(Follow up on Emerging from the Shadows Article)
Ludwig Feurerbach, who dominated German philosophy in the 1840s, was an avowed opponent of theology and an inspiration to Karl Marx. He said: “The turning point of history will be the moment man becomes aware that the only God of man is man himself.” He was surely correct, for as the philosophy of materialism gained wide-spread acceptance, society did reach a turning point. If we are just an arrangement of chemicals and biological processes, if there is no inherent sacredness to human life, then we are philosophically and conceptually free to engineer “human material” as we see fit. When people are no more than animals, they can then be treated as cattle.
I believe philosophical materialism is the rationale of the authoritarian character that, according to psychiatrist Eric Fromm, loves to limit human freedom and rob people of their humanity. He writes, “Authoritarian philosophy is essentially relativistic and nihilistic… it leads to the denial of life.” At its core, it is irrational and anti-intellectual. This is why the materialistic view, which is inherently authoritarian, cannot co-exist with any other perspective or belief system. To do so would disempower the anti-life matrix which sustains it.
Philosophical materialism leads to the ultimate question—who shall play God? After all, has not man usurped that Throne? There are many who would play God, who would be more than happy to impose their personal vision upon the whole of society and there are many who have done so. The perfect example of the self-anointed playing God is found in genetic engineering. Here economic determinism is replaced by biological determinism as the factor of control.
All scientists are mad scientists when their actions are directed by the technological imperative: “If it can be done, do it.”, without regard for the consequences. Today, genetic engineers are working on altering human physical and behavioral characteristics to improve society but critics Ted Howard and Jeremy Rifkin warn they are potentially leading us into a post human society. They write, “More ominous are the well-credentialed and well-financed researchers who propose the complete retailoring of human life. Name your wildest fantasy, or nightmare, and some authority somewhere is proposing it: from redesigning stomachs so that people will be able to consume cheap hay and grass, like cows, to the hybridization of humans with lower primates.” Or consider the implications of Nobel laureate Francis Crick’s statement “…no new born infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment and…if it fails these tests it forfeits the right to live.” This is just the tip of the iceberg but these chilling quotes seem to bear out Dostoevsky’s belief: without God, all things are permissible.
The socialist wants to contain the spontaneous order of the economy; the geneticist wants to control or manipulate the spontaneous order of life itself. There is a struggle in the collective unconscious of humanity between the life instinct and the death instinct. We need to see it for what it is and choose. I am not kidding about this death instinct. What happens when the funding of this research is controlled by the corporations? Look at the nightmare of Monsanto and its drive to destroy organic farming, traditional farming practices and the control of food supply or the pharmaceutical industry’s catastrophic influence on medical practice, alternative healing modalities or even the sale of herbs and vitamins. What about biological and chemical weapons?
Let’s put a fine point on this death- consciousness with an actual example. Paul Greenberg wrote an article about the well know company Neocutis, which offers a skin cream made from human fetal tissue. He quotes the company’s website: “Inspired by fetal skin’s unique properties, Neocutis’s proprietary technology uses cultured fetal skin cells to obtain an optimal, naturally balanced mixture of skin nutrients.” The company says its product can “turn back time to create flawless baby-skin again.” Here we have the ultimate death industry, the ‘abortion mill’, providing its ‘byproduct’ to create “beauty crème.” I will allow Paul Greenberg the last word on this.
“It does make one wonder why, if the use of human fetuses for such purposes is so unalloyed a good, the company feels the need to assure us that the practice is ‘limited, prudent and responsible.’ Is that the faint echo of some vestigial conscience? Or a slight bow to what might be called the wisdom of repugnance? For how can anyone read such an ad without repressing a shudder? Or have we lost the ability to shudder?”