Counterpunch Expose: H+ “Journal” a Part of Ruling Class Conspiracy!

An article, a rant really, yesterday, in Counterpunch titled “If Only Glenn Beck Were A Cyborg,” — in which author David Correia goes to the recent Singularity Summit and finds that the “Singularity Movement” is “made up of university scientists, technocapitalists, and military funders” and is a tool of… “the bourgeois dream of class domination and faith in technoscience”… and that it hides “its corporate face with scientific fact, military control with techno-enthusiasm, and ruling class ideology for general human benefit.”

So there I am curiously reading along, when I come to this sentence in the third paragraph: “The journal, H+ (Humanity Plus), along with a host of institutions, centers and even universities advance a research agenda many refer to as ‘transhumanism’ in which the problems of human intelligence and immortality are primary subjects.” And for a moment, I wondered: what is this H+ Journal? And then it hit me.  He’s talking about us! Us? A Journal?! A tool of the ruling class yet.  Does that mean my all volunteer staff can finally get paid? I’m chuffed!  Jeeves, fetch my saddle and bring Mr. Ed out to the courtyard.  It’s time to celebrate with a round of Polo!

Well OK, getting more serious… arguably something like ‘”The Singularity” could permanently stamp its corporate sponsors’ logos on the exo-neocortex copies of us all as we upload our psyches onto slick little Apple devices where we will only get to access realities that have signed an exclusive contract with Steve Jobs. And arguably, aspects of the “Singularity Movement” may play into the fantasies of a few billionaires who have experienced a revolution in rising expectations over the last three decades… “Let’s see, I’ve got the 14 houses, the 8 boats, the 10 private jets, the private Island in the Pacific, the surgically sculpted trophy wife… what else is there?  I know.  I’ll live forever in a super-body on the moon with Branson!”  The economics of all this are a lot more complex than billionaires plotting to live forever and screw the rest of ya, but I’ll leave that for another time. (I do go into my thoughts on it a bit here.)

Correia, of course, paints a diverse culture with a broad brush — failing to distinguish between singularitarianism and transhumanism, for one, and amongst singularitarians for another.  And what about this idea that the Singularity Movement is “made up of university scientists, technocapitalists, and military funders.” Absolutely true.  And hackers, open source fanatics, citizen scientists, ordinary tech enthusiasts, and dreamers of various political bents (including leftists).  In other words, it has basically the same social and cultural dynamic that has been in play in technoculture since the mid-1980s…  maybe with more of a leaning toward the big establishment types than, say, in the more broad-based transhumanist movement, but all the types are very much in play. And as always, they exist sometimes in easy alliance, sometimes in uneasy alliance, and sometimes in opposition.

Underlying the usual concerns about class distinctions, Correia uses singularitarianism as a launching pad for his view that the program of technological progress should be in doubt: “The long held progressive view of technology took hit after hit in the twentieth century. Barbaric world wars, the possibility of nuclear apocalypse, and the failure of either industrial capitalism or state communism to resolve social problems such as poverty and inequality…”

This, too, is a serious discussion that I can’t — or won’t —do justice to in this brief commentary.  Obviously, most of us want technology to do good things for us and to not do bad things to us.  I would suggest that Correia probably shares the goals — and apparent possibilities — of conquering diseases, getting clean and plentiful energy, and ending the conditions of scarcity, projects that seem to require radical technological change.

It seems to me that Correia and others like him are giving up, assuming that they can’t win (or at least influence) a battle to have radical technological development serve what they perceive as humane purposes  Correia quotes Karl Marx: “‘…’the hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord’ wrote Karl Marx in the Poverty of Philosophy, ‘the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist.”” But Marx also believed that industrial capitalism, in the context of human history up to that point, had been a progressive force.  Neomarxists like Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt believe that contemporary techno-capitalism has also been largely a progressive force, again within the context of history.  Marx believed — and Negri believes that humanity can do better; that it can eliminate all forms of domination using Marxism as a roadmap… when the conditions are right.  That certainly remains to be seen (the 20th century attempts?… not so good!)

So maybe Correia should get in the game, instead of standing outside and jeering.  All social relations are still in play, and if anything, extreme technology is a disrupter that could change everything in unexpected ways.

