventually lead to higher levels of violence against specific groups. We already see this disadvantage to some extent in the abortion debate because of the implication that the choices being made are tantamount to playing God. Allowing for genetic editing would take this conversation to a whole new level.

The only thing we can try to do is to influence the direction scientists are taking, commented Yuval Noah Harari. Since we might soon be able to engineer our desires too, perhaps the real questions facing us is not What do we want to become?, but What do want to want?

3. It would create different societal classes around the world.New technologies are always expensive. Only the households that could afford to take advantage of this service would perform gene editing on their children. That means the initial population surge from human gene editing would involve the wealthiest people. It would create a severe divide between those with money and the people without it. We could find ourselves living in a world where different classifications of genetic purity could lead to individualized approaches to health care, employment, and education. It would become the next step for those with wealth to safeguard their societal status.

Ive always been suspicious of the assumption that great intelligence would be an unqualified benefit that the madness that so often accompanies it can be cavalierly dismissed, said Andrew M. Ryan. So, I asked the question: suppose there was an entire subpopulation of extreme geniuses, well beyond anything that would occur naturally. What would that really look like?

4. It would reduce the amount of genetic diversity in the world.If we start eliminating the potential diseases and illnesses that are currently part of our genome, then the amount of genetic diversity in the human race would slowly fade. Human genetic editing could help to delay the fade that would undoubtedly result over time, but it would not erase it entirely. After a handful of generations with this technology, the human genome might degrade to the point where it would be almost impossible to create offspring unless a parent without this evolutionary trait decides to have children with a partner from the same perspective.

5. It does not eliminate the risk of a mistake happening.There will always be the disadvantage of a mistake occurring when dealing with human genetic engineering. We are not a perfect people, no matter how smart the scientist happens to be. We have a general understanding of what our core makeup happens to be, but there is also the possibility that we dont have all of the pieces to the puzzle as of yet. Small changes to a growing baby could have a disruptive effect that we might be unable to predict with our current resources. Changing the genetic profile to eliminate disease might create miscarriages, birth defects, or a greater risk of stillbirth. Thats why a careful approach to this subject is absolutely necessary.

6. This technology would eventually allow for trait selection.Most people concur that the primary benefit of human genetic engineering is to create a process where every baby is healthy at birth. Once we reach this goal, then what is the next step? It would likely be the selection of specific traits that future generations would want their children to have. You might get the opportunity to choose hair color, eye color, or even gender. You would know what the child would look like at every age before they were born. Then we would need to create systems that would help to keep those with genetic advantages equal to the children who were born naturally because they didnt have enough wealth.

7. There could be unintended side effects that we do not know about today.One of the reasons why there is a ban on human cloning activities is because animals that come from this technological effort suffer from a variety of severe health problems. The birth rate when genetic modification is involved can be less than 1 in 100 embryos for some species. There are concerns for the health of the mother when there are changes to the genetic profile as well, including the option that the womans immune system might attack the growing fetus. It could even change the manner of gene expression in the body so that more harm than good occurs through this process.

8. This process could become the foundation of new weapons technologies.One of the frightening concerns about human genetic engineering is that military forces, terrorists, and others could develop biological weapons from it. You could produce weapons that seek out specific genetic profiles while leaving the rest of the general population untouched. This disadvantage could result in a surge of unhealthy nationalism, healthcare spending, and global death as each nation works to protect its own best interests. There is even the possibility that the organisms produced because of human genetic editing could reproduce much faster than normal, allowing for a new arms race to occur.

9. It could increase the risk of allergies.We already know that food allergens can transfer from one crop to another because of genetic engineering efforts. That means women who are pregnant and eating GMO foods could endanger their offspring by altering gene expression. One of the greatest concerns about human genetic editing is that many scientists fear that this process is a one-and-done effort. That means you would be unable to change the alterations you make after completing the work. We have a symbiotic relationship with the world around us, a structure that Neil Tyson deGrasse describes as everything being made from stardust.

Making immediate evolutionary changes could have a devastating effect on ourselves and the entire planet because the allergic reactions may develop spontaneously.


The advantages and disadvantages of human genetic engineering allow us to explore the possibility of improving our species without waiting for evolution to do it for us. That means the potential results are extremely compelling. We could provide future generations with several benefits that are not possible today with this technology.

It is also essential to remember that there is no system of genetic modification that will provide consistent results every time. The potential for an error occurring is massive. If scientists can ever crack the code so that it becomes an efficient process, then well still need to deal with opportunity issues that would make this option more available to the wealthy than anyone else.

The advantages are convincing and hopeful. The disadvantages can be downright terrifying. That is why if we ever get to the point where genetic alterations to humans is possible, we must proceed with caution to limit the potential issues that may develop with this technology.


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Marcus Scott is a New York Citybased playwright, musical writer, opera librettist and journalist. He has contributed to Elle, Essence, Out, American Theatre, Uptown, Trace, Madame Noire and Playbill, among other publications.Follow Marcus: Instagram, Twitter

Were in the chrysalis of a new age of theatrical storytelling, and Black queer voices have been at the center of this transformation. Stepping out of the margins of society to push against the status quo, Black LGBTQ+ artists have been actively engaged in fighting anti-blackness, racial disparities, disenfranchisement, homophobia and transphobia.

