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  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

The Sophianic Jihad

In The Butlerian Jihad, part of the Dune series extended by Frank Herbert’s son, Brian, and Kevin J. Anderson, a future civilization calls for the destruction of all computers, thinking machines, and humanoid robots. This sensibility is succinctly articulated in the dictum “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.” John Michael Greer draws on this idea in his book Our Retro Future: Looking to the Past to Reinvent the Future, and, as I’ve written, I think his instincts are sharp and his arguments worthy of deep consideration. With the technocrats now in smug assurance of their absolute victory, now is the time to start thinking about our subservience to, especially, information technology and to the technocrats and their lackeys in government who think they control it—and by controlling it controlling us.

In fact, we have arrived at a nexus predicted long since. As Canadian philosopher George Grant, for example, wrote in the 1960s, “When one contemplates the conquest of nature by technology one must remember that that conquest had to include our own bodies.” [1] Facing the prospect of mandated and enforced medical procedures and the attendant “digital passports” now being developed and implemented, I’d say the technological conquest of the human person is set at full speed ahead.

I’m not surprised by any of this, and neither should anyone else be. I’ve been warning about it for years, for one thing. In my first published academic paper, 2005’s “Meditations on Blade Runner”(available as a pdf on the “Articles” page of my website), I speculated about the then half-illusory prospect of transhumanism, a project now fully applauded by The World Economic Forum and its subsidiaries and perhaps even by the Vatican. As one can tell from the parties with vested interests in this tranhumanist project (though cloaked under the disguises of “health” and “environmentalism”), this, as all conquests, is ultimately about power. As Grant writes,

In North American science the motive of wonder becomes ever more subsidiary to the motive of power, and that those scientists still dominated by wonder have a more difficult time resisting the forces of power which press in upon them from without their community…. It is the growing victory of power over wonder which is the basis of the proposition that the modern sciences can best be understood as a unity around the idea of mastery.” [2]

I’ve written in most of my books about the regretful standard ethos of science since Francis Bacon and Descartes as an enterprise invested in exploitation and domination, not all that different from the psychological mindset of the rapist; and I’ve lamented the loss of an integral view of science represented in the hermetic scientists of the early modern period and Goethe’s delicate empiricism. How different would the world look had the brain power and investment of subsequent centuries been invested in a more human and integral science, a science not blind to the realm of the spirit? But it is not only the hard sciences that are complicit in the play of dominance and submission in human societies: the social sciences are just as implicated. Again Grant:

It has become increasingly clear that the technological society requires not only the control of non-human nature, but actually the control of human nature. This is the chief cause of the development of the modern ‘value-free’ social sciences.” [3]

Certainly, the superabundance of psychological engineers of consent in government, media outlets, social media, and the pharmaceutical industry (to name only the most obvious) bears witness to the prostitution of almost an entire field of inquiry. I’d even go so far as to say (almost purely from personal observation) that it certainly seems that those most anxious about the “pandemic” also suffer from a variety of psychological co-morbidities. That’s how it works. Exploit the enemy’s weakness, humanity being the enemy in this case. How different the social sciences are now than they were in the age of Freud, Jung, Adler, Frankl and their contemporaries. So much of the human has been lost at the expense of the technocratic.

For my own part, what I propose is a kind of Sophianic Jihad, one where the human is elevated above the cold and calculating values of the technocratic. Indeed, I believe the technocrats fear this more than anything: a world where they are ignored and the illusion of their power evaporates like the digital froth it is. In the 1940s, Russian philosopher and prophet Nikolai Berdyaev speculated that “the day of modern history is over and that we are entering upon a period of darkness.” [4] I don’t think his timing was off. What we are living in is not the inauguration of the Age of Darkness, but its crisis point. Our civilization has lost all moorings to the Real—whether in terms of gender, or marriage, or of the Creation itself, no less than of human nature.

The technocrats and the technocratic, under the aegis of their unknown god, Ahriman, swallow up our natural and supernatural lives with their glittering distractions and alluring falsehoods promising immortality and a freedom that is anything but free.

What I am not advocating is a retreat into a kind of medieval paradise dreamt of by arm-chair distributists and cosplaying pseudo-Inklings. As Berdyaev writes, “A return the pre-industrial period of history is absolutely impossible. Medievalists like Carlyle and Ruskin [and I would add William Morris] turned to the past instead of looking forward, in spite of all the truth their criticisms contain: We are only able to go forward and we must.” [5] Greer himself only looks back so far as the Victorian age.

But, believe it or not, I am a futurist. I hold that the future—a human future—is a sophianic future. It is also the spiritual future, as it restores humanity to its rightful place in harmony with both the natural and supernatural realms. Anything else will fail. And we may have to experience a few failures before we figure this out. I may not be here to see it. Nevertheless, the time for the Sophianic Jihad has arrived.

Michael’s latest book is Sophia in Exile. He can be reached at See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: The Divine Feminine.

1. George Grant, Technology and Empire (House of Anansi Press, 1969), 27.

2. Ibid., 116.

3. Ibid., 118.

4. Nikolai Bedyaev, Towards a New Epoch (London, 1949), 39.

5. Ibid., 45.

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Nov 06, 2021

In reading the article you reference above about “Blade Runner,” something struck me about your discussion of ”the mistake of thinking the replicants are the good guys, and the humans the bad guys.” What struck me is that the problem works in the other direction too, and must also be cautioned against. That is, of thinking of the replicants as the “bad guys” instead, and ascribing evil or bad motives and sin to non-humans.

A couple pages after that quote above, you describe Roy as a murderer and thief. But can a machine commit murder or other crimes in their proper sense, with all its moral and legal implications of requisite mens rea, etc.? We don’t even describe animals that…

Michael Martin
Michael Martin
Nov 06, 2021
Replying to

That’s what’s so interesting: machines with agency and free will obscure the line between human and non-human. “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.” It’s an interesting thought experiment (and bit of manipulation) to make the audience sympathize with the non-human. “More human than human” indeed.

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