 

70 Comments

  1. Sorry for being behind in my reading. Reading through a lot of hyperbole in the comments makes me shake my head. Here’s to some of the ‘anonymous’ who can’t even use their name.

    1) You’re no better than the ‘talk show’ hosts if all you want to do is sit around and blame your problems on the big conspiracy. That is just filling a syringe with an excuse to be useless and feel better about yourself. In order for the greater good to happen, hard work from those trying to accomplish the bigger goal is needed.

    2) I can tell you for a fact, the military industrialists do not have what is implied by what you infer. They are doing about as well as every other government funded bunch. In the end, sadly, those on the right pork out the military, the left pork out anything not military…both are looking for photo op for reelection purposes, nothing more.

    The average Joe can do better.

    3) On that note, the ability to create better tools at a faster pace is strengthening. You have volunteer groups working in garages, at home on their PC, on projects that will bump discovery in all disciplines…are they doing it as a get rich scheme? No, if there are funds that come in, they will turn them around to do something even better.

    4) But can they beat those evil fat cat conspirators. That is up to us…and the answer is yes. This is the 21st Century and the rules of the game are not the same as the time of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, FDR, Churchill and so on.

    The fact is, improvements in communication, collaboration and having the chance to improve impoverished conditions will spur things to happen. Those who can see past self pity and laziness have always brought together the ingredients needed to change the world. The number of those improving the world will grow during this decade as we become not so worried about where a person lives, but the fascinating concept he/she is developing.

    Hang in the RU

    • Garage shop cannot compete with Wal-Mart. Technology produces monopolism. You can call it “conspiracy” or “social mechanism”, but the fact is, monopolisation is inevitable outcome. Rich get richer, poor get poorer. Yesterday, there were hundreds of videocard brands, now there is only ATI and Nvidia. Yesterday, there were dozens of search engines and social networks. Now there is only Google and Facebook. Technology breeds uniformity, conformity and corporate rule. Conspiracy or not, future pretty much sucks.

    • >But can they beat those evil fat cat conspirators.
      >That is up to us…and the answer is yes.

      That’s what they want you to think. 80ies weren’t even half as monopolized as modern world. Yet somehow people in 80ies understood that they were fucked. Modern people think that they are “free” and “liberated”, when in fact they are slaves of multi-billion megacorps like Apple, Facebook, Google, etc. They say Bill Gates is “evil”, but at least he didn’t read your mail. And neither did Nixon or G.W. Bush. We live in Orwellian society, but are too dumb and arrogant to admit this.

  2. they were talking abuot IEET

  3. Hi R.U.

    Welcome to Conspiracy Theorism 101:

    Rule 1: NO ONE IS INNOCENT.

    No one. See that guy walking down the street? He’s an agent for the NWO. Your childhood friend? He was planted on you when you were a kid and reports regularly to the “Black Government”. Your wife may claim to love you, but it’s a cover story so she can stay close enough to spy on you. Trust no one, because everyone but you is “Part of the coverup”

    Rule 2: ONLY YOU KNOW THE “TRUTH”

    Those guys telling people that it’s the ____ or the ____ or the ____ are all agents seeking to mislead the public, when you know it’s all the _______’s fault. (insert personal conspiracy theory in ____) No-one else knows the truth but you, and even those you try to tell the truth to who agree with you are probably only doing so that they can undermine and discredit you.

    Rule 3: LOGIC AND REASON ARE THE WEAPONS OF THE ENEMY

    Anyone attempting to use logic and reason, or even worse, “evidence” that contradicts the “truth” that you are attempting to tell is obviously a “tool” of the “enemy”. They have been bought and paid for, otherwise they would be immediately able to see how “just” and “right” your stance is. After all you are a lone soldier fighting to save the world from EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All right thinking people would immediately flock to your side if only they hadn’t been BOUGHT OFF BY THE ENEMY!!!!”

    Rule 4: DISMISS>DISCREDIT>DERIDE>DENY

    Never forget the 4 Ds. If your opponent makes any sort of reasonable argument against you, Dismiss it. If they actually post evidence contrary to your beliefs, discredit it. If they overwhelm you with facts and proof that you’re wrong, deride and make fun of them. And when they flat out prove you to be completely off your rocker, just deny they had anything to say at all.