The success of Jeremy O. Harriss Slave Play, Donja R. Loves one in two and Jordan E. Coopers Aint No Monot to mention Michael R. Jacksons tour de force, the Pulitzer Prizewinning metamusical A Strange Loopmade that phenomenon especially visible last season. But these artists are far from alone. Because the intersection of queerness and Blackness is complexwith various gender expressions, sexual identifiers and communities taking shape in different spacesBlack LGBTQ+ artists are anything but a monolith. George C. Wolfe, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Robert OHara, Harrison David Rivers, Staceyann Chin, Colman Domingo, Tracey Scott Wilson, Tanya Barfield, Marcus Gardley and Daniel Alexander Jones are just some of the many Black queer writers who have already made marks.

With New York stages dark for the foreseeable future, we cant know when we will be able to see live works by these artists again. It is likely, however, that they will continue to play major roles in the direction American theater will take in the post-quarantine eraalong with many creators who are still flying mostly under the radar. Here are just a few of the Black queer artists you may not have encountered yet: vital new voices that are speaking to the Zeitgeist and turning up the volume.

Christina AndersonA protg of Paula Vogels, Christina Anderson has presented work at the Public Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Penumbra Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons and other theaters around the U.S. and Canada. She has degrees from the Yale School of Drama and Brown University, and is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and Epic Theatre Ensemble; she has received the inaugural Harper Lee Award for Playwriting and three Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nominations, among other honors.Works include: How To Catch Creation (2019), Blacktop Sky (2013), Inked Baby (2009)Follow Christina: Website

Troy AnthonyFusing a mlange of quiet storm 90s-era Babyface R&B, 60s-style funk-soul and urban contemporary gospel, composer Troy Anthony has had a meteoric rise in musical theater in the past three years, receiving commissions and residencies from the Shed, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company and the Civilians. When Anthony is not crafting ditties of his own, he is an active performer who has participated in the Public Theaters Public Works and Shakespeare In the Park.Works include: The River Is Me (2017), The Dark Girl Chronicles (in progress)Follow Troy: Instagram

Aziza BarnesAward-winning poet Aziza Barnes moved into playwriting with one of the great sex comedies of the 2010s: BLKS, which premiered at Chicagos Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2017 before it played at MCC Theatre in 2019 (where it earned a Lucille Lortel Award nomination). The NYU grads play about three twentysomethings probed the challenges and choices of Millennials with pathos and zest that hasnt been seen since Kenneth Lonergans Gen X love/hate letter This Is Our Youth. Barnes is the author of the full-length collection of poems the blind pig and i be but i aint, which won a Pamet River Prize.Works include: BLKS (2017)Follow Aziza: Twitter

Timothy DuWhiteAddressing controversial issues such as HIV, state-sanctioned violence and structural anti-blackness, poet and performance artist Timothy DuWhite unnerves audiences with a hip-hop driven gonzo style. DuWhites raison dtre is to shock and enrage, and his provocative Neptune was, along with Donja R. Loves one in two, one of the first plays by an openly black queer writer to address HIV openly and frankly. He has worked with the United Nations/UNICEF, the Apollo Theater, Dixon Place and La MaMa.Works include: Neptune (2018)Follow Timothy: Instagram

Jirh Breon HolderRaised in Memphis and educated at Morehouse College, Jirh Breon Holder solidified his voice at the Yale School of Drama under the direction of Sarah Ruhl. He has received the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award and the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, among other honors. His play Too Heavy for Your Pocket premiered at Roundabout Underground and has since been produced in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Des Moines and Houston; his next play, ...What The End Will Be, is slated to debut at the Roundabout Theatre Company.Works include: Too Heavy for Your Pocket (2017), What The End Will Be (2020)Follow Jirh: Twitter

C.A. JohnsonBorn in Louisiana, rising star C.A. Johnson writes with a southern hospitality and homespun charm that washes over audiences like a breath of fresh air. Making a debut at MCC Theater with her coming of age romcom All the Natalie Portmans, she drew praise for her empathic take on a black queer teenage womanchild with Hollywood dreams. A core writer at the Playwrights Center, she has had fellowships with the Dramatists Guild Fellow, Page 73, the Lark and the Sundance Theatre Lab.Works include: All the Natalie Portmans (2020)Follow C.A.: Twitter

Johnny G. LloydA New York-based playwright and producer, Johnny G. Lloyd has seen his work produced and developed at the Tank, 59E59, the Corkscrew Festival, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival and more. A member of the 2019-2020 Liberation Theatre Companys Writing Residency, this Columbia University graduate is also a producing director of InVersion Theatre.Works include: The Problem With Magic, Is (2020), Or, An Astronaut Play (2019), Patience (2018)Follow Johnny: Instagram

Patricia Ione LloydIn her luminous 2018 breakthrough Eves Song at the Public Theater, Patricia Ione Lloyd offered a meditation on the violence against black women in America that is often overlooked onstage. With a style saturated in both humor and melancholy and a poetic lyricism that evokes Ntozake Shanges, the former Tow Playwright in Residence has earned fellowships at New Georges, the Dramatist Guild, Playwrights Realm, New York Theater Workshop and Sundance.Works include: Eves Song (2018)Follow Patricia: Instagram

