Friday, July 5, 2024

Offsite Post: ‘Was Thomas Aquinas the First Modern Transhumanist?’


One of the main tenets of transhumanism is that the mind of man can and should be liberated from the body, since the latter (in their view) restrains the intellect from ascending to higher levels of evolution.  An Orthodox priest, Fr Vitaliy Utkin, enlarges on this:


<<The main efforts are now aimed at using information and nanotechnology when creating the superman. The human personality is perceived by representatives of transhumanism exclusively as a set of gene information encoded in DNA, plus a carrier of consciousness — the brain — which is considered to be a neurocomputer.


Consciousness, in this view, consists of a certain information set based on the electronic impulses of the brain. Therefore, it is believed that by completely copying such pulses, you can transfer them to other, technical carriers.


When contemplating the hypothetical transfer of consciousness from a biological brain to a computer, transhumanists call it the “loading of consciousness”, “brain reconstruction”, or simply “loading”. After such a transfer has been realized, the consciousness, from the point of view of transhumanists, will live in virtual reality. And this, they believe, provides unlimited possibilities for human self-realization.>>

He is seconded by other Christians.  The Protestant Pastor Doug Wilson:

<<Now that technology and science have declared nothing in nature off limits, the despots have naturally expanded how much they want to dominate. Lewis outlined it clearly. The rape of nature was going to lead, eventually, to the rape of the nature of man, and hence the title—the abolition of man. The domineering ways of man over nature was going to lead to an assault on the nature of man himself, which was going to result in the eradication of mankind. We are witnessing the first waves of this now. This is what the tranny movement is all about, and trans-humanism is next after that.>>

The Roman Catholic Abp Vigano:


<<She identifies a vast raft of powerful NGO’s closely connected with the rapidly growing pharmaceutical and medical markets that profit from sexual transitioning, and which creates a growing number of people permanently consuming and dependant on pharmaceutical and medical resources to manage the life long trauma of transition. 


The public is not greatly aware of the transhumanist ideology that has given birth to trans sexual culture. And there is little space here to do it justice, but behind it lies the ambition for disembodiment.


Bilek explains: “Disembodiment is everybody lives in cyberspace. We live in a virtual reality. We don’t live in our bodies any more. We’re going to be uploaded into cyberspace.”


In order to sell transhumanism and disembodiment as a life to the public, you’re going to have to groom them to get them there. And the way to do that is to create this ideology that says that you can choose your sex. That’s “disembodiment”.>>

This is good!  The more allies in this fight, the better.  Nevertheless, as opponents of transhumanism do the good work of defending the dignity of the human body, they must also find the source, the origin, of this nefarious creed so that it can be eradicated, never to plague mankind again, even if uncovering that source reveals truths that are discomfiting.  And we are afraid that the truths will be disturbing for our Roman Catholic and Protestant friends.

For where do we find the origin of this denigration of the body and the exaltation of the mind?  In the two main pillars upon whom the theology of the post-Orthodox West is constructed – Blessed Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae says specifically that the body is not necessary for the happiness of the soul; the intellectual operation of the soul is the only essential thing:

<<But as to perfect Happiness, which consists in the vision of God, some have maintained that it is not possible to the soul separated from the body; and have said that the souls of saints, when separated from their bodies, do not attain to that Happiness until the Day of Judgment, when they will receive their bodies back again. And this is shown to be false, both by authority and by reason. By authority, since the Apostle says (2 Corinthians 5:6): "While we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord"; and he points out the reason of this absence, saying: "For we walk by faith and not by sight." Now from this it is clear that so long as we walk by faith and not by sight, bereft of the vision of the Divine Essence, we are not present to the Lord. But the souls of the saints, separated from their bodies, are in God's presence; wherefore the text continues: "But we are confident and have a good will to be absent . . . from the body, and to be present with the Lord." Whence it is evident that the souls of the saints, separated from their bodies, "walk by sight," seeing the Essence of God, wherein is true Happiness.

Again this is made clear by reason. For the intellect needs not the body, for its operation, save on account of the phantasms, wherein it looks on the intelligible truth, as stated in I:84:7. Now it is evident that the Divine Essence cannot be seen by means of phantasms, as stated in I:12:3. Wherefore, since man's perfect Happiness consists in the vision of the Divine Essence, it does not depend on the body. Consequently, without the body the soul can be happy.>>

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated statement in the West.  It is part of a larger body of teachings that reinforce the idea that the created world is a thing unloved by God.  The late author Philip Sherrard expanded on that in his slim but powerful book The Rape of Man and Nature: An Enquiry into the Origins and Consequences of Modern Science:

<<In the fallen world as seen by St Augustine—the world in which we actually live—things are far worse, and this separation between the uncreated and the created is now truly abysmal.  Through the Fall man and the rest of the natural order are deprived of even that extrinsic participation in grace which they possessed in their pre-fallen state.  Their original and true nature is now vitiated, totally corrupt and doomed to destruction.  It is a lump of damnation.

 . . .

The rest may be read here:

Or here:


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

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