    Rule 5: NEVER ADMIT DEFEAT

    Remember, you are on a mission from all that is good and right in the universe. Even when you are faced with a mountain of facts that disprove you, it proves how right you are, since the enemy had to spin out all those fake “facts” in their efforts to ensure that the truth can never be heard by their brainwashed “minions” (the masses) Facts are nothing more than “propaganda” made up by the enemy. Do not let them deter you from proclaiming “The Truth”

    I’m an old skool Atlantologist. I’ve been dealing with conspiracy kooks for 30 years. After awhile, they all start to blend together into a cookie cutter format. Just insert your particular “EVIL EMPEROR” into the ___________ and viola, instant conspiracy!

    The sad thing is how many other “Political Movements” this set of rules seems to apply to.

    • That is basically “reductio ad absurdum” fallacy. People want to know details about H+ operation? Oh, they are probably conspiracy theorist crackpots believing in UFOs and anal probing! The funny thing: it is you who is UFO cult here. Talking about “coming of Singularity” and “creating God” is a bad position to criticise legitimate inquiry in your juridical status. So much for “reason” and “enlightment” I guess. Pathetic.

      • Reductio ad absurdum?

        Yep. Completely. You know why? Because I was writing a humor piece. I cannot take conspiracy theories seriously. I’ve run into far too many of them.

        So which “group” is your pet villian? The NWO? the Illuminati? The Rothschilds? The Zionists? The Trans-dimensional lizards? How about the Cult of Isis? Or maybe the secret cabal of Atlantean Wizards who survived destroying their civilization and have been controlling the world since pre-history? Maybe it’s the Masons, or the Jews, or the bankers, or the Nazi War Criminals that survived and secretly took over America? Maybe it’s the aliens from Niburu, or the fishmen from R’lyeh?

        Then again, I suppose it could be the “black government” or the “greys” or the “Nordic Giants” or the “subterranians”. Maybe it’s even the “Evil Lemurian Snake people.”

        So tell me, who is your “unbeatable, undetectable, hidden ENEMY” of the human race? You know, the one who can’t be beaten unless everyone does exactly what YOU tell them to do?

        • “Conspiracy theory” is just nifty word used to dismiss any sort of legitimate criticism of how our society is organized. Everyone, including you, understands, that Western world belongs (in legal/economical sense of world) to few rich families, everybody knows the names of these families, their organizations, etc. They are not even secret, how that can be “conspiracy” or “theory”? That’s fucking official, they are not hiding! Yet, any attempt to speak such things aloud? “Oh, conspiracy theorists with their wacky theories.” That’s intellectual filter of Western civilization, that which filters out any inconvenient facts.

          The existance of words “conspiracy theory” makes any intellectual discussion impossible, since it goes down to labels. What we need is equally-sounding label for naive conformists like you who believe in WMD in Iraq or that 9/11 was planned from some cave in Afghanistan.

          If you check foreign news channels like Al Jazeera or RT, you will see that NOBODY aside of us believes this ridiculous crap, and while what I say is considered “conspiracy theory” in 1% of world, what you say is considered “conspiracy theory” in the rest 99% of planet.

          So, if anyone here is real conspiracy theorist (without inverted commas), it is you.

        • BTW, how “Evil Lemurian Snake people” are less ridiculous then “Jovian brains” and “cyborg uprising”? Or your trekkie motto? Lemurians are hypothetical/speculative topic, while “Star Trek” is deliberate fiction. You can’t compare Lemurians to Sauron’s orks you believe in, so any sort of most outlandish belief will still pale in comparision of your “singulitarian god-making”, LOL.

  4. Why is it every time a group of people come together for a common goal, there is always someone telling them that they are the puppet of something supposedly larger than them? We aren’t a religion, we aren’t a cult, we aren’t some corporate-sponsored propaganda machine. Is it not possible just to have a group of people without labeling it something other than a group of people working for a similar outcome?