Maia MatsushitaThe half-Black, half-Japanese educator and playwright Maia Matsushita has sounded a silent alarm in downtown theater with an array of slow-burn, naturalistic coming-of-age dramas. She was a member of The Fire This Times 2017-18 New Works Lab and part of its inaugural Writers Group, and her work has been seen at Classical Theatre of Harlems Playwright Playground and the National Black Theatres Keeping Soul Alive Reading Series.Works include: House of Sticks (2019), White Mountains (2018)Follow Maia: Instagram

Daaimah MubashshirWhen Daaimah Mubashshirs kitchen-sink dramedy Room Enough (For Us All) debuted at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in 2019, the prolific writer began a dialogue around the contemporary African-American Muslim experience and black queer expression that made her a significant storyteller to watch. She is a core writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis as well as a member of Soho Reps Writer/Director Lab, Clubbed Thumbs Early Career Writers Group, and a MacDowell Colony Fellow. Her short-play collection The Immeasurable Want of Light was published in 2018.Works include: Room Enough (For Us All) (2019)Follow Daaimah: Twitter

Jonathan NortonHailing from Dallas, Texas, Jonathan Norton is a delightfully zany playwright who subverts notions of post-blackness by underlining Americas obscure historical atrocities with bloody red slashes. The stories he tells carry a profound horror, often viewed through the eyes of black children and young adults. Nortons work has been produced or developed by companies including the Actors Theatre of Louisville (at the 44th Humana Festival), PlayPenn and InterAct Theatre Company. He is the Playwright in Residence at Dallas Theater Center.Works include: Mississippi Goddamn (2015), My Tidy List of Terrors (2013), penny candy (2019)Follow Jonathan: Website

AriDy NoxCooking up piping hot gumbos of speculative fiction, transhumanism and radical womanist expression, AriDy Nox is a rising star with a larger-than-life vision. The Spellman alum earned an MFA from NYU TIschs Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and has been a staple of various theaters such as Town Stages. A member of the inaugural 2019 cohort of the Musical Theatre Factory Makers residency, they recently joined the Public Theaters 2020-2022 Emerging Writers Group cohort.Works include: Metropolis (in progress), Project Tiresias (2018)Follow AriDy: Instagram

Akin SalawuAkin Salawus nonlinear, hyperkinetic work combines heart-pounding suspense chills with Tarantino-esque thrills while excavating Black trauma and Pan-African history in America. With over two decades of experience as a writer, director and editor, the prize-winning playwright is a two-time Tribeca All Access Winner and a member of both the Public Theaters Emerging Writers Group and Ars Novas Uncharted Musical Theater residency. A graduate of Stanford, he is a founder of the Tanks LIT Council, a theater development center for male-identifying persons of color.Works include: bless your filthy lil heart (2019), The Real Whisperer (2017), I Stand Corrected (2008)Follow Akin: Twitter

Sheldon ShawA playwright, screenwriter and actor, Sheldon Shaw studied writing at the Labyrinth Theater Company and was part of Playwrights Intensive at the Kennedy Center. Shaw has since developed into a sort of renaissance man, operating as playwright, screenwriter and actor. His plays have been developed by Emerging Artist Theaters New Works Festival, Classical Theater of Harlem and the Rooted Theater Company. Shaw's Glen was the winner of the Black Screenplays Matter competition and a finalist in the New York Screenplay Contest.Works include: Jailbait (2018), Clair (2017), Baby Starbucks (2015)Follow Johnny: Twitter

Nia O. WitherspoonMultidisciplinary artist Nia Ostrow Witherspoons metaphysical explorations of black liberation and desire have made her an in-demand presence in theater circles. The recipient of multiple honorsinclude New York Theatre Workshops 2050 Fellowship, a Wurlitzer Foundation residency and the Lambda Literarys Emerging Playwriting Fellowshipshe is currently developing The Dark Girl Chronicles, a play cycle that, in her words, explores the criminalization of black cis and trans women via African diaspora sacred stories.Works include: The Dark Girl Chronicles (in progress)Follow Nia: Instagram

Brandon WebsterA Brooklyn-based musical theatre writer and dramaturg, Brandon Webster has been a familiar figure in the NYC theater scene, both onstage and behind the scenes. With an aesthetic that fuses Afrofuturist and Afrosurrealist storytelling, with a focus on Black liberation past and present, the composers work fuses psychedelic soul flourishes with alt-R&B nuances to create a sonic smorgasbord of seething rage and remorse. He is an alumnus of the 2013 class of BMI Musical Theater Workshop and a 2017 MCC Theater Artistic Fellow.Works include: Metropolis (in progress), Headlines (2017), Boogie Nights (2015)Follow Brandon: Instagram

- See insane footage of the Statue of Liberty getting struck by lightning- The F train is shutting down nights and weekends until March 2021- 13 hidden patios, backyards and gardens for outdoor dining in NYC- Whats next after Phase 4? What you need to know about NYCs reopening- One of the citys best rooftop bars, Broken Shaker, has reopened to the public

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Transhuman | Futurist Transhuman News Blog

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Transhuman 101: Moderna Declares COVID Vaccine To Be An …

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The Transhuman ideology is so terrifying that most people just cannot grasp its enormity. Transhumans fully intend to hijack the evolutionary process of genetic structuring in order to create Humanity 2.0. This means treating human DNA like computer code. TN Editor

Documents obtained from Moderna reveal that the so-called vaccine being peddled by the company is actually anoperating system. This startling admission confirms what vaccine skeptics have claimed that COVID is about control, not a virus.

