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  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

The Transhumanist Gamble and the Rise of the New Romanticism

image from Tarkovsky's 'Nostalghia'

I’m sure you’ve heard of “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,’ probably the first revolution in history to come with a marketing team and implementation strategy. That’s because this “revolution’ is a top-down phenomenon. It has nothing to do with a dissatisfied proletariat, an oppressed peasantry (the working poor to you and me), or a desired change in the social order. That’s because the people proposing this alleged revolution are those at the top of the economic food chain, the 1% that Progressives and their ilk were supposedly against not all that long ago. When the Gateses, the WEF, the tech giants, and BigPharma are calling for a revolution, you know something’s amiss.

Indeed, the Fourth Industrial Revolution promises a new Utopia—as did its predecessors. Did they deliver? They delivered products and services, at least to some. They also delivered misery. With the Enclosure Laws in England, for example, economic prosperity was promised—and obtained—by many, but somebody had to pay for it. The peasantry and yeoman farmers were the primary subjects who paid, as the Common Lands were taken from them and they were forced into cities to be welcomed by alcoholism, prostitution, syphilis, cholera, and despair. Initially instituted during the 16th century, St. Thomas More wrote of the effects of enclosure on the English peasantry at that time in an economic boom related to the wool trade: “Now they are becoming so greedy and wild that they devour men themselves, I hear. They devastate and pillage fields, houses, and towns. For in whatever parts of the land the sheep yield the softest and most expensive wool, there the nobility and gentry, yes, and even some abbots though otherwise holy men, are not content with the old rents that the land yielded to their predecessors. Living in idleness and luxury, without doing any good to society, no longer satisfies them; they have to do positive evil. For they leave no land free for the plow: they enclose every acre for pasture.” [1]

During the 17th century, the True Levellers (or Diggers) fought back against enclosure. Gerrard Winstanely railed against their elite oppressors:

The earth was not made purposely for you, to be the Lords of it, and we to be your Slaves, Servants, and Beggars; but it was made to be a common Livelihood to all, without respect of persons: And this buying and selling of Land, and the Fruits of it, one to another, is The cursed thing, and was brought in by War; which hath, and still does establish murder, and theft, in the hands of some branches of Mankinde over others which is the greatest outward burden, and unrighteous power, that the Creation groans under: For the power of inclosing Land, and owning Property, was brought into the Creation by your Ancestors by the Sword; which first did murther their fellow Creatures, Men, and after plunder or steal away their Land, and left this Land successively to you, their Children.” [2]

Christian anarchism used to mean something. From what I can tell lately, for a lot of people it means being a Progressive who goes to church.

Later such revolutions resulted in child labor and slavery. In 18th and 19th century England, the textile industry turned people, and especially children, into fodder for the machine. William Blake—visionary, poet, engraver, and true revolutionary—called the textile factories “Dark Satanic Mills” for a reason. But you already know this.

But the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they promise, will be different. Sure, it will.

The earlier Industrial Revolutions brought improvements in some ways, but the underside of them was that untold suffering of the poor—like those African miners digging the lithium for the battery of your eco-friendly vehicle or the workers in the many sweatshops across the world who make your smartphone. Someone pays for your conveniences. And it’s not you.

The primary difference in this Industrial Revolution is that now the threat is to compromise the very biology of the human person through an unproven mRNA vaccine and the relegation of people to a totalizing technocratic environment (for starters), both supported by the proscription of movement without a vaccination passport (it’s already here) and the financial and personal ruin of those who refuse to participate in the Great Reset. Primarily, this is a transhumanist agenda, since the endgame is to change the reality of what it is to be human. You can read about it in almost every science-fiction dystopia ever written.

As I’ve written before, I didn’t think the transhumanist project would arrive for a few decades, but apparently Uncle Klaus and Camp Counselor Bill had other plans. Even Time magazine lauds its salvific arrival.

Every previous Industrial Revolution has met with a counter movement, almost always accompanied by an embrace of agrarianism and the beauty of the Creation. And nowhere was this more beautifully realized than in Romanticism.

The Romantics, especially those in Germany and England, proposed a cultural renewal in rejection of the materialistic and dehumanizing realities of the Enlightenment values that spawned the Industrial Revolution. Reason—whether it be a blind trust in “science” or “the data”—and economic pipe-dreams of a technocratic paradise cannot but prove lacking, and probably ruinous for the human species and the planet. The Romantics of 18th and 19th centuries resisted and the Romantics of the 21st will resist. We will return to the land, to poetry, to human community, and to the Kingdom of Heaven. We will have our own Gerrard Winstanelys, our own William Blakes.

We should remember, as Rudolf Steiner (who was the fulfillment of Romanticism’s promise according to Owen Barfield) reminded his friends during the darkest days of World War I, that we must

Live out of pure trust, Without any security in existence.

Trusting in the ever present help Of the spiritual world.

Truly, nothing else will do If our courage is not to fail us.

Nothing else will do.

Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. 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 Garden.

1. Sir Thomas More, Utopia, trans. and ed. Robert M. Adams, Norton Critical Editions (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992), 12.

2. [Gerrard Winstanely], A Declaration from the Oppressed of England, directed to all that call themselves, or are called, Lords of Manors, through this Nation; That have begun to cut, or through fear and covetousness, do intend to cut down the Woods and Trees that grow upon the Commons and Waste Land (1649), A2r. Emphasis in original.

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