    The main problem with the counterpunch article is that he’s comparing us to something we are not. I’m positive he hasn’t talked to a transhumanist just based on the tone of the article and comparison of transhumanists with objectivists like Ayn Rand. Transhumanism is not some selfish road to becoming a connected synthetic intelligence, or turning into the Terminator. It’s about the progress of technology and using said technology to improve the lives of those around us. And to say that Ray Kurzweil is our personal jesus is just ridiculous. He has some amazing ideas but that doesn’t mean he is some transhumanist messiah. He’s just a man trying to improve the world by spreading information based on his research. Not taking his words without a grain of salt is not a smart move.

    To be honest it discourages me that we are even entertaining these conspiracy theorists and technophobes. They think everyone is out to get them, when in fact nobody even cares they exist. It’s sort of sad how angry they get over things they will never control, like technological progress. At the same time I understand that we need to engage these people and have them understand what we are really about.

    • >Why is it every time a group of people come together for a common goal, there is always someone telling them that they are the puppet of something supposedly larger than them?

      Because they usually are puppets, willing or not. Universe is logical, every effect has a cause. Or do you believe that transhumanism appeared from nowhere, ex nihilo, Creationism-style? If you do, check R.U.Sirius biography. It is not the first cult he is spinning.

      >We aren’t a religion, we aren’t a cult

      Why not? You definitely sound like New Age UFO cult, but without UFOs. And your pundits took part in creation of some New Age cults as well, during so-called “psychodelic revolution”.

      >it discourages me that we are even entertaining these conspiracy theorists and technophobes

      Where did you seen any technophobes? Nobody is against tech here.

      >They think everyone is out to get them

      “Get us”? They already have us, and you, and everybody else. No, it is rather about them keeping status quo. And with transhuman-grade tech, they can keep it forever.

      >how angry they get over things they will never control, like technological progress

      Of course we don’t control it. They control it. That’s the whole friggin’ point! You religiously worship instruments of oppression in the hands of rich spoiled plutocrats.

  5. watch the zeitgeist movement

    • Zeitgeist = Venus Project
      Venus Project = Jacque Fresco
      Jacque Fresco = 13th degree Freemason

      conclusion:
      Zeitgeist = corporate propaganda in disguise

  6. the technological singularity is only half the battle I see the zeitgeist movement as the social activist arm of this whole transhumanist revolution. Theres alot of disruptive technologies already available that could radically improve the quality of life for everybody and increase efficiency in various fields but they are relegated to the sidelines or only accessible to the elite to further maximize profits and maintain the status quo. This trend will only continue even with the advent of artificial intelligence nanotechnology etc. In order to really make an impact we have to change the current socio-economic structure from a monetary economy that favors the elite to a fully automated renewable resource based economy that benefits all. Seriously the way we live is not sustainable eventually it will collapse. Watch the Zeitgeist movement it explains this in detail

    • Zeitgeist is a cheap corporate NWO agitprop hijacking legitimate concern towards monetary system. Illuminati/Freemason “heathen” satanism. Think about it: why criticize church in anti-NWO message, when ONE OF THE PRIMARY GOALS of NWO creators was bringing down Catholicism? The whole “enlightment” humanist crap was about wealthy bankers getting rid of church restrictions, since by these restrictions, banking is taboo (and it is still taboo in Islam).

      • the zeitgeist movement is genuine these guys do not have any nefarious corporate NWO ulterior motive. Yes they do propose a new world order which is desperately needed but if you actually watch the videos its all about getting away from the corporatocracy and the monetary based economy. Really try to be objective about this. As far as your complaint about their stance on religion, all they said is that religions that practice exclusive science and logic rejecting dogmas are detrimental to society and promote conflict. You can still believe whatever you believe and be spiritual etc. just dont shut your mind out to new scientific discovery that is constantly evolving because of static religious dogmas and dont tell other people they must die and go to hell because they are infidels or hethens simply because they dont subscribe to your ideals. Ultimately what we want to build is a sustainable future with equality and social benifit.

        • I watched both big Zeitgeist movies, and supplementary material as well, and watch closely Zeitgeist fans. Zeitgeist movement is sincere, no doubts. Just like Humanity Plus. It is CREATORS of these movements who are insincere.

