It could be said that transhumanism is Freemasonry for the technological age. But Freemasonry forged the technological age. In effect, the history of modern times is the efforts of an occult underground led by Freemasons and other occult secret societies, who represented their agenda as “science” pitted against “religion.” Freemasonry is founded on the belief that magic empowers man to become “like a god.” Their goal is to harness the powers of nature, both known (real science) and hidden (occult).

This agenda begins with the founders of Rosicrucianism, the sorcerer John Dee and Francis Bacon, who is credited with introducing the scientific method which opened the way for the Scientific Revolution. Most of the leading scientists of Western history have been secretly adherents of the occult, including Isaac Newton, who was a member of the Royal Society, and Benjamin Franklin, a Freemason and member of the Hellfire Club.

This vision of the transformative power of science has been married to the Kabbalistic idea of progress, which is deemed to provide the basis for man’s evolution towards becoming a more “perfect” being. As explained in The Meaning of Masonry, by W.L. Wilmshurst:

This—the evolution of man into superman—was always the purpose of the ancient Mysteries, and the real purpose of modern Masonry is, not the social and charitable purposes to which so much attention is paid, but the expediting of the spiritual evolution of those who aspire to perfect their own nature and transform it into a more god-like quality. And this is a definite science, a royal art, which it is possible for each of us to put into practice, whilst to join the Craft for any other purpose than to study and pursue this science is to misunderstand its meaning.[1]

Later in the book, Wilmshurst further explains:

Man who has sprung from earth and developed through the lower kingdoms of nature to his present rational state, has yet to complete his evolution by becoming a god-like being and unifying his consciousness with the Omniscient—to promote which is and always has been the sole aim and purpose of all Initiation.[2]

Transhumanism represents the Masonic aim of assisting humanity in evolving to merge with a “cosmic consciousness”, an idea first proposed by the American Transcendentalists, and American psychologist William James, a member of Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society. The term first coined by Richard Maurice Bucke, a Canadian psychiatrist, in his 1901 book, Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind. James understood “cosmic consciousness” to be a collective consciousness, a “larger reservoir of consciousness,” which manifests itself in the minds of men and remains intact after the dissolution of the individual. It may “retain traces of the life history of its individual emanation.”[3]

And it is the field of science fiction, a genre initiated and dominated by occultists, which has articulated this vision in a way that it has shaped the West’s firm belief that we are liberated through science. From the works of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, to H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, who was a member of Aleister Crowley’s OTO, have all been prominent occultists. The Coming Race, by Bulwer-Lytton, who was the Grand Master of the Rosicrucians, and the leading figure of the Occult Revival of the late eighteenth century, is not only considered the first work of science fiction, but also provided the basis, along with the ideas of H.P. Blavatsky, to the deranged racial theories of the Nazis.

In World Brain, a collection of essays and addresses, dating from the period of 1936–38, Wells describes his vision of a new, free, synthetic, authoritative, permanent “World Encyclopaedia” that could help “world citizens” make the best use of universal information resources in order to contribute to world peace.

Cosmic Consciousness

The relationship between the Global Brain and the Internet is explained in The Lost Symbol by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, which is based on revealing the secret of Freemasonry. Playing a central role in the novel is Noetic Sciences (IONS), which collaborated with the CIA in various MK-Ultra projects, which initiated the connection of psychedelics and the personal computer, that developed from cybernetics. Here the character Katherine Solomon explains the significance of “Noetics”:

…two heads are better than one… and yet two heads are not twice better, they are many, many times better. Multiple minds working in unison magnify a thought’s effect… exponentially. This is the inherent power of prayer groups, healing circles, singing in unison, and worshipping en masse. The idea of universal consciousness is no ethereal New Age concept. It’s a hard-core scientific reality… and harnessing it has the potential to transform our world. This is the underlying discovery of Noetic Science. What’s more, it’s happening right now. You can feel it all around you. Technology is linking us in ways we never imagined possible: Twitter, Google, Wikipedia, and others—all blend to create a web of interconnected minds…

God is found in the collection of Many… rather than in the One.

The idea of Neotic sciences was based on the thought of Teilhard de Chardin, a controversial Jesuit priest, who has been referred to as the “Catholic Darwin” as well as the “Patron Saint of the Internet”. In a book whose introduction was written by Aldous Huxley’s brother Julian, de Chardin introduced his ideas of a “Noosphere”, representing a form of collective consciousness that would represent the next stage of human evolution.

