[This is a re-post of my original vision of the League from five years ago. I will be re-focusing on this vision and posting more about it shortly.]
I’m a firm believer in the nonlinear power of small groups of exceptional individuals to shape the world’s destiny. This seems more true now than ever, in an age of technological empowerment that has witnessed the emergence of globally disruptive non-state networks such as al Qaeda, Goldman Sachs and Aum Shinrikyo. With a strong ideological foundation and the creative use of techniques of asymmetric force projection (often called “terrorism”), these groups have cost nation-states untold trillions of dollars and brought their agendas to the attention of the entire world. Whatever you may think of their goals, it’s clear that the modus operandi of such organizations can be highly effective.
What I am proposing here is the formation of a similarly effective, ideologically based network of elite operatives, drawing not from reactionary cultures but from the global community of forward-thinking individuals sympathetic to the goals of Singularitarians and transhumanists. I hope to attract rational thinkers who find traditional allegiances to nation, tribe and religion archaic, and the existing institutions of secular society limiting. I propose to call this organization Omega League, inspired by Teilhard de Chardin’s “Omega Point” notion of a biosphere evolving toward ever higher intelligence. I also take inspiration from groups such as “the Guild” in the Dune novels who used their mastery of transhuman science to control the known universe, and the superhuman Khan and the Augments from Star Trek, who nearly conquered the world.
I am particularly interested in recruiting to the League talented computer scientists, programmers, engineers, roboticists, neuroscientists, geneticists, cyberneticists, bio-hackers, physicists, et al. — i.e. those who possess the technical knowledge to work directly toward transhumanist goals. In my experience this class of people, though generally among the most intelligent members of the human species, and despite being the architects of the modern world, feel acutely under-rewarded by the larger human community. Omega League would seek to offer such technically elite individuals a path to collective power that they might otherwise lack, as well as a larger ideological context for their work.
We should not think of Omega League as merely “al Qaeda for uber-nerds,” however. While bin Laden and friends want to drag the world back to some 7th century Quranic utopia, we want to yank it forward to a 21st century utopia that has no precedent in recorded history. Essentially we seek to operate as a force of nature, bound only by the laws of science, mathematics and logic, rather than the human-imposed constraints of conventional legal, ethical or religious systems. It seems inevitable that before long those who wish to confine humanity to its old forms will need to be decisively defeated, and we would like to be the tip of the spear in that effort.
Why is a group such as I am proposing necessary? Aren’t the mainstream science and technology establishments already working toward transhumanist goals? The answer, in many cases, is yes. And where this is true we should support them wholeheartedly. But these establishments are by definition constrained by legal and ethical principles which are in direct contradiction to transhumanist philosophy. For at the root of every existing legal and ethical system is one overriding principal: the world is for man alone, and he (with or without direction from various gods) is the final earthly authority. If you believe as we do, that man is a bridge from animal to overman, then at some point it becomes impossible to abide by the laws of societies that are stuck in this cul-de-sac of human-centric thinking.
As transhumanists, we must adopt the point of view that human legal and ethical systems are no more applicable to us than are the social rules of a chimpanzee troop. Does this make us anarchists? Not at all. We are merely operating according to higher laws — the laws of nature — which suggest to us that homo sapiens is a transitional species that will soon be ushered off of center stage by evolutionary forces vastly more powerful than any human institution.
If this last claim is true, one may ask: why does the world need a group such as Omega League? If these evolutionary forces are so powerful, surely nature doesn’t need an activist group to do its bidding any more than God needs al Qaeda to do His? This would be true, if the transitional process I’m speaking of were inevitable — i.e. there really was an all-powerful god who wanted it to be so. But as rational atheists, we cannot believe this. The world is an impersonal stage, operating under certain natural laws, but in the Anthropocene epoch it is human (and post-human) will which determines how the great dramas play out. To ensure that these dramas play out in a way consistent with our worldview, we therefore need to impose our will upon them by seeking control over human institutions globally.
We should be under no illusions about the broad appeal of the radical transhumanist agenda at this time. The “human, all too human” forces that will align against us are vast and deeply rooted at the foundation of every human society. Established religions, first and foremost, can be expected to oppose the overthrow of the human order with all their power. No system of beliefs that holds that humans are the apex of creation, the very image of God on earth, can be expected to accept the transhumanist view that man is not an end, but a means to the superhuman. Similar resistance will be encountered from the secular humanists who hold that “man is the measure of all things”, and for whom transhumanism represents a mortal threat to well established ideals of equality, brotherhood and liberty. On a more fundamental level, we are fighting the basic instinct of every living creature to preserve and propagate its own kind. Because of this broad resistance, I contend that our uncompromising brand of transhumanism must operate in the shadows for the time being, seeking influence and control outside normal channels, until the relentless advance of technology makes our position difficult to refute.
I will be discussing this proposal in more detail at omegaleague.com. I hope to have forums and other resources where others who share this vision can interact and learn. In the meantime, I leave you with a quote from one of the writers who inspired this post, which I hope may inspire others to action:
“No matter how exotic human civilization becomes, no matter the developments of life and society nor the complexity of the machine/human interface, there always come interludes of lonely power when the course of humankind depends upon the relatively simple actions of single individuals.” — From the Tleilaxu Godbuk, Dune Messiah