          Any form of opposition to NWO must have a clear plan with clear measurable indicators of success. You can hate NWO but still work for it. It is not about emotions, it is about cause and effect. If you want to really know if you are against NWO or not, ask yourself: are NWO guys scared of you? Hint: they are not. That means at best you are doing it wrong. At worst you are playing on their side.

  7. I kind of apologize for a bit of cold-shower criticism, but you are too intoxicated with “miracles of the future”. More sober and balanced approach is probably needed. Brain chips are not LSD, after all. Just thinking.

  8. I guess there wouldn’t be so much criticism if contemporary Transhumanist organizations were a bit more transparent. You guys are too shadowy and secretive. Not typical for benevolent NGO.

    • The organization that now runs this site is Humanity Plus. I think they’re very transparent and democratic and certainly not funded by any suspicious types… barely funded at all.   They say what they believe directly and anyone can join if they want to help them.

      Earlier, we were funded by a private company called Better Humans.  The publishers put their pictures in each issue of the magazine version that we were doing.  I don’t think that the other organizations are particularly shadowy, either.

       

      • That’s empty words. Give us data.
        Where’re names and numbers?
        There’re supposed to be around 4000 of you guys, right?
        I didn’t see the size of H+ budget in your comment.
        Nor links to list of registered members.
        Nor your legal status: you were founded as 501(c)(3), but now you are supposedly international organization, which countries do you have official registration in?

        • I don’t have official registration of anything anywhere…  but you could traipse through the Humanity+ site and find contact info and ask.  They may answer most or all of your inquiries if you’re polite about it.

          • If it is not official registered data, that can be verified by legal institutions, it is not worth discussing. I mean, they can answer anything, that they are aliens from Mars or something. Such things are not supposed to be taken at face value. It won’t do. Anyway, I’ll try, it surely won’t hurt either.

  9. As inane as I find the vast majority of these comments (from all ends of the spectrum), I’ll try again. Why the hell not.

    If you are against the development of radical technologies in and of themselves, no matter what the socioeconomic context, because you think they would be harmful under any circumstance, that’s an argument for you to make.

    If you’re against human enhancement because you don’t think they really enhance humans and their experiences but rather detract from them (Marshall McLuhan said that every enhancement also involves some amputation), that’s an argument for you to make.

    If you don’t think most of the stuff that transhumanists and singularitarians are hoping for will work — or that they won’t work any time soon enough to be meaningful to us — that’s an argument for you to make.

    But if you’re against it all because the "bad guys" (whoever your bad guys may be) are inevitably going to control it, you’ve given up.   

    I will collaborate with almost anybody that is working on and encouraging technological developments that can create the conditions for eliminating human scarcity, various sources of physical and mental suffering, and generally lift us up a bit (or a lot) out of the Darwinian muck.

    I will also collaborate with anybody who wants to make sure that the fruits of these developments are not vouchsafed for — or dominated by — the super-rich, the military (any military), and/or Goverment (any government). (Hijack the singularity!)  Lots of people feel the same (including — believe it or not — many libertarians, as well as Marxists, anarchists, non-ideologues and many other sorts.)  And don’t underestimate the power of the whole open source, voluntary collaborationalist, DIY, p2p, desktop manufacturing, ad infinitum trend.  It’s an emergent property that hasn’t fully blossomed yet.

     

    • errr… i may have overstated that willing to collaborate with anybody (almost anybody) thing a bit… now that I think about it. 

      • Freudian slip.

      • Just stop mincing and tell us who are you working for, already.

    • Okay, let me get something straight. There are surely many anarchists, socialists and other counter-culture types around, but they represent ZERO political force. Political structure of United States didn’t change since its creation. Are there any transhumanist, anarchist, socialist parties around? Where there any transhumanist, anarchist, socialists presidents, big-time CEOs, ministers, etc? No. Zero. Transformation of agrarian society into industrial one, and industrial society into post-industrial one didn’t change political structure. There are still those old guys running the show, and they will keep running it until the end of the world. So, why the hell do we even discuss socialists, anarchists, libertarians, etc, if they have ZERO political influence? What are you guys, billionairies? Did you, or your predecessors in XX and XIX centuries managed to change political structure just a bit? No. So what makes you think you are any different? Get real.