It wont be lost on anyone who has done due diligence over this pandemic to see past the glib claims of paid-off politicians and compliant media that all is not as it seems.

To start, it is no coincidence that one of the key promoters of these new mRNA vaccines is none other than Microsoft billionaire, Bill Gates. Bill gave aTed Talk where he boastedvaccines can help cut global population by 15 percent.

Yes he saidcutpopulation. How does that work by deactivating these vaccine-implanted operating systems in us?

Well, psychopathic Bill couldnt fix his Microsoft operating system to prevent endless computer viruses, so why should we trust him now that he is spearheading what is seen as a major step towardstranshumanism. For those who care about what goes into their bodies, and those of their loved ones, see if you can detect something very sinister from what is being foisted upon a gullible public.

Over at TheCorbett Reportreaders can enlighten themselves as to the very real dangers of transhumanism the idea of a fantastic future in which humans merge fully with machines. Transhumanists take science as their religion and believe in a philosophy of absolute relativism that claims that individuals can change reality at will, and they seek to relativize the human being.

Certainly, everyone who holds strong religious beliefs, in whatever faith, will baulk at what is far from a benign doctrine. Transhumanism is at complete enmity with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.

Do we really want to sacrifice our soul simply for the sense of security from a virus infection?

Over attapnewswire.comcontributorWeaverposts the following which is alleged to be from Modernas documents on the new COVID-19 vaccines. It reads thus:

We built Moderna on the guiding premise that if using mRNA as a medicine works for one disease, it should work for many diseases. And, if this is possible given the right approach and infrastructure it could meaningfully improvehow medicines are discovered, developed and manufactured.

Recognizing the broad potential of mRNA science, we set out to create an mRNA technology platform that functions very much like an operating system on a computer. It is designed so that it can plug and play interchangeably with different programs.In our case, the program or app is our mRNA drug the unique mRNA sequence that codes for a protein.

We have a dedicated team of several hundred scientists and engineers solely focused on advancing Modernas platform technology. They are organized around key disciplines and work in an integrated fashion to advance knowledge surrounding mRNA science and solve for challenges that are unique to mRNA drug development. Some of these disciplines include mRNA biology, chemistry, formulation & delivery, bioinformatics and protein engineering.

When we have a concept for a new mRNA medicine and begin research, fundamental components are already in place.

Generally, the only thing that changes from one potentialmRNA medicine to another is the coding region the actual genetic code that instructs ribosomes to makeprotein. Utilizing these instruction sets givesour investigationalmRNA medicines a software-like quality. We also have the ability to combine different mRNA sequences encoding for different proteins in a single mRNA investigational medicine.

We are leveraging the flexibility afforded by our platform and the fundamental role mRNA plays in protein synthesis to pursue mRNA medicines for a broad spectrum of diseases.

Within a given modality, the base components are generally identical across development candidates formulation, 5 region and 3 region. Only the coding region varies based on the protein/s the potential medicine is directing cells to produce.

Learn how ourResearch EngineandEarly Development Engineare enabling us to fully maximize the promise of mRNA to meaningfully improvehow medicines are discovered, developed and manufactured.

Using mRNA to create medicines is a complex undertaking and requires overcoming novel scientific and technical challenges.We need to get the mRNA into the targeted tissue and cells while evading the immune system. If the immune system is triggered, the resultant response may limit protein production and, thus, limit the therapeutic benefit of mRNA medicines. We also need ribosomes to think the mRNA was produced naturally, so they can accurately read the instructions to produce the right protein. And we need to ensure the cells express enough of the protein to have the desired therapeutic effect.

Our multidisciplinary platform teams work together closely to address these scientific and technical challenges. This intensive cross-functional collaboration has enabled us to advance key aspects of our platform and make significant strides to deliver mRNA medicines for patients.

The above may be found on Modernas website here:

About John OSullivanJohnisCEO and co-founder(withDr Tim Ball) of Principia Scientific International (PSI).Johnis a seasoned science writer and legal analyst who assisted Dr Ball indefeatingworld leading climate expert, Michael hockey stick Mann in the science trial of the century. OSullivan is credited as the visionary who formed the original Slayers group of scientists in 2010 who then collaborated in creating the worlds first full-volumedebunk of the greenhouse gas theoryplus their newfollow-up book.

