by Giulio Montanaro

Human-technology dualism also finds declination in the eternal opposition between Western materialism and Russian metaphysics.

Vision and approach to exponential, digital technologies - the ones that have driven technocracy and are paving the way for transhumanism - reveal completely different patterns in the two analyzed scenarios. We will summarize their general features, making it clear at the outset that, while there seems to be no escape from technocracy, tech-free, non-transhuman forms of human evolution have already been preconceived. And they would be accomplishable, if only the natural sciences could be freed from the yoke of scientistic ontological reductionism that has obscured them for centuries.

Technocracy and transhumanism in the West

American constitutionalist Patrick Wood explains how, in the West, technology since the 1930s has been seen as a tool to direct, control and police the masses; and, clearly, to create profits (Technocracy). Wood believes that society is now half way between the technocratic phase and that of material integration of biological and artificial intelligence on a global scale (Transhumanism).

In the West, technology is increasingly seen as a priority, unavoidable, inescapable condition for the future of humanity. There can be no humanity without technology. Only technology can enable mankind to meet the coming biological, social and spiritual challenges that await it amid future pandemics, wars and potential last-minute alien invasions.

Ethically and metaphysically speaking, it is the beginning of a path of gradual stripping away of all human velleity in order to facilitate the supplanting of human, traditional identity in favor of cyborg identity.

Velleities that, at the moment, as reminded by one of the World Economic Forum's leading praiser, transhumanist Yuval Noah Harari, are clipped like a bird's wings by "drugs and video games." And shortly, between population growth and the exponential increase in the legitimate discontent of the masses, it will begin to be a problem, figuring out "what to do, in the future, with useless people?"

Nikolai Fedorov, cosmism and autotrophy

Some scholars make a colossal blunder when they attribute the genesis of transhumanism to Russian cosmism.

For Russian culture, technology is a complementary tool, useful in assisting man's active but, above all, self-directed evolution. An elevation to a next state: autonomous from any form of technological interaction. Therefore, too, technology, in the Russian vision, is devoid of divine, salvific or magical connotations. Such attributes are the exclusive prerogative of the human cosmos: only man, independent of any external support, can hope to save himself; only magic and divinity can offer him the right tools to do so. It is pivotal concept of cosmism, a principle that has genesis in the Common Task of Nikolay Fedorov, the "enigmatic thinker" who beguiled Fedor Dostoevsky and Lev Tolstoy.

Fedorov talks about human evolutionism, but not in a transhuman sense, but in terms of autotrophy: the ability of humans to evolve to a state where they are able to feed themselves, without needing to kill, by nourishing themselves like plants, synthesizing carbon dioxide.

Vladimir Vernadsky, the biosphere and the noosphere

Fedorov was a great inspiration to many Russian intellectuals; especially Vladimir Vernadsky and Kostantin Cholkovsky (the father of cosmonautics). Such authors were among the first to understand the need for a philosophical exegesis of science fiction.

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The two, picking up where Fedorov left off, further investigated the idea that man would, sooner or later, exhaust the planet's natural resources, having to find a way to make himself self-sufficient or another planet to inhabit. And this is where Vernadsky's concept of the noosphere comes in, in relation to that of the biosphere, both of which are as essential to the present analysis as the Fedorovian concept of autotrophy.

It is safe to assume that the idea of the noosphere was acquired by Vernadsky through the French intellectual Teilhard de Chardin: in fact, the Russian author formulated it upon returning from a trip to France in 1926. By it both understood the intellect as a thinking layer, resulting from the spread of the human zoological group, above and in discontinuity with the biosphere. A postulate necessary expression of a planetary mechanism of the earth's crust, highlighting the influence of life on the course of human reality, the non-randomness of physical experience and its cosmic bearing.

Vernadsky understood the existence of chemical cycles that connect all living organisms, from microorganisms to soil to atmosphere. All the planet's mechanisms (animal, plant and atmospheric) form an immense single system regulated by the cycles of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen.

It has been noted (and confirmed by the person directly concerned, James Lovelock) the debt that the Gaia Hypothesis, of the planet as a self-organizing living organism, owes to Vernadsky's theories. Theories which, in fact, after being revised, are now erroneously placed at the basis of the vast majority of socio-capitalist narratives on climate change.

Vernadsky advocated an active evolutionary thinking, aware of the conscious-creative and actively growing nature, of man; whose aim is not the change of the surrounding nature, but of his own inner nature. The purpose of cosmism is to awaken and develop human potential and to preserve man from extinction or replacement; to find a natural outlet to enfranchise himself from external resources, succeeding in evolving to a stage of nutritional and spiritual autonomy.

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He debuted as a reporter in 2000 for the group "Il Gazzettino" and collaborates over the years with various newspapers and magazines. Talent scout and agent in the electronic music sector, he cultivates a deep passion for history, philosophy, languages and technology. Author of the blog "Rethinking Intelligence" on Substack.