Teilhard de Chardin also influenced Arthur C. Clarke who explored transhumanist ideas in his 1968 novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is widely considered to be one of the most influential films of all time.[4] Teilhard is mentioned by name and the Omega Point is briefly explained in Arthur C. Clarke’s and Stephen Baxter’s The Light of Other Days. In the 60s Clarke also prophesied that in the near future “ultraintelligent” machines would make possible an “uninhibited, hedonistic society” of cradle-to-grave leisure.[5] According to Clarke, in Childhood’s End, the destiny of humanity as well as most of the other intelligent species in the universe seems to merge with an overall cosmic intelligence.

In his 1962 book Profiles of the Future, Clarke predicted that the construction of what H.G. Wells called the World Brain would take place in two stages. Clarke identified the first of these as the construction of the World Library, or Wells’ universal encyclopedia, accessible to everyone from their home on computer terminals by the year 2000. In the second stage, the World Library would be incorporated into the World Brain, a superintelligent artificially intelligent supercomputer that humans would be able to interact with to solve various world problems. He suggested that this supercomputer should be installed in the former war rooms of the US and the Soviet Union, once the superpowers had matured enough to agree to co-operate rather than war with each other. Clarke predicted the construction of the “World Brain” would be completed by the year 2100.[6]

Arthur C. Clarke, along with OTO member Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, is considered one of the “Big Three” of science fiction.[7] In the seminal short story by Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question” (in the book Robot Dreams), humanity merges its collective consciousness with its own creation: an all-powerful cosmic computer. The resulting intelligence spends eternity working out whether “The Last Question” can be answered, namely, “Can entropy ever be reversed.” When the intelligence discovers that entropy can be reversed, it does so with the command: “LET THERE BE LIGHT.”

Canadian media theorist Marshal McLuhan, who was heavily influenced by de Chardin, is known for coining the expressions “the medium is the message” and the “global village,” and for predicting the Internet as an “extension of consciousness.” According to McLuhan in The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man:

The next medium, whatever it is — it may be the extension of consciousness — will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.[8]

As Erik Davis remarked in TechGnosis, “Some Christians, especially those with a brute Protestant conviction in the rock-solid inerrancy of the biblical word, would concur with Teilhard that our headlong flight toward planetization is part of a master plan.” [9] Davis was commenting on Marshall McLuhan’s 1969 interview in Playboy, where McLuhan mentioned that computer networks hold out the promise of creating “a technologically engendered state of universal understanding and unity, a state of absorption in the logos that could knit mankind into one family and create a perpetuity of collective harmony and peace.” McLuhan clarified: “In a Christian sense, this is merely a new interpretation of the mystical body of Christ; and Christ, after all, is the ultimate extension of man.”[10]

However, as Davis pointed out, in a letter to the Thomist philosopher Jacques Maritain, McLuhan flip-flopped on the idealism he had earlier expressed:

Electric information environments being utterly ethereal foster the illusion of the world as spiritual substance. It is now a reasonable facsimile of the mystical body [of Christ], a blatant manifestation of the Anti-Christ. After all, the Prince of this world is a very great electric engineer.[11]

Global Mind

According to Marilyn Ferguson, in her ground-breaking Aquarian Conspiracy, listed de Chardin as the foremost influence behind the New Age movement. De Chardin’s Noosphere was the basis to the idea of the Omega Point developed by psychedelic guru Terence McKenna. During the final years before his death in 2000, Terence McKenna become an early proponent of “technological singularity,” and called the Internet “the birth of [the] global mind,” believing it to be a place where psychedelic culture could flourish.[12] However, as Dery clarifies in Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century:

But as Thomas Hine reminds us in Facing Tomorrow: What the Future Has Been, What the Future Can Be, futures like McKenna’s are stories we tell ourselves about the present—an attempt to invest our lives with a meaning and a drama that transcend the inevitable decay and death of the individual. We want our stories to lead us somewhere and come to a satisfying conclusion, even though not all do so.” Placing our faith in an end-of-the-century deus ex machina that will obviate the need to confront the social, political, economic, and ecological problems clamoring for solutions is a risky endgame. The metaphysical glow that increasingly haloes the high-tech tomorrows of cyberdelic philosophers corporate futurologists, pop science programs such as the Discovery Channels Beyond 2000, or even ads such as AT& Ts You Will campaign, blinds us to the pressing concerns all around us.[13]

In Darwin Among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence, George Dyson, who was Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, suggests that the Internet is a living, sentient being. According to a reviewer:

Dyson’s main claim is that the evolution of a conscious mind from today’s technology is inevitable. It is not clear whether this will be a single mind or multiple minds, how smart that mind would be, and even if we will be able to communicate with it. He also clearly suggests that there are forms of intelligence on Earth that we are currently unable to understand. From the book: “What mind, if any, will become apprehensive of the great coiling of ideas now under way is not a meaningless question, but it is still too early in the game to expect an answer that is meaningful to us.[14]

Elaborating on the New Age “Gaia hypothesis,” physicist and philosopher Peter Russell coined the term “global brain” in 1982 in his book by the same name. How the Internet might be developed to achieve this was set out in 1986 by David Andrews, who presented the idea of a component of social networks called an Information Routing Group (IRG). The paper envisaged that due to the principle of six degrees of separation, specific messages sent by a particular member to members of his local group, could eventually be routed to all of the IRG, overcoming geographical and social limitations as well as solving the Relevance Paradox. Although the idea was proposed before the advent of the Internet, personal computers and modems were conceived as mediating contact.

Also known as “collective intelligence,” the notion has more recently been examined by the French philosopher Pierre Lévy, who introduced the concept in his 1994 book Collective Intelligence: Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace. Lévy’s 1995 book, Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age, develops the conception of “the virtual” from philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Additionally, Doug Engelbart began using the term “Collective IQ” in the mid-1990s as a measure of collective intelligence, to focus attention on the opportunity for business and society to pro-actively raise their Collective IQ.[15]

The first peer-reviewed article on the subject was published by Gottfried Mayer-Kress in 1995, while the first algorithms that could turn the world-wide web into a collectively intelligent network were proposed by Belgian cyberneticist Francis Heylighen and his PhD student Johan Bollen in 1996. Heylighen is best known for his work on the Principia Cybernetica Project, his model of the Internet as a Global brain. The organization is associated with the American Society for Cybernetics, founded in 1964 by neurophysiologist Warren Sturgis McCulloch, one of the original members of the Cybernetics Group, who had assisted Andrija Puharich’s MK-Ultras work at the Round Table Foundation. Principia Cybernetica have dedicated their organization to what they call “a computer-supported evolutionary-systemic philosophy, in the context of the transdisciplinary academic fields of Systems Science and Cybernetics.”[16]

Heylighen and Bollen were the first to propose algorithms that could turn the world-wide web into a self-organizing, learning network that exhibits collective intelligence, or a Global brain.[17] Reviewing the trends of intellectual history that contributed to the global brain hypothesis, Heylighen distinguished four perspectives, which he suggested were now converging in his own scientific re-formulation: “organicism”, “encyclopedism”, “emergentism” and “evolutionary cybernetics.”[18]

Emergentism refers to Teilhard De Chardin’s theory. Encyclopedism begins with the French Encyclopedie, a Masonic project of the Enlightenment, the first systematic attempt to create an integrated system of the world’s knowledge. H.G. Wells proposed the similar idea of a collaboratively developed world encyclopedia, which he called a World Brain, as it would function as a continuously updated memory for the planet. And, organicism begins with social Darwinist Herbert Spencer, who saw society as a social organism. But the mental aspects of such an organic system at the planetary level was first elaborated by Teilhard de Chardin in his concept of the Noosphere, or global mind.

Last, is evolutionary cybernetics, which proposes the emergence of a higher order system in evolutionary development, as a “metasystem transition” or a “major evolutionary transition.”[19] Such a metasystem consists of a group of subsystems that work together in a coordinated, goal-directed manner more powerful and intelligent than its constituent systems. Heylighen argues that the global brain is such a metasystem with respect to the level of individual human intelligence, and investigated the specific evolutionary mechanisms that promote this transition. According to this scenario, the Internet fulfills the role of the network of “nerves” that interconnect the subsystems and thus coordinates their activity. The cybernetic approach makes it possible to develop mathematical models and simulations of the processes of self-organization, through which such coordination and collective intelligence emerges.

In the Roots of Radical Theology, John Charles Cooper says that Teilhard de Chardin, “taught that the god to be worshipped is the one who will arise out of the evolving human race.”[20] Similarly, as explained by Heylighen in The Global Brain as a New Utopia, this global mind will serve as a new God:

Although most researchers have addressed the global brain idea from a scientific or technological point of view, authors like Teilhard de Chardin [1955] and Russell [1995] have explored some of its spiritual aspects. Similar to many mystical traditions, the global brain idea holds the promise of a much enhanced level of consciousness and a state of deep synergy or union that encompasses humanity as a whole.  Theists might view this state of holistic consciousness as a union with God. Humanists might see it as the creation, by humanity itself, of an entity with God-like powers. Followers of the Gaia hypothesis have suggested that the “living Earth” of which we are all part deserves awe and worship; it therefore could form the basis of a secular, ecologically inspired religion. The Global Brain vision may offer a similar sense of belonging to a larger whole and of an encompassing purpose.[21]

Heylighen presently works as a research professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, the Dutch-speaking Free University of Brussels, where he directs the transdisciplinary research group on “Evolution, Complexity and Cognition” and the Global Brain Institute with Ben Goertzel. Goertzel is an American author, mathematician and researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. An advocate of psychedelics, Goertzel is also on the Advisory Board of the Timothy Leary Archive maintained by Michael Horowitz, father of Wynona Ryder.