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Futurist Transhuman News Blog – euvolution.com

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Wayne Macleod History is not the study of general humanity but of nations

No matter what we study about the past it is always couched in some form of nation, but the forms of nationhood have changed dramatically throughout the centuries

In ancient Greece nation meant the polis, or just a city with its surrounding countryside

The French king Louis XIV could say: Letat, cst moi (The state, it is me), for in his time the nation was centered on the king

The Levantine civilization of the Near East defined nation by religion, as Jews still define themselves today, resulting after two thousand years of the Diaspora in the state of Israel

The Western world has given a spatial meaning to the concept of nation

With all these forms we might ask just what nation means

The Germans were the first to give nation a racial meaning, and surely race must be part of the definition because we can distinguish nationalities by looking at the people, but then we must acknowledge that most, if not all, nations are ethnic composites

The Japanese certainly consider themselves a nation, but are composed of Chinese, Polynesian and Ainu

Germans themselves are a Nordic-Alpine mix, British are Nordic-Iberian

So if we think of nations only as racial we get a sense that something is missing in our definition

That obvious something is culture: nations are racial-cultural divisions of humanity, brought forth by nature and are not creations of the mind, as is the state

The form of nation can change through the centuries and between civilizations but this definition remains true

Except for their Achaean and Dorian beginnings, Athenians were hardly distinguishable from Spartans racially but they certainly were culturally, hence they formed different nations

Culture even affects ethnicity, for when people share the same language, religion, customs, traditions, etc, they blend, to form a distinguishable national type

If a totally different race blends with an original nation so formed, that original nation is destroyed, for when people with different talents and temperament mix, their culture must invariably change

With this understanding, what can we make of the United States and Canada, defined today as multicultural nations? Obviously here is a contradiction of terms

The view in these countries is that a nation is an economic-political region demarcated by a line on a map like the forty-ninth parallel

Such a superficial view of nationhood suits the economic power structure of the corporate elite because modern corporations are nationless, and just as they move capital to diverse international locations with loyalty only to their profit margins, the encouragement of people to move across borders is similarly determined by the same profit motivation

With an abundant supply of labor, wages can be held low regardless of where that labor comes from

Multiculturalism is profitable

Ask any American or English Canadian what the difference is between nation, state and country and he/she will not be able to tell you, although these are as different as culture, govern-ment and territory

The purely economic perception of nationhood was inevitable in the United States and English-speaking Canada because of the timing of their colonial origins, being derived from Europe after its liberal revolution

Like all civilizations, Western Civilization began in a Feudal Age when everyone knew his or her place within a religious framework, with the result that an overall, collective perception of society as an organic whole prevailed

When the seven-teenth century liberal revolution occurred this organic perception was not lost in Europe; a synthesis of old and new emerged, making possible movements like Socialism

By contrast, the 2European liberal settlers of North America shrugged off the old organic view of society to found nations identified with individual benefit, to become champions of free enterprise Capitalism and repositories of rights and freedoms for all people

The identification of culture with nationhood is generally recognized, but the racial component of our definition is more contentious

The concept has even been identified with the most extreme evils that have afflicted humanity, along with the invention of nuclear weapons, fossil fuels, CFCs, leaded petrol and DDT

Its scientific validity has been ranked along with such tenuous theories and dubious discoveries as the luminiferous aether, the expanding earth, vitalism, blank slate theory, phrenology and Piltown Man

But race theory stands out among all of them because it has wreaked untold misery and been used to justify barbaric acts of colonial-ism, slavery and even genocide (Darren Curnoe, The Conversation, December 20, 2016)

Integral to this indictment is the noted assumption that the whole concept of race is a mistake, a fiction, a non-biological entity but rather a social construct and therefore a notion that should be dismissed from our consciousness

This opinion is very curious, because these same revered defenders of humanity would have no difficulty admitting that species exist, with knowledge that racial differentiation is the beginning stage of species differentiation

If species exist, should we not ask how their begin-ning racial differentiation cannot also exist? We should not be too surprised at this liberal illogic because the same extends to the very concept of multiculturalism as the purveyor of our much acclaimed American and Canadian, now European, racial diversity

The racial diversity evident in our streets today is a temporary illusion, because in time when different races live door-to-door and succumb to government efforts at integration, history shows that they mix,destroying diversity

If we are interested in maintaining a diversity of races and cultures in the world and therefore a more varied and interesting world, the last and least policy we should want is liberal multiculturalism

Not only is the policy illogical if diversity is the objective, it is destructive of nature, for the great variety of species we see in the world today must have gone through the same process of evolutionary differentiation

We actually see the process happening in present day dolphins, which divide themselves by diet and exhibit racial distinctions from the cultural practice of hunting preferred foods, although they are as yet all the same species that can interbreed

So what of the human species? Can we make the same case for it? Obviously we can, and not only from the evidence of our eyes

Caucasians have been separated from Africans about 60,000 years and from Asians 40,000 years, which is enough time for people disciplined in the hard science of anthropology to list the differences between human races that have accumulated in that time

These differences are well known and documented in books such as Race, published by the Oxford University Press, by John R

Baker, a physical anthropologist who described in detail racial differences; The Origin of Races is another study written by Carleton S

Coon, professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania

Amazingly, we should now discard these scholarly volumes, written from years of study using hard evidence, in preference for the views of sociologists who give us the race is a social construct theory

We should first understand that when we speak of racial difference we are referring to the differentiation of populations, to numbers, not individuals

Neither bigot nor liberal recognizes the statistical nature of race

If a particular race has not been renowned for achievement, the bigot concludes that its members are inferior, even an individual possessing a high achieve-ment potential

