Music: Phuture Doom — (Profitable) Prophets of Dark Futurism
Just in time for Halloween Phuture Doom, recently signed to Skrillex’s label OWSLA, delivers a shattering dance floor friendly mix of metal, dubstep, and techno breaks that actually works. The result is a satisfying occult tinged dark vision of the future that they succeed in turning into a bankable EDM sound; and it’s a sound that others have tried and failed to create.
Nightfall EP is interesting and a pretty listenable fusion of a diverse set of musical styles. “The Book of Nightfall,” their music video cum manifesto, further positions the band as a commercially viable proponent of the dark side of anti-transhumanism. Ok, the video uses well worn cliches and tired tropes such as glitchy/noisy video post effects, ominous musical overtones, fractals, a hidden QR code, ghostly images, quasi-rune cyberpunk typeface, and camera bounce to deliver the manifesto and this includes a number of somewhat hilarious misspellings.
But despite delving into some obviously overused techniques and needing some spell correct, PD delivers their message and does it with a beat. The video actually works as a “manifesto” that will appeal to transhumanists with interests in possible negative futures or the techno-magical singularity predicted by the collision of Clark’s and Niven’s Laws.
The video controversially uses samples of various transhumanists and Singularity proponents as part of its argument about the dangers of transhumanism. Ray Kurzweil figures notably but you will recognize a few others here as well. And it remains danceable.
Phuture Doom are not the first musicians or artists to attempt to delve into the darker cyberpunk side of transhumanism, nor are they the first to tie transhumanism to occultism and related notions. Farrell and de Hart, well known “academic” authors in the conspiracy theory world, recently penned Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas building on their earlier books and tying transhumanism to occult and alchemical ideas. The book also includes a somewhat worthwhile analysis of the Frankenstein myth.
Of course the fact that certain transhumanists have explicitly linked themselves to these ideas does not help. The World Transhumanist Association (now known as Humanity+) originally used an eight pointed star, a symbol also associated with Chaos Magick and Buddhism, and also perhaps less well known as a symbol from the Greater Key of Solomon, as its logo. Other quasi-transhumanist groups have openly invoked the god Kalki and Shambhala mythology as part of their founding “mythos”. The 8 pointed star symbol has also been used by far right groups, the New Right in Europe and the UK and the Eurasian Youth Union in Russia.
The recent Singularity Summit was held in a Masonic Auditorium nearby to a notable and amazing, as well as highly symbolic, “endomosaic” created by artist Emile Norman.
These choices, whether accidental or purposeful, have all helped to fuel occult tinged conspiracy speculations about transhumanism and its hidden or “occult” connections. For example recent coverage by conspiracy media superstar Alex Jones and his InfoWars site.
Phuture Doom doesn’t delve very deep here. There might be a good book waiting to be written exploring the relation between alchemy, ritual magick, hermetic science and the ideas of transhumanism actually. But this is pop music.
Also Phuture Doom seem to be unaware of the ideas of DIY hacking and self modification that resists and runs counter to their argument about corporate and mass control and the resultant inevitable dystopia.I don’t buy their dark futurism, but the “death trap” sound is pretty good making Phuture Doom likely the first profitable prophets of transhumanist doom and gloom.
Don’t need the manifesto, but want to head straight to the dancefloor? Check out “Han Breaks” which is the most accessible track.
PHUTURISM: The Book of Nightfall
I. PROGRESS & INFORMATION̸
We can consider the history of humanity through its evolving relationship to time. The invention of the clock during the Renaissance gave birth to the industrial age and a culture of scheduling and productivity. A more profound transformation manifested as men switched from a culture of time to a culture of technology and computer programmed logic.
Relentless technological interaction created a human race addicted to calculation and quantification. A virtual and digital sixth continent emerged in parallel to the physical world, and the use of electronic tools allowed human access. The old world of values was disappearing with technology faster than thought. But the new world had, for the most part, arisen without a thoughtful architecture or blueprint.̀
The hegemony of calculation developed daily life and the intangible began to supplant the real. Comparing the human brain to an extraordinary computer objectified the individual, forcing a reorganization of perception. The value of an individual’s brain is developed in the economy, and to the extent that an individual is his brain, he fought to avoid its disturbances and utilize tricks to improve its functioning. Competitive advantages raised the standard of competition as each person became his own company.
The objective was to improve the competitive performance of world economies by increasing the performance of individuals. Expansion and Performance are two key concepts for understanding how links have been built between trans-humanist thought and neoliberal logic. The adaptability of individuals in all circumstances was the rule which increased competitive advantage against those who abstained.
A functional society was born, turning the individual into a technical fragment, a detached part of the species. Science was no longer only a means of innovation, but the way of life and existence. By agreeing to be an animal like the others, man ended up being treated like an animal himself.
III. BIRTH OF AN IDEOLOGY: TRANSHUMANISM
A classical understanding of perfectibility, dating from the eighteenth century, is the idea that man can improve and perfect himself by education and other forms of self betterment; but this idea was abandoned and criticized. What prevailed was the notion of indefinite improvement aimed at ultimate positive transformation of the the human condition.
Transhumanism was born out of this desire to forge a perfect man. The followers of this new philosophical and scientific movement wanted to use all means of technology to enhance the capabilities of the human. There were many transhumanists worldwide, but North American and especially Silicon Valley futurologists had incommensurate influence on transhumanist thought from the beginning with an ideologically libertarian approach.
IV. BIO TECHNOLOGY
At the time the biggest problem was not imagining the future of technology, but convincing people of what already existed. Military research had already changed their lives with the birth of the Internet, and its agencies shifted focused to biological programs and human improvement. In only a few decades time, the exponential growth of technology produced extreme interfaces between the human body and machine.
At first, most tests were conducted on the disabled to garner attention and unlock budgets, but its applications quickly multiplied. Non-surgical self-augmentation created a mass market for all kinds of accessories, positioning the human body at the latest peak level of consumerism. The disabled became more efficient than the valids and quickly began surpassing them.
What was once called the computer, cellphone, or tablet was already a form of improvement for transhumanists because these digital prosthesis had become external organs and a part of human identity. Prosthesis was initially for medical reasons, mechanization of method of survival.
But the speed of technological change became so fast that partial fusion was necessary for the brain. it could retain it’s original biological state and face the wave of information that would soon overwhelm. Machines crept into the body, merging with the organs and senses, giving birth to a new human race: the post human transcendent man.
Technological evolution of man’s biologically fallible body allowed humanity to consider death as never before. Advancements in brain imaging research dangled indefinite longevity by safeguarding awareness on digital media. In other words, a promise of immortality. For mankind, death was always considered tragedy, but for a long time knowledge was not required to live indefinitely.
Exceeding humanity meant integrating into the network, no longer limiting the human body soely to hand-typed communication using the internet, but becoming part of the network itself by integrating with the Machine world. A world only acceptable on account of promised immortality.
Science and technology led to the transcendence of human limitation and power to overcome suffering, illness, depression and other adverse conditions. It became a religious substitute men could not possibly ignore masked in a cloak of rationalism. However, if science is emancipatory, scientism is enslaving. Those in control of large dense information networks weren’t as interested in world rule as technologically fueled life improvement. but access to increasingly sophisticated and expensive technology eventually stopped serving the common good and became elitist sport.
A violent class division thus formed, on the crux of a fierce political debate. There was no need to exterminate people, they will disappear by themselves because they are smaller and therefore doomed to disappear. This is the accepted fracture, the hyphenation, and this is what led to the Great Schism.