Teilhard’s concept of the Noosphere is also currently being researched as part of the Princeton Global Consciousness Project (GCP), which is privately funded through IONS. GCP monitors a geographically distributed network of hardware random number generators in a bid to identify anomalous outputs that correlate with widespread emotional responses to sets of world events, or periods of focused attention by large numbers of people.

Ben Goertzel was Director of Research of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI, formerly the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence). Ray Kurzweil, a head of engineering at Google and the modern prophet of transhumanism, has served as one of the directors of MIRI. A non-profit organization founded in 2000, MIRI advocates ideas initially put forth by I. J. Good and Vernor Vinge regarding an “intelligence explosion,” or Singularity, which MIRI thinks may follow the creation of sufficiently advanced AI.[22] Research fellow Eliezer Yudkowsky coined the term Friendly AI to refer to a hypothetical super-intelligent AI that has a positive impact on humanity. MIRI hosts regular research workshops to develop the mathematical foundations for constructing Friendly AI.

The MIRI’s advisory board includes Oxford philosopher and leader of the transhumanist movement, Nick Bostrom, as well PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and Foresight Institute co-founder Christine Peterson.  Peterson, who coined the term “Open Source,” is co-founder of Foresight Institute, which focuses on promoting nanotechnology, making technology information available to all, and enabling space settlement. In 2006, the MIRI, along with the Symbolic Systems Program at Stanford, the Center for Study of Language and Information,, and Peter Thiel, co-sponsored the Singularity Summit at Stanford. The 2012 Singularity Summit was held at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, in San Francisco.[23]

[1] Wilmshurst, W.L., The Meaning of Masonry, (New York: Gramercy Books, 1980) p. 47.

[2] Ibid. p. 97.

[3] Lynn Bridgers, Contemporary Varieties of Religious Experience: James’s Classic Study in Light of Resiliency, Temperament, and Trauma, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), p. 27.

[4] Ranked #15 by the American Film Institute. “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies – 10th Anniversary Edition.” Retrieved 28 February 2014.

[5] Mark Dery. Escape Velocity.

[6] Arthur C Clarke. Profiles of the Future; an Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible. )New York: Harper & Row, 1962)

[7] “The Big Three and the Clarke–Asimov Treaty”.

[8] Marshall McLuhan, Eric McLuhan, Frank Zingrone (editors) Essential McLuhan. (BasicBooks, 1995) p. 321.

[9] Erik Davis. TechGnosis. p. 309.

[10] Ibid. p. 253.

[11] Ibid. p. 254.

[12] Erik Davis, “Terence McKenna’s last trip.” Wired (8.05) (May 2000).

[13] Mark Dery. Escape Velocity.

[14] Tal Cohen, Tal Cohen’s Bookshelf, (September 30, 1998).

[15] Engelbart’s 1994 definition of ‘Collective IQ’ – found on Slide 4.

[16] Principia Cybernetica Masthead Last modified Oct 17, 2006. Accessed Oct 13, 2009

[17] Francis Heylighen and J. Bollen. Trappl, R., ed. “The World-Wide Web as a Super-Brain: from metaphor to model.” Cybernetics and Systems’ 96. (Austrian Society For Cybernetics, 1996) pp. 911–916.

[18] Heylighen, Francis. “Accelerating socio-technological evolution: from ephemeralization and stigmergy to the global brain”. Globalization as evolutionary process: modeling global change. (Routledge., 2008) p. 284.

[19] Eörs Szathmáry and John Maynard Smith, Nature, (16 March 1995).

[20] John Charles Cooper. Roots of Radical Theology (University Press Of America, 1988).

[21] Francis Heylighen. The global brain as a new utopiaZukunftsfiguren. (Suhrkamp, Frankurt, 2002) Retrieved from PDF.

[22] Eliezer Yudkowsky. “Intelligence Explosion Microeconomics.” Machine Intelligence Research Institute.

[23] “Singularity Summit: Logistics.”

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