Conversely, the liberal generalizes from the examples of a few outstanding individuals, but by presenting a member of high achievement proves nothing concerning the 3collective

No individual wholly defines any group

We could make an observation on the differences in height between men and women, statistically men being taller than women

This is generally true although it is also true that many women are taller than many men

An observation on the group has nothing to do with an observation on the individual, and vice versa

We must approach the subject of race with this understanding

Being statistical, racial variation can be placed on a Bell Curve, shown below for two races A and B

Most characteristics in a population lie in a continuum with people who possess a very high and very low measure of a character being low in number, and people who posses an average measure being high in number

The figure shows difference x between averages for any particular characteristic measured for races A and B

To be noted is that the significance of such statistical difference can be more than implied by difference x

When we take a higher measurement than average, at z, and compare the difference y in number of people in the two populations with higher possession of the characteristic than average, we find that y is larger than x

For a characteristic that is culturally valuable, the difference is more important than we would expect from a consideration of only difference x

Obviously, if the two races genetically mixed, difference x would shrink and this advantage of B would be lost

From a consideration of racial differences we must wonder if these include qualities of character and intelligence conducive to the arts and sciences of civilization

How could we tell? One way would surely be a consideration of the historical record, especially over the past 10,000 years, and when we do that we find that the record of White racial achievement stands second to none

No civilization of the ancient world matched the Classical in artistic style, technological achievement and personal freedom

Before the birth of democracy in Greece nations were ruled by despots, sometimes very cruel ones, and outside areas of Western influence today they still are

The ancient Greeks gave us geometry and the study of logic, the idea of the atom and the world as a sphere

Schools of the Hellenistic Age were supported by the state, where lectures on astronomy, geography, mathematics, botany, zoology and anatomy were heard, yet the know-ledge passed to us from that civilization constitutes a modicum of all that was, the rest being lost in the fires that destroyed the Museum of Alexandria

In measured I


the Mongol has the higher in the visual-spatial part of that test, indicative of an advantage that race has in mathema-tics, yet the greatest mathematicians in history were Archimedes, Isaac Newton and Karl Fried-rich Gauss, and if we extended the list it would include Riemann, Poincar, Poisson, Pascal, Ricci, Euler, Hamilton, Cartan, Hilbert, or in ancient times, Euclid, Apollonius and Eudoxus xzypopulationAB4(who gave us the theory of irrational numbers)

None of these men was Chinese

Only a few centuries ago the world was unexplored, we knew nothing about our celestial universe, or about the cause of sickness

Starting from a Dark Age Western Man was the first to leave his footprints on the Moon

Before the emergence of the West there was no free press, no free citizenry, no rule of law but only of men, no state with a written constitution, not to mention no automobiles, airplanes, radios nor any knowledge of electricity and its many appliances

Nor were there symphonies or even orchestras

All the worlds artistic masterpieces, whether in painting, sculpture or music, are European

We are accustomed to thinking of civilization as having arisen in non-European lands while during that time Europe languished in barbarism and backwardness

Archaeological work on the ancient megaliths of Western Europe show this notion to be anything but true

Europe from 3000 BC has been a focus of human achievement

The oldest remaining covered construction in the world is not in Egypt, Iraq, China or India but at Newgrange, Ireland, constructed a thousand years before the Great Pyramid in Egypt

A shaft in that Neolithic mound illuminates an altar deep in its interior with light from the planet Venus once every eight years, indicating sophisticated astronomical knowledge

The best known of the ancient sites is Stonehenge in southern England, but that is only one of many from Portugal to Denmark

The Megalithic constructors had standardized measurements, suspiciously similar to the Imperial System for measuring length, weight and volume

Such was the backward barbarism of ancient Europe

The very concept of rationality in science is Western, a tradition begun by the thinkers of the ancient Ionian cities who for the first time discerned that natural laws brought the world into existence and continue to control it, not gods

This development will forever remain one of the greatest achievements of the human intellect

Those thinkers were of the same race that favored chemistry over alchemy, astronomy over astrology and research over magic

Contrast this with the common and continuing Chinese practices of feng shiu for orienting dwellings and furniture, tai chi exercise, acupuncture and medicine from animal parts, none of which has any basis in rational thinking

Rational science gave the most advanced and livable societies, now practiced by all nations because of its evident benefits

From this record of achievement there is certainly no need to extend beyond it, to claim inventions belonging to other peoples, such as cast iron, suspension bridge, parachute, silk, various foods, propeller, matches, rockets, bombs, rudder, dry dock, paper banknotes, toilet paper the mechanical clock, etc

Francis Bacon once remarked that three inventions distinguished Western society of his time from the ancient world: the compass, gunpowder and printing, whose origins were lost in antiquity

We now know those origins, as with the others mentioned: China

But needless exaggeration is what White supremacists claim, thus degrading the legiti-mate claims of White nationalists

Of course, preposterous claims that are easily disproved are advantageous to the enemies of White nationalism, and it would not be beyond their scheming to aid those claims

By way of deception is the Mossad motto

With everything considered White nationalism is completely justified, but virtually non-existent in Western countries any longer

America is already advanced toward multi-racialism from immigration that produces employment competition and loss of traditional jobs for the existent population, resulting in a lower White birth rate, plus capital outsourcing with the same effect

The inevitable result has been the browning of America both from lessened White numbers and racial homogenization, meaning the end of White ethnicity that has characterized America as a nation

A fact of the Western world (ie without Eastern Europe) today is that all its countries, even Sweden, are multicultural

Japan and China will remain Mongol, Nigeria will 5remain Black, etc

, but countries of the West will not remain White

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Transhumanism Is The New Religion Of Technocracy

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Transhumanism is a metaphysical belief system that immortality can be achieved by applying advanced science to the human condition. It is based on Scientism, as is Technocracy. The Technocracy Utopia would ostensibly be populated by Transhumans. TN Editor

In a recent Wall Street Journal essay,Looking Forward to the End of Humanity,Adam Kirsch posits a technological push, impelled by the global coronavirus pandemic, that would abolish death:

Eternal life through advanced technology seems like a pipe dream for a society that, until recently, had trouble manufacturing enough masks to save doctors and nurses lives. Yet Covid-19 may turn out to be just the kind of crisis needed to turbocharge efforts to create what its advocates call a transhuman future. With our biological fragility more obvious than ever, many people will be ready to embrace the message of theTranshumanist Declaration, an eight-point program first issued in 1998: We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering and our confinement to planet Earth.

There is an abundance of well respected thinkers whobelievethis is possible, including Google Ventures founder Bill Maris, cited in the article, and Yuval Noah Harari, in his Homo Deus sets the tone early on by declaring:

In the twenty-first century, humans are likely to make a serious bid for immortality.Humans always die due to some technical glitch.Nothing metaphysical about it. It is all technical problems.

Then of course, no discussion techno-utopianism would be complete without Ray Kurzweil, who posits a technological singularity which would provide for a personalized and totally controlled universe for every human, one where they would be in complete control to experience whatever they desired, for all eternity, once we all upload our consciousnesses into the cloud.

The WSJ piece hits on the same theme:

Today, cognitive scientists often compare the brain to hardware and the mind to the software that runs on it. But a software program is just information, and in principle theres no reason why the information of consciousness has to be encoded in neurons.

The Human Connectome Project, launched in 2009 by the National Institutes of Health, describes itself as an ambitious effort to map the neural pathways that underlie human brain function. If those pathways could be completely mapped and translated into digital 0s and 1s, the data could be uploaded to a computer, where it could survive indefinitely.

Does any of this sound like heaven? Or paradise? Valhalla? Thats not surprising because Scientism (as distinct from exploration and discovery using the scientific method) has ushered in a new era of material reductionism so that religion, spirituality, or any other non-material aspect of reality that cannot be readily quantified have been stripped of relevance and meaning in our Brave New World.

Somethinghas to fill the void that the absence of religion and spirituality will vacate. In my next book,The Singularity Has Been #Canceled, I posit that this vacuum will be filled with techno-utopian thinking, which will pull forward utopia and everlasting bliss from the next life, and via the promise of expertly managed technology, roll it out into this one.

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Transhumanism Is The New Religion Of Technocracy

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Coronavirus and the transhuman future – European Academy …

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While most of humanity is still in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, the highly influential members of the World Economic Forum have a plan for what should come next. It is called The Great Reset, and it envisions a truly transhumanist future for us all.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an annual conference where some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world come together for public-private cooperation.[1] Since mid-2020, the WEF has been promoting its vision for our post-coronavirus future, which they call The Great Reset.[2] In their view, the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of our old system, and therefore presents a perfect opportunity to reset our world and start anew. What is striking about this plan, which the WEF has condensed into a virus-shaped mindmap, is its implicit endorsement of a philosophy called transhumanism.[3] The term is not used explicitly, but its values and goals can be seen at every level of the plan. Now, according to some, transhumanism is not just a new philosophy, but a new religion that will be the dominant worldview of humanity going forward.[4]

What is transhumanism?In a nutshell, transhumanism is a philosophical movement which promotes the view that the human species should take control of its own evolution through human-enhancement technologies, such as brain implants and nanotechnology that reverses aging. This will then allow humanity to transcend its physical and mental limitations.[5] The term itself was first coined in 1957 by Julian Huxley; the brother of Aldous Huxley, the famous author of the dystopian novel Brave New World.[6]

Transhumanism and the Fourth Industrial RevolutionNow, one of the three main goals of the Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good[7] As the founder of the WEF, Klaus Schwab, explains, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lead to a fusion of our physical, digital, and biological identities.[8] He specifically considers technologies that will change what it means to be human, because they will integrate into the human body and mind in order to overcome (transcend) their limitations. Sound familiar? As Schwab himself admits, these new technologies can also intrude into the hitherto private space of our minds, reading our thoughts and influencing our behavior[9] While these technologies seem like science fiction, they are nearly at our doorstep.[10] In fact, much of the pandemic response effort relies on Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, such as genetic sequencing, vaccine biotechnology (mRNA and vector platforms), and contact tracing (mass surveillance) software.[11] Social distancing measures have also forced people to replace their physical world with a virtual one, including digital versions of school, church, shopping, and even parties.[12] While this has been a terrible loss for most people, this digitalisation of our lives (including COV-id apps and digital currency) is part of the WEFs vision for our future, and therefore, in their view, quite desirable.[13]

A transhumanist paradise?While there is a big debate about whether transhumanism should be defined as a religion or not, it definitely functions like[1] a religion, in the sense that it provides a framework of meaning for human life that contains many of the goals of classical world religions. For example, most religions promise the goal of immortality, either in this life or after death. Some traditions (like Christianity and Islam) clearly aim for immortality after death (resurrection or heaven). Other traditions (like some forms of Daoism) have aimed for immortality in this life; usually through alchemical potions or self-cultivation, such as yoga and meditation.[14] Transhumanism also aims for immortality, but through technology rather than through supernatural aid or spiritual transformation. Technologies that will be used for this include nanorobots, genetic engineering, and converting our brain activity into a digital form, and then uploading it into a supercomputer that will last forever (if possible).[15] Secondly, most religions seek a state of permanent happiness, either in this life (nirvana in Buddhism) or after death (paradise in Christianity or Islam). Transhumanists think this can instead be achieved by creating happiness drugs and brain-chip interfaces that manipulate the brains pleasure centres.[16] Thirdly, most religions aspire for human beings to attain a state of divinity. The transhumanist ideal is likewise for humans to become god-like creators who can manipulate the material world at will (through 3D printing and atom-assembling nano-robots), and even to create new forms of life (through synthetic biology).[17] All of this shows that transhumanism is based on the assumption that suffering (such as aging, sickness, and death) is a technical rather than a metaphysical problem, and can therefore be solved with more and better technologies.

Transhumanism as a new religionWhile approaching transhumanism as a religion-like phenomenon is already very revealing, some argue that transhumanism should be treated as a new religion in its own right. Yuval Noah Harari promotes this idea in his book Homo Deus, where he defines religion as anything that confers superhuman legitimacy on human social structures.[18] He distinguishes between two types of transhumanist techno-religions: (1) techno-humanism and (2) dataism (data religion). In the first view, technologically enhanced humans (homo deus) will replace biological humans (homo sapiens), or develop a hierarchical, class-based relationship with them.[19] In the second view, humanity as such is replaced by new kinds of digital entities, such as an all-knowing, self-aware AI (Artificial Intelligence) that has no more use for us.[20] In this future, data (information processing) would replace God or human nature as the ultimate source of meaning and authority in the universe.[21] A self-improving superintelligent AI (aka the singularity) would know us better than we know ourselves, and would therefore function as a kind of omniscient oracle or sovereign to which we make humble offerings in exchange for the solutions to all our problems. Perhaps Google and Facebook will become our new gods? Harari seems to think it is possible.[22]

Transhumanist assumptions I think it has become clear that the Great Reset and its underlying transhumanist views both rest on fundamental values and assumptions about reality, and that these are not necessarily self-evident. The idea that we should always transcend our human limitations (aka extropianism), or that human beings are nothing more than a collection of biochemical algorithms for survival and procreation, are highly contested.[23] It is therefore up to each individual to decide whether they accept this worldview and its aims, and whether they wish to support the Great Reset agenda.

Timo Pieters

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[1] The World Economic Forum. Phillips, Peter. Giants: The Global Power Elite. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2018. Kindle edition: Loc. 298 of 4928

[2] The Great Reset

[3] The Great Reset | Strategic Intelligence | World Economic Forum

[4] Yuval Noah Harari puts forward this thesis in his book Homo Deus

[5] Transhumanism | Definition, Origins, Characteristics, & Facts

[6] Ibid. This is quite interesting in itself, because it was precisely this novel which began warning future generations about the horror of a society where every domain of life is technologically managed, including the genetic engineering of ideal babies, and the use of happiness drugs (soma in the novel) Brave New World | Summary, Context, & Reception

[7] Now is the time for a great reset

[8] World Economic Forum Founder Klaus Schwab on the Fourth Industrial Revolution

[9] Schwab, Klaus and Davis, Nicholas. Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: A Guide to Building a Better World. New York: Currency, 2018. Chapter 1

[10] Sci-fi surveillance: Europes secretive push into biometric technology

[11] Schwab, Klaus and Malleret, Thierry. COVID-19: The Great Reset. Geneva: Forum Publishing, 2020. Chapter 1.6.

[12] Looking Forward to the End of Humanity

[13] Immune certificate apps: COV-ID. A forgery-proof immunity certificate towards a safer future., CovidPass Safely back to travel, business & entertainment events during COVID-19 time !, Facial Recognition Firms Pitch Covid-19 Immunity Passports For America And Britain. Digital currency: Europes central bank moves toward introducing digital euro.

[14] Taoist Alchemy: Neidan and Waidan

[15] What is transhumanism?

[16] Ibid

[17] Ibid

[18] Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. United Kingdom: Signal, 2016. p. 166

[19] Harari, Homo Deus, p. 312.Popular movies that explore this theme include: Ghost in the Shell, Elysium, Hunger Games and Limitless. It is also interesting to note the similarity of this elitist mindset to Nietzsches idea of the Ubermensch (and therefore of untermenschen) that partly animated the Nazi ideology

[20] Harari, Homo Deus, p. 313

[21] Ibid, p. 345

[22] Ibid, p. 304

[23] Ibid, p. 294

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