by Daniele Scalea

Who's behind "Prometheica"

At a time when it is conservatism that is in vogue on the right, and strong is the criticism of the elite's transhumanist ideology, there are those who have decided to go against the tide: these are the founders of a new magazine, "Prometheica," at the heart of whose message is a revaluation of technology and a "superhumanist" proposal.

Among the promoters of the new editorial initiative is Adriano Scianca, director of "Il Primato Nazionale" and editor of "La Verità." He was already the guest of an online debate promoted by the Machiavelli Center, in which precisely the conservative and "progressive" views were contrasted.

Let us begin by saying that the magazine is quarterly, two issues have come out so far, it is published by Polemos Editrice, and in the first issue there was also a "manifesto of Prometheanism," which can also be read on the magazine's website. The points are 11: as many as those of the futurist manifesto, though less lapidary. This is probably no accident: if that one closed on the "challenge to the stars," this one opens precisely with "the assault on the sky." But let us see in more detail what the ideas of the "Prometheans" are.

Promethean theses

The starting argument is that the current dominant system is progressive in name only. It flaunts dynamism but is actually blocked and stagnant: by taboos and moralisms, but also by a technological direction that has taken the wrong path. It is not leading toward new frontiers, but promoting the sedentarization of humanity: leading to cooped up in the house, still in front of PCs and TVs, without even leaving the house to shop because buying is done from a cell phone as well. Such inertia would also be found in the absence of visions, of great ideal drives, of "utopian energies": the whole story is slowing down.

Thus, the criticism levelled at progressives is that they are not really progressives. The criticism levelled at conservatives, on the other hand, is to be true to their name. According to "Prometheica," the past is already lost; there is no point in remaining attached to it but one must be a protagonist in its overcoming so as not to be underwhelmed by it.

So the concrete proposal of the magazine is this, expressed in the words of Adriano Scianca:

[...] Promethean accelerationism, however, means for us intensification of research on biotechnology, cognitive science, robotics, nanotechnology, cloning, artificial procreation, mind uploading, genomic editing, artificial intelligence, and technological singularity [...]; intensive use of these techniques to put in place demographic, ecological, identity, power, and sovereignty policies [...].

Where "Prometheica" gets it right

Let us start with the most interesting insights found in "Prometheica." Apt appears the denunciation of the false dynamism of this age. A great cycle of scientific and technological advancement is really in danger of closing, and this is mainly because science and technology are being suffocated by a new ideological cloud. We see this clearly in certain fields, such as biology and climatology: empirically induced theses are increasingly being replaced by theorems imposed by the establishment. To not conform to them is to be ousted from the scientific community. Today, it is unimaginable for a new Darwin to challenge the preconceptions of a discipline in a revolutionary way, unless he has abundant political backing and his theses are framed in the dominant ideology. Progressive totalitarian ideology really will end up blocking scientific progress, allowing only technical progress where it is amenable to instrumentalization (see, for example, all population surveillance and control technologies).

Another fair point made in the pages of "Prometheica" is that the Power cannot be challenged simply by relying on the "common sense" of the "common" man against the latest ideological follies. No matter how much they may appear silly, they will require at most the space of a generation to become common sense, thanks to the indoctrination power of the school-media-culture combination. Common sense is already today for the most part imbued with progressive doctrine. And the common man, provided he is not already a minority, is generally too fearful or unmotivated to resist. The Right, even the conservative Right, really needs to understand that there is not much to preserve, if anything, to restore, rebuild or create from scratch.

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Where "Prometheica" is wrong

We come to where the theses of "Prometheica" become less convincing or, at least, less agreeable to the writer.

First, it is guessable, but not well enunciated, how "Prometheica's" vision of technological developments differs from the transhumanist agenda. The magazine rejects the latter label, adopts that of "superhumanism," mentions the "battle between the breeders of a shrunken man and the breeders of an enhanced man." But it does not offer many other details. This is partly because the magazine is full of philosophical and historical essays, but there are none of a scientific and technical nature. The editors defend themselves by saying that they deal with "worldviews," that they are "not a journal of engineering, computer science, physics or biology." Yet this does not satisfy the basic objection: if a (meta) political proposal is based on the use of technology for certain purposes, how can it avoid dealing in detail with the modalities? It is not possible to understand the degree of feasibility of the "Promethean manifesto" without moving from the pages of books to the test tubes of laboratories and the hi-tech tools of cutting-edge workshops. What technologies should be exploited and how?

Once that question has been answered, a second fundamental concern remains. That of the possibility of influencing upcoming technological applications. Correctly "Prometheica" states, "[...] if active minorities were to deal only with what they have immediate influence over they would have to stop dealing with anything." But one wonders: at a time when certain technological developments are pointing toward mass surveillance, pervasive control of individuals and so on, would it not be wiser to try to curb such developments before they are put in action against us? Not out of a preconceived aversion to technology, but out of a pragmatic and contingent need for survival.

Finally comes the question of conservatism. If one does not like that term, because it has too passive a flavor, one can use that of "traditionalism." In any case, meaning the need for the future to be rooted in the past, the newest generation intimately connected to its ancestors. This may prevent the full release of a creative force, but it is a brake on its possible degeneration, its negative use. The past is a living and, paradoxically, present force. Progressives know this well, since they have a real obsession with history: to cancel, rewrite or trial it - but they never stop talking about it. To combine technology and tradition, modernity and history is the great challenge. But to this the authors of "Prometheica" are certainly not insensitive.

Final assessment

Summing up, "Prometheica" is a magazine that will inevitably puzzled those of conservative or traditionalist sentiments. It is a magazine that has shortcomings and weaknesses, such as that of placing technology at the center of its speculation but never delving into technique except as a philosophical subject. It is, however, a journal that should be kept in mind and consulted, because it acts as an antidote to the dangerous inclination to turn the rejection of progressivism and transhumanism into a total rejection of the present. Which, indeed, would doom us to have no future.

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Founder and President of Centro Studi Machiavelli. Graduated in Historical Sciences (University of Milan) and PhD in Political Studies (Sapienza University), he is professor of "History and doctrine of jihadism" and "Geopolitics of the Middle East" at Cusano University. From 2018 to 2019 he was Special Advisor on Immigration and Terrorism to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Guglielmo Picchi. His latest book (as editor) is Topicality of sovereignism. Between pandemic and war.