      The problem with Transhumanist Movement is not that it is pro-tech. After all, tech can be used for good. Same stuff that powers corporations can subvert them and/or empower individual, cyberpunk-style. The problem is that instead of educating people about real effects of technology (goods and bads), you indulge in blind religious zeal, praising (hell, WORSHIPING) stuff that is OBVIOUSLY malignant. Whether Transhumanism is funded/supported/inspired by rich elite is irrelevant. What is important is it provides them with necessary public relations support. You even turned it into sort of UFO religion, with your own God and your own Rapture. Pro-Corporate Raelites, gosh.

      Is radical tech inherently bad? No, but it is not inherently good either. But Transhumanism is based on blind techno-worship, your resources praise Orwellian stuff like Terminator-style killer robots and mind control devices, which any decent scientist back in XX century abhorred. That raises some legitimate questions. You just can’t dismiss them. Can’t you guys be, uh, responsible? Like scientists were supposed to be?

      People don’t see scientific inquiry here, they see some inverted version of good old Christianity, cult religion with electronic god that is both inherently all-good and all-powerful. If you people just said “okay, we are Raelite-style UFO religion, and you guys are luddite infidels and non-believers”, that would be okay. But you pretend to be balanced and rational, when certainly you are not.

  10. Don’t worry R.U. Sirius don’t let that communist trash get you down.

    • LOL!
      I cannot even comprehend whether you are serious (Cold War ended more than 20 years ago), or just try to mock Transhumanist republican style.

  11. >39% Liberal
    >32% Libertarian
    >and a mere 8% identifying as conservative.

    Taking in account that Libertarians are just nifty name for pro-Legalize Republicans, that makes:

    39% Liberal
    40% Conservative

    Or:

    39% bankers and corporations
    40% military-industrial complex

    quod erat demonstrandum

    Huh, transhumanism at its best.

  12. Why would you read counterpunch? They are just a bunch of bitter Stalinist, still stoked by the momentum of Cold War anti-Americanism but not really sure why they are supposed to hate capitalism any more.

    The reasons these people hate technology is the same reason they hate freedom. They see humans as a bunch of cattle living on a giant farm. Their “compassion” isn’t the true compassion that grants ones fellow human beings with free will and freedom of action. Rather it is the compassion one might have for a pet, or livestock.

    That’s why they obsess over the poor. They don’t really care about the poor as people, it’s just that they want to make sure that all the cows are getting the right amount of feed and shelter. After all, that’s how a scientific society (farm) should be run!

    If there is anything I fear, more than run away AGI, or Grey Goo, or the Zombie Apocalypse, it is these neurotic control freaks getting their hands on the mechanisms of transhumanism. For only then can they make their communist agrarian ideal (Animal Farm) come to life, and we’ll love it.

    Ken
    kenStech

    • “They don’t really care about the poor as people, it’s just that they want to make sure that all the cows are getting the right amount of feed and shelter.”

      Personally if I was poor I would l appreciate knowing that there are people out there concerned with whether I had enough to eat and shelter from the elements. Without those “free will and freedom of action” don’t mean shit.

    • You are American and learned about communism by Hollywood moves, right? If you would read any book about communism (Animal farm is not about it) you would see that calling Stalin communist mean less than calling Hitler liberal. Here is couple citations:

      Lenin:
      “Any state is special force for repression on suppressed class. Thus any state is non-free and non-people.”

      “While state exists there is no freedom, when will be freedom there will be no state”

      Engels:
      “Talking about free people state is nonsense”

      As you can see they were what is called now anarcho-communists. That’s mean radical democracy, something close to the cantons of Switzerland but without private property on means of prodaction. Stalin’s dictatorship were no different from modern N. Korea which removed any mentions about communism from their ideology. Good example of communism was Salvador Allende’s rule in Chile – he were democratically elected Marxist.

    • Typical neo-conservative Republican doublespeak.

      “Godless communist hordes that hate freedom and american way are at the gates, OMG!!!111”

      Such comments only prove that CounterPunch was right to label you as military-industrial corporate stooges, since you definitely sound like them.

      Libertarians = Republicans